How to solve Windows 10 crashes in less than a minute.

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Why Windows 10 crashes

To be sure, Windows has grown in features and size since its introduction in 1985 and has become more stable along the way. Nevertheless, and in spite of the protection mechanisms built in to the OS, crashes still happen.

Once known as the Ring Protection Scheme, Windows 10 operates in both User Mode (Ring 3) and Kernel Mode (Ring 0). The idea is simple; run core operating system code and device drivers in Kernel Mode and software applications and user mode drivers in User Mode. For applications to access the services of the OS and the hardware, they must call upon Windows services that act as proxies. Thus, by blocking User Mode code from having direct access to Kernel Mode, OS operations are generally well protected.

The problem is when Kernel Mode code goes awry. In most cases, it is third-party drivers living in Kernel Mode that make erroneous calls, such as to non-existent memory or to overwrite OS code, that result in system failures. And, yes, it is true that Window itself is seldom at fault.

Where to get help with Windows 10 crashes

There are plenty of places to turn to for help with BSODs, a few of which are listed below. For example, ConfigSafe tells you what drivers have changed and AutorunCheck tells you what Windows Autorun settings have changed. Both help nail the culprit in a system failure. And everyone should have the book Windows Internals; it is the bible that every network admin and CIO should turn to, especially Chapter 14 “Crash Dump Analysis,” which is in Part 2 of the book.

When I asked Mark Russinovich, one of the authors, why a network admin or CIO – as opposed to a programmer – should read it, he said, “If you’re managing Windows systems and don’t know the difference between a process and a thread, how Windows manages virtual and physical memory, or how kernel-mode drivers can crash a system, you’re handicapping yourself. Understanding these concepts is critical to fully understanding crash dumps and being able to decipher their clues.”

So, while WinDbg provides the data about the state of a system when it fell over, Windows Internals turns that cryptic data into actionable information that helps you resolve the cause.

WHERE TO FIND BSOD HELP

NameTypeLocation
About.com Guide: http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ht/stoperrors.htm
AutorunCheck Tool: http://imaginelan.net/autoruncheck-home/
CNET Form: http://www.cnet.com/forums/windows-10/
ConfigSafe Tool: http://imaginelan.net/configsafe-home/
Experts-Exchange Help Site: http://www.experts-exchange.com/topics/windows-10/
FiretowerGuard Tool: http://sampansecurity.com/firetowerguard.html
Windows 10 Forums Forum: http://www.windows10forums.com/
Microsoft Autoruns Tool: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902
Microsoft DaRT Tool: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/products-and-technologies/mdop/dart.aspx
TechNet Forum: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/home?category=Windows10ITPro
TenForums Forum: http://www.tenforums.com/
WhoCrashed Tool: http://www.resplendence.com/whocrashed
WinDbg Tool: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hardware/gg463009.aspx
Windows Internals Book: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963901.aspx
WindowsSecrets Forum: http://windowssecrets.com/forums/forumdisplay.php/68-Windows-10-Forum
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