In my article about the analysis of Windows crashes, readers recommended the freeware tool BlueScreenView from Nirsoft. I had a look at it, and it is indeed quite useful. It helped me to get an idea about the cause of the crashes of my Windows 7 machine. The portable tool reads the data from the crash dump files in c:\Windows\Minidump.

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The lower pane shows all drivers that have been loaded when the system crashed. The ones that have been in the crash stack; that is, the ones that are most likely responsible for the crash can be highlighted. You can also display the original blue screen that Windows displayed after the crash.

The upper pane displays all dump files with the most important parameters: "Crash Time", "Bug Check String", "Caused by Driver", "File Description", etc. In my case, the revealing information was the value "DRIVER_POWER_STATE_FAILURE" of the Bug Check String. It indicates that the standby mode was the culprit. I don't remember that I have ever had a computer where the Windows standby mode worked reliably. I suppose, Windows is much too complex for such a feature. There is always a third party driver that is sulking if it is forced to go to sleep.

Another crash was caused by my SATA driver (iaStorV.sys). Further investigation revealed that the power savings mode of an eSATA drive made my system unstable, so I disabled this feature.



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