Windows Blue Screen

In rare situations, Windows may crash and display a blue screen with an error message displayed in white text ("blue screen", "blue screen of death" , "BSOD"). This can happen for a variety of reasons, but it usually indicates a problem with a third-party driver or third-party hardware.

In most instances, a Windows memory dump will be created. This file can help pinpoint the source of the crash. By default, the file will be saved to C:\Windows\Minidump\ -- look for the most recent file. Collect a set of traces, then zip up the dump file and open a case.

If you'd like to analyze the dump file yourself, follow the instructions below. Note that you're looking for the specific file that caused the system to crash.

1) Create the folder c:\symbols
2) Download and install the Debugging Tools for Windows (32-bit).
3)  Note the location of your latest dump file (for instance, C:\Windows\Minidump\Mini011005-01.dmp)
4) Go to Start -> Run, type in cmd and hit enter, then type cd "c:\program files\Debugging Tools for Windows (x86)"

Copy and paste the following items in bold

kd -z C:\Windows\Minidump\Mini011005-01.dmp [This should be the path to your dump file]
kd> .logopen c:\debug.txt
kd> .sympath srv*c:\symbols*
kd> .reload;!analyze -v;r;kv;lmnt;.logclose;q

Once complete, open C:\debug.txt. The name of the failing module will be at multiple places in the log; the best place to start is by looking at the "FAULTING_IP" section. For instance:


In this case, a web search on "ialmnt5" shows that the faulting module was an Intel video driver. This could mean there's a problem with the driver or hardware.


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Last Updated
15th of April, 2010

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