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Windows 7: Generating a memory dump for a hung process

02 Nov 2009   #1

Generating a memory dump for a hung process


This is one way to collect information useful in troubleshooting a hung or "frozen" process or application which is still technically running but unresponsive:

1) Start the Task Manager (press ctrl+shift+Esc).

2) Find the offending application on the "Applications" tab. It's status will most likely be listed as "Not responding".

3) Right-click the application entry and choose "Create memory dump".

4) Note the full path to the memory dump file which should be displayed a few seconds later in a dialog box.

5) Compress (ZIP or RAR) the memory dump file as tightly as possible and upload it to www.*************** or a similar file sharing service.

6) If this is the first time you've discussed this problem on, start a new thread in the "Crashes and Debugging" section of the forum, describe the problem history and any details you believe to be relevant, and paste a link to the compressed memory dump file into the same post.

Somebody will attend to your query as soon as possible.


Background Information:

A process or application which is perceived by the user as having stopped responding to all input is most likely in an unintended state which prevents it from using its internal mechanisms to respond. Unlike a crash, in a hang scenario the app has not done anything "bad" which would lead to its outright termination. Continues to live on in the list of running processes, even though (most of the time) there is no way to restore functionality short of terminating and restarting that process.

The causes for hangs are many and varied. Some examples:
  • Programming errors which result in "deadlocks". You're waiting for something that I have before you resume your activity, and I'm waiting for something you have before I resume mine. We are said to be deadlocked, and the situation will never spontaneously resolve itself.
  • Problems in code "injected" into the process by security applications such as anti-virus utilities.
  • Buggy add-ons which seek to extend the functionality of the app, but instead end up causing problems under some circumstances.
  • External factors such as delays or failures during attempts to access information on disks or across the network.
By generating a memory dump of the process in its hung state, it becomes possible to try to understand which (if any) of the above categories the problem lies in, and hence how to resolve it.

Note that analysing "hang" dumps is frequently more complex than performing BSOD minidump triage because there are few clues as to where to start looking in all that memory. A BSOD minidump at least offers a starting point - the actual thread which directly caused the crash. Complex applications can have tens or hundreds of individual threads, and it is not always easy to understand their mutual interaction, nor the precise reason why the app/process has become unresponsive.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Nov 2009   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, Mint 9

Well! Sucks I did not read this a few days ago, I had this happen.

No idea you could do this, thanks much H2SO4!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Apr 2011   #3

windows 7 professional 64 bit

Hello, how to collect information if a computer hang or freezes and there is no application showing the message: "application not responding"?

Thank you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Jun 2013   #4

Windows 7 x64

Use the command !analyze -v -hang to debug a process hang. It'll identify the hanging thread.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Generating a memory dump for a hung process

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