Category Archives: Debugging

Compiler bug? Linker bug? Windows Kernel bug.

Flaky failures are the worst. In this particular investigation, which spanned twenty months, we suspected hardware failure, compiler bugs, linker bugs, and other possibilities. Jumping too quickly to blaming hardware or build tools is a classic mistake, but in this … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging, Investigative Reporting, Programming | Tagged , , , | 64 Comments

Zombie Processes are Eating your Memory

Zombies probably won’t consume 32 GB of your memory like they did to me, but zombie processes do exist, and I can help you find them and make sure that developers fix them. Tool source link is at the bottom. … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging, Investigative Reporting, Performance, Programming, Rants | Tagged , , | 65 Comments

Finding a CPU Design Bug in the Xbox 360

The recent reveal of Meltdown and Spectre reminded me of the time I found a related design bug in the Xbox 360 CPU – a newly added instruction whose mere existence was dangerous. Back in 2005 I was the Xbox … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging | Tagged , , , , | 67 Comments

Analyzing a Confusing Crash–Stack Walks Gone Bad

Part of my job always seems to include crash analysis. A program crashes on a customer’s machine, a minidump is uploaded to the cloud, and it might be my desk that it appears on when Monday morning rolls around. The … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Everything Old is New Again, and a Compiler Bug

“What’s an EXCEPTION_FLT_STACK_CHECK exception?” one of my coworkers said. I said “It’s a weird and rare crash. Why do you ask?” It turns out that one of these weird and rare crashes had started showing up in Chrome (M54 branch, … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging, Floating Point | Tagged | 28 Comments

Thread Naming in Windows: Time for Something Better

Windows lets you give names to the threads in your process which can then be displayed by debuggers. This is a great idea, but the implementation is showing its age – it’s time for some fixes, or something better. Update, … Continue reading

Posted in Debugging, Programming, Visual Studio | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments