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Windows Server or Client Crash Troubleshooting

Affected Roles: Administrators
Related Digital Watchdog VMS Apps: DW Spectrum IPVMS
Complexity: High

Software Version:  3.0 or higher

Firmware Version:

Created By:

Date Created: 9/18/2019

In rare cases, users may experience a Server or Client crash in Spectrum. Typically these are isolated incidents. However, if you are facing a recurring problem take these steps:

Step 1: Enable & Produce Full Crash Dump files

Crash Dump files are automatically generated memory stack files which help our developers debug situations which may be causing crashes. Simple crash dumps are generated each time the Spectrum Client or Spectrum Server application crashes for any reason. To fully diagnose the cause of a crash, however, our Developers need more detailed crash dump files - so you'll need to make some changes to Windows registry in order to create these files. Follow the steps below to enable and produce detailed crash dump files.

  1. Find your current Crash Dump files (simple).
    • For Media Server -- C:\Windows\System32\config\systemprofile\AppData\Local 
    • For Desktop Client -- C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Local

      Note: Make sure that these dumps have the same version and build number as the software you are currently using. File names might contain words and phrases "DW Spectrum.exe", "mediaserver.exe".
  2. Enable detailed Crash Dump files:
    • Open the Windows registry editor(Open the Windows Command Prompt program from the Start Menu and type Regedit)
    • For Media Server: Find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Digital Watchdog\Media Server 
    • For Desktop Client: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Digital Watchdog DW Spectrum Client
    • Add a new string value (Edit -> New) with name createFullCrashDump and value true
  3. Restart both your SpectrumDesktop & Spectrum Server applications.
  4. Reproduce the crash if possible by going through the original process that caused the crash a few times.  
  5. Look for new crash dumps after reproducing. Crash dump sizes should be in the hundreds of megabytes. 

Step 2: Upload Crash Dumps & Open a Support Ticket

  1. Upload the crash dumps to a file-sharing app (e.g. Google DriveDropboxSharefile)
  2. Submit a new support ticket and include the link to the uploaded crash dumps - and make sure we are able to access them!

No logs in specified directories:

Sometimes Spectrum may be unable to produce crash dump files. In these cases, Windows Error Reporting Service extra configuration is required (according to this post):

  • To enable and configure the feature, create the following registry values under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Error Reporting\ key
  • Start with creating new nested registry key LocalDumps
  • Left-click it and proceed with its right panel edit
  • Right-click it and create Value DumpFolder (Expandable string type) with any path value you like(e.g. C:\dumps)
  • Value DumpCount (DWORD type) with dumps count(e.g. 2)
  • Value DumpType (DWORD type) with dumps type(set 1)
  • To enable full Dump generation for specific Media Server and Client processes you need to create separate keys called "mediaserver.exe"(Server) and "DW Spectrum.exe"(Client) with same value created. DumpType value should be set to 2.
  • Once completed, the application will create crash dumps and will be saved onto the DumpFolder. After 2 crashes, upload the dump files to the file sharing service and share it with our support staff.
  • Get a full version of the crashing software part. Without it, it won't be possible to analyze the dump.
  • Upload generated dumps and software version information
  • Remove registry changes

Note! We recommend you remove these settings after full memory dumps are archived. Otherwise full dumps might consume a lot of drive space.

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  • 10-Mar-2020