Analyzing Wait Chains to Determine the Cause of Software Hangs

by Chris Sanders [Published on 30 March 2011 / Last Updated on 31 Jan. 2010]

Nothing is more frustrating than a program that continues to hang during operation. The Windows 7 version of resource monitor provides a new feature which helps determine the cause of software crashes.

Software crashes are the bane of any user’s existence. This is especially the case when a program is repeatedly crashing. Windows 7 includes a version of the resource monitor (RESMON) utility that has a new feature aimed at helping system administrators track down the cause of application hangs.

When the application in question freezes up, you can launch Resource Monitor by going to the Start Menu, typing resmon, and pressing Enter. Within resource monitor you can right click the process that is stalled and click the Analyze Wait Chain option.

This option will give you some insight into what the process is waiting on that is keeping it from functioning. This may not give you a definitive answer as to why your application is hanging up, but it should help you know where to look.

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The Author — Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders is a network security analyst for EWA Government Systems Inc. Chris is the author of the book Practical Packet Analysis as well as several technical articles. His personal website at contains a great deal of information, articles, and guides related to network administration, network security, packet analysis, and general information technology.

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