The other day I got an email from a blog reader which contained the information of a successful analyze of a memory dump file which is generated when an infamous blue screen of death occur. The reader wanted me to give him the solution or point him in the direction of a solution. This got me into thinking. When is it worth putting time on doing blue screen analyzes?
The content of the crash dump is maybe not that relevant after all. What is more important is how often and when the blue screen of death occurs. If the crash occurred just once or very seldom and randomly I would say that it might not be worth finding out exactly what caused the crash. Keep in mind that a blue screen could indicate a hardware failure, although driver problems are the most common cause for crashes.
However if the crashes occur often or at when doing specific tasks you have all the reasons in the world to get to the bottom of the problem. In these cases I recommend following the guide for troubleshooting blue screen crashes.
An interesting thing to note about blue screens that start occurring after for instance upgrading the OS from Windows XP to Windows Vista or Windows 7 is that the new memory management in the later operating systems might reveal problems in the memory modules that did not show when using Windows XP.
Finally, whenever having problem with blue screens of death I would recommend upgrading the machine BIOS. Often there are compatibility and stability fixes which solves problems with hardware which might be causing you the problems you are experiencing.