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How to obtain a Soft Memory Dump using LiveKD without restarting your computer
Technical Articles ID:   KB50467
Last Modified:  4/9/2017


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Microsoft Sysinternals - LiveKD


When investigating issues, Technical Support sometimes requires a memory dump file to trap a particular issue where a session or the entire system stops responding. Using the CTRL+SCROLL LOCK method manually produces a Windows blue screen error (see: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244139); however, this method ultimately involves restarting your computer, which is sometimes not an option. 

An alternative method that leaves the server up and running is to use the Sysinternal LiveKD tool, which allows you to produce a Soft Memory Dump. This tool has the ability to capture and create a debug memory dump in the same way as CTRL+SCROLL LOCK, but without causing the server to stop responding.


To create a memory dump without manually causing your computer to stop responding and forcing a computer restart:
  1. Download Debugging Tools for Windows at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/hardware/gg463009/
  2. Run the relevant .MSI file (for example, dbg_x86_6.12.2.633.msi) and install Debugging Tools for Windows. 
  3. Download LiveKD from: http://technet.microsoft.com/sysinternals/bb897415.aspx.
  4. Extract the content of LiveKD.zip to the location where your Windows Debugging Tools have been installed.

    Default paths:
    C:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows (x86)\
    C:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows (x64)\
  5. Double-click livekd.exe.
    • If you are prompted to obtain symbols automatically from Microsoft symbol server, type Y and press ENTER.
    • If you are prompted for the name of the folder where you want to save the symbols to be downloaded, type a local path and press ENTER. Technical Support recommends the root directory. The default location is: C:\symbols

    LiveKD starts downloading the required symbols. This can take a few minutes to complete. 

    • If the DOS window closes automatically, it is likely that it has failed to connect to the Microsoft symbol server. Verify your Internet connection settings and return to step 3.
    • If LiveKD continues to load the symbols and the prompt is on kd>, proceed to the next step. 
  6. From the prompt, type .dump /f C:\memory.dmp and press ENTER.

    This path indicates where the dump will be saved. You might want to create a dedicated folder on the root drive to store the dump. Ensure sufficient disk space is available; the space required minimally needs to equal double the size of the physical memory. 
  7. To avoid corruption, compress the memory.dmp file with WinZip or similar application.
  8. Upload the file as instructed by Technical Support.  

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