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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.

If you want to download the symbol files and save them locally (be sure to read the system requirements before downloading).

SymServ (aka: SymSrv/Symbol Table Server) is a critically important service provided – at no cost – by Microsoft to ensure accurate memory dump analysis. To use it, simply configure WinDbg to locate it and SymServ will automatically retrieve symbols specific to the exact version of Windows that the dump came from. And, after analyzing a dump file from one machine, if you call up a dump file from another, WinDbg and SymServ will automatically retrieve the symbols for that version of the OS as well.

Configuring WinDbg

configuring windbg

From the Windows 10 UI, select the Windows 10 button then WinDbg | More | Run as administrator

You will then see a window with a few menu options and a blank main window area. Before you open a dump file, you must tell WinDbg where to find the symbol files.

Configuring WinDbg Correlating a Windows dump file with the appropriate symbol files is not merely a matter of knowing which version number of the OS was running. There are myriad variants to the OS, a fact that is not obvious. The only way to be sure which file is correct is to let SymServ find it for you.

set symbol file path

Setting the symbol file path There are a huge number of symbol table files for Windows because every build, every update, every patch and the myriad one-off variants each result in a new file. And using the wrong symbols to evaluate a dump file would be like using a map for Boston to navigate San Francisco.

Enter the following path: srv*c:\cache*http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols

In place of *c:\cache*, be sure to insert what location you want to store symbols.

In this case, c:\symbols was used. Then select OK.

Note: be sure that your firewall allows access to msdl.microsoft.com not just www.microsoft.com.

set symbol file path 02

What if you don’t have a memory dump to look at? No worries. You can generate one yourself. Yes, you can cause your system to crash and do so safely. There are different ways to do it but the best way is to use a cool tool called NotMyFault created by Russinovich.

Download NotMyFault To get NotMyFault, go to the Windows Internals Book page at SysInternals and scroll down to the Book Tools section where you will see a link to download it. The tool includes a selection of options that load a misbehaving driver (which requires administrative privileges). After downloading, I created a shortcut from the desktop to simplify access.

 

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