Tools for Your Debugging Toolbox

This article was just updated to include an internal Microsoft tool that is now public. There are many free tools used to troubleshoot and debug software. Below I present a list of the tools that my peers and I use most of the time. Though most of the tools below are free Microsoft tools, not…


D3v3l0p3r PF3s – 0bs3rv1ng Th3m in Th31r Natural Hab1tat

PFE has engineers who specialize in areas which can contain one or more technologies.  This species is universally known as D3v PF3 (Developer PFE).  Not everyone really knows their habits and role and, as a consequence, sometimes it’s hard for customers to engage them. Their specialty is problem isolation, application debugging, knowledge transfer, code review,…


Top Things to Consider When Troubleshooting Complex Application Issues

1- For reactive incidents: “Bring the engineer onsite because it is going to be easier to isolate the problem.” This is the most common misconception I’ve heard. Let me explain: most complex problems require deep debugging sessions.Collecting the necessary information is the easy part and can be done remotely or by the customer. However, several…


New Debugging Book – Windows Debugging Notebook: Essential User Space WinDbg Commands

A reference book for technical support and escalation engineers troubleshooting and debugging complex software issues. The book is also invaluable for software maintenance and development engineers debugging Windows applications and services.   Do you want to know more about this book? Check out here…


PSSCOR2, the Superset of SOS.DLL is Now Public!!!

Whenever I’m debugging with customers watching it’s inevitable: they always ask me what this PSSCOR2.dll extension is. The next question is always if PSSCOR2.DLL is going to be public. PSSCOR2.DLL is a superset of SOS.DLL and has much more commands and variations! The good news is that yes, now PSSCOR2.DLL is public, so you can download…


Special Command—Unassembling code with u, ub and uf

When debugging sooner or later you will need to disassemble code to get a better understanding of that code. By disassembling the code, you get the mnemonics translated from the 0s and 1s that constitute the binary code. It is a low level view of the code, but a higher level than seeing just numbers….


Special Command—Using .dump/.dumpcab to Get Dumps and Symbols from Production Servers

Using WinDbg you can create a dump file from an application running, for instance, in a production server. After collecting the dump file, you can load it in another machine and debug it. However, to be more effective during your debugging session you need symbols. Thus, thinking about it, here’s the trick to get both dump…


[PowerShell Script] Statistics from .NET Applications

This script is more a template to show you how to use PowerDbg. I must say the idea is from my teammate Aaron Barth! This script collects information from all threads running managed code and gives the user statistics by threads like:   –      CLR stack. –      Managed objects from the stack. –      ASP.NET page….


[PowerShell Script] PowerDbg v5.1—Using PowerShell to Control WinDbg

  So, here we go again. This is a minor version with a few new cmdlets. These new cmdlets are those that we use most of the time.   DOWNLOAD POWERDBG   Download PowerDbg   POWERDBG FILES   WinDbg.PSM1  ß Contains cmdlets used to communicate with WinDbg.   Microsoft.PowerShell_Profile.PS1 ß Contains cmdlets that parse command…


Special Command—Parsing Commands Using .shell

Finally I’m writing about this command. I love it! It’s so powerful! .shell command launches a shell process and redirects its output to the debugger or to a specified file. Usage: .shell [Options] [ShellCommand] .shell -i InFile [-o OutFile [-e ErrFile]] [Options] ShellCommand  According to the WinDbg help, options can be: -ci “Commands” Processes the specified debugger commands and then passes their output as an…