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Diagnosing System Failures with Crash Analyzer

Updated: November 1, 2012

Applies To: Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset 8.0

The Crash Analyzer in Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8.0 lets you debug a memory dump file on a Windows-based computer and then diagnose any related computer errors. The Crash Analyzer uses the Microsoft Debugging Tools for Windows to examine a memory dump file for the driver that caused the computer to fail. You can run the Crash Analyzer on an end-user computer or in stand-alone mode on a computer other than an end-user computer.

Run the Crash Analyzer on an end-user-computer

Typically, you run Crash Analyzer from the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset window on an end-user computer that is experiencing the problem. The Crash Analyzer tries to locate the Debugging Tools for Windows on the problem computer. If the directory path dialog box is empty, you must enter the location, or browse to the location of the Debugging Tools for Windows (you can download the files from Microsoft). You must also provide a path to where the symbol files are located.

If you included the Microsoft Debugging Tools for Windows and the symbol files when you created the DaRT 8.0 recovery image, the Tools and symbol files should be available when you run the Crash Analyzer on the problem computer. If you did not include them in the DaRT recovery image, or if disk size or network connectivity problems are preventing you from obtaining them, you can alternatively run the Crash Analyzer in stand-alone mode on a computer other than the end user’s computer, as described in the following section.

How to Run the Crash Analyzer on an End-user Computer

Run the Crash Analyzer in stand-alone mode on a computer other than an end user’s computer

Although you typically run Crash Analyzer on the end-user computer that is experiencing the problem, you can also run the Crash Analyzer in stand-alone mode, on a computer other than an end-user computer. You might choose this option if you did not include the Windows Debugging Tools in the DaRT recovery image, or if disk size or network connectivity problems are preventing you from obtaining the Debugging Tools. In this case, you can copy the dump file from the problem computer and analyze it on a computer that has the stand-alone version of Crash Analyzer installed, such as on a help desk agent’s computer.

How to Run the Crash Analyzer in Stand-alone Mode on a Computer Other than an End-user Computer

How to ensure that Crash Analyzer can access symbol files

To debug applications that have stopped responding, you need access to the symbol file, which is separate from the program. Although symbol files are automatically downloaded when you run Crash Analyzer, there might be times when the problem computer does not have access to the Internet. There are several ways to ensure that you have guaranteed access to symbol files.

How to Ensure that Crash Analyzer Can Access Symbol Files

Other resources for diagnosing system failures with Crash Analyzer

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