Updated Archive of the Debug Ninja’s Twitter Debug Tips

Every Wednesday (usually) I post a debug tip to our twitter page at https://twitter.com/#!/ntdebugging. This blog is an archive of these tips to allow our readers to find this information easily. I will update this blog periodically with the new tips; follow us on twitter if you want to see the tips as I post them.

The goal of these tips is to share debug commands, and forms of commands (parameters, flags, etc) that my colleagues and I find useful. I hope you can add these commands to your toolkit and they will help you debug more efficiently.


!thread/!process [address] e – on x64 will not show you the meaningless Args to Child information.

.frame /c [FrameNumber] – sets context to specified stack frame. Provides more reliable information than .trap on x64.

kn – Dumps call stack with frame numbers, easier than counting stacks for .frame.

.frame /r [FrameNumber] – same as .frame /c, but shows registers without changing context.

Note: With .frame /c or /r you can only trust the nonvolatile registers. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/9z1stfyw(VS.80).aspx for vol/nonvol regs.

k=rbp rip FrameCount – Dumps call stack starting at rbp/rip on x64. Useful when the stack is corrupt. #debug ^DN

.process/.thread /p /r [address] – sets new process context, sets .cache forcedecodeuser, and reloads user symbols. #debug ^DebugNinja

!process [address] 17 – Sets the context for this command, avoids the need for .process to see user stacks. Try !process 0 17 #debug ^DN

~~[ThreadID]s – Changes threads in user mode. Use Thread ID number from output such as !locks. Ex: ~~[1bd4]s #debug ^DN

runas /netonly /u:<account> windbg.exe – Launch windbg with domain account. Use when dbg computer isn’t in domain and symbol server is. ^DN

!heap -p -a <address> – Shows information about the heap block containing <address>, even if you aren’t using pageheap. #debug ^DN

ub – Unassembles starting at a location prior to your address. Accepts l<number> to specify how many instructions to go back. ub . l20 ^DN

!stacks 2 [FilterString] – Finds kernel mode call stacks that contain the FilterString in a symbol. #debug ^DN

!thread [address] 17 (or 1e on x64) – Sets context for this command, avoids the need for .thread/.process for user stacks. #debug ^DN

.hh [Text] – Opens the debugger help. [Text] is the topic to lookup in the index. Example: .hh !pte   #debug ^DN

?? can dump structs using C++ style expressions. Ex: ??((nt!_KTHREAD*)(0xfffffa800ea43bb0))->ApcState #debug ^DN

bp /t EThread – Sets a kernel mode breakpoint that only triggers when hit in the context of this thread. #debug ^DN

bp /p EProcess – Sets a kernel mode breakpoint that only triggers when hit in the context of this process. #debug ^DN

gc – If you run ‘p’ and hit a breakpoint, gc takes you where p would have gone if you had not hit the bp.  #debug ^DN

gu – Go until the current function returns.  Effectively this unwinds one stack frame.  #debug #windbg ^DN

pc – Steps through until the next ‘call’ instruction. Combine with other commands to find who returned your error> pc;p;r eax #debug ^DN

pt – Steps through until the next ‘ret’ instruction. Similar to gu, but pt stops on the ret and gu stops after the ret. #debug ^DN

.ignore_missing_pages 1 – supresses the error: "Page 2a49 not present in the dump file. Type ".hh dbgerr004" for details" #debug ^DN

.exr -1 shows the most recent exception.  Useful in user dumps of crashes, especially for no execute crashes (NX/DEP). #debug ^DN

wt – Trace calls until they return to the current address. More useful with -or to get return values. Use -l for depth. ^DN #debug

.thread /w – Changes to the WOW64 32-bit context from 64-bit kernel mode. Wow64exts doesn’t work in kernel mode. #debug ^DN

??sizeof(structure) – Gets the size of a structure, it’s easier than counting. #debug ^DN

sxe ld:module.dll – Enables an exception which will break into the debugger when module.dll is loaded. #debug ^DN

vertarget – Shows OS version of the debug target. Also shows machine name, uptime, and session time (when the dump was taken). #debug ^DN

!vm 1 – In a kernel debugger, shows basic information about memory usage. Available, committed, pagefile, pool, sysptes, etc. #debug ^DN

.time – Shows session time (when dump was taken) and system uptime. In user mode shows process uptime, kernel/user time. #debug ^DN

ba w size [address] – Break on write access only. Replace size with the num bytes you want to watch. Ex: ba w 4 005d5f10 #debug ^DN

.bugcheck – Displays the bugcheck code of a blue screen crash. The format is more concise than !analyze.  #debug ^DN

.process -i <address> – Make the process active and break into the debugger. Use in live kernel debugs to get into process context. ^DN

.reload /f /o – Overwrites cached files in your downstream symbol store.  Useful when your store has corrupt pdbs. #debug ^DN

->* – Use with dt to dump pointers. Example: dt _EPROCESS [Address] ObjectTable->*

!for_each_module s -a @#Base @#End "PTag" – Find the drivers using pool tag "PTag". #debug ^DN

.unload [DllName] – Unloads the debug extension you didn’t intend to load. Omit DllName to unload the last dll loaded. #debug ^DN

!exqueue dumps the executive worker queues.  Use flags 7f to dump the worker threads and the queues. #debug ^DN

lmvm <module> – Dumps information about the module.  Remember to use <module> and not <module.dll>. #debug ^DN

Comments (1)

  1. Miro says:

    Very useful, thank you, mysterious debug ninja!