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Dump files, previously called crash dumps, allow you to save program information for debugging a later time. Dump files can be especially useful when you are testing a program on a computer that does not have source or symbol files. When a crash occurs, you can save a dump file and debug it later, either on the build computer or on another computer that has the source files and debugging symbols.
The dump files that are saved and opened by Visual Studio use a file format called minidump. Visual Studio can save minidump files with or without heap information.
The Visual Studio 2010 debugger can save minidump files for either managed or native code. The debugger can load dump files that were created by Visual Studio 2010 or by other programs that save files in the minidump format.
There are several ways to create and save a dump file:
While you are debugging a process in Visual Studio 2010, you can use the Save Dump As option on the Debug menu to save a dump file. For more information, see How to: Save and Open Dump Files.
With Just-In-Time debugging enabled, you can attach to a crashed process that is running outside the debugger, break the process, and then save a dump file. For more information, see How to: Save and Open Dump Files.
You can save a dump file that was created by the UserDump utility, which is part of the OEM Support Tools package. You can download a copy of the package from this page on the Microsoft Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/Search.aspx?displaylang=en.
You can save a dump file that was created by the Autodump+ utility, which is part of Microsoft Debugging Tools for Windows. You can download Debugging Tools for Windows from this page on the Microsoft Web site: Windows Hardware Developer Central.
The Visual Studio 2010 debugger can read dump files that contain information about managed code, unmanaged code, or a mixture of both. You can debug both native and managed dumps using the normal debugging windows.
The following sections contain additional information about how to work with a dump: