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How to solve Windows 10 crashes in less than a minute

Dirk A.D. Smith | Aug. 2, 2016
This article deals with system crashes, not application crashes or system hangs.

Where to get help with Windows 10 crashes

There are plenty of places to turn to for help with BSODs, a few of which are listed below. For example, ConfigSafe tells you what drivers have changed and AutorunCheck tells you what Windows Autorun settings have changed. Both help nail the culprit in a system failure. And everyone should have the book Windows Internals; it is the bible that every network admin and CIO should turn to, especially Chapter 14 “Crash Dump Analysis,” which is in Part 2 of the book.

When I asked Mark Russinovich, one of the authors, why a network admin or CIO – as opposed to a programmer – should read it, he said, “If you’re managing Windows systems and don’t know the difference between a process and a thread, how Windows manages virtual and physical memory, or how kernel-mode drivers can crash a system, you’re handicapping yourself. Understanding these concepts is critical to fully understanding crash dumps and being able to decipher their clues.”

So, while WinDbg provides the data about the state of a system when it fell over, Windows Internals turns that cryptic data into actionable information that helps you resolve the cause.


NameTypeLocation Guide:
AutorunCheck Tool:
CNET Form:
ConfigSafe Tool:
Experts-Exchange Help Site:
FiretowerGuard Tool:
Windows 10 Forums Forum:
Microsoft Autoruns Tool:
Microsoft DaRT Tool:
TechNet Forum:
TenForums Forum:
WhoCrashed Tool:
WinDbg Tool:
Windows Internals Book:
WindowsSecrets Forum:

What is a memory dump?

A memory dump is a copy or a snapshot of the contents of a system’s memory at the point of a system crash. Dump files are important because they can show who was doing what at the point the system fell over. Dump files are, by the nature of their contents, difficult to decipher unless you know what to look for.

Windows 10 can produce five types of memory dump files, each of which are described below.

1.     Automatic Memory Dump

Size: Size of OS kernel

The Automatic memory dump is the default option selected when you install Windows 10. It was created to support the “System Managed” page file configuration which has been updated to reduce the page file size on disk, primarily for small SSDs, but will also benefit servers with large amounts of RAM. The Automatic memory dump option produces a Kernel memory dump; the difference is when you select Automatic it allows the SMSS process to reduce the page file smaller than the size of RAM.

To check or edit the system paging file size, go to the following:

Windows 10 button | Control Panel | System and Security | System | Advanced system settings | Performance | Settings | Advanced | Change

startup and recovery


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