• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Alexander SPK Windows

May 29, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

* A look at Alexander System Protection Kit for Windows

Living through a server crash on Microsoft Windows can try the patience of the most seasoned system administrator. While the frequency of crashes has been greatly reduced since the release of Windows 2000 Server, it still happens – and usually at the most inopportune time. Determining the cause of a crash is not a task for the faint of heart – unless you have Alexander System Protection Kit for Windows.

Those who’ve dealt with Windows crashes know the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), which gets its name from the blue background and various messages that appear on your screen and announce that your system has crashed. While the BSOD does give some information, it often isn’t detailed enough to give the exact cause, or how to fix it. That’s where Alexander SPK comes in.

For example, a common system crash cause is bad or out-of-date drivers. Although the Microsoft BSOD page usually shows what drivers were loaded at the time of a crash, it’s often hard to tell which one was the cause. Other common causes are file system and/or registry corruption, and hardware troubles, especially memory-related problems.

The original 1996 release of Alexander SPK was for Novell NetWare. The new Windows version works for Windows 2000 and XP platforms. The software uses a distributed architecture to monitor and service groups of machines. The base kit includes a single management console, one server and five Windows workstation protection licenses. Crash dump files get transferred to the management console machine for further analysis. The software includes the SPK Agent and SPK Manager. The Agent is installed on each machine that you want to capture crash information from. SPK Manager serves as the central analysis and reporting tool. The management console requires the Java Runtime Environment Version 1.3 or higher, which is included with the software.

Once a crash dump file is created, the reporting engine generates a complete analysis of the crash to include loaded drivers, which process was in control of the processor at the time of the crash, and a detailed listing of software versions involved. A report can be saved to a file or sent to an e-mail address. One thing the product doesn’t do is help you actually fix the problem that caused the crash. They do offer a product called RecoverySafe Windows that does address that problem.

Alexander SPK Windows is a program that you don’t really think about until you need it. When you do need it, you need it right away. Fortunately, the software is available for download from the company’s Web site. The next time you have to face a BSOD, you’ll want to have a copy of Alexander SPK running to help you through the crisis. For the full report, go to