Archive for February 26th, 2007

The Elements of Crash Dump Analysis Style

Monday, February 26th, 2007

After looking at multitude of crash dump analysis reports from different companies and engineers I would like to highlight several rules for good analysis reports:

  • Format your debugger output in fixed size font (Courier New or Lucida Console). This is very important for readability
  • Bold and highlight (using different colors) important addresses or data
  • Keep the same color for the same address or data consistently
  • Use red color for bug manifestation points
  • If you refer to some dump put a link to it

What is considered bad crash dump analysis style? These are:

  • Variable size font (you copy your debugger output to Outlook e-mail as is and it is using the default font)
  • Highlight the whole data set (for example, stack trace) in red
  • Too much irrelevant information

As an example of the good style I advocate (albeit not perfect) please look at the previous post Crash Dump Analysis Case Study

These are my first thoughts about crash and memory dump analysis style and I continue to elaborate it and present more examples later.

- Dmitry Vostokov -