Crash Dump Analysis AntiPatterns (Part 6)

Need the crash dump. Period. This might be the first thought when an engineer gets a stack trace fragment without symbolic information. It is usually based on the following presupposition:

We need an actual dump file to suggest further troubleshooting steps.

This is not actually true unless it is the first time you have the problem and get stack trace for it. Consider the following fragment from bugcheck kernel dump when no symbols were applied because the customer didn’t have them:

b90529f8 8085eced nt!KeBugCheckEx+0x1b
b9052a70 8088c798 nt!MmAccessFault+0xb25
b9052a70 bfabd940 nt!_KiTrap0E+0xdc
WARNING: Stack unwind information not available. Following frames may be wrong.
b9052b14 bfabe452 MyDriver+0x27940

We can convert module+offset information into module!function+offset2 using MAP files or using DIA SDK (Debug Interface Access SDK) to query PDB files if we know module timestamp. This might be seen as a tedious exercise but we don’t need to do it if we keep raw stack trace signatures in some database when doing crash dump analysis. If we use our own symbol servers we might want to remove references to them and reload symbols. Then redo previous stack trace commands.

In my case it happened that I already analyzed similar previous bugcheck crash dumps months ago and saved stack trace prior to applying symbols. This helped me to point to solution without requesting the crash dump corresponding to that stack trace.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ -

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