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The blue screen of death (BSOD) is one of the most frustrating issues a Windows user can encounter, and knowing how to identify the cause of the crash is one of the most important forms of Windows troubleshooting everyone should learn.
Whenever a BSOD occurs, Windows dumps some information about it into a file on your PC — but trying to make sense of this dump file can be tough. One way to make it easier to comprehend and digest is to use NirSoft’s BlueScreenView, a free tool that finds these dump files and displays them in a more user-friendly form.
If you’re troubleshooting BSODs and discover that this tool doesn’t pick up any dump files, there’s a chance that Windows isn’t creating them correctly. The creators of this tool have suggested a fix so that you can get access to this important information again.
Open the Control Panel by searching for it in the Start Menu. Once there, click the System entry. On the left sidebar, click the Advanced system settings link. You’ll see a few boxes — click the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery section.
Here, you’re interested in the bottom part of the list. Where you see Write debugging information, change the dropdown box to Small memory dump and click OK. These changes won’t take effect until you reboot, so do so before continuing to troubleshoot blue screens.
Once you’ve made this change, wait until the next time you get a blue screen. Run BlueScreenView and you should be able to view the results properly. For more tips, check out our advice on troubleshooting blue screens.
Have you ever had a problem accessing dump files? Does this software help you work through your blue screen issues? Tell us in the comments!
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