Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Windows Debugging Tips From Dell

Every time I call Dell I seem to learn something new about debugging Windows. Here's what I learned tonight:

You can analyze Blue Screen Of Death Dumps to figure out what caused the crash.. What you need to download is Microsoft Debugger. Once installed, you can run it and choose to load a crash dump (Control + D). You'll want to load a dump file from:


They'll be all sorts of gibberish on the screen, with the final line saying where the BSOD happened.

I'm not sure how much mileage I'll get out of this tool. However, I really like knowing that I can actually do something when a Blue Screen Of Death actually happens (other than cuss out Microsoft, of course).

You can run hardware diagnostics on your Dell Laptop easily. Just hold down the Fn and hit the power button. This should take you into a diagnostics mode and start running tests. Eventually, you'll get a mode where you can choose custom tests.

This might be useful for dealing with Dell hardware that's unknown or out of warranty. How cool would it be to know that the laptop is dead because of bad memory, instead of just needing an install of Windows?

I'm still pleased with the support Dell provided. I wish they had a magic wand they could wave over my laptop to stop it from crashing. And I also wish the solution wasn't just "Sir, you're going to have to reinstall windows." But alas, that's life in the Windows world, no?

Perhaps this is the perfect excuse to install Linux and see how long I last before I have to give in and install Windows? Hmmm...if I could only live without the latest Microsoft Office formats...that could just work...


  1. Two weeks ago I used the hardware diagnostics to determine that Dell sent me replacement computer #2 (of 3) with bad memory.

  2. Cool. I mean, uh, that sucks. But at least you figured it out and clearly knew who was at fault :-)