March 21, 2021

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How to view/open .dmp/.mdmp Mini Dump files in Windows?

3 min read

Question:

My PC is having some issue and I see BSOD [blue screen of death] screen in it from time to time. Sometimes, the PC restarts without giving me enough time to see what kind of BSOD Windows is showing and even if it does, I cannot tell what the issue is by simply reading the codes, which are shown in BSOD. So how can I view, or open Mini Dump files that Windows generate every time my PC hangs?

Answer:

The simplest solution is to use a tool called BlueScreenView. You can download it from Here.

It does not require any installation. It is a portable tool and it does its job pretty damn well. This tool is small in size; it takes less than 500KB space, but the work it does is amazing. It is a tiny yet powerful piece of software.

Most answers you find online, about how to open and view mini-dump files, are about using Microsoft Debugging Tools for Windows. Open Google and search, most of the top pages tell you the same thing. I personally wasted a fair bit of time too in attempts to use WinDBG tool. I did install and use it, but why didn’t Microsoft put this tool in Windows by default? Why do we need to waste time on downloading and installing it?

On top of that, I faced several issues when I was trying to install this good-for-nothing software that Microsoft calls Debugging Tools for Windows. The first problem was finding the page or link from where I could download it. How hard can it be right? Well, for me it turned out to be a waste of one whole evening I spent searching. After hours, I managed to download, install, and finally start this stupid tool, but to my surprise, my troubles were still not over. I could not debug, or properly read what was inside .dmp, .mdmp, or mini-dump files. There was some issue related to “Symbols.” What in the world is this? Why didn’t Microsoft put these symbols inside the same file that installs WinDBG? Why did they purposely made it so difficult and irritating to open mini dump files? I mean, how hard could it be to open a .dmp/.mdmp file to read its content?
This is really messed up thing Microsoft did with its WinDBG tool.

Long story short, I decided to ditch this monstrosity of a software and find an alternative way to view mini-dump, or .dmp files. The internet was kind enough to put me on the right track by telling me to use BlueScreenView; a tiny tool that when of double-click on it, instantly shows you a list of mini-dump files. You don’t even have to open the folder where Windows stores these .dmp files; path to this folder is given below:

C:\Windows\Minidump [Assuming that your Windows is in the C-drive]

You have to neither open the min-dump files folder nor do you enter its path in options/settings/properties of BlueScreenView. This portable utility shows you a list of mini-dump files as soon as you open it. It does not require you to enter any complicated commands; it is a GUI based tool and it shows you all the information, which is inside a .dmp file.

On one hand, we have WinDBG tool that Microsoft, for some reason, did not include in Windows as a core program; a tool that many people spend hours on to install and make it work properly. On the other side of the spectrum, we have a third party tool that is less than 500KB in size. It requires no installations and it is extremely simple to use. So which tool would you prefer to use? 🙂

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