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John Paul Cook

BSOD demystification using WhoCrashed

My desktop crashed with a Blue Screen of Death. What a pain. I found some free (for personal use, must pay for commercial use) software called WhoCrashed that quickly told me what was wrong. I highly recommend this tool if you encounter a BSOD. If it happens at work, buy the product. It is a huge timesaver. I wrote a Microsoft whitepaper on kernel debugging. I have the tools for analyzing dump files. But I'm in nursing school now and I don't have the time for all of that. WhoCrashed provided the answer less than 2 seconds after installing it. Here's what it said:

2 crash dumps have been found and analyzed. A third party driver has been identified to be causing system crashes on your computer. It is strongly suggested that you check for updates for these drivers on their company websites. Click on the links below to search with Google for updates for these drivers:

athrx.sys (Atheros Extensible Wireless LAN device driver, Atheros Communications, Inc.)


If no updates for these drivers are available, try searching with Google on the names of these drivers in combination the errors that have been reported for these drivers and include the brand and model name of your computer as well in the query. This often yields interesting results from discussions from users who have been experiencing similar problems.

Absolutely correct! The BSOD did show athrx.sys as the problem. I had installed an aBit wireless card. Like absolutely every aBit product I've ever bought (the wireless card was my last aBit purchase), I had trouble finding drivers. I found out that the wireless card had an Atheros chipset, so I made a guess as to which Atheros driver to install. The wireless had been working fine for a few days until the BSOD. I still don't know what driver I should install, but at least I know where the problem is. The next step is to replace the aBit hardware and the machine should be rock solid.

Download WhoCrashed from http://www.resplendence.com/downloads. Save yourself time and get some of your life back. This is one more tool every DBA should have.

Published Sunday, May 22, 2011 2:40 PM by John Paul Cook

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a Technology Solution Professional for Microsoft's data platform and works out of Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics and is an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. He volunteers as a nurse at safety net clinics. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2.

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