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How do I examine the call stack of a crashed windows service?

Posted on 2009-05-19
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Last Modified: 2013-11-25
I have a service I programmed.   It works fine on my machine and in my virtual host testing but it crashes about once a day on a few laptops that we have here.   I'm frustrated, because I don't know how to get information about the call stack at the time of the crash.

In unix I would just turn on core file generation, debug the core file and initiate a back trace.  What do you do in windows?
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Question by:Drachs
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Expert Comment

by:drewha1969
ID: 24424165
Maybe this will help.

Ollydbg
http://www.ollydbg.de/
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Expert Comment

by:warturtle
ID: 24424253
This might help:

How to solve Windows system crashes in minutes
http://www.networkworld.com/news/2005/041105-windows-crash.html

Debugging Tools for Windows - Overview
http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/devtools/debugging/default.mspx

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Expert Comment

by:jkr
ID: 24424484
You can just enable DrWatson to obtain a post mortem dump, including the call stack. See

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc265790.aspx ("Installing Dr. Watson as the Postmortem Debugger")
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/121434 ("Specifying the Debugger for Unhandled User Mode Exceptions")
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Author Comment

by:Drachs
ID: 24424771
jkr:

Everything I'm reading is saying dr watson should be the default, is that not the case on vista?  If it is the case, do these post mortem dumps already exist some where?
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jkr earned 2000 total points
ID: 24424826
Oh, sorry - there is no DrWatson on Vista. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951018 ("How to generate a full user-mode dump file in Windows Vista") for that one, it uses the more advanced NTSD (NT Symbolic Debugger)
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Author Comment

by:Drachs
ID: 24424882
Thanks jkr!
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Author Closing Comment

by:Drachs
ID: 31583081
Thanks jkr
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by:drewha1969
ID: 24425134
I just missed this thread closing, and I dont know if you are using 64 bit Vista, but incase you were hesitant to trying my suggestion, here is a screenshot of what it offers.

I havent tried it on Vista at all, but decide if you like what you see and try it yourself.  No need to install.

It just doesnt seem like there is any benefit to analyzing a crash dump vs live.  Unless it crashes windows...

Anyways, just thought I would give other options :)
OllyDbgScreen.JPG
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