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Windows 7 computer, what do you mean you're "dumping memory"?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 19, 2010 4:26 AM PST
Question:

Windows 7 computer, what do you mean you're "dumping memory"?


Hello everyone. I am using Windows 7 when I play a game or go to
some Web pages. Sometimes my computer screen will turn blue and
display a message saying it's dumping memory? I am not a computer
whiz, but I have never had this happen before. I've used every
windows program since "95" and have never had this experience. Does
anyone else have this problem? What causes it and is there something I
can do to fix this issue? Thank you for your time.

--Submitted by: Judy N.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

The relevant memory is being saved as an image --Submitted by: Doh_1
http://forums.cnet.com/7726-19411_102-5029819.html

Could be any number of issues... --Submitted by: darrenforster99
http://forums.cnet.com/7726-19411_102-5029987.html

I had this same issue and fixed it. --Submitted by: ratgurrl
http://forums.cnet.com/7726-19411_102-5030303.html

Explanation --Submitted by: jreuter
http://forums.cnet.com/7726-19411_102-5029825.html

Check for infections first.--Submitted by: Zorched
http://forums.cnet.com/7726-19411_102-5029853.html

Thank you to all who contributed!

If you have any additional advice for Judy, please click on the reply link below and submit away. When providing a solution please be as detailed as possible. Thank you!
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I am in the same boat
by vwmark / November 19, 2010 10:22 AM PST

I do not have an answer to this question but sure could use the help just as well! I get this idiot blue screen not with web pages or games, but just by using the computer for usual tasks (word processing, Excel). It happens on average 1/day, as much as 4/day, or as little as 1/week, but it keeps happening. I cannot figure out when it will happen next, so I hit "save" with my work about every 5 seconds. It seems unrelated to whatever tasks I am doing, although tends to occur late in the day (but not always!). What bugs me, like with Judy, is that this has not happened with earlier incarnations of Windows. Why? I keep my drivers up to date. The internet is notoriously vague about how to solve this idiot problem. (My system: Win7 Professional 64-bit, Dell Precision T1500, 8.0 GB RAM, 2.80 GHz processor. Peripherals: scanner, back-up drive.)

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explanation
by jreuter / November 19, 2010 11:11 AM PST
In reply to: I am in the same boat

What have you not seen, the blue screen or the "dumping memory"?

Blue screen is a system crash. In my experience these are fairly rare in Windows 7, and usually indicate you have a bad or outdated device driver, or perhaps failing hardware (like memory).

"Dumping memory" is something windows does after a crash if dumping has been enabled. Go to control panel, system, and click "advanced system settings" in the upper left. In the pop up window that comes up, click "Settings" under Startup and Recovery. Towards the bottom you'll see the settings of what kind of memory dump is enabled and the name of the dump file. Microsoft uses these to diagnose problems and improve windows.

You might find that Microsoft has already diagnosed your problem. Go to control panel, Action Center, and under Maintenance there may be a "check for solutions". This can upload the dump files and other information for Microsoft to analyze to see if it matches a known problem. If so, it can tell you what is wrong and suggest a solution.

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Crashdump (blue screen)
by gidergodt / November 29, 2010 1:53 AM PST
In reply to: explanation

the problem is most likely the a grafics card driver . If you opdated the grafics driver, some new drivers can cause it and some old ones. the easyest way to fix it is to disable it in control panel , and tjek if thats helps. Just an experince i have seen on more than one pc . Somtimes you can fix it by installing an older driver.

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good possibility
by geomurray / December 3, 2010 10:30 AM PST
In reply to: explanation

This answer is another good one. I would definitely check out the action center.

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Computer Dumping
by vedub_2000 / September 6, 2012 11:45 PM PDT
In reply to: explanation

I have the same dumping as Judy, it has happen 3 time this week Why ?
Should I do a recover and start fresh ? I have window 7

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BSOD
by pauly1651 / December 3, 2010 12:13 PM PST
In reply to: I am in the same boat

I was working on a clients computer once that had getting this Blue Screen at random times. It turned out to be the power supply. Once a new power supply was installed, there was no more Blue Screen. I would have to say that the majority of Blue Screens are the result of hardware failure, or in the case of a power supply...a slow hardware failure.
Yes sometimes it can be a software issue, but if a PC is not getting the stable, needed power to run all the components are the required electic specs, the result will be either the PC randomly shuts itself off, or you get the dreaded Blue Screen. That's my take on the isuue.

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I had similar problems - solved them
by chlpatent / December 4, 2010 2:13 AM PST
In reply to: I am in the same boat

I looked up your PC and the web site says: "professional graphics from ATI? and NVIDIA?"

One of the first problems I had with my high-tech Win 7 Ultimate x64 PC was related to NVIDIA graphics drivers - it caused hangs/crashes/reboots. Luckily, the admin logs Win 7 keeps helped pinpoint the trouble and I updated the graphics drivers from the Video Card manufacturer - problem solved. Since yours is a DELL, check the Dell web site for updated graphics drivers first - some OEM's have quirky hardware/software deals with the graphics card makers.

The other problem I had was caused by the 'sleep mode setting' (power settings). A software module of AVG was not waking up, and the system would hang (by the neck until dead - reboot). So, I use a different anti-virus program now AND I disabled power savings modes, just in case some other software has a similar problem. Again, the adim logs win 7 keeps helped me find the problem software.

I suspect, like so many others here, that your problem is the graphics card drivers since it happens at certain websites and when playing games, both of which can be graphically challenging and cause the graphics card GPU and drivers to kick in, and the problem arise. If the updated drivers don't solve the issue, you could try setting the display properties to a lower resolution default - see the graphics card/software manual to figure out how to do that (on-line somewhere no doubt).

But don;t be afraid to change the power mode options to "high performance" just in case (Control Paanle-Hardware and Sound-Power Options)

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You got it!!...
by JCitizen / December 4, 2010 6:39 AM PST

This has to be the best answer on this entire thread! I had my company try to replace my video adapter with an NVIDIA and it couldn't even pass the sound through the HDMI port! This despite what the tech articles at HP said and the fact that we did put the drivers for it on the motherboard sound card.

However, even my ATI card BSOD'd rarely, until I got the new CCC from ATI/AMD. This new driver works very well, it even solved some screen size problems.

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Problem gone now
by vwmark / January 14, 2011 11:01 PM PST
In reply to: I am in the same boat

I was the first to reply to this question. Now my problem seems to have vanished, after months of incessant computer crashes. My IT person updated the video drivers for me. But I am not sure that entirely fixed the problem, because I had another crash a few days later. But when I stopped plugging in my many years old Maxtor portable back-up drive, I have not had any further problems and can work in peace. Maybe I should just update its driver, I don't know, but I am picking up a new Seagate external drive later today that is made for Win7 (my operating system), and hope that will be that!

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Sounds like the man with the plan...
by JCitizen / January 15, 2011 7:21 AM PST
In reply to: Problem gone now

your assessment seems accurate to me.

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Seagate?
by sk528 / January 15, 2011 10:41 AM PST
In reply to: Problem gone now

Unlikely!

Just be aware the Seagate USB drives all have a problem with waking up from sleep mode in Win7 - it usually pops an error "unrecognised usb device" .. consequentially you have to pull the HDD's power plug for a moment (every time). Once the power is back on all is okay again.

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Mm-kay...
by JCitizen / January 16, 2011 8:08 AM PST
In reply to: Seagate?

I thought Microsoft put out an update for this issue.

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yeh but still same issue..
by sk528 / January 16, 2011 9:31 AM PST
In reply to: Mm-kay...

...for my 1TB Seagate Expansion and reading their forum it's not any better. Maybe after SP1 who knows? It's not a real bad issue just two things to remember:

1) If the Seagate is standby-sleeping (light slowly flashing) and you want to shutdown/restart 7 wake up the drive first, access any files on it, or you wait a long time for the Seagate to sleep-respond significantly delaying (~2 minutes) the shutdown/restart.

2) when 7 itself waking up from sleep the drive is not recognised - pull the small power pin-plug from the hdd case, wait until spin stop, then plug in again and the drive will connect properly.

not as bad as it sounds Happy

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Seagate drive all right
by vwmark / January 19, 2011 2:46 AM PST

I have now had the 1 TB Seagate Go portable external drive for a couple of days, for my desktop office computer, to replace the old Maxtor drive that apparently was causing the almost daily problem that is the topic of this forum. Um, I am not having any problems. Should I?

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Win7?
by sk528 / January 19, 2011 6:07 AM PST

Their forum list quite a number of complaints for the *Expansion* series.. that's what I got here and I see the problems.

When GO is fine, fine! Happy

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I've noticed both Win7 and Vista...
by JCitizen / January 19, 2011 12:09 PM PST

have a lot of driver problems on sleep or standby issues. Thanks for your replies! Happy

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Why do external drives sleep?
by vwmark / January 20, 2011 4:08 AM PST

Maybe my lack of knowledge is my salvation. So, I've got this little Go drive from Seagate sitting next to me. It is plugged into a USB port on my desktop computer, so it receives its power from a big device that is always plugged in. If my computer goes to sleep (ie, the screensaver comes on), the light inside the Go drive blinks. If I reactivate my computer with the touch of the Enter button, the Go drive's light turns steady. I have no trouble backing up files from the computer to the Go drive anytime I want.
If I turn off the computer, the Go drive's light turns off. I detach the Go drive and put it away before shutting the office for the day (to avoid theft), reattach it in the morning after I boot up the computer.
The situation is just fine with me (and no further blue screen memory dump crashes). Am I operating the 1 TB drive as it is supposed to be intended?

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You got me there...
by JCitizen / January 20, 2011 6:14 AM PST

The only two devices I've had externally are a self powered MCard module and a blue tooth USB adapter for a wireless HTC keyboard/mouse combo. My MCard module never went to sleep, and it wakes my Media Center PC from the module. I presume this is because the cable company needs to keep an eye on premium content from the customers so they spy on me a lot. The module wakes my PC up using technology no different that say, a PXE signal from an Ethernet port. The other device was dead on sleep mode activation, however it was USB powered.

I'm not sure about the whole USB power management standard, so you got me there. But I do know that the wireless keyboard would fail after wake up every time. The Vista SP2 update solved the problem, but I got rid of it anyway. I still get other failures occasionally on wake-up with other internal/external hardware.

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Memory problem
by glen271 / November 19, 2010 10:42 AM PST

I believe the message about "dumping memory" is just referring to Windows storing the error information. However, it does sound like the problem is caused by memory in your pc, and I would recommend first looking for a hardware issue. Possible causes of the crashing:
1. A memory module is slightly loose inside the PC. This can be troublesome to fix, because you have push in very hard sometimes. Try taking out your memory modules and putting them back in.
2. A memory module is defective. Run Windows 7 memory diagnostic at startup to test.
3. The motherboard's BIOS voltage setting for memory is incorrect. (I had this experience on my PC - my DDR3 PC17000 memory has to be set at exactly 1.65V, or else it will eventually crash.) You will need to find out everything about the memory in your PC and go to the manufacturer's support site. The voltage setting for memory will be under a category like "Frequency/Voltage Control" in the BIOS.
4. Motherboard is defective - more difficult to determine and less likely - will take a pro.

Advice from an A+ certified tech!

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I think its 2 or 3
by j_a_s_p_e_r-18898677845122086628774458260115 / November 20, 2010 1:36 AM PST
In reply to: Memory problem

From what I've seen its almost always cheap RAM upgrades or RAM that requires specific voltage for the timing selected (esp if you use lower latency timings). Of course pushing the limits on RAM with overclocking could be another culprit

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RAM
by glen271 / January 14, 2011 11:40 AM PST
In reply to: I think its 2 or 3

The RAM wasn't cheap, but it is OC'd- any RAM running over 1333Mhz is OC'd.

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The relevant memory is being saved as an image
by Doh_1 / November 19, 2010 11:03 AM PST

When Windows 7 encounters an error where it can't go on, it crashes. When that happens, it tries to save the parts of the physical/virtual memory that are relevant to the crash in a file that's called a "memory dump" image or just a memory dump. This "memory dump" then can be used by you or a Windows expert to look at exactly what was going on when the system crashed, like a stack trace, what process was running and exactly where in the source code the crash happened. Whether it was in kernel or application code, etc.

This can be useful, since you may have a corrupted program or driver, or bad hardware somewhere, or a program that isn't acting as it should (which may be the result of bad hardware, too), anyways. You can get some helpful things from Microsoft to help in looking at this, including kernel symbols that match your OS, that will allow you to produce a stack trace with symbolic names of procedures and variables that were in use at the time of the crash. There's lot of help with this on the Microsoft Community forums, use Google and find it.

On the other hand, system restore can be helpful for this as well. Like try restoring your system back to the state it was in before it started crashing at all. Or if you can associate the crashes with downloading and installing something, then you can get rid of whatever is causing the problem. Unless you have a hardware problem, of course, then you'll have to deal with that.

This is an improvement, at some point in the past, your computer would just crash (blue screen of death), and you wouldn't get a memory dump that you could look at to try to figure out what happened, what software or hardware was at fault.

There's lots of information on the internet about working with memory dumps and getting symbols, as I mentioned above, in the MS Community Forums and elsewhere. Personally, the first thing that I'd try is system restore, though *smile*.

-Roger

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Memory Dump
by HarleyGuy25 / November 19, 2010 11:16 AM PST

Your computer is not really "dumping" memory, it is doing what is called a "memory dump." When you have an unrecoverable system error, part of the diagnostic process built into Windows (all versions back to Windows v.3.1 as best I recall) is that it does a 'dump' of all of the contents in memory at the time of the error so that a computer technician can search through the data to try to determine what caused the error. It does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with your computer. This happens often when you've run the computer for days on end without rebooting (rebooting clears gaps and fragmentation in the memory of your computer), and or if you've loaded and unloaded (ended or quit) a lot of programs in a short period of time. I am a Web Designer and I often run 15-20 programs and utilities at the same time, opening and closing others as I need them. I have learned that when my system begins to get real sluggish I've probably got the "Blue Screen of Death" (a Windows only trademark) coming soon so I save all my work and reboot the computer and everything works just like new again until I've done the same kind of work for another 5-8 hours, then it begins to slow down again. On the other hand, if you are running some older, non-Windows 7 optimized software, it can cause memory faults. You can attempt to run these types of programs in "compatibility mode" (a feature [?] of Windows 7) to cure the problem. Generally, except in the most severe cases, it does NOT indicate that you have a hardware problem, you've -- GENERALLY -- just pushed the computer's memory a little to far without refreshing (rebooting) it.

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Blue Screen of Death or Memory Dump
by flapapabear / November 19, 2010 11:26 AM PST

This occurred on both of our Acers laptop PCs. Rebooting helped temporarily. Finally resolved issue by completely formatiing hard drive and reloading boot and systems programs. Time consuming but did solve the problem.

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BSOD?
by denrosssalenga / November 19, 2010 11:45 AM PST

Try to search about Blue Screen of Death (also known as a BSoD, bluescreen, or "blue screen of doom")

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Check for infections first.
by Zorched / November 19, 2010 12:01 PM PST

As has been said, your problem is not that your computer is dumping memory, but that something has happened in the course of its operation that it cannot recover from. It then "dumps the contents of the system's RAM" into a file to be analyzed for what caused it. The techie world calls this a BSOD or "Blue Screen of Death"

If this has been happening since you got your machine, I would suspect you have some defective hardware and need to have it looked at.

If you are quick enough when it happens, you can try and read the fault code and the long code immediately following it as it's dumping. Write them down. Then you can google those along with the keywords "fault code" and see what it says. If that screen specifies a module that failed, you can look that name up as well and see what software it is associated with. Sometimes this information is listed in the System Event Logs (Control panle-->administrative tools-->event viewer--Windows Logs) as entries with exclamation points in a red circle. This may lead you to a filename that you can research. For example if the file is nvsvc.exe then it is related to the NVidia drivers for your video card or the card itself.

If this just started out of nowhere, I would suspect the software that you installed immediately before it started happening. This can be firewall software, anti-virus software, new drivers, even windows patches. For example, if you installed two different active antivirus programs without uninstalling the first one beforehand, this can happen as they duke it out for dominance.

As per the title of this message, you may have gotten an infection by a piece of malware. Some malware attempts to ferret itself deep into the inner workings of the system so it's not easily detected or removed. These can cause the system to BSOD, especially if they're written poorly. I suggest downloading the free version of malwarebytes from Malwarebytes.org and running a full scan on your system. The free version of malwarebytes can be loaded with another virus program running with no problems. If you are unable to reach that site or the install doesn't work for some reason, that is a sign that you have a malware infection as often malware now actively tries to prevent you from visiting the sites that would help you remove it.

No matter how you look at it, you computer is quite ill for it to be doing that. You may just need to take it in to a trustworthy tech shop and have them look at it.

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Malware
by Traycee / December 3, 2010 10:32 PM PST

I just want to add that I have had a couple clients lately who had this exact same thing happen. Turned out in both cases it was a malware program causing the issue. Very tricky. The only way I could remove it was to use system restore since both had gotten it and then called right away. It was a simple fix and they've been fine ever since.

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Windows 7 dumping memory
by bruceclarke96 / November 19, 2010 1:30 PM PST

I fixed my computers (all 5 from the dreaded BSOD)very easily ...Just dumped windoze in for a decent OS :Linux Mint 10 goodbye Bilk ya for all I can Gates and your band of thieves,crooks!!!!

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lol - very good!
by darrenforster99 / November 19, 2010 3:43 PM PST

Really like your reply, not probably the best solution if you really need to use Windoze for something (many games wont run under Linux, even under WINE), but good reply. Btw I like Linux too, host my website on a Linux server 'cos it's more stable, but still need to use Windoze for various things that Linux just can't do.

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Linux not for everyone
by lucky76 / November 29, 2010 8:53 AM PST

I have an extensive Unix background and Linux may work for you to surf the internet but you probably have no idea how to do anything else with it from the command line. Most people think Linux is great just because it's free, so good luck with it. PS: Does it have a good spelling checker, hee hee.

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