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Summon Blue Screens of Death (for testing purposes only, of course)

Today I had a need to manually trigger and sustain a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) inside a Windows Server VM. The goal was to be able to trigger a BSOD so that I could work on the detection of powered on but failed VMs inside a server environment. All major hypervisors have this feature built in, but without testing it I do not want to enable the feature before we put it into production.

At first, I tried all of the usual tricks – running out of RAM, nailing the CPUs. Nothing worked. I’m happy to say that Windows stability is now an issue because it’s just so stable!

I finally found a registry hack that allows you to manually initiate a crash over at MSDN.

Voila! Use the USB keyboard registry key. Set it and reboot the machine. To trigger it, hold right-control and hit scroll lock twice.

BOOM! Immediate manually-initiated BSOD. Neat, huh?

Capture

Just set the machine to not reboot upon failure and you can trap this state for outage detection testing.

NOW – please do not do this in production, of course. This feature should be used for good and not evil.

Technobabble by Klee from @kleegeek

David Klee is all around geek who loves data - including the platform it resides on, virtualizing it, improving performance, availability, and disaster recoverability, and data presentation and visualization. He frequently advises organizations on the techniques of migrating their business-critical physical SQL Servers to the VMware infrastructure in his day job as Solutions Architect. David speaks at many national SQL Saturday events and SQL Server User Group meetings, as well as writes technical columns on SQL Server and virtualization topics on various blogs. He is on Twitter (https://twitter.com/kleegeek), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidaklee), and blogs frequently (http://www.davidklee.net).

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