Hunt For BSOD in Windows 7 x64

March 26, 2010

I have a shiny new Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit edition installed on my Dell laptop but in the last month I’ve been suffering intermittent BSOD errors (the infamous Windows’ Blue Screens of Death). They just seem to happen randomly every few days.

First I tried the Windows online solution check included in Windows 7, but found nothing.

Then I downloaded a free tool called WhoCrashed. It showed me that the error was inside the standard Windows NTOSKRNL.EXE module.


I was not satisfied with the answer. I downloaded the WinDBG tool (necessary to run WhoCrashed), I downloaded the Debug Symbols from Microsoft (by setting up the tool correctly, as explained in this page from Microsoft).

I opened a crash dump file generated by Windows in Minidump folder.


I run a deep analysis with !analyze –v option


And I found the culprit: the ShrewSoft VPN Client I had installed a month ago! It seems that the last stable version has issues with Windows 7 x64 and sometimes causes BSOD. I’ve downloaded the latest beta of the client and the problem seems gone.

I installed the ShrewSoft VPN client because it’s free and it works (well, mainly) with Windows 7 in 64-bit mode, unlike Cisco VPN client that does not. There is an alternative client from NCP, but it costs about 120 EUR.

Profile picture

Written by Edin Kapić Insatiably curious code-writing tinkerer. Geek father. Aviation enthusiast. Cuisine journeyman. Follow me on Twitter