Minidump Analysis
So you got a XP blue screen of death (BSOD) and you'd like to have a crack at fixing it? Well hopefully this might help.

Turn On Minidumps

If you havn't already turned on minidumps, go to the Control Panel and follow this steps:
  1. System Icon
  2. Advanced Tab
  3. Startup and Recovery -> Settings
  4. Enable Write an Event to the system log
  5. Disable Automatically Restart
  6. Select the following debugging information:
    • Small memory dump (64 Kb)
    • Small Dump Directory : %SystemRoot%\Minidump
  7. Confirm all and restart the computer.

Crash It

Do whatever to make it crash. In my case it was leave the video encoding running overnight.

Install Tools

If you havn't got the windows debugging tools installed, then install the Microsoft Debugging Tools (Direct Link)

Analyse The MiniDump

To extract useful information out of the minidump file created:
  1. Open a command prompt (Start -> Run -> "cmd")
  2. cd \program files\debugging tools (Or wherever they are installed to)
  3. kd -z C:\WINDOWS\Minidump\Mini???????-??.dmp
  4. kd> .logopen c:\debuglog.txt
  5. kd> .sympath srv*c:\symbols*
  6. kd> .reload;!analyze -v;r;kv;lmnt;.logclose;q
  7. You now have a debuglog.txt in c:\, open it in a text edit (Notepad?).

Post Mortem

Look for the MODULE_NAME and IMAGE_NAME headings. This is the program that caused the error. Sometimes when it's a device driver it means that that device is causing the BSOD and by disabling it or updating the driver your system will run stable. If you don't know what device that name relates to then Google it.

(Under no circumstance ask me about your crash. I provide this information for free without any support.)

Hope it helps. You might also find that BlueScreenView is helpful for decoding MiniDumps.