Minidumps and crash logs

I don’t know how useful all these dump files and crash logs are; nobody ever asked me to get them from a customer. But anyway, here we go…

When you start a recent version of Softimage, it opens a minidump (.dmp) file in your User folder, eg:


If you don’t crash, then great, Softimage closes and removes the .dmp file on exit. But if you do crash, Softimage will write out a minidump, and maybe a few other crash logs.

  • SOLIDANGLE-PCbb6ab18a449d4f6865bf0f0.Command.txt
  • SOLIDANGLE-PCbb6ab18a449d4f6865bf0f0.dmp
  • SOLIDANGLE-PCbb6ab18a449d4f6865bf0f0.Plugin.txt
  • SOLIDANGLE-PCbb6ab18a449d4f6865bf0f0.ScriptLog.txt
  • SOLIDANGLE-PCbb6ab18a449d4f6865bf0f0.Views.txt

If you have Visual C++, you can open a .dmp and take a look. But in most cases I doubt it will help you much.

Plugin is a list of the loaded plugins, ScriptLog is the script history log, and Views is the current layout and views. Command is kinda interesting, because it looks like this:

[XSI::Mesh Grid] CreatePrim {F0B32DC7-7B9E-11D0-BDED-00A0243E36A8} {5C0CF8B6-C81E-11D2-80C3-00A0C9AC19A9} 
[XSI::Set Value] SetValue {37EFCEF0-C8AF-11D1-8F33-00A0C982B651} {C089B901-8481-11D2-B118-00A024C79287} 
[XSI::Set Value] SetValue {37EFCEF0-C8AF-11D1-8F33-00A0C982B651} {C089B901-8481-11D2-B118-00A024C79287} 
Menu: Shaders>>Standard
[Custom Script Commands::AddMaterial] SITOA_AddMaterial {419D7E5D-38BF-7A61-1E88-105686422CEF} {001D605B-F285-4A60-80FA-10E63B2360D4} 
[XSI::Shader Cnx Divot Pop-up Menu] UIMapButton {34F30CD4-12B8-11D3-AA89-00AA0068D2C0} {34F30CD2-12B8-11D3-AA89-00AA0068D2C0} 
Menu: >>Checker &Board
Menu: >>Planar XZ
[XSI::Create Texture Projection] CreateProjection {87DCBB3E-880D-11D3-BC59-00A0C9612B97} {5C0CF8B6-C81E-11D2-80C3-00A0C9AC19A9} 
[XSI::SetInstanceDataValue] SetInstanceDataValue {FAE0663A-2003-11D3-A06B-0000F875DF68} {FAE06638-2003-11D3-A06B-0000F875DF68} 
[XSI::Set Value] SetValue {37EFCEF0-C8AF-11D1-8F33-00A0C982B651} {C089B901-8481-11D2-B118-00A024C79287} 
[XSI::Set Value] SetValue {37EFCEF0-C8AF-11D1-8F33-00A0C982B651} {C089B901-8481-11D2-B118-00A024C79287} 
[XSI::Set Value] SetValue {37EFCEF0-C8AF-11D1-8F33-00A0C982B651} {C089B901-8481-11D2-B118-00A024C79287} 
[XSI::Orbit Tool] CamOrbitTool {212E0191-9027-11D0-B6CC-00AA0068BF56} {0461B2C6-0AE3-11D2-8065-00A0C955B335} 
[XSI::Orbit Tool] CamOrbitTool {212E0191-9027-11D0-B6CC-00AA0068BF56} {0461B2C6-0AE3-11D2-8065-00A0C955B335} 
Menu: Lights>>Skydome

I don’t what the GUIDs are for; I tried searching for some of them in the registry and in the Softimage install folder, and I came up empty.

Getting crash, dirty exit, and clean exit counts

This morning I saw a post taking a poll on how often 2014 SP2 crashes. So, here’s some crash numbers from my system:
There’s a big difference in the number of sessions, so a percentage chart might make it easier to compare the versions:

Crashes are actual crashes caught by CER. What I called “dirty exits” are exits or crashes not caught by CER. For example, killing xsi.exe in the Task Manager is a dirty exit. Clean exits are when you quit Softimage normally (for example, when you click File > Exit or the Close X icon).

I used this Python snippet to extracts the CER crash data from the registry.

#   Software\Softimage\SOFTIMAGE|SICORE Engine\C:|Program Files|Autodesk|Softimage 2014 SP2|Application|bin\ProductInfo

from _winreg import *

# dicts keyed by Softimage version
dCrashes = {}
dCleanCloses = {}
dStarts = {}

# Get the CER crash data for each SI version
# under the SOFTIMAGE|SICORE Engine key
def enum_sicore( subkey ):
		i = 0
		k = OpenKey( HKEY_USERS, "%s\Software\Softimage\SOFTIMAGE|SICORE Engine" % subkey,  0, KEY_READ )
		while True:
			subkey1 = EnumKey(k, i)
			# extract product name eg "Softimage 2014 SP2"
			s = subkey1.rsplit( '|' )[3]
			pi_key = OpenKey( k, "%s\%s" % (subkey1,"ProductInfo"), 0, KEY_READ )

			value = QueryValueEx(pi_key, "crashCount" )
			dCrashes[ s ] = value[0]

			value = QueryValueEx(pi_key, "SessionCleanCloseCount" )
			dCleanCloses[ s ] = value[0]

			value = QueryValueEx(pi_key, "SessionStartCount" )
			dStarts[ s ] = value[0]

			i += 1
	except WindowsError:
		# WindowsError: [Errno 259] No more data is available    

# For each user
	i = 0
	while True:
		subkey = EnumKey(HKEY_USERS, i)
		enum_sicore( subkey )
		i += 1
except WindowsError:
	# WindowsError: [Errno 259] No more data is available    
# Print out the numbers
crashes = 0
exits = 0
starts = 0

for key in dCrashes:
	print key
	print "   Crashes: %d" % dCrashes[key]
	print "   Dirty Exits: %d" % (dStarts[key] - dCleanCloses[key])
	print "   Starts: %d" % dStarts[key]
	crashes += dCrashes[key]
	exits += (dStarts[key] - dCleanCloses[key])
	starts += dStarts[key]

# Print out CSV for export into Excel for charting
for key in dCrashes:
	print "%s, %d, %d, %d" % (key, dCrashes[key], dStarts[key] - dCleanCloses[key], dStarts[key])

Sending Customer Error Reports (CERs)

Autodesk applications like Softimage use senddmp.exe to send CER reports to an Autodesk server, where the CER reports are automatically processed and entered into a CER system. senddmp.exe is installed with Softimage, in %XSI_BINDIR%.

You cannot submit CER reports by email; the system is not set up to handle that. The CERs have to be submitted to the Web service that does all the grunt work. For example, the Web service takes care of extracting the crash dump and matching it up against the symbols for that version of Softimage.

If you do want to collect the CER data yourself, click View Report Details in the Error Report dialog. That will generate the dmpuserinfo.xml file, and create a archive that contains:

  • Contact data and system information (dmpuserinfo.xml)
  • The crash dump (a .dmp file)
  • The Softimage script history (.ScriptLog.txt)

You will find dumpuserinfo.xml and in the XSI Temp folder (for example, %TEMP%\XSI_Temp_7558, where 7588 is the process ID of xsi.exe).

The .dmp and .ScriptLog.txt files actually exist in your Softimage user folder; senddmp.exe just takes a copy of them and puts them in a .zip archive. When I left Autodesk, I had 253 crash dump files (90MB worth) lying around under different C:\users\blairs\Autodesk\SoftimageXXX folders.

I suppose you might be able to run senddmp.exe yourself, but the command line is rather complicated. Here’s the senddmp command line for a recent crash I had. Note that I formatted it for readability. Also note that I didn’t actually try to run it myself, I just dug up the details (using my old friend Process Monitor).

"C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Softimage 2013\Application\bin\senddmp.exe" 

/APPXML "<ProductInformation name=\"Autodesk Softimage 2013\" build_version=\"SI2013RC2\" registry_version=\"11\" registry_localeID=\"1033\" uptime=\"105591217359\" session_start_count=\"111\" session_clean_close_count=\"42\" current_session_length=\"183\" />" /APPLOCALEID 1033 

/DMP "C:\Users\blairs\Autodesk\Softimage_2013\MTL2UA0150CWY4fdae16a6f4c4e93603f470.dmp" 

/UPITOKEN "C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Softimage 2013\UPI\upiconfig.xml" 

/CADSETTINGSPATH SOFTWARE\Autodesk\Autodesk Softimage 2013\2013\CadManagerControl\CustomerErrorReport 

/SERIALNUM 399-99999999 

/SAMPLEDESCALTPATH "C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Softimage 2013\Application\bin\CER\exampleDesc.htm " 

/CALUPTIME 151026979918 

/COUNT 24 

/EXTRA "C:\Users\blairs\Autodesk\Softimage_2013\MTL2UA0150CWY4fdae16a6f4c4e93603f470.ScriptLog.txt" 

/ALTRESPATH "(null)" 


You can get the /APPXML and /CALUMPTIME from dumpuserinfo.xml.
I think /COUNT is the crash count.