How to Configure Windows to Create Small Memory Dump and Read it


Peoples who are victim of windows blue screen error might hear a name “Small Memory Dump“. By analyzing this dump file, You can easily point out the drivers or anything else which are causing the problem. You may find this information in many online portal. But, You may not find how to create and get small memory dump file. So, I’ve decided to write an article on it. You can configure your Windows 10, 8, 7 even XP to store a dump file. Let’s know in details.

windows-minidumps location HD

What is Windows Memory Dumps:

When your windows computer crashes, It automatically store that crash related information to a single file. That is memory dumps file. It contains detailed information about the error which can be helpful for a developer to know what to fix. There are many types of dumps. Windows creates several types. These are –

1. Complete memory dump:

It contains all data that your system used before crashing. It is largest among all dump files. Suppose, You have 8 GB RAM. Your system crashed when it used 4 GB RAM. Your complete memory dump file size will be 4 GB. It is very useful for a developer to understand the reason and fix it with next update.

2. Kernel memory dump:

This is much smaller. According to microsoft –

A Kernel Memory Dump contains all the memory in use by the kernel at the time of the crash.

This kind of dump file is significantly smaller than the Complete Memory Dump. Typically, the dump file will be around one-third the size of the physical memory on the system. Of course, this quantity will vary considerably, depending on your circumstances.

This dump file will not include unallocated memory, or any memory allocated to user-mode applications. It only includes memory allocated to the Windows kernel and hardware abstraction level (HAL), as well as memory allocated to kernel-mode drivers and other kernel-mode programs.

3. Small memory dump (256 kb) or (128 KB):

This is the smallest dump. I already described it in introduction. It contains the list of loaded drivers, a bit of kernel information and process information etc. It helps to find out the reasons behind a blue screen of death error. Average windows users is capable to analyze it and understand the reasons behind system crash.

How to Configure Windows to Create Small Memory Dump File:

It is very easy. It’s not a big deal. All you can do from windows system properties. Here is how to do it –

  • At first, Open RUN by pressing Windows Logo Key + R from keyboard.
  • Now, Type sysdm.cpl and press Enter. It will open system properties.
  • Then click on Advanced tab.

system properties advanced tab

  • Now, Find Startup and Recovery section. Click on Settings from there.

selecting small memory dump

  • Now, You will see a new window. From there, Select Small Memory Dump (256 KB) under Write debugging information.

small dump directory path

  • Make sure, Your small dump directory is set to %SystemRoot%\Minidump.

From now, If your windows crashs or shows you any error, It will create a mini dump file containing the basic information. That can be helpful to find the reasons behind that error. You will find the dump file here: C:\Windows\Minidump.

By following this way, You also can configure your PC to create other memory dumps. But never set the option to None.

How to Read Small Memory Dump File:

Configuring is very easy. But, Reading memory dump file is not easy. Because, You may need a third-party dump file viewer to do it. In that case, You may use Blue Screen View by Nirsoft. It is a tool that view the dump file. Else, There are several tools you may find online to view dump files. Else, This Article from microsoft official website may help you to read small memory dump files.