Microsoft tests live kernel memory dumps in Windows 11 Task Manager

Microsoft is testing a new diagnostic tool in Windows 11 that lets you create live kernel memory dumps without disrupting the operation of Windows.

A live kernel dump is a snapshot of the kernel’s memory at the time of the dump, which is then saved to a file. Developers can then use this file to diagnose bugs and performance issues in the operating system.

The benefits of this type of memory dump are that it is not required to take an operating system offline and can be done while an OS is running and the issue is occurring.

“With a traditional bug check, the PC resets and the user’s work is disrupted. The goal of kernel live dump is to gather data to trouble shoot an abnormal situation, but allow the OS to continue operation,” explains Microsoft in a support document.

“This reduces downtime when compared to a bug check for “non-fatal” but high-impact failures and hangs.”

Windows 11 is getting live kernel dumps

In a new Windows 11 preview build 25176, released earlier today to the Windows Insider Dev channel, Microsoft has added a new feature that lets you create live kernel memory dumps in Task Manager.

In the latest build, you can capture a live kernel memory dump (LKD) by going to the Details page in Task Manager, right-clicking on the System process, and selecting the “Create live kernel memory dump file” option.

This will capture a Full live kernel or Kernel stack memory dumps and can be used to troubleshoot bugs and performance issues that Microsoft describes as “abnormal” but don’t prevent Windows from running.

Creating a Live Kernel Dump from Windows 11 Task Manager
Creating a Live Kernel Dump from Windows 11 Task Manager
Source: Microsoft

Microsoft says it’s rolling out the new feature to select users, so it isn’t available to all users now.

The Windows 11 Task Manager has seen frequent updates from Microsoft, with a new design based on Fluent UI and WinUI, and the company also added a search bar to the app.

Task Manager has also dropped the classic interface for a new hamburger menu layout, and options like “Processes, Performance, App History, Startup apps, Users, Details, and services” have been moved to the new menu. 

It’s unclear when those in the retail channel will receive this updated Task Manager, but it could happen sooner than later, thanks to the “Moments” updates, which bring new features as they become available.

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