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  • Blog Post: Capturing Application Crash Dumps

    Following on from our posts on the Basic Troubleshooting Toolkit and Basic Debugging of an Application Crash , let's talk about actually capturing Application crash dumps and failures. Most administrators are familiar with the Dr. Watson for Windows tool that has been around since the days of Windows...
  • Blog Post: Two Minute Drill: Configuring a Debugger using Image File Execution Options

    There are times when tools such as DebugDiag, ADPlus or UserDump fail to capture a dump when a process terminates unexpectedly.  When that happens, we can launch the process inside the debugger to ensure that we capture a dump.  Here’s how we do it: Install the Debugging Tools for Windows Copy...
  • Blog Post: Basic Debugging of an Application Crash

    One of our common issues is troubleshooting application crashes (for example, the Print Spooler or a third-party application). These crashes usually result in the infamous Dr. Watson error. First, let's discuss terminology. A crash is when something experiences a fault and has no choice but to exit....
  • Blog Post: What a Heap of ... (Part Two)

    On Tuesday, we talked about Heap - what it is and how it works. Today we're going to continue our look at Heap. At the end of the last post we mentioned Look-Aside Lists and Low Fragmentation Heap. But before we dive into those, let's take a look at Heap Synchronization. The heap manager supports concurrent...
  • Blog Post: Two Minute Drill: Application Verifier

    Happy Friday AskPerf.  My name is Syed Yusuf, and I am a Support Engineer on the Performance team.  Application crash issues can be somewhat tricky to resolve – especially if we’re dealing with a third party application.  Today we’re going to take a look a the Application Verifier tool...
  • Blog Post: Access Violation? How dare you ...

    I am sure we have all seen access violations occur since we took ownership of our first x86 PC's.  The infamous "Bluescreen", application crashes, it doesn't really matter, access violations are all over the place.  For any of you that remember the good old Windows 9x days, a General...
  • Blog Post: Catching up with our fellow MS Bloggers

    It occurred to me that with so many technical blogs out there, that it might be useful to bring you some posts from our fellow bloggers here at Microsoft that have been published recently … If you haven’t been keeping up with our colleagues over at the Terminal Services blog, then you may have missed...
  • Blog Post: Basic Troubleshooting Toolkit

    In our previous post on Preparing to Troubleshoot we referred to several different tools and basic troubleshooting questions. In our upcoming posts we will be discussing several troubleshooting techniques, so this seemed like an ideal time to discuss useful troubleshooting tools. We're not going to discuss...
  • Blog Post: What are Symbols For?

    We’ve mentioned Symbols in several different posts related to debugging and troubleshooting – but we’ve never actually discussed what symbols are and what they are used for.  Today, we’ll rectify that oversight and provide a quick overview of symbol files.  Whenever an application or DLL is...
  • Blog Post: Two Minute Drill: Stack Basics

    Welcome back AskPerf!  Carrying on with our debugging / architectural theme from the last couple of weeks, today’s topic is about the stack.  A stack is a way of storing information – a data structure.  When a new object is placed on the stack it is placed on the top of the stack. ...
  • Blog Post: Two Minute Drill: Debugging – lm, not just Alphabet Neighbors

    I know – it really does seem like I’m on a bit of a Sesame Street kick at the moment, doesn’t it? Ah well - it is Friday and the weekend is almost upon us. Why not have a little fun? Today, we’re continuing on with looking at different debugger commands. Our topic for today is the lm command and its...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2: Fault Tolerant Heap and Memory Management

    Hello, and welcome to our second post in the Windows 7 launch series. This post is going to be a long one, so buckle in. We’re going to start with an overview of Fault Tolerant Heap, which is a new feature in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and then go over some Memory Management pieces. If you...
  • Blog Post: Troubleshooting Server Hangs – Part Four

    Welcome to Part Four of our Server Hang troubleshooting series. Today we are going to discuss PTE depletion and Low Physical Memory conditions and how those two issues can lead to server hangs. In our post on the /3GB switch we mentioned that in general, a system should always have around 10,000 free...
  • Blog Post: Two Minute Drill: Debugging and the k* Commands

    Good morning AskPerf! 2009 is moving fast – it’s hard to believe we’re already into August! Today, we’re continuing on with our debugging focus. Over the next few posts, we’ll be looking at different command types within the debugger. Today’s post is brought to you by the letter … k. I know, I couldn...
  • Blog Post: Debug 101: Examining Memory Use

    Happy Friday AskPerf! No alphabet soup or Sesame Street quips today. Today, we’re going to take a quick look at two debugger commands that you can use to examine memory use, !vm and !memusage . Why two commands? One shows you information about virtual memory usage ( !vm ) and the other one displays information...
  • Blog Post: The Basics of Mutexes and Spin Locks

    Good Morning AskPerf! We’re continuing on with our mini-series on Synchronization Mechanisms today with a look at Mutexes. A mutex is a synchronization object. Mutexes ensure mutually exclusive (hence the term) access. In other words, while one thread has the mutex, all other threads are prevented from...
  • Blog Post: Synchronization Mechanisms 101: Concepts for Non-Programmers

    Good morning AskPerf! I realize it’s been a couple of weeks or so since we’ve posted. The reason is that we’ve all been a bit busy trying to wrap up the end of our fiscal year, write our reviews and of course, there was the Fourth of July holiday in there as well. But, we’re now back and we’re going...
  • Blog Post: WS2008: Windows Error Reporting

    Day Five ... only twenty-two more days to go till Launch Day.  On the menu today - Windows Error Reporting. Starting with Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1, Windows Error Reporting (WER) can be configured to collect full user-mode dump files and store them locally after a user-mode application...
  • Blog Post: Understanding Crash Dump Files

    At the end of 2007 we talked about Bugchecks and why they happen .  Today we're going to talk about the Crash Dump files themselves - the different types of dumps, how the dumps themselves are generated and why you will need a correctly sized page file.  So, let's get started ... By default...
  • Blog Post: Two Minute Drill: Find /3GB without using boot.ini

    We've talked a lot about the /3GB switch and its effect on system resources in previous posts.  Today we are going to discuss how to determine whether or not /3GB is enabled on a 32-bit system without looking at the boot.ini file or using MSCONFIG.EXE.  Finding out this information is not as...
  • Blog Post: Symbols and You

    In our last post, we discussed what symbols were and why they were important in debugging. Today, we’re going to take a look at how to set up your symbols for debugging. Setting up the symbols can be a daunting exercise. This is especially true if you consider the fact that one module has several different...
  • Blog Post: Using Process Explorer without an Internet Connection

    Last year when we wrote our post on Memory Management – Understanding Pool Resources we mentioned that it was possible to use Process Explorer to view the limit for both Paged and NonPaged Pool.  In that post  we mentioned that you would need to install the Microsoft Debugging Tools and...
  • Blog Post: What killed my process?

    Hello, world! We're often challenged with a process that exits unexpectedly, but this doesn't always equate to an application "crash".  Occasionally this behavior is caused by cross-process termination, where one process terminates another one. Discovering root cause of this behavior used...
  • Blog Post: The Case of the Mysteriously Large Spooler.xml File

    Hi AskPerf readers, Don Geddes here again.  Today we’re going to look at Windows Error Reporting logging in Windows Server 2008 and how it can affect the Printing subsystem.  There was a KB article written a while back that discussed the Windows Error Reporting service logging and how it was...
  • Blog Post: WS2008: Service Shutdown and Crash Handling

    Welcome to Day Four of our series leading up to the Windows Server 2008 Launch. Hopefully you had a good weekend - many of you were probably up watching the Super Bowl. Of course, it's Monday morning now - time to get to back to work. Today's topics: Service Shutdown and Crash Handling. Prior to Windows...