Tools for Troubleshooting

Sunday 24 April 2011 @ 1:50 pm

This month an unusual number of customers have brought me errors to troubleshoot.  Most of them involve errors outside of Crystal with things like missing DLL files or installs that seem the same but that behave differently.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find a recent blog post on the SAP web site that provides a list of free tools for helping to troubleshoot things like this.  There are 5 tools listed but I think two would apply most to the problems I faced this month:

1) Modules is a free utility, copyrighted 1998 by Seagate Software.  Surprisingly, it seems to work fine in Windows 10.  It allows you to run an search in any PC environment, and save a list of all the processes in memory, and all the dlls used by each process.  You can save these lists and then compare them to lists pulled from other systems (e.g. one that works and one that doesn’t).  The compare will list the differences in those two environments.  I recently tried to find a more up to date application that does something similar, but wasn’t successful.   I found descriptions of a program called ENVy but the company that created it is no longer around.  If anyone finds a something more recent that does the same thing, please let me know.

2) Depends.exe (Dependency walker) is another free tool that takes an EXE or DLL file and lists all of the other files that it relies on.  This is perfect for when you have a DLL that won’t work or register correctly.  Often a missing dependent file is part of the problem.

And if you need to troubleshoot hangs and crashes, monitor HTTP / HTTPS traffic or monitor local file system and registry activity, the other tools should help.

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