Tracking down cause of application errors

I've been trying to track down the source of some problems with The Sims and AOE II on my system. It is a new AMD XP 1900, 512 mb ram, Gainward GeForce4 440MX, SB Live, and 2 40GB harddrives. I've applied patches for the games, updated bios and drivers and tried all sorts of compatibility tests, including running with the safe mode drivers.

I suspect that the problem is an issue with DirectX 8.1 which comes with XP, however, other DirectX apps play just fine, including SimCoaster. Dxdiag shows no problems. I'm having strong suspicions that the GeForce4 drivers and these games don't mix. Has anybody got these games to work under XP with the GeForce4 drivers? I'd like to start collecting some data on this problem.

On Unix systems, I can generally get a stack trace from a core that would lead me in the right direction. Since MS is capturing data to squirrel away somewhere, is the same information available? Is there anything I run to process an application dump to get me the last 10 or so function calls or even just the .dlls that were loaded at the time of failure?

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More about tracking application errors
  1. you can look in drwatsn32.log but thats usually a dead end. MS debugging really sucks compared to good old Unix. Sigh.

    <i>It's always the one thing you never suspected.</i>
  2. I found this program:

    Process Explorer
    Copyright ã 1996-2001 Mark Russinovich
    Sysinternals -

    It did get something interesting. It can dump the dlls and filehandles in use by an application.

    What I found was the MS Error Reporting dialog comes up and stays there. The Sim executable stays in memory until I dismiss it. I can then dump the dlls in use. I've appended it.

    If I can get ahold of the failing address, I might be able to isolate it to a dll. Here's the listing from this program. Do any of the DLL versions look out of whack for a native Windows XP installation?

    Sorry for the formatting, but the output is wider than tall...


    Process: Sims.exe Pid: 1372

    Base Size MM Description Version Time Path
    0x270000 0x16000 * 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\unicode.nls
    0x290000 0x34000 * 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\locale.nls
    0x2D0000 0x41000 * 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\sortkey.nls
    0x320000 0x6000 * 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\sorttbls.nls
    0x350000 0x3000 * 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctype.nls
    0x3E0000 0xE000 6/14/2000 4:00 PM C:\Program Files\JS Pager\CBT.dll
    0x400000 0x44000 The Sims 1.00.0000.0000 4/10/2000 5:00 PM C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\Sims.exe
    0x520000 0xD000 TabHook 4.05.0006.0006 11/29/2000 8:49 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\TabHook.dll
    0x530000 0xC000 4/10/2000 5:00 PM C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\Drvmgt.dll
    0x10000000 0x15000 JavaHook 7.61.0000.1402 9/13/2001 10:51 AM C:\Program Files\Trend Micro\PC-cillin 2000\JavaHookNT.DLL
    0x5AD70000 0x34000 Microsoft UxTheme Library 6.00.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\uxtheme.dll
    0x5CB70000 0x23000 Shim Engine DLL 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\shimeng.dll
    0x69450000 0x12000 Windows Error Reporting 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\faultrep.dll
    0x71590000 0x71000 Windows 2000 Shim Accessory DLL 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\AppPatch\AcLayers.dll
    0x71950000 0xE4000 User Experience Controls Library 6.00.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\WinSxS\x86_Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls_6595b64144ccf1df_6.0.0.0_x-ww_1382d70a\comctl32.dll
    0x73000000 0x23000 Windows Spooler Driver 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\winspool.drv
    0x75A70000 0xA3000 Userenv 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\userenv.dll
    0x75F40000 0x1D000 Application Compatibility Client Library 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\apphelp.dll
    0x76360000 0xF000 Winstation Library 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\winsta.dll
    0x76F50000 0x8000 Windows Terminal Server SDK APIs 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\wtsapi32.dll
    0x76F90000 0x10000 Security Support Provider Interface 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\secur32.dll
    0x77120000 0x8B000 Microsoft OLE 3.50 for Windows NT(TM) and Windows 95(TM) Operating Systems 3.50.5014.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\oleaut32.dll
    0x771B0000 0x11A000 Microsoft OLE for Windows 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\ole32.dll
    0x772D0000 0x63000 Shell Light-weight Utility Library 6.00.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\shlwapi.dll
    0x77340000 0x8B000 Common Controls Library 5.82.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\comctl32.dll
    0x773D0000 0x7F4000 Windows Shell Common Dll 6.00.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll
    0x77C00000 0x7000 Version Checking and File Installation Libraries 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\version.dll
    0x77C10000 0x53000 Windows NT CRT DLL 7.00.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\msvcrt.dll
    0x77C70000 0x40000 GDI Client DLL 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\gdi32.dll
    0x77CC0000 0x75000 Remote Procedure Call Runtime 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\rpcrt4.dll
    0x77D40000 0x8D000 Windows XP USER API Client DLL 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\user32.dll
    0x77DD0000 0x8B000 Advanced Windows 32 Base API 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\advapi32.dll
    0x77E60000 0xE5000 Windows NT BASE API Client DLL 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\kernel32.dll
    0x77F50000 0xA9000 NT Layer DLL 5.01.2600.0000 8/18/2001 12:00 PM C:\WINDOWS\system32\ntdll.dll
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