There are few things more frustrating than persistent blue screens or crashes that you are unable to identify the cause of. To aid in this type of troubleshooting, Microsoft offers the Windows 10/Windows 11 memory dump feature. Today, we're going to show you how to do a complete memory dump in Windows 11 or Windows 10 today so you can get the root of your issues.
What are Windows system memory dump/crash dump files?
A Windows 10/Windows 11 memory dump is a copy of your computer's memory at the time of a crash. It's because of this that you may have heard to them referred to as Windows 10 or Windows 11 crash dumps.
Though it isn't widely discussed, there are actually three types of memory dump in Windows 11 and Windows 10: a complete memory dump, a kernel memory dump, and a small memory dump.
A small memory dump comes in at just 256kb, and contains only the barebones information about the crash. Information such as the error code, a list of loaded drives, and some kernel information.
The kernel memory dump is about one-third of the size of your system's physical memory. It contains only memory related to the Windows kernel and hardware extraction level, as well as memory allocated to kernel-mode drivers and programs.
In most cases, the kernel memory dump will give everything you need. In some cases, however, you may need the final type: a complete memory dump. A complete memory dump will create a copy of all the information in your computer's memory at the time of the crash. So, if you're using 16GB of RAM, that will be a 16 GB file. In some cases, this can be used to better diagnose the source of the issue.
Here's how to generate a complete memory dump in Windows 11 / Windows 10:
How to Do a Complete Memory Dump in Windows 11 and Windows 10
To generate a complete memory dump in Windows 11 or Windows 10 you first need to modify your boot options to include the maximum memory option. You can then use the system properties menu to enable a complete memory dump, which will complete next time you experience a crash. Here's how to do that:
- Open System Configuration
Press the Start button and type “System Configuration”, then click the top result.
- Open the “Boot” tab and click “Advanced options…”
- In the BOOT Advanced Options, tick “Maximum memory” and press “OK”
- Press “OK” on the main System Configuration screen
- Note down your BitLocker key and press “Yes” if you receive a BitLocker warning
- Open File Explorer, right-click “This PC”, and choose “Show more options”
- Press “Properties” in the “Show more options” menu
- Scroll to the “Related links” section and press “Advanced system settings”
- Open the “Advanced” tab and press the “Settings…” button under the “Startup and Recovery” heading
- Click the dropdown under “Write debugging information” and choose “Complete memory dump”
Press “OK” and restart the system to apply the changes.
- Reproduce the issue and go to the memory dump location in Windows 11 / Windows 10
If you're wondering what the Windows 10 / Windows 11 memory dump file location is, it's
%SYSTEMROOT%. It will be named
MEMORY.DMPand will appear after you reproduce the issue. You can then read memory.dmp with the WinDbg tool.
How to Configure BSOD Dump Files in Windows 11 and Windows 10
If you'd like to find out more about Windows memory dumps, you can read our full guide on how to configure BSOD Dump Files in Windows 11 or Windows 10. This will better walk you through all the options and provide you with additional methods to enable them.
How to Use Reliability Monitor to Analyze System Crashes and Freezes in Windows 11 / Windows 10
If you don't feel technically proficient enough to go trawling through crash dumps for an issue, you can try Reliability Monitor instead. Reliability Monitor is a great tool that displays all the important software events on your system. If your crash has its roots in a software issue, our Windows 10 / Windows 11 Reliability Monitor guide will help you find it.