Collecting system dumps on Windows when -Xrs or -Xrs:sync is set

Using the Dr. Watson tool to enable and collect system dumps on Windows.

About this task

In some scenarios, you might want to disable the Java™ runtime signal handler so that any signals received are handled by the operating system. The -Xrs and  -Xrs:sync command-line options stop the Java runtime environment from handling exception signals. For some exception signals, a system dump is produced.

On versions of Windows before Windows Vista and Windows 2008 server, use the Dr Watson tool to enable system dumps.

Windows Vista and Windows 2008 Server do not provide the Dr. Watson tool. The replacement is the Problem Reports and Solutions Control Panel applet. This tool cannot be used to take a full system dump without first uploading the problem report data to Microsoft.

On Windows 7 you can use the Task Manager to create a system dump.

To enable system dumps using the Dr. Watson tool:


  1. Open the Dr Watson configuration window by clicking Start, selecting Run, and typing drwtsn32 in the Open field. Click OK.
  2. Complete the fields in the configuration window as follows.
    1. Set the Log File Path field to a location with several hundred MB of free space.
    2. Set the Crash Dump field to point to a file called user.dmp in the Log File Path.
      When an error occurs in JNI code or the Java runtime environment, the dump is stored in this file.
    3. Set the Number of Instructions field to 20.
    4. Set the Number of Errors To Save field to 20.
    5. Set the Crash Dump Type field to NT4 compatible Full or Full, depending on which option is available.
      The available options vary depending on the version of Windows in use.
    6. Select the remaining option boxes as shown in the screen capture.
    7. Click OK to save the settings.
  3. Install Dr Watson as the default application debugger by clicking Start, selecting Run, and typing drwtsn32 -i in the Open field. Click OK.
    A window opens, reporting that Dr. Watson has been installed as the default application debugger.
  4. To use Dr. Watson for collecting system dumps, run your application and reproduce the error.
    When the error occurs, a dialog opens reporting that Java encountered a problem and had to close. Click OK to continue.
  5. (Optional) If you set the Visual Notification option in the screen capture, a window opens, reporting that an error log is being created. Wait until the Cancel button changes to OK. Click OK to continue.
  6. The system dump is stored in the location specified in the Crash Dump field. For information about analyzing the system dump file, see Dump viewer.


Dr. Watson has been installed as the default application debugger and used when a system dump is created.