I recently bought a Dell XPS 8900 desktop system with Windows 10. It ran okay for a while, but after enabling Hyper-V, every few minutes the system would freeze for a few seconds and then reboot with no explanation. Looking at the Event Viewer’s Windows Logs > System revealed that the system had bugchecked (blue screened):
Bugcheck 0x1a indicates a problem with “Memory Management” .
Run WinDbg as Administrator. File > Open Crash Dump:
Open C:\Windows\memory.dmp. Wait for symbols to download:
If symbols aren’t downloaded automatically, try typing .symfix and then .reload in the command prompt at the bottom.
Then, follow the tool’s advice and run !analyze -v to have the debugger analyze the crash. WinDBG presents a surprisingly readable explanation:
So a driver’s at fault, but which one?
It looks like bcmwl63a, for which symbols aren’t loaded, one clue that this isn’t Microsoft’s code. Let’s find out more about it using lm vm bcmw163a:
Pop over to the listed path to examine the file’s properties, and see that it’s the WiFi driver:
The Dell 1560 802.11ac card is the same type as found in my Dell XPS 13” notebook PC, where it was responsible for a flurry of bluescreens last year. The driver appears to have improved (the XPS 13 doesn’t crash anymore), but it looks like some corner cases got missed, likely related to the Hyper-V virtual networking code. Rather than waiting for an updated driver, the experts on Twitter suggested I simply upgrade to the Intel 7265 and install the latest Intel PROSet wireless driver. At $20 on Amazon, this seemed like a fine approach.
The upgrade was straightforward and would’ve taken less than 5 minutes to install except one of the nearly microscopic sockets broke off as I removed the Dell card’s antenna cables:
I used a needle to remove the broken pieces from the antenna’s connector before it would fit on the new card’s socket. After connecting the antenna, the new card easily slid into the slot and Windows recognized it on next boot. I used Device Manager to ensure the drivers loaded for the new card’s Bluetooth support, and installed the latest PROSet driver. Everything’s been working great since.
While WinDBG is one of the more inscrutable tools I use, it worked great in this situation and would point even a novice in the right direction.