Crash Dump Analysis Patterns (Part 29)

Some Windows synchronization objects like executive resources and critical sections have a struct member called ContentionCount. This is the number of times a resource was accessed or, in another words, it is the accumulated number of threads waiting for an object: when a thread tries to acquire an object and put into a wait state the count is incremented. Hence the name of this pattern: High Contention.

Here is an example. In a kernel memory dump we have just one exclusively owned lock and seems no other threads were blocked by it at the time the dump was saved. However the high contention count reveals CPU spike:

3: kd> !locks
KD: Scanning for held locks...

Resource @ 0x8abc11f0    Exclusively owned
    Contention Count = 19648535
     Threads: 896395f8-01<*>
KD: Scanning for held locks…

Resource @ 0x896fab88    Shared 1 owning threads
     Threads: 88c78608-01<*>
KD: Scanning for held locks...
15464 total locks, 2 locks currently held

3: kd> !thread 896395f8
THREAD 896395f8  Cid 04c0.0138  Teb: 7ffde000 Win32Thread: bc922d20 RUNNING on processor 1
Not impersonating
DeviceMap                 e3d4c008
Owning Process            8a035020       Image:         MyApp.exe
Wait Start TickCount      36969283       Ticks: 0
Context Switch Count      1926423                 LargeStack
UserTime                  00:00:53.843
KernelTime                00:13:10.703
Win32 Start Address 0×00401478
Start Address 0×77e617f8
Stack Init ba14b000 Current ba14abf8 Base ba14b000 Limit ba146000 Call 0
Priority 11 BasePriority 6 PriorityDecrement 5
ChildEBP RetAddr  Args to Child
ba14ac94 bf8c6505 001544c8 bf995948 000c000a nt!_wcsicmp+0×3a (FPO: [Non-Fpo])
ba14ace0 bf8c6682 00000000 00000000 00000000 win32k!_FindWindowEx+0xfb (FPO: [Non-Fpo])
ba14ad48 8088978c 00000000 00000000 0012f8d4 win32k!NtUserFindWindowEx+0xef (FPO: [Non-Fpo])
ba14ad48 7c8285ec 00000000 00000000 0012f8d4 nt!KiFastCallEntry+0xfc (FPO: [0,0] TrapFrame @ ba14ad64)

3: kd> !process 8a035020
PROCESS 8a035020  SessionId: 9  Cid: 04c0    Peb: 7ffdf000  ParentCid: 10e8
    DirBase: cffaf7a0  ObjectTable: e4ba30a0  HandleCount:  73.
    Image: MyApp.exe
    VadRoot 88bc1bf8 Vads 82 Clone 0 Private 264. Modified 0. Locked 0.
    DeviceMap e3d4c008
    Token                             e5272028
    ElapsedTime                       00:14:19.360
    UserTime                          00:00:53.843
    KernelTime                        00:13:10.703
    QuotaPoolUsage[PagedPool]         40660
    QuotaPoolUsage[NonPagedPool]      3280
    Working Set Sizes (now,min,max)  (1139, 50, 345) (4556KB, 200KB, 1380KB)
    PeakWorkingSetSize                1141
    VirtualSize                       25 Mb
    PeakVirtualSize                   27 Mb
    PageFaultCount                    1186
    MemoryPriority                    BACKGROUND
    BasePriority                      6
    CommitCharge                      315

- Dmitry Vostokov @ -

7 Responses to “Crash Dump Analysis Patterns (Part 29)”

  1. Dmitry Vostokov Says:

    In user space we can see contention too:

    0:070> !locks

    CritSec +32b870 at 0032b870
    WaiterWoken No
    LockCount 0
    RecursionCount 1
    OwningThread 6f8c
    EntryCount 0
    ContentionCount 7f3c6
    *** Locked

    CritSec +3680a50 at 03680a50
    WaiterWoken No
    LockCount 0
    RecursionCount 1
    OwningThread 6f8c
    EntryCount 0
    ContentionCount 0
    *** Locked

    CritSec +261f86c at 0261f86c
    WaiterWoken No
    LockCount 0
    RecursionCount 1
    OwningThread 6f8c
    EntryCount 0
    ContentionCount 0
    *** Locked

    Scanned 3248 critical sections

  2. Crash Dump Analysis » Blog Archive » Crash Dump Analysis Patterns (Part 29b) Says:

    […] we discussed High Contention pattern in kernel mode involving executive resources. The same pattern can be observed in user […]

  3. Crash Dump Analysis » Blog Archive » Succession of Patterns (Part 2) Says:

    […] see High Contention (executive resources) pattern. What we actually see is a runaway system […]

  4. Crash Dump Analysis » Blog Archive » Icons for Memory Dump Analysis Patterns (Part 49) Says:

    […] we introduce an icon for High Contention (executive resources) […]

  5. Crash Dump Analysis » Blog Archive » Insufficient memory, handle leak, process factory, high contention and busy system: pattern cooperation Says:

    […] also see extremely high executive resource contention and various signs of a busy system like the fact that all processors are busy and very high number […]

  6. Crash Dump Analysis » Blog Archive » Contention Patterns Says:

    […] High Contention (executive resources) […]

  7. Dmitry Vostokov Says:

    High contention may also be visible from non-locked objects too:

    0: kd> !locks -v

    Resource @ nt!ExpFirmwareTableResource (0xfffff80001a315c0) Available

    Resource @ nt!PsLoadedModuleResource (0xfffff80001a596a0) Available

    Resource @ nt!MmSectionExtendResource (0xfffff80001a59440) Available

    Resource @ nt!MmSectionExtendSetResource (0xfffff80001a594c0) Available
    Contention Count = 68

    Resource @ nt!SepRmDbLock (0xfffff80001a2e340) Available
    Contention Count = 1710

    Resource @ nt!SepRmDbLock (0xfffff80001a2e3a8) Available
    Contention Count = 387

    Resource @ nt!SepRmDbLock (0xfffff80001a2e410) Available
    Contention Count = 256

    Resource @ nt!SepRmDbLock (0xfffff80001a2e478) Available
    Contention Count = 212

    Resource @ nt!SepRmGlobalSaclLock (0xfffff80001a2e4e0) Available

    Resource @ nt!SepLsaAuditQueueInfo (0xfffff80001a2e240) Available

    Resource @ nt!SepLsaDeletedLogonQueueInfo (0xfffff80001a2e0e0) Available

    Resource @ 0xfffffa804dc09920 Available

    Resource @ nt!PnpRegistryDeviceResource (0xfffff80001a8f9e0) Available
    Contention Count = 23562

    Resource @ nt!PopPolicyLock (0xfffff80001a3b9e0) Available
    Contention Count = 19

    Resource @ 0xfffffa80b04008d0 Available

    Resource @ 0xfffffa80b0400850 Available

    Resource @ CI!g_StoreLock (0xfffff88000c05cc0) Available

    Resource @ nt!CmpRegistryLock (0xfffff80001a10000) Available
    Contention Count = 21297917


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