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2012-04-19

A+: Auto Restart Errors

An Auto Restart error is a STOP/BSOD error that immediately reboots the computer. There is no difference between an Auto Restart error and a STOP/BSOD error itself. The difference is that a STOP/BSOD error triggers auto restart on systems that are configured to restart the computer when a STOP error occurs.

If a system needs to be available at all times and STOP/BSOD errors are rare, it might be preferable to configure the system to restart automatically (the default is to leave the system stopped until it is manually restarted). To change this option, follow these steps:
Step 1. Open the System Properties window.
Step 2. Click the Advanced tab.
Step 3. Click Settings under the Startup and Recovery section.
Step 4. To enable auto restart, click the empty checkbox for Automatically Restart under the System Failure section. To disable auto restart if it is already enabled, clear this checkbox.
To enable diagnosis of a STOP/BSOD error when auto restart is enabled, make sure the Write an Event to the System Log option is enabled. When a STOP error is saved to the System Log, it is listed with the type set as Information (not as Error, as you might expect). To find the event, search for events with the source listed as Save Dump. The STOP error will be listed thus:
The system has rebooted from a bugcheck. The bugcheck was (error number).
Look up the error number to find the solution.

When a stop error occurs, Windows will write debugging information to the hard drive for later analysis with programs like Dumpchk.exe; this debugging information is essentially the contents of RAM. The default setting in Windows XP is to only write a portion of the contents of RAM, known as a “Small memory dump”; this is written to %systemroot%\Minidump . Or you could configure Windows to do a Kernel memory dump, which is the default in Windows Vista. The Kernel memory dump is saved as the file %systemroot\MEMORY.DMP which is larger than the minidump file. This is where the phrase “My computer just took a dump...” comes from! For more information on how to analyze the debugging information resulting from these stop errors, see the following link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/315263.

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