What's the error message?

Question

Hello,

My computer continiously freezes up and the screen turns blue with an error message and it says dumping physical memory. The hard drive has been completely reformatted and it still continues to freeze up. Thank you for your help

Answer

This question was answered on May 27, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

You can configure Windows to write debugging information to three different file formats (also known as "memory dump" files) when the system stops unexpectedly as a result of a Stop error (also known as a "blue screen", system crash, or bug check) You can also configure Windows to not write debugging information to a memory dump file Windows can generate any one of the following three memory dump file types:

Complete memory dump

Kernel memory dump

Small memory dump (64 KB)

MORE INFORMATION

Complete Memory Dump

A complete memory dump records all the contents of system memory when the system stops unexpectedly If you select this option, you must have a paging file on the boot volume sufficient to hold all of the physical RAM plus one megabyte (MB) By default, the complete memory dump file is written to the %SytemRoot%\Mmory.dmp file.

If a second problem occurs and another complete memory dump (or kernel memory dump) file is created, the previous file is overwritten Note: The complete memory dump is limited to 2GB

Kernel Memory Dump

A kernel memory dump records only the kernel memory This speeds up the process of recording information in a log when the system stops unexpectedly Depending on the RAM in your computer, you must have from 50 MB to 800 MB available for the paging file, or one-third the size of the physical memory on the system available on the boot volume.

This dump file does not include unallocated memory or any memory allocated to User-mode programs It includes only memory allocated to the Windows 2000 kernel and hardware abstraction level (HAL), and memory allocated to Kernel-mode drivers and other Kernel-mode programs For most purposes, this crash dump is the most useful It is significantly smaller than the complete memory dump, but it omits only those portions of memory that are unlikely to have been involved in the problem By default, the kernel memory dump file is written to the %SytemRoot%\Mmory.dmp file.

If a second problem occurs and another kernel memory dump (or complete memory dump) file is created, the previous file is overwritten

Small Memory Dump

A small memory dump records the smallest set of useful information that may help identify why the system stopped unexpectedly This option requires a paging file of at least 2 MB on the boot volume and specifies that Windows 2000 create a new file each time the system stops unexpectedly A history of these files is stored in a folder.

This dump file type includes the following information:

The stop message and parameters and other data

A list of loaded drivers

The processor context (PRCB) for the processor that stopped

The process information and kernel context (EPROCESS) for the process that stopped

The process information and kernel context (ETHREAD) for the thread that stopped

The Kernel-mode call stack for the thread that stopped

This kind of dump file can be useful when space is limited However, because of the limited information included, errors that were not directly caused by the thread running at the time of the problem may not be discovered by an analysis of this file.

If a second problem occurs and a second small memory dump file is created, the previous file is preserved Each additional file is given a distinct name The file contains the date encoded in the file name For example, Mini022900-01.dmp is the first memory dump generated on February 29, 2000 A list of all small memory dump files is kept in the %SytemRoot%\Mnidump folder

Configuring the Dump Type

To configure startup and recovery options (including the dump type):

Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.

Double-click System.

On the Advanced tab, click Startup and Recovery.

Tools for the Various Dump Types

You can load complete and kernel memory dumps with standard symbolic debuggers (such as I386kd.exe included with the Windows 2000 Support CD-ROM).

Load small memory dumps by using Dumpchk.exe Dumpchk.exe is included with the Support Tools for Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 You can also use Dumpchk.exe to verify that a memory dump file has been created correctly For additional information about how to use Dumpchk.exe to check a memory dump file, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

315271 How to Use Dumpchk.exe to Check a Memory Dump File

156280 How to Use Dumpchk.exe to Check a Memory Dump File

Additional information is available in the Windows Debugging Tools documentation at the following Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/ddk/debugging/default.asp

Definitions

Boot Volume: The volume that contains the Windows 2000 operating system and its support files The boot volume can be, but does not have to be, the same as the system volume.

System Volume: The volume that contains the hardware-specific files that you must have to load Windows 2000 The system volume can be, but does not have to be, the same as the boot volume The Boot.ini, Ntdetect.com, and Ntbootdd.sys files are examples of files that are located on the system volume.

Registry Values for Startup and Recovery

The following registry value is used:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl

CrashDumpEnabled REG_DWORD 0x0 = None

CrashDumpEnabled REG_DWORD 0x1 = Complete memory dump

CrashDumpEnabled REG_DWORD 0x2 = Kernel memory dump

CrashDumpEnabled REG_DWORD 0x3 = Small memory dump (64KB)

Additional registry values for CrashControl:

0x0 = Disabled

0x1 = Enabled

AutoReboot REG_DWORD 0x1

DumpFile REG_EXPAND_SZ %SytemRoot%\Mmory.dmp

LogEvent REG_DWORD 0x1

MinidumpDir REG_EXPAND_SZ %SytemRoot%\Mnidump

Overwrite REG_DWORD 0x1

SendAlert REG_DWORD 0x1

Testing to Make Sure That a Dump File Can Be Created

For additional information about how to configure your computer to generate a dump file for testing purposes, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

244139 Windows Feature Allows a Memory.dmp File to Be Generated with Keyboard

Default Dump Type Options

Windows 2000 Professional: Small Memory Dump (64 KB)

Windows 2000 Server: Complete Memory Dump

Windows 2000 Advanced Server: Complete Memory Dump

Windows XP (Professional and Home Edition): Small Memory Dump (64 KB)

Windows Server 2003: Small Memory Dump (64 KB)

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Author

Posted by Student of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on May 27, 2003