Archive for the ‘Crash Dumps for Dummies’ Category

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 @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

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:

www.dumpanalysis.org/Memory+Dump+Analysis+Anthology+Volume+5

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:

www.dumpanalysis.org/MDAA/MDA-Anthology-V5-TOC.pdf

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 @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Forthcoming Webinars in Q4, 2010

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

The choice of webinars below mostly reflects my personal preferences and long time desire to speak on topics like systems thinking, troubleshooting tool design and development. The other topic about BSOD minidump analysis was requested by participants in an ongoing survey. There will be more topics in 2011. All forthcoming webinars will be hosted by Memory Dump Analysis Services. The planning list includes:

Systems Thinking in Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis

Software Troubleshooting and Debugging Tools: Objects, Components, Patterns and Frameworks with UML

  • UML basics
  • DebugWare patterns
  • Unified Troubleshooting Framework
  • RADII software development process
  • Hands-on exercise: designing and building a tool

Blue Screen Of Death Analysis Done Right: Minidump Investigation for System Administrators

  • Making sense of !analyze –v output
  • Get extra troubleshooting information with additional WinDbg commands
  • Guessing culprits with raw stack analysis
  • Who’s responsible: hardware or software?
  • Checklist and patterns
  • Including hands-on exercises: send your own minidumps

More detailed information will be available soon. 

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Old Mental Dumps from June 24th

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

2009:

Crash Dump Analysis Patterns (Part 86)Nested Offender pattern. Appears also in the following case study: Stack trace collection, message box, hidden exception, nested offender, insufficient memory, C++ exception, heap leak and ubiquitous component

Dictionary of Debugging: Crash - posts that explain the difference between crashes and hangs: Crash Dumps for Dummies (Part 4) and Crash Dumps for Dummies (Part 6)

2008:

Crash Dump Analysis Patterns (Part 67) - Nested Exception pattern. Appears also in the following case study: WOW64 process, NULL data pointer, stack overflow, main thread, incorrect stack trace, nested exceptions, hidden exception, manual dump, multiple exceptions and virtualized system

2007:

No dumps on that day

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Crash Dump Analysis: Practical Foundations

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

It is time to start being systematic. In addition to all-encompassing multi-volume Memory Dump Analysis Anthology OpenTask starts Systematic Software Fault Analysis series with Crash Dump Analysis: Practical Foundations as the first book. It introduces basic definitions, tools, memory dump collection and preliminary analysis methods for Windows platforms including legacy versions. This practical reference guide is a must have for system administrators of Windows server platforms and client workstations, technical support engineers and general Windows users. It builds foundation for the second book Crash Dump Analysis for System Administrators and Support Engineers and the remaining tetralogy books Windows Crash Dump Analysis and Advanced Windows Crash Dump Analysis.

Product information:

  • Title: Crash Dump Analysis: Practical Foundations (Windows Edition, Systematic Software Fault Analysis Series)
  • Authors: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Publisher: Opentask (May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-98-8
  • Paperback: 100 pages

Fromt cover:

Table of Contents to be published soon.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Modern Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis: Volumes 1-3

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

OpenTask to offer first 3 volumes of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology in one set:

The set is available exclusively from OpenTask e-Commerce web site starting from June. Individual volumes are also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores worldwide.

Product information:

  • Title: Modern Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis: Volumes 1-3
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 1600 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (31 May 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-99-5

Information about individual volumes:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis Training and Seminars

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Plan to start providing training and seminars in my free time. If you are interested please answer these questions (you can either respond here in comments or use this form for private communication http://www.dumpanalysis.org/contact):

  • Are you interested in on-site training, prefer traveling or attending webinars?
  • Are you interested in software trace analysis as well?
  • What specific topics are you interested in?
  • What training level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) are you interested in? (please provide an example, if possible)

Additional topics of expertise that can be integrated into training include Source Code Reading and Analysis, Debugging, Windows Architecture, Device Drivers, Troubleshooting Tools Design and Implementation, Multithreading, Deep Down C and C++, x86 and x64 Assembly Language Reading.

Looking forward to your responses. Any suggestions are welcome.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

The Korean Edition of Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 1

Monday, April 5th, 2010

I’m very pleased to announce that the Korean edition is available:

The book can be found on: 

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Forthcoming Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 4

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

This is a revised, edited, cross-referenced and thematically organized volume of selected DumpAnalysis.org blog posts about crash dump analysis and debugging written in July 2009 - January 2010 for software engineers developing and maintaining products on Windows platforms, quality assurance engineers testing software on Windows platforms and technical support and escalation engineers dealing with complex software issues. The fourth volume features:

- 13 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 13 new pattern interaction case studies
- 10 new trace analysis patterns
- 6 new Debugware patterns and case study
- Workaround patterns
- Updated checklist
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3
- New appendixes

Product information:

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 4
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (30 March 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-86-5
  • Hardcover: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (30 April 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-87-2

Back cover features memory space art image: Internal Process Combustion.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 3

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

“Memory dumps are facts.”

I’m very excited to announce that Volume 3 is available in paperback, hardcover and digital editions:

Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 3

Table of Contents

In two weeks paperback edition should also appear on Amazon and other bookstores. Amazon hardcover edition is planned to be available in January 2010.

The amount of information was so voluminous that I had to split the originally planned volume into two. Volume 4 should appear by the middle of February together with Color Supplement for Volumes 1-4. 

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Forthcoming Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 3

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

This is a revised, edited, cross-referenced and thematically organized volume of selected DumpAnalysis.org blog posts about crash dump analysis and debugging written in October 2008 - June 2009 for software engineers developing and maintaining products on Windows platforms, quality assurance engineers testing software on Windows platforms and technical support and escalation engineers dealing with complex software issues. The third volume features:

- 15 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 29 new pattern interaction case studies
- Trace analysis patterns
- Updated checklist
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1 and Volume 2
- New appendixes

Product information:

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 3
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (20 December 2009)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-43-8
  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (30 January 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-44-5

Back cover features 3D computer memory visualization image.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Reconstructing Blue Screen of Death

Friday, August 7th, 2009

While I was listening to Klaus Schulze In Blue album a colleague sent me the link to a tool that reconstructs blue screens from minidumps (small memory dumps):

BlueScreenView (written by Nir Sofer)

I immediately downloaded it at it works even with kernel dumps but without pointing to a module that triggered the bugcheck (it shows modules for minidumps):

It ignores memory dumps and minidumps from x64 Windows so the next version I hope should do it :-)

PS. Long time ago I was thinking about writing a kernel driver that saves BSOD screen and embeds it in a memory dump.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Does the size of hardware matter?

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I was in McDonald’s today with my daughter. This time they popularize Einstein, giving his stature in happy meal packs, telling that the size of his brain was the same as mine. My brain continued to work after meal and I finally understood that the right memory dump is what really matters. Your computer may have 1Tb of memory but if you didn’t get the right dump at the right moment you wasted your time.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org

Efficient vs. Effective: DATA View

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

DATA (Dump Artifact + Trace Artifact) - > DATA (Dump Analysis + Trace Analysis) examples:

1.  Efficient

- My 64Gb server bluescreens. I set a complete memory dump option in Control Panel.

- A user cannot connect. I started tracing yesterday. Stopped today.

- I analyze all these artifacts every day.

2. Effective

- My 64Gb server bluescreens. I set a kernel memory dump option in Control Panel.

- A user cannot connect. I started tracing, tried to connect, stopped tracing.

- I analyze all these artifacts every day and write articles to reduce DATA load.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Graphical Notation for Memory Dumps (Part 1)

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Inspired by Penrose tensor notation encountered in The Road to Reality book and Feynman diagrams I’d like to introduce Visual Dump Objects (VDO) graphical notation to depict and communicate memory dump analysis patterns, their combinations and analysis results. Let’s look at some basic visual objects (shown in handwriting).

1. A thread:

   or   

2. A function:

3. A module:

4. A thread running through functions, modules or both (stack trace). Optional arrowhead can indicate stack trace direction:

  or    or  

Threads running through modules depict collapsed stack traces.

5. A blocked thread:

An example of 3 threads blocked by another thread (an arrowhead can disambiguate the direction of the waiting chain):

6. A spiking thread (colors are encouraged in VDO notation):

   or   

7. Space boundary between user land and kernel land:

 

Here is an example of the thread spiking in kernel space:

or with modules from stack trace:

More notation to come very soon.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Bugtation No.94

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Universal memory dumps come from astronomical observations:

Dumps “are meaningless without” symbols “to interpret them.”

Raymond Arthur Lyttleton, Quoted in Astroparticle Physics, page 50

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Summer Offensive on a Publishing Front

Friday, May 15th, 2009

OpenTask, iterative and incremental publisher, plans to release a guide for general computer users explaining crashes and hangs on personal computers ranging from mobile phones, netbooks and laptops to desktops and servers:

My Computer Crashes and Freezes: A Non-technical Guide to Software and Hardware Errors (ISBN: 978-19067171704)

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Stack Traces and Poetry

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Reading stack traces like English verse (remeber to read from bottom to top):

0:01> ~8kL
ChildEBP RetAddr 
009ef258 7c827d0b ntdll!KiFastSystemCallRet
009ef25c 7c83d236 ntdll!NtWaitForSingleObject+0xc
009ef298 7c83d281 ntdll!RtlpWaitOnCriticalSection+0x1a3
009ef2b8 7c82dabf ntdll!RtlEnterCriticalSection+0xa8
009ef358 7c82dab1 ntdll!LdrpGetProcedureAddress+0x128
009ef374 77e764ea ntdll!LdrGetProcedureAddress+0x18
009ef5d8 7c34c456 kernel32!UnhandledExceptionFilter+0x46f
009ef5f4 7c34957c msvcr71!_XcptFilter+0x15f
009ef600 7c34246e msvcr71!_endthreadex+0xb7
009ef628 7c828752 msvcr71!_except_handler3+0x61
009ef64c 7c828723 ntdll!ExecuteHandler2+0x26
009ef6f4 7c82855e ntdll!ExecuteHandler+0x24
009ef6f4 7c82be3e ntdll!KiUserExceptionDispatcher+0xe
009efa00 7c82a319 ntdll!RtlpFindEntry+0x68
009efc2c 7c3416b3 ntdll!RtlAllocateHeap+0x606
009efc6c 7c3416db msvcr71!_heap_alloc+0xe0
009efc74 7c360947 msvcr71!_nh_malloc+0x10
009efc80 0285f893 msvcr71!operator new+0xb
009efca8 02852e38 SQLModule!ODBCDelete+0xf3
009efd54 0269acff Store!ProcessDeletes+0x3d
009eff38 0269badb Store!UpdateStore+0xe
009eff58 00323499 Common!WorkItem+0x15c
009eff84 7c349565 Common!WorkItemThread+0x339
009effb8 77e64829 msvcr71!_endthreadex+0xa0
009effec 00000000 kernel32!BaseThreadStart+0x34

The new thread started
To work through items
It got an item
Handled to the store
To run delete requests
Through Oh-Dee-Bee-See
It tried to alloc
But crashed in malloc
While browsing the heap
Exception was dispatched
And handler called at once
But couldn’t find a filter
And called default one
That filter needed help
And looked for its address
But halted in suspense
While entering crit sec.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Windows Debugging book has been published!

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

I very proud to announce that after 3 weeks of final work the book has been released in both paperback and PDF format. In a week or so it should also appear on Amazon and other booksellers around the world. The book information and how to buy it can be found on the portal:

Windows Debugging: Practical Foundations

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -

Bugtation No.73

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Crash “must be distinguished from” hang “with which it is often confounded.”

Sydney Smith, A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith by his daughter, Lady Holland, with a Selection from his Letters

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org -