I'm trying to debug a sporadic problem with some Dell tablets out in the field that crash intermittently. Looking at the Event Viewer logs, it seems that Windows automatically creates a memory dump file after the crash. But Windows also automatically deletes that memory dump file within 15 seconds of creating it because there's less than 25 GB of free space on the tablet's hard drive. (I think maybe there's 23 GB of free space, or something like that.)

That's clearly still plenty of space, so I wish the threshold wasn't set so high. How can I change that? Or rather how can I disable that cleanup step altogether? I really need to get my hands on one of these memory dumps so I can better analyze what the real problem is.


In the registry, navigate to the HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\CrashControl key.

Set the value AlwaysKeepMemoryDump (REG_DWORD) to 1. Create the key if it does not exist.

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Have you checked which type of debugging information to write?

You can find this in System Properties > Startup and Recovery > System Failure.

Microsoft has KB254649 with details on the different options, including some explanations on why a .DMP-file is deleted.

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Within the Debugging tool of Windows, you can try a few including Windbg, AdPlus or UserDump

MS has a chart where you can decide what is the best tool based on your scenario
Choosing the Best Tool

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  • 1
    That doesn't at all address the question I was asking, but thanks for the tool recommendations anyway. If you read the question you will see that the OS is not retaining the dump file long enough to be able to use a tool in the first place. I am asking about how to ensure the file remains on the OS without being automatically cleaned up long enough to inspect. – soapergem Feb 17 '16 at 22:51

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