Customizing How Windows Handles Stop Errors

When Windows encounters a serious error that forces it to stop running, it takes the following actions:

1. The system displays a Stop message.

2. Based on the preferences defined for the current Windows installation, the system writes debugging information to the page file. When the computer restarts, this information is saved as a crash dump file, which can be used to debug the specific cause of the error.

3. Again, based on the current preferences, the system either pauses with the Stop message on the screen or restarts when the crash dump information has been saved .

You can customize two crucial aspects of this process by defining the size of the crash dump files and specifying whether you want Windows to restart automatically after a Stop message appears. By default, Windows automatically restarts after a Stop message. That's the preferred strategy in response to a random, isolated Stop error. But if you're experiencing chronic Stop errors, you might have more troubleshooting success by reconfiguring Windows to halt at the Stop message and wait for you to manually restart the system . To make this change, follow these steps:

1. Open Control Panel, click System And Security, click System, and then click Advanced System Settings . (Or, in the Start menu search box, type the undocumented command systempropertiesadvanced and press Enter.)

2. On the Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box, under Startup And Recovery, click Settings . The following dialog box appears:

3. Clear the Automatically Restart check box and click OK.

3. Clear the Automatically Restart check box and click OK.

From the same dialog box, you can also define the settings for crash dump files . By default, Windows saves a kernel memory dump . This option includes memory allocated to kernelmode drivers and programs, which are most likely to cause Stop errors . Because it does not include unallocated memory or memory allocated to user-mode programs, it will usually be smaller in size than the amount of RAM on your system. The exact size varies, but in general you can expect the file to be approximately one-third the size of installed physical RAM. The crash files are stored in %SystemRoot% using the file name Memory, dmp .

If disk space is limited or you're planning to send the crash dump file to a support technician, you might want to consider setting the system to store a small memory dump (commonly called a mini dump). A small memory dump contains just a fraction of the information in a kernel memory dump, but it's often enough to determine the cause of a problem

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