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Kevin Kline


You might recall my recent posting about getting minidumps from SQL Server.  Even if you’ve never looked for dumps from SQL Server, you should get familiar with SQLDumper.exe.  SQLDumper is an internally called process that can produce a stack dump in mini, full, and filtered formats.  SQL Server has a default approach to how it does dumps, but you can alter this default behavior by starting SQL Server using trace flags ranging from 2540 to 2559.  (You should do so only under the advice of PSS, btw.)


Although SQLDumper can crank out a stack dump from any application, I recommend you stick with SQL Server.  Also, don’t plan on using SQLDumper as general purpose dumping utility.  Check out Microsoft’s recommendation for general purpose debugging at


However, you can learn more about how and when to use SQLDumper with these resources:


· - How to use SQLDumper to generate dump files in SQL Server 2005

· - How to use SQLDumper to generate dump files for Windows Applications


That doesn’t mean that its easy to get SQLDumper working for you.  About the only way I’ve seen that you can get really good with SQLDumper is to have the unfortunate occurrence of needing it – i.e. lots of crashes.


If you have any experience with working with SQLDumper, I’d love to hear your feedback here.


Best regards,




Published Thursday, December 20, 2007 2:18 PM by KKline
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KKline said:

Thanks for the trackback, Jason.


January 2, 2008 12:40 PM

Kyle Goodnight said:

I have never(knowingly) used SQLDumper. Recently I am getting a boot time message saying SQLDumper has been tampered with and should be reinstalled. What causes this message and how may I rid myself of it. It does not seem to impact my system (Xppro sp2) that I can see but I do not like having a boot issue like this that I do not know how to fix.  

Thanks in advance for any info you may be able to provide.


January 17, 2008 10:54 PM

KKline said:

Hi Kyle,

I'm not sure what the cause of the problem is, but I'm guessing that you installed it or some software you're using installed it for you with SQL Server 2005 Express.  Reinstalling SQL Server 2005 Express will fix the issue.

Other solutions include:

  a. Stopping and disabling the SQL Server VSS service (if you're not using it).

  b. Reinstalling the SQL Server native client (if you are using it), found at

Hope this helps,


January 23, 2008 11:01 AM

Duc Tran said:

Would you know where I can find some documentation on how SQL Server by default does dumps?

I am currently implement a process to alert when a dump happens on production server. we want to react as soon as we find out it happens.

What we are thinking is to set location of the dump file to a dedicated folder and monitor it thru some tool (SQL agent or other 3rd party tool..etc). The question is how much disk space we have to make sure available to allow dumping finishes successfully.

Thank you in advance.

Duc Tran

November 18, 2008 4:09 PM

KKline said:


I don't know off the top of my head where the dump file will be located.  However, you can reference the KB articles for general information about file placement or run a test to find where the file goes by default.  Once you learn that, please post here for everyone's edification.

Many thanks,


December 14, 2008 6:48 PM

Duc Tran said:

Location of the dump file can be set thru Advanced option "Dump Directory" of SQL Engine Service. You can get there by:

1) Open SQL Server Configuration Manager (SSCM)

2) Select SQL Server Services node on the left pane

3) Find the SQL Engine Service of the SQL instance you want to setup and right click to select "Properties".

4) In "Advanced" tab, you will see "Dump Directory" option

Factory Default location is under installation location of the SQL instance (C: drive unless you picked differently during installation).

Dump files could be quite big sometimes so it is good idea to plan ahead and move it out to a dedicated location with a good side of free space. The last thing you want to see is your production server has an issue and fails to generate dump files or generates an imcomplete dumps. Dump files are very resourcefull piece of information that are asked by Microsoft support staff when you contact them.

My question originally for this blog is How much disk space should we plan for this dump location? Also by default (factory default), which type of dump files (mini, full, filtered?) SQL Server generates in which situation? I am interesting in any documentation that may give us this answer if there are any out there or from Microsoft.

Thank you,

Duc Tran

January 7, 2009 12:57 PM

ryckyc said:


I'm trying to troubleshoot an ODBC time out issue that happens very inconsistently, would the SQLDumper help in resolving that?

August 6, 2009 10:48 AM

KKline said:

Hi Ryckyc,

I don't think SQLDumper will help.  ODBC is for desktop-to-server or server-to-server connectivity.  SQLDumper, otoh, is for stack dumps of the SQL Server kernel.


August 10, 2009 9:13 AM

Katherine Georges said:


I recently moved MS Accouting Express to another computer. Before changing computers, I tried to install Accouting on a My Book F:external hard drive. The SQL Server installed to my C: drive regardless. Considering the size of the SQL Server, and limited capacity on my old Thinkpad, I uninstalled Accounting from my C: drive. It did not uninstall the SQL Server. I didn't know it was a separate application. Now, when I restart my Thinkpad, I receive the error message regarding SQLDumper corrupted.

Do I need the SQLServer for MS Office Prof Edition? Can I just delete the program?

I don't understand dumping. But in July, I lost everything on My Book F: external hard drive. I noticed in Administrative Tools> computer management>system tools>event viewer and in System Tools> performance logs & alerts>HDD alert that I had been receiving alerts. Was this dumping or attempts at dumping. Could this have wiped out my external hard drive?

As a protective measure, I have removed most of MS Office suite to the other computer. All of my documents are stored on My Book external drive with a memory key as backup. I have had too many crashes to trust my Thinkpad with all my saved work. I reinstalled MS Office Outlook .pst file which stores emails onto the My Book F: drive. MS Word is still on the Thinkpad. What this means is - I use the Thinkpad for correspondance and updating my website such as online work. I use my other computer for all project work and productivity - offline work.

Thank you in advance,

Katherine Georges

September 6, 2009 10:37 AM

KKline said:

Hi Katherine,

Go ahead and uninstall the SQL Server installed on your Thinkpad (Start >> Control Panel >> Add/Remove Programs).  You don't need it any more and it's only taking up space on your hard disk and soaking up computer resources.

Dumping is a means of getting lots of additional information when an important program crashes.  When one of these programs, like SQL Server, crash, they dump a lot of extra information to the system logs (or their own logs) so that the IT professional in charge can do extra troubleshooting and remediation.  Dumping very seldom causes other problems with a computer and it couldn't wipe a hard disk.  Dumping is important for IT professionals, but not usually as important for home or casual users.

Hope this helps,


September 7, 2009 6:47 PM

Katherine Georges said:


Yes - your comment helps. I will uninstall the SQL Server. I assumed the log alerts wouldn't have been a problem but I wanted an expert to varify.

Actually, I believe 'wipe out of my hard drive' occured as I was on the phone with an IT person from Franklin Covey Software. I was uninstalling PlanPlus Time Management which integrates with MS Outlook. The SQL Server alerts must have been coincidental, although the alerts and warnings were excessive in the logs.

Thank you for your valuable input.


September 8, 2009 10:03 AM

Qi said:

Hi Kevin,

The SQLdumper keeps generating .mdmp,.txt,.log files. Those files fill up the system drive very quickly. Is there anyway to stop SQLdumper.exe process because it can't be termenated from Task Manager.



August 10, 2011 7:29 PM

KKline said:

Qi, if you're getting that many mini-dumps, you've got bigger issues than a disk filling up.

SQLDumper is only supposed to dump files when there's a crash or a near crash.  Bad news either way.  I strongly advise you to look in the Event Log for errors as well as the dump files to find the root cause and FIX IT IMMEDIATELY.  It sounds like this is a server that is about to die a horrible death very soon.


August 11, 2011 4:25 PM

@sqL_handLe said:


I'm here because after all this time, this is still one of the only blog posts about SQLDumper.exe :-)

i'm using trace flags to gather filtered minidumps in SQL Server 2016 SP1. Takes about 2.5 hours to generate ~10gb minidumps. I'm looking around for ways to improve performance of SQLDumper itself :-)

If I find anything - I'll be back with a followup...

July 16, 2017 9:14 PM

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About KKline

Kevin Kline is a well-known database industry expert, author, and speaker. Kevin is a long-time Microsoft MVP and was one of the founders of PASS,

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