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How to Open Crash Dump File in Windows 10

Unlike regular text files, you need special steps to open a crash dump file. Here are the steps follow to open dump files in Windows 10.

When something goes horribly wrong and the system crashes, Windows automatically collects important debug data and creates a crash dump file. For example, every time there is a BSoD crash, Windows automatically creates a crash dump file. One can easily recognize a dump file with its .dmp file extension. You can then send this dump file to Microsoft or the application developer to properly analyze what caused the crash. On the other hand, you can open the dump file yourself to analyze what’s in it, if you are curious.

In general, a Windows crash dump file contains all the necessary details to debug a crash. That information includes but is not limited to the actual stop code, kernel information, system state, application information, hardware information, application state, memory log, running state, system configuration, driver information, etc.

Now, unlike the regular files, you cannot simply open a dump file with Notepad or some other text editor. You need special software to open a dump file. The problem is, those tools are not built into Windows because they are for developers. The good thing is, Microsoft actually provides a debugging tool called WinDbg that opens the dump files. You can think of WinDbg as a dump file viewer.

In this quick and simple guide, let me show you how to open the dump files in Windows 10 using the WinDbg tool.

Open crash dump file in Windows

To open a dump file and analyze it, we are going to use the official WinDbg tool. It is available in the Microsoft Store. Go ahead and install WinDbg tool and follow the steps below.

install WinDbg tool

1. First, open the WinDbg tool from the Start menu. If you’ve installed it recently, you will find it at the top of the apps list. Alternatively, you can also search for “WinDbg” in the Start menu and open it.

open WinDbg

2. After opening WinDbg, click on the “File” option. This action will take you to the main File screen.

click file in WinDbg

3. In the File screen, click on the “Open dump file” option in the middle panel.

open dump file

4. The minidump location is “%SystemRoot%\Minidump”. To go there, click on the address bar in the Browse window, type “%SystemRoot%\Minidump” and press Enter. Next, select the dump file and click on the “Open” button.

select dump file to open

5. As soon as you click the button, the dump file will be opened in the WinDbg tool.

6. Once the file is opened, click on the “!analyze -v” at the bottom or type “!analyze -v” in the execution field and press Enter. This action will download the necessary debug files and start the analysis process. Do keep in mind that the whole download and analysis process can take some time to complete. So, sit back and wait till the green progress bar is filled all the way.

analyze dump file in WinDbg tool

7. That is it. Once the analysis is complete, you can scroll through the dump file to get more information on the crash cause. Keep in mind that depending on the what type of dump file you opened, the information you see will be different.

That is all. It is that simple to open dump files in Windows 10. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.

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