Miscellaneous

About Windows Memory Dump


Memory dumps, in brief, are copies of the Windows memory that existed before a crash of the system. The blue screen usually indicates this crash, and one of the ways to understand and restart the application is by analyzing the memory dump to start with.

Memory dumps can be classified into four types, as laid out below.

Complete memory dump: This could be the most extensive kind of memory dump possible. It would typically contain a copy of every single entry in the memory at the time of the crash of the PC. For instance, if the computer has 8GB of memory and is using 5GB of the memory at the time of the crash, the complete memory dump would be of 5GB capacity.

But most of the time, a complete memory dump would not be completely necessary for the restoration of functions, and a smaller dump that pertains only to the component of windows that has crashed or caused the crash would be enough.

Kernel memory dump: Most of the crashes are caused by written code when it runs in the kernel mode. Thus, one of the more practical aspects of this type of memory dump is that it contains just the necessary data to restore function.

Typically, the kernel mode of creating a dump file would take up roughly a third of space as the complete memory dump. A kernel dump can be used to restore the system function faster than a complete memory dump too.

Small memory dump: If there were the smallest of memory dumps, then it must be the small memory dump and consists of usually 256kb of data. The small memory dump has the blue-screen information, the list of drivers loaded at the time of the crash, processes information, and a bit of information on the kernel.

This could be an attempt to make the smoothest possible recovery and is usually written into the error reports being submitted to Microsoft.

Automatic memory dump: In most systems, this is the default setting that is set in the operating system most of the time. It is for the system to decide as to what dump to use depending on the situation that has brought about the crash of processes.

What is significant is that the size of the dump would be such as to include the complete kernel memory dump most of the time under the automatic mode.

Why are memory dumps significant?

At the most basic level, windows memory dumps are not useful to the computer user most of the time. It is the group of developers that understand and gain from the dump files. The hardware developer gets to understand how the hardware version must be improved to provide faultless computing.

With the software issues that cause the crashes, the software developer tends to understand the issues that crop up when applications are being used most of the time.

Thus, the short bit of windows memory dumps is that it is a quality control system that enables the optimization of the operating system mostly and the applications that are run on the systems.

One of the prime uses of the memory dumps is the computer security industry that tends to use the dumps to understand the issues better as they arise on a real-time basis.

The need to clean up memory dump files

It has been made evident why memory dumps are essential to the functioning of computer systems. At the same time, it is critical to clean up the memory dump files (.DMP) for a variety of reasons, as discussed below.

Spare up storage: As has been pointed out, a complete memory dump could run into a few GB of data at any time. Even with a kernel dump setting, it is possible that a large-sized .DMP file is created. Over time unless the dump files are not cleaned up, it could cause the consumption of a large parts of the memory.

Speeds up the system: It has been noticed that memory dump files tend to be read with the regular system files by the computer even after the corrective action or the use of the file is over.

One of the easiest ways to slow down a computer is to let it retain the dump files long after the utility of the same has been done away with.

Cleans up the system: Once the Microsoft servers have been fed the data in the dump files, most instances of having a further use for the same are removed. It is thus a good practice to clean up the memory by removing the dump files as and when they happen.

Removing the memory dump files from the system can be done with a system clean up application. It is possible to get some compelling and useful applications to clean up the dump files at no cost or rather cheaply too. Most of the disk clean up utilities happen to clean up the .DMP files too.

So, how useful are memory dumps?

As has been discussed in the above, the memory dump files form a vital component of maintaining the operation of the computer as far as possible. At the same time, it must be emphasized that dump files must be removed from the system once its use has been completed.

It is possible to specify the kind of memory dump system to be followed. But by default, most users are comfortable having the setting set to the automatic mode.

Not only does this mean the most optimum sized memory dump file, but it also means a faster restoration of the system too. Most of the extraneous data are removed from the core of the .DMP files with the auto mode are used.

Computer crashes are here to stay, and it is the memory dumps that play a primary part in completing the restoration of the working system.


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