Visual Studio Breakpoint Helper

I have created a prototype Breakpoint Helper that deals with the most common issues that Visual Studio Debugger users have when their breakpoints don't work. This is only a prototype, but I hope people will still find it useful.

If the feedback is promising I can try to get it integrated into VS2005.

If you have any comments on the helper itself, please use the Feedback section on this post. If you found it useful, I'd like to know. If it didn't help you, I also want to know, and please include the page name where it stopped being useful.

Please note I don't really want this post to become a 'here is my breakpoint problem please solve it' type of thing, as I cannot handle the volume and don't personally have all the expertise (especially ASP.NET issues). I really want people to try the helper and let me know where it has holes, is confusing, or unhelpful.

Comments (23)
  1. Sorin Dolha says:


    I just wanted to say that I absolutely love your tool, it’s pretty handy in cases when you need to understand why a breakpoint isn’t hit, just in case when you run out of clues.

    I have tested it and it’s bold and clear, I think it would be great to try to integrate it into VS Team System analysis/help tools.

    Sorin Dolha [MCAD, MCSD .NET]

  2. Tirion says:

    .:: Findekano’s Tidbet ::

  3. Joe Moore says:

    Cool tool. Too bad it didn’t help me (other than convincing by boss I’m not crazy :-). Here’s a scenario to add:

    VS.NET 2003, C#

    Within my application, I’m using some unsafe code blocks calling a custom C DLL. I have a dialog with an ‘OK’ button witha DialogResult of ‘OK’. The button’s Click event calls a function (let’s call it ‘DoRegFunc’) in which I access the registry (Microsoft.Win32.ReigstryKey). Breakpoints work everywhere else except the event and DoRegFunc. If I set an assertion to fail within the DoRegFunc, it fires, but when I press ‘Retry’ to debug it, VS.NET gives me a dialog saying "no code at this point" and the stack trace is empty. If I turn on debugging of unmanaged code, I get my stack trace back, but I still can’t debug the managed code.

  4. Tim says:


    My breakpoint problem had me stumped for a couple of hours, finally after dozens of reboots I started web searching and ran into your site.  I was back debugging with breakpoints in a couple of minutes.


  5. Jim Donelson says:

    First, thank for the great site.

    native, vc8

    The dreaded yellow ball!

    First turn on "Warn if no symbols on launch".

    At least then you will get a dialog telling you.

    You can try and rebuild but sometimes

    vc8 incorrectly belives that symbols are out of date – the only fix is exit vc8 and restart.

  6. Jim Donelson says:

    So much for that fix, the hollow ywllow ball is back, and now vs doesn’t even complain, just the hollow yellow ball the the ! icon on it.

    Any ideas?

  7. Jim Donelson says:

    Ok, more info…

    Killed off ALL instances of vs8.

    Kill mspdbsrv.exe.

    Force rebuild of entire project.

    Ok, again (till it comes back:-)).

    The hollow yellow ball does mean symbol/source problem, but just cleaning/re-building does nto seem to alway fix it.

    – You may or may not get the warning dialog.

    – To see the yellow ball, build with an error and then start debugging.

  8. Red Wraith says:

    I could fix the following problem I encountered when programming C/C++ in Visual Studio 2005: "The break point will not currently be hit. No symbols have been loaded for this document."

    I did the following: I went to the properties of my project, configuration, c/c++, general, format of debug information (I use a German version of Visual Studio so these categories might not be properly translated) and set it from "deactivated" to something else. Now the breakpoints work fine!

  9. jerry.gadd says:

    I have a problem that your helper does not help with.

    My icon has a question mark in it, and the tooltip says

    "No symbols have been loaded for this document."

    I had already tried.

    1) Ensure in Debug mode

    2) Rebuild

    3) Delete obj folder

    4) Close and reload project

    Finally it worked when i

    1) Rebooted

    2) Rebuilt

  10. jyoti says:

    Whn i put the breakpoint it is a solid red with a question mark in it.Whn i hover the mouse on it a message appears saying this breakpoint will not be hit currently.No executable loaded this point of execution.

    Please help

  11. Andy-Pennell says:

    jyoti: please use the Helper, as described at the top of this post.

  12. johny says:

    hi, nice tool, but it did not help me with Visual Web Developer 2008. breakpoints work in a new project, but not an existing one.

    i checked the solution and project properties, seem to be correct on paths, but may be different than full Visual Studio


  13. Andy-Pennell says:

    johny: Sorry, haven’t tried VS2008 myself. Try Jim’s blog ( he has my old job on VS.

  14. Bohumil Chalupa says:

    I use VS 2005 and had been trying to debug a device application. Breakpoins were working when running in device emulator, but not in the real device.

    Solution: There has been newer version of .NET 2.0 CF (SP1) in the device then in VS. So updating the .NET CF 2.0 to SP1 on the PC also solves the issue.

  15. Peter Vroegindewey says:

    This is great, only I couln’t find help for my problem. Once arrived at "The breakpoint will not currently be hit" the site does not offer the possiblility: "The specified module has not been loaded." This is my problem, and I can’t seem to get the breakpoints working anymore. I’m using a combination of managed and unmanaged code. (But even in a simple new project (via wizard) the breakpoints don’t work.

    Any help?

  16. Margaret says:

    I couldn’t find "Source File Paths" to check which file was being used as recommended. Where is it?

  17. Andy-Pennell says:

    Margaret: Open Properties on the Solution.

  18. adnan says:

    Hey All,

    I too have wasted an inordinate amount of time on this one. Fortunately, our organisation has access to Microsoft Partner Support, who gave me this fix. It’s a Compact Framework patch (I’m using CF2.0).

    As soon as I installed it, my breakpoints started working again!

  19. Pat Corey says:

    I have the 2002 and my app stopped breaking during debug. So I had to check the box to debug This fixed my issue. Thanks for the debugger breakpoint helper. It helped me finally find my issue. 🙂

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