Debugging an application crash using procmon without memory dump. hmm. Seriously??


Yes. While this is not debugging using windbg, procmon has the capability to aid us in debugging as long as we have the necessary symbol files.
The intention of this blog is to reveal some powers of procmon tool. We use it on various troubleshooting occasions when we don't know what is really happening behind the scenes.

In my opinion, procmon is the most powerful troubleshooting tool (at least, I use it for resolving most cases)
Thought of writing this blog with an example of an issue that I happen to solve for a customer using this tool.
Recently, I worked on an issue with a customer who had this particular scenario - Multiple processes would crash on launching. This seems to be affecting hundreds of machine and has been happening for over a few months. Some examples as below:
‘Bit Locker Encryption Options’ from the control panel:

Configuration Manager or SCCM’s ‘Software Center’:


Typically, it is supposed to show some more stuff under this, however before it could completely load everything, it would end up in crashing for some unknown reasons... Well not really unknown in the end of this blog. 
For now, I would take the normal approach here.

Pretty confident that there has to be something interesting in the event logs.
Sure enough, you would find the classical application crash events in the event viewer.

Event related to Bit Locker Encryption Options crash:

Log Name:      Application
Source:        Windows Error Reporting
Date:          24-12-2014 12:12:42
Event ID:      1001
Task Category: None
Level:         Information
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      ABC.XYZ.COM
Fault bucket 85905360500, type 4
Event Name: APPCRASH
Response: Not available
Cab Id: 0
Problem signature:
P1: MBAMControlUI.exe
P3: 5271df47
P4: unknown
P6: 00000000
P7: c0000005
P8: 0000000000000000

Log Name:      Application
Source:        Application Error
Date:          24-12-2014 12:12:29
Event ID:      1000
Task Category: (100)
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      ABC.XYZ.COM
Faulting application name: MBAMControlUI.exe, version:, time stamp: 0x5271df47
Faulting module name: unknown, version:, time stamp: 0x00000000
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x0000000000000000
Faulting process id: 0x%9
Faulting application start time: 0x%10
Faulting application path: %11
Faulting module path: %12
Report Id: %13
Faulting package full name: %14
Faulting package-relative application ID: %15

Events related to Software Center’s crash:

Log Name:      Application
Source:        Windows Error Reporting
Date:          24-12-2014 12:03:12
Event ID:      1001
Task Category: None
Level:         Information
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      ABC.XYZ.COM
Fault bucket -329875240, type 5
Event Name: BEX
Response: Not available
Cab Id: 0
Problem signature:
P1: SCClient.exe
P2: 5.0.7958.1000
P3: 5230d2b7
P4: StackHash_5861
P6: 00000000
P7: PCH_E4_FROM_ntdll+0x0003C1AC
P8: c0000005
P9: 00000008

Log Name:      Application
Source:        Application Error
Date:          24-12-2014 12:03:06
Event ID:      1000
Task Category: (100)
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      ABC.XYZ.COM
Faulting application name: SCClient.exe, version: 5.0.7958.1000, time stamp: 0x5230d2b7
Faulting module name: unknown, version:, time stamp: 0x00000000
Exception code: 0xc0000005
Fault offset: 0x00000000
Faulting process id: 0x1404
Faulting application start time: 0x01d01f4374dffc6d
Faulting application path: C:\Windows\CCM\SCClient.exe
Faulting module path: unknown
Report Id: b785c36e-8b36-11e4-be97-28e3471721ed
Faulting package full name:
Faulting package-relative application ID:

Log Name:      Application
Source:        .NET Runtime
Date:          24-12-2014 12:03:03
Event ID:      1026
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      ABC.XYZ.COM
Application: SCClient.exe
Framework Version: v4.0.30319
Description: The process was terminated due to an unhandled exception.
Exception Info: exception code c0000005, exception address 00000000

As you can see above, the faulting module is showing as unknown. So, we don’t know for sure what the culprit here is.

Typically in these scenarios, we would capture a memory dump when the crash occurs and have the customer send the dump file to us. We would then debug it to understand the cause of the crash.
However, that’s a lengthy and tedious process.
First of all, we would need to look at any logs if available for the component that we are troubleshooting. If not, we go with memory dump.

Before I get onto the memory dump procedure, this time though; I decided to take my favorite approach – The procmon approach. 
Usage of procmon is pretty simple. Procmon has evolved and has been evolving with new great improvements, advanced filters and additional activities.
Though many of us in the system admin world already knows about it, I’m posting the capture procedure for the benefit of others.
Once you download and run procmon.exe tool, it would immediately start capturing file system, registry and process/thread activities.


The Capture button which looks like a magnifying glass (mouse is hovered in the picture) is same button used for both starting as well as for stopping the captures. Kind of like ON / OFF switch. You could also use the CTRL + E button combination to issue a button stroke if you would like.
As you see in the bottom of the screenshot, it has already captured so much of events though I stopped the capture within 2 seconds after I opened it… Those are the things happening in the background whether you like it or not.
The very fact that it takes too much of information can be chatty as well and procmon log analysis requires that we put in our logic for the issue that we are troubleshooting. Many events can lead us to go in different directions of analysis. So, the first and foremost technique in data capture using procmon is to keep it as short as possible. While there are many ways using filters to take only necessary data, I’m not discussing about those at this time.

Let’s do the data capture now.
Download link here:
By default, once we open the tool, it would start capturing data automatically.
So, we click on the capture button to stop the capture first.
Next is to click on the clear button or (use CTRL + X button combination) to clear everything that it has captured till now.


Looks nice and clean now.
If possible, close all applications that you can to avoid getting chatty.
Be ready to reproduce the issue. Most of the times, we keep procmon tool and the problem window resized in the same screen so that we can repro the issue as well as click on the capture button in Procmon. No time to waste a single second. You will see why in a bit. 
Switch ON the capture button.
Immediately reproduce the problem (In this case, I simply tried to launch the software center).
Waited for the application to crash.
Switch OFF the capture button as soon as possible.
Phew! Log capture is done.
You can now save the file (be sure to save it as ‘PML’ format and choose ‘All Events’).

Zip the file and send to Microsoft for analysis. If you like a little adventure, then start doing the analysis. 

Typical analysis of procmon data may not need symbols.
However, in this case that would be much required. Thankfully, Mark Russinovich had already configured it for user’s convenience. As long as you have internet access, you are good to connect to the Microsoft public symbol server.
You can see it being configured as below.
BTW, don’t forget to note that number of events that it has captured shown with the arrow. Trust me, this data capture was run only for less than 3 seconds and it already has 600 thousand + events. This is why we want to data capture to be super-fast and not to waste a single second. I’m glad you understood this. 

Note: For the sake of this blog, I had switched from MS internal to MS public.
In my personal experience, I have seen many times that the built-in dbghelp.dll doesn’t work.
I normally use the latest MS internal version to get around that.
Should the need arise, you may want to download and install the latest “Debugging Tools for Windows” from Microsoft. It is available in the SDK as well.

In this case, we know the name of the EXE that crashed. So, I will first filter it to show only activities by SCClient.exe (software center).

One of the most useful buttons is the Filter button (CTRL + L combination).



Add this filter and click on OK.
Now, it will show ONLY the events pertaining to SCClient.exe.

If we double click on an event anywhere, we can get into more details of that event.
Sample below:


Note that you can see the ‘Event’ tab as well as the ‘Process’ tab and the ‘Stack’ tab.
The Stack is the one that will be useful only if we have symbols in place.
Of course, it is not easy to point to the particular event that led to the crash. It takes some hit or miss logics to be tried (at least for me). Finally, I have the point of failure.

Caught the event in the list which shows the unhandled exception in the stack.


The previous event to this shows normal activity as below:

While this appears to be normal, we need to look closely into this event to understand why the next event shows the unhandled exception. Wait…. From what I can infer from the stack, there appears to be some kind of drawing or something to do with display enumeration.
Perhaps something is wrong with the display driver??

This time, go back to the Process tab. Next, I choose to sort by the ‘Company’ field to find out the third party modules loaded within this SCClient.exe.

There appears to be 2 modules from LogMeIn and 2 modules from Intel.
I ignore LogMeIn modules because I installed it on the customer’s computer for me to be able to establish a remote troubleshooting session. Issue was still happening prior to me installing it.
Let’s take a look at the Intel modules to see what they really are?
We can just double click on the module name and it gives all possible details about it.



Okay. These two files have something to do with display graphics.
Don’t want to jump the gun right away.
Going back to procmon, I look at what is the previous module that was loaded before the crash.
Filtered with ‘Load Image’ and can see the following:

Now, I’m certain that I really would want to eliminate these 2 modules in the first place to see if the issue happens or not.
We un-installed the Intel graphics driver and voila! Software Center opens up just fine.
So does the Bit locker Encryption Option.

Case solved!!!

Remember that I first mentioned about looking at the associated log file for the component that you are troubleshooting before jumping to dumps. In this case, there is a log called scclient_<domain>@Username.log.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have much information on this and I expect this because the issue was a crash while rendering graphics and not likely, this is going to be logged.

Oh! If you don’t really know what the associated log file is, procmon is still your friend.
Just put a filter for ‘Path’ ‘contains’ ‘.log’.

Once you apply that filter, it should look like this:

As we can see SCClient.exe is writing to a log file.
The same applies for any application to understand if that is logging anywhere or not.

Read on if you are still interested for my debugging notes….
We installed the graphics driver again, I captured a memory dump using another awesome creation by Mark – Procdump.exe

0:009> .lines
Line number information will not be loaded
0:009> |
.  0          id: 474   examine              name: C:\Windows\CCM\SCClient.exe
0:009> vertarget
Windows 8 Version 9600 MP (4 procs) Free x86 compatible
Product: WinNt, suite: SingleUserTS
kernel32.dll version: 6.3.9600.16656 (winblue_gdr_pres14.140305-1700)
Machine Name:
Debug session time: Thu Dec 25 17:40:28.000 2014 (UTC + 5:30)
System Uptime: not available
Process Uptime: 0 days 0:00:05.000
  Kernel time: 0 days 0:00:00.000
  User time: 0 days 0:00:00.000
0:009> .ecxr
Unable to load image C:\Windows\System32\igdumdim32.dll, Win32 error 0n2
*** WARNING: Unable to verify timestamp for igdumdim32.dll
*** ERROR: Module load completed but symbols could not be loaded for igdumdim32.dll
eax=00000000 ebx=00000000 ecx=076f9130 edx=00000000 esi=05a8892c edi=05a86600
eip=00000000 esp=0593f28c ebp=0593f2b0 iopl=0         nv up ei ng nz na po cy
cs=0023  ss=002b  ds=002b  es=002b  fs=0053  gs=002b             efl=00010283
00000000 ??              ???
0:009> kb
  *** Stack trace for last set context - .thread/.cxr resets it
*** WARNING: Unable to verify timestamp for igdumdim32.dll
*** ERROR: Module load completed but symbols could not be loaded for igdumdim32.dll
ChildEBP RetAddr  Args to Child             
WARNING: Frame IP not in any known module. Following frames may be wrong.
0593f288 64616e27 05999420 0593f2a0 05a86600 0x0
0593f2b0 6461e7ae 05a86600 0593f318 07700f40 igdumdim32+0xc6e27
0593f360 645f6d83 05a86600 077011d0 00000000 igdumdim32+0xce7ae
0593f3f8 64d1479f 00000003 0593f41c 0593f474 igdumdim32+0xa6d83
0593f458 64e0d8ac 0859ace0 00000000 00000000 d3d9!CD3DDDIDX10::Blt+0x7a
0593f49c 64df5eb1 0859ace0 00000000 00000000 d3d9!CD3DDDIDX10::SurfaceBlt+0x35
0593f4fc 64db8983 0859ace0 00000000 0859ae78 d3d9!CD3DBase::SurfaceBlt+0x44
0593f5fc 69ed1767 0599a720 059f6980 0593f67c d3d9!CBaseDevice::UpdateSurface+0x648
0593f620 69ed7c92 059f6980 0593f67c 059f6680 wpfgfx_v0400!CD3DDeviceLevel1::UpdateSurface+0x1f
0593f694 69ef57b8 085c4518 0593f6bc 085de5f0 wpfgfx_v0400!CD3DGlyphBank::RectFillAlpha+0x206
0593f6cc 69ef1787 0593f7b8 05a08450 00000000 wpfgfx_v0400!CD3DSubGlyph::ValidateAlphaMap+0xb3
0593f778 69eea0b9 0593f9dc 0000ff01 059ed288 wpfgfx_v0400!CD3DGlyphRunPainter::Paint+0x601
0593f8c8 69f393ba 05a08450 0593f9dc 0593f948 wpfgfx_v0400!CHwSurfaceRenderTarget::DrawGlyphs+0x188
0593f8dc 69e06aa2 05a08450 0593f9dc 059f6620 wpfgfx_v0400!CHwDisplayRenderTarget::DrawGlyphs+0x1a
0593f9a0 69e0697c 00c34e28 0593f9dc 05a0c4f8 wpfgfx_v0400!CMetaRenderTarget::DrawGlyphs+0xe6
0593fa00 69dfc7f3 08588bf8 00be33e8 085baf50 wpfgfx_v0400!CDrawingContext::DrawGlyphRun+0x30d
0593fab0 69dff4f7 05a0c4f8 05a0c4f8 085baf50 wpfgfx_v0400!CMilSlaveRenderData::Draw+0x43f
0593fac4 69df632c 05a0c4f8 0598e188 085baf50 wpfgfx_v0400!CMilVisual::RenderContent+0x26
0593fb8c 69df639b 0593fba8 00000000 05a0c4f8 wpfgfx_v0400!CDrawingContext::PreSubgraph+0x6d9
0593fbb8 69df7602 00c05d50 05a0c510 05a0c4f8 wpfgfx_v0400!CGraphIterator::Walk+0x37
0593fc00 69e11856 00c05d50 00be116c 0593fcf4 wpfgfx_v0400!CDrawingContext::DrawVisualTree+0x230
0593fc9c 69df7e26 00c05d50 00c34e44 00be116c wpfgfx_v0400!CDrawingContext::Render+0x3f9
0593fd0c 69df7c9b 0593fd33 00c3de28 0593fdcb wpfgfx_v0400!CSlaveHWndRenderTarget::Render+0x1a0
0593fd34 69df1a72 0593fdcb 00c3de28 00000000 wpfgfx_v0400!CRenderTargetManager::Render+0x34
0593fd4c 69df1906 0593fdcb 00c3a5a0 00c3de30 wpfgfx_v0400!CComposition::Render+0x1f
0593fdb4 69df199a 0593fdcb 00c3de30 00c3a5a0 wpfgfx_v0400!CComposition::ProcessComposition+0x12c
0593fdcc 69df19d7 0593fde7 00000001 00c3a5a0 wpfgfx_v0400!CComposition::Compose+0x3e
0593fde8 69df17e1 00c3de30 00be03e8 00c3a5a0 wpfgfx_v0400!CPartitionThread::RenderPartition+0x1b
0593fe00 69e0aee1 00000000 00000000 00c3a5a0 wpfgfx_v0400!CPartitionThread::Run+0x48
0593fe18 7734495d 00c3a5a0 0593fe68 77b098ee wpfgfx_v0400!CPartitionThread::ThreadMain+0x1c
0593fe24 77b098ee 00c3a5a0 cb763808 00000000 kernel32!BaseThreadInitThunk+0xe
0593fe68 77b098c4 ffffffff 77afe0cf 00000000 ntdll!__RtlUserThreadStart+0x20
0593fe78 00000000 69e0aec5 00c3a5a0 00000000 ntdll!_RtlUserThreadStart+0x1b

As you can see (read stack from bottom to top), there appears to be some drawing happening and finally ends with igdumdim32.

0:009> lmvm igdumdim32
start    end        module name
64550000 64cdd000   igdumdim32 T (no symbols)          
    Loaded symbol image file: igdumdim32.dll
    Image path: C:\Windows\System32\igdumdim32.dll
    Image name: igdumdim32.dll
    Timestamp:        Mon Jun 24 21:16:07 2013 (51C869BF)
    CheckSum:         00000000
    ImageSize:        0078D000
    File version:
    Product version:
    File flags:       0 (Mask 3F)
    File OS:          40004 NT Win32
    File type:        2.8 Dll
    File date:        00000000.00000000
    Translations:     0000.04b0 0000.04e4 0409.04b0 0409.04e4

Basically, igdumdim32.dll caused an access violation when trying to execute instructions from a non-executable address in the memory.

Case of crash – explained!!


Ajith Kumar

Support Escalation Engineer


Comments (1)

  1. yuvaraj tamilmani. says:

    Awesome article…, great explanation.. Lets begin to use procmon more effectively..

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