Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Crash on Demand

Has it been a while since your Windows system crashed? Do you miss the bluish hue of the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)?

Have no fear! Microsoft to the rescue!

Presenting the most useless feature in Windows that you never knew you had, nor did you need it: the ability to crash your system with a key click. 2 Microsoft Support articles (for Windows 2008/Vista and Windows 2003/XP) will tell you about a key you can add to your registry. After restart, all you need to do is hold the right CTRL key and tap the Scroll Lock key twice. You'll get a full memory and core dump and get a blue screen with the message:
*** STOP: 0x000000E2 (0x00000000,0x00000000,0x00000000,0x00000000) The end-user manually generated the crashdump.

Of course, all jokes aside, this is a good way to get a core dump when you develop drivers or system-level applications. Also, for QA guys, it's a good way to force a crash to see how your app handles it (i.e. what gets corrupted upon restart).

And, let's not forget the fun factor: add this key to a friend's computer, use the key combination, and exclaim "how come your computer crashes every time I use it?" smile

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