Archive for the ‘Best Practices’ Category

Memory Dump Analysis Best Practices (Part 3)

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Another best practice that is directly related to productivity is a parallel processing of the same memory dump especially in the case of complete memory dumps. Here an analysis might start with running time consuming scripts that dump all process and threads in the variety of formats such as x64 and x86 thread stack traces. However, if the nature of the problem is such that it is possible to start with some pattern and continue unfolding its analysis then we can do that in parallel. One of examples may be a discovered Incomplete Session with an ALPC Wait Chain. Here we can follow such a wait chain while another WinDbg instance dumps all threads for further pattern search later.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ +

Memory Dump Analysis Best Practices (Part 2)

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

We continue with best practices, the previous was SCP. The second best practice is to check the system for additional patterns after the main pattern was found (similar to avoiding Common Mistake 8). For example, in the case of a bug check resulted from NULL pointer dereference or any other exception in some 3rd-party driver code don’t stop but look at all CPUs, processes and threads to find any other patterns such as Spiking Threads, Busy System, and Contention. Inspection of associated thread stack traces might reveal the same module and/or give additional clues to system behaviour prior to the fault.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming 2nd edition of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 1

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

After 4 years in print this bestselling title needs an update to address minor changes, include extra examples and reference additional research published in Volumes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 1
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Publisher: OpenTask (Summer 2012)
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-908043-35-1
  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-908043-36-8

The cover for both paperback and hardcover titles will also have a matte finish. We used A Memory Window artwork for the back cover.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Diagnostics

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Memory Dump Analysis Services organizes a free Webinar on Unified Software Diagnostics (USD) and the new scalable cost-effective software support model called Pattern-Driven Software Support devised to address various shortcomings in existing tiered software support organizations. Examples cover Windows, Mac OS  and Linux.

 Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Diagnostics Logo

Date: 22nd of June, 2012
Time: 17:00 (BST) 12:00 (EST) 09:00 (PST)
Duration: 60 minutes

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

The Design of Memory Dump Analysis: 7 Steps of Highly Successful Analysts

Monday, February 20th, 2012

I was recently asked by a group of trainees to outline a simple approach to proceed after opening a memory dump. So I came up with these 7 steps:

1. !analyze -v [-hang]
2. Exception (Bugcheck): stack trace analysis with d* and lmv
3. !locks
4. !runaway f (!running)
5. Dump all (processes and) thread stack traces [with 32-bit] ~*kv (!process 0 ff)
6. Search for signs/patterns of abnormal behavior (exceptions, wait chains, message boxes [, from your custom checklist])
7. Narrow analysis down to a specific thread and dump raw stack data if needed [repeat*]

(commands/options in brackets denote kernel/complete dump variation)
[notes in square brackets denote additional options, such as x64 specifics, your product details, etc.]

What are your steps? I would be interested to hear about alternative analysis steps, techniques, etc.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 5 is available for download

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I’m pleased to announce that MDAA, Volume 5 is available in PDF format:

It features:

- 25 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 11 new pattern interaction case studies (including software tracing)
- 16 new trace analysis patterns
- 7 structural memory patterns
- 4 modeling case studies for memory dump analysis patterns
- Discussion of 3 common analysis mistakes
- Malware analysis case study
- Computer independent architecture of crash analysis report service
- Expanded coverage of software narratology
- Metaphysical and theological implications of memory dump worldview
- More pictures of memory space and physicalist art
- Classification of memory visualization tools
- Memory visualization case studies
- Close reading of the stories of Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Watson’s observational patterns
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4

Its table of contents is available here:

Paperback and hardcover versions should be available in a week or two. I also started working on Volume 6 that should be available in November-December.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Forthcoming Webinar: Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Introduction to Pattern-Driven Software Problem Solving Logo

The first Webinar to start an in-depth discussion of pattern-driven software troubleshooting, debugging and maintenance:

Date: 25th of March 2011
Time: 18:30 (GMT) 14:30 (EST) 11:30 (PST)
Duration: 60 minutes

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Topics include:

  • A Short History of
  • Memory Dump Analysis Patterns
  • Troubleshooting and Debugging Tools (Debugware) Patterns
  • Software Trace Analysis Patterns
  • From Software Defects to Software Behavior
  • Workaround Patterns
  • Structural Memory Patterns
  • Memory Analysis Domain Pattern Hierarchy
  • New Directions

Prerequisites: experience in software troubleshooting and/or debugging.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

The New School of Debugging

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

With the new year starts the new initiative to integrate traditional multidisciplinary debugging approaches and methodologies with multiplatform pattern-driven software problem solving, unified debugging patterns, best practices in memory dump analysis and software tracing, computer security, economics, and the new emerging trends I’m going to write about during this year.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Memory Dump Analysis Best Practices (Part 1)

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Easy to remember abbreviation SCP (Software Crash Patterns) consists of 3 practices:

- Scripts 

- Checklists 

- Patterns

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -

Software Tracing Best Practices (Part 1)

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

In these post series we are going to discuss the best practices for software tracing implementation including appropriate patterns and their links to software trace analysis patterns. The first one is called Period Timestamp where the start and the end time (and the date if necessary) are recorded in the trace file. This helps in Inter-Correlation and News Value analysis between several different trace types. For example, in one scenario, we had WindowHistory and MessageHistory logs. We identified a problem in the former log as happening at this time:

Handle: 00010196 Class: "ClassA" Title: "TitleA"
   Captured at: 13:36:30:533

However, when we looked at the latter trace to search for specific window messages posted or sent before that time we saw that the recording started later than the former event:

Start time: 13:36:35:830

Period timestamps are necessary to distinguish Incomplete History from Truncated Trace where in the former case the absence of expected trace message is due to some problem.

From a unified debugging patterns perspective we have this sequence fragment:

Implementation Patterns: Period Timestamp

Usage Patterns: Trace Simultaneously

- Dmitry Vostokov @ + -