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How to read Dump Files???

edited Aug 2007 in PC Building
Hi everyone,

I am trying to fix a computer that is bluescreening about 3 times a day, and while I have seen bluescreens before, most have been solved with new RAM. This computer seems to have it's issues elsewhere {swapped out the RAM and same BSOD crashes}, and the only thing I have to look at to determine the cause seems to be dump files, and the very broad error code that appears on the BSOD {0x0000008E}

I am wondering if there is a better way to read these dump files than just opening them in notepad; this gives a very hard to read display. So I then found a small application called MiniDumpView 1.0.3, but it seems to be command line based, which I am not a huge fan of. Beside, when I did figure out the commands used in the app, it wouldn't load the dump file anyway (error code 2).

I need to try and see what process was being used when the BSOD occured - how do I find this in the dump file?

I am basically trying to learn how to diagnose BSOD from scratch. What would be a good list of things to try?
Try updating the bios?
Load in all different modes?
Do a RAM check?
Disable BIOS memory options such as caching or shadowing?
I would love to have some kind of indicator as to why I am trying these things - if I could see in the dump file what process crashed or what driver was corrupt, I would be able to focus these tweaks on the problematic area.

Thanks for any advice!
Hunter

Comments

  • edited Aug 2007
    Whoa, poeple, one answer at a time, if you all shout at once I can't hear.

    :confused:

    Maybe I was offensive or arrogant in my question?

    :sad2:

    Is there something I need to do before I get replies on this website?

    Hunter
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Pokémaster, Watch Slut Toronto, ON Icrontian
    edited Aug 2007
    IF people haven't responded, it means one of three things:

    1) They haven't seen your post yet.
    2) They're looking for answers.
    3) They just don't know.

    I'm a #2 today, and was a #1 yesterday. Sit tight. :)
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Aug 2007
    Most of us just use google since MS has most of those error codes indexed with what they do and possible sollutions

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/827663
  • edited Aug 2007
    Hi, thanks for the replies.

    Frankly, I am a bit confused by the statement "MS has most of those error codes indexed with what they do and possible sollutions" because Googling my error code takes me to over 10 MS articles that decsribe different reasons as to why the BSOD occurs, and each time they say "if you try the resolution and that is not the cause that you will most likely corrupt windows further".

    It seems that whenever someone asks about these errors in forums, the common response is failing RAM. Then the people spend the cash to replace the chips, still get blue screens, post in the forum again, and the response is "Oh this error is most likely your video card". So I believe the people making the suggestions are just giving knee-jerk standard responses without any insight into the underlying causes. I am not asking for someone to simply diagnose my problem and give me a solution - I am asking how I can track down the issue myself.

    I mean these MiniDump files are extremely hard to read, yet some people have looked at my dumps and been able to tell me what process or application was running when the blue screen appeared - how was this deciphered from the logs? Are you using a custom application that makes looking at dump files easier, more intuitive? Or is there just a method to follow to be able to look at these files in Notepad?

    So trust me when I have said I have Gooled this error code to death, posted in over 10 forums and read scores of knowledge base articles. I am absolutely no closer to gaining any information as to why this computer is having problems.:confused:

    Any advice you may have in terms of how to learn to read dumps, how to diagnose blue screens, or links to other posts that have good troubleshooting techniques it would be greatly appreciated.

    Sorry if I seem pushy but you should hear the owner of the PC! I do not want a quick fix, though. I need the skills to pay the bills.

    Thanks again for your posts and advice!
    Hunter
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Aug 2007
    The reason there is often 10 different MS articles on the subject is because there are often multiple reasons an error code get generated. You need to do some reasoning based on what was going on at the time. If you were booting up and it dumped then you pursue that revenue etc....

    As for the rest of your post. This is a help forum. Many of the top posters here have years of experiencing diagnosing problems. The big difference is that we do it on a physical machine not psychically. On a help forum we are giving advice based on as much information as we are given. More often then not that info is vague. So we trouble shoot a problem the same way we would do if we were working on the machine. We have to issolate the actual problem and then correct it. Like it or not to issolate a problem you often need to swap knowingly working hardware for hardware that you are unsure about. That or format your harddrive and rule out software.

    The simple fact is that most people come to help forums looking for the perfect answer to what they think is a simple question. Look around this forum at how many threads basically state 'My computer doesn't work please fix it' then they are shocked when we start telling them to pull things apart run this test, try replacing this etc... That's how this works.

    As for you question. If we had a tool we could punch your dump into and spit out an answer and simply fix the problem we would hand it out.

    Other then looking up the codes in MS database you can try and do it the hardway with their tools. That are often vague, often don't work and generally don't give you any more information then googling it would.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263

    Sorry if *I* seem short. But pushy people that get even pushier when a free service doesn't hand them the holy grail really piss me off first thing in the morning.
  • edited Aug 2007
    Maybe if you explain how to read the dump files this would stop people pissing you off.

    I really don't think I am asking for the "Holy Grail" here.

    I am very appreciative of a service like this forum where I can post questions for free, but don't think you are doing any favours by keeping your "diagnosis" cards close to your chest, if it really pisses you off so much, why not teach the people how to troubleshoot?

    Read my post, I am not asking for a magic answer. I am asking how to gather the knowledge to figure it out myself - surely I should be praised rather than condemned for ym approach?

    Sorry to upset you.
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Aug 2007
    Hunter_Thompson said:
    Maybe if you explain how to read the dump files this would stop people pissing you off.

    I really don't think I am asking for the "Holy Grail" here.
    Maybe you missed it the first time

    As for you question. If we had a tool we could punch your dump into and spit out an answer and simply fix the problem we would hand it out.

    Other then looking up the codes in MS database you can try and do it the hardway with their tools. That are often vague, often don't work and generally don't give you any more information then googling it would.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263

    In other words we don't bother with trying to read the dump files and run them through the program in the article we linked to because generally it provides no usable information. More often then not it just spits out more random bits of info that require more googling etc....
  • ThelemechThelemech Victoria Member
    edited Aug 2007
    Maybe these links will help. They are a start and may send you in the direction you need to go for the answer.
    Caution: these are not holy grails! :D

    http://www.windowsdevcenter.com/pub/a/windows/2004/06/08/stop_errors.html
    http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-11184-0.html?forumID=48&threadID=173481

    and once again
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263

    Cheers!
  • edited Aug 2007
    Thanks for the posts. Man, I am feeling stressed over this BSOD, and I gotta just step back, breathe, and take it slowly. Use common sense when troubleshooting. Strip the machine down to bare core components, and add extra bits piece at a time and make notes of every change.

    Thanks for the links, some pretty heavy reading there. I have also found a newbie tutorial on using windbg that I am slowly coming to grips with.

    If I can figure out this stuff, it will be a personal goal achieved. I do not actually see that many blue screen these days but it really is an area I have no knowledge of, especially the error codes and deciphering dump files.
    Thanks again for the links, replies and advice.
    Hunter
  • kryystkryyst Ontario, Canada
    edited Aug 2007
    Best of luck. Should you crack the code and find the Holy Grail we'd love to hear about it.
  • edited Aug 2007
    Thanks mate. I definitely plan on giving back to forums like this if I can contribute something meaningful.

    Thanks again for the posts.
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