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Noel Borthwick

Better problem reporting: How to capture a crash dump

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Why do crashes occur?
Crashes occur when an application encounters an unexpected condition. There can be a myriad reasons for this including bugs, memory overwrites, problems in plugins or other third party components or add on's, driver errors as well as actual hardware problems.

Minidumps
Many crashes can be specific to a particular user's environment, therefore for troubleshooting it's important for developers to be able to do "post mortem" analysis to determine the cause of the crash. When a crash occurs Windows takes a snapshot of the crash and saves a file called a minidump file (.dmp). This file records information about the state of the system when the crash occurred and can be very helpful to diagnose these problems remotely.  For problems that are not reproducible such dump files can often be the only means of diagnosis.

Locating crash dump files for Cakewalk
If you encounter a crash when using Cakewalk you will normally see a crash dialog telling you that a problem occurred. In most cases Cakewalk will automatically save this crash dump for you. This dialog will list the name of the minidump file and also the name of the faulting module. If the crash occurred within the application the module will be Cakewalk.exe itself. If the crash site was inside a plugin the module listed will be the plugin name.  Most crashes are reported within the application. While crash location data can be useful, locating the root of the problem often requires further investigation.

 Minidump files  saved from Cakewalk are stored as timestamped files with a .dmp extension in the following folder:
%AppData%\Cakewalk\Cakewalk Core\Minidumps
You can type that path directly into Windows file explorer and it will take you to the dumps folder where you can locate the file.
Note that if the crash was in a plugin the file may be in this folder instead:
%AppData%\Cakewalk\Cakewalk Core\Minidumps\Plugins
You can normally locate a minidump file of interest by its timestamp if you know when the crash occurred.

What if the application hangs but doesn't crash?
In some cases you may not encounter an actual crash in the app but the application appears hung and unresponsive. In such cases Windows will not save a crash dump file automatically. There are a few ways to manually create a dump file in such cases. The easiest way is to go to task manager and right click the process name (in this case it would be listed as "Cakewalk Application") and then choose "Create Dump File".  See attached screenshot. The downside to this method is that it saves a full dump which includes a memory snapshot. These files can be pretty large if you have a lot of RAM.
Alternatively if you are familiar with running command line tools you can run the Microsoft Procdump tool and save a minidump. Once you have installed that tool you can capture a minidump by typing this into a command prompt (note you will need to run the command prompt as an administrator by choosing Run as administrator):
procdump64.exe -ma Cakewalk.exe cakewalkhang.dmp

Sending the dump file to Cakewalk for analysis
Once you have the dump file you can put it on a share like dropbox, google drive etc. Next, log a problem report case with Cakewalk and include the link to the dump file. If a Cakewalk staff member has requested info you may also PM the dump file link to them directly this way.  Note: Dump files may include personally identifiable data so please do not post links to them publicly in the forums or elsewhere to protect your privacy.

Cakewalk currently doesn't automatically submit minidumps via problem reports like SONAR did.
Here is an older KB article (from SONAR) with some more information.

taskmanager dump.png

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Posted (edited)

Is there any chance to get back old way of reporting crashes? 

Edited by Eve Ripper

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Great info Noel. I can now link to this post when commenting/replying to user posts with issues.

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