This step-by-step article describes how to generate, gather, check, and analyze kernel and complete memory dump files from a Windows Server 2008-based system.

Note: Ideally, you should only do this when you are explicitly asked to do so by a Microsoft Customer Support Services Engineer. Kernel or complete memory dump file debugging should be the last resort after all the standard troubleshooting methods have been exhausted.

If you must contact Microsoft Customer Support and Services (CSS), this article will help you obtain the specific information that is required for CSS to identify the problem.

You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group to complete this procedure. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from completing this procedure. A manual kernel or complete memory dump file is useful when troubleshooting a number of issues because the process captures a record of system memory at the time of a crash.

Warning: Depending on the speed of the hard drive on which Windows is installed, dumping more than 2 gigabytes (GB) of memory may take a long time. When you initiate the dump file creation procedure, the contents of physical RAM are written to the paging file that is located on the partition on which the operating system is installed.

When you restart the computer, the contents of that paging file are written to the dump file. Even in a best case scenario, where the dump file is configured to reside on another local hard drive, there will be a significant amount of data being read and written to the hard drives. This can cause a prolonged server outage.

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