New WinDbg available in preview!


We are excited to announce a preview version of a brand new WinDbg. We've updated WinDbg to have more modern visuals, faster windows, a full-fledged scripting experience, built with the easily extensible debugger data model front and center. I'll start this by saying that WinDbg Preview is using the same underlying engine as WinDbg today, so all the commands, extensions, and workflows you're used to will still work just as they did before. 

Getting started 

I know a lot of you are going to want to dive right in and try it out, here are the things you should know before doing so. 

  • Installation- You can install the WinDbg Preview from the store if you have Windows 10 Anniversary Update or newer at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/windbg/9pgjgd53tn86 - WinDbg Preview uses some features from the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, so that’s required for now. The Windows Store lets us release bug fixes and updates to you faster than we've ever been able to before, so make sure to stayed tuned to our blog and MSDN to learn the latest about the preview. 
  • Feedback- Familiarize yourself a bit with the Feedback Hub! We've still got a long way to go before we cover all WinDbg features, and we'll be using the Feedback Hub to help us prioritize what you want us to work on! The Windows Insider website has a great overview on how to give good feedback - https://insider.windows.com/en-us/how-to-feedback Once you've read that, just hit the 'Feedback Hub' button on the home ribbon. 
  • Questions- You're bound to have a lot of questions feel free to post them on this blog post, send feedback in the Feedback Hub, or tweet@aluhrs13and I'll do my best to answer. We'll be posting an FAQ on our blog sometime in the upcoming weeks. 
  • Documentation- We've got some early documentation up on MSDN that's preliminary and subject to change at https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?linkid=854349, you can give us feedback or propose edits to that documentation by hitting "Comments" or "Edit" on any page. Also keep your eyes on our MSDN blog - https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/windbg - for more updates and tips. 
  • Videos- We went to the Channel 9 studio and recorded a couple episodes of Defrag Tools to help explain some of the basics of WinDbg Preview.  
    • Defrag Tools #182 - Tim, Chad, and I go over the basics of WinDbg Preview and some of the features 
    • Defrag Tools #183 - Nick, Tim, and Chad use WinDbg Preview and go over a quick demo 
    • Coming Soon - Defrag Tools #184 - Bill and Andrew walk through the scripting features in WinDbg Preview 

What's New 

There are a lot of major changes, some of them under the hood and some of them really obvious. Here are my favorites or the things that people have told me they like the best. 

Less intimidating 

One of the words people often use to describe WinDbg is "intimidating". When you first open it, you get a dull gray screen and very little indication of what to do next. Once you're going, outside of the stepping icons, it's difficult to tell what toolbar button or menu is what you want. With WinDbg Preview we've taken a few steps to make it a bit easier for beginners. 

  • Ribbon- Ribbons are great when icons don't do a great job of describing an action, and when there are a lot of different contextual actions that are only relevant sometimes. Right now our ribbon is pretty barebones with the basics, but over time we'll be adding more ribbons for specific contexts while you're debugging. 
  • Re-worked file menu- The new file menu makes it much more clear which options you have for starting and configuring your debugging session. The attach dialog is much cleaner and more organized now and there's even a new option to launch your Store App or background tasks without needing to set it up with PLMDebug.exe. 
  • Familiar source windows- Source windows now are better in pretty much every way and should look more like to the source windows you're used to seeing in every other modern editor. 

Quality of life improvements 

WinDbg has gone a long time without any major quality of life improvements or modernizations. This has led a lot of people to doing registry hacks to get a prettier theme, or having a dozen icons pinned to their taskbar for each thing they debug often. We've taken some of these work-arounds and made them easy to access. 

  • Dark theme- This one is pretty self-explanatory, a lot of people use dark themes in their editors, and then flip over to the glaring brightness of WinDbg. Now it can match! 
  • Recent targets- Instead of having to have your KDNET key and IP on a sticky-note on your monitor, WinDbg Preview will now remember all your recent sessions and some of the settings that you had during that session. You can quickly access them again from the recent targets list in the file menu. 
  • Various window improvements- Many windows have gone a while without updates or just have glaring bugs. Some of the notable things we've done differently are that the disassembly window keeps its highlighting in the right spot when scrolled, and the memory window has better highlighting and scrolling. Many windows are also asynchronous now and loading can be cancelled by running another command. 

Data model front and center 

Hopefully you've heard about the debugger data model by now. If you haven't check out some of my older blog posts at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/windbg and our MSDN docs around JavaScript and NatVis. Up until now, the data model was only accessible through JavaScript and thedxcommand. With WinDbg Preview we're putting the data model under the vast majority of what you see, making it much more extensible. 

  • Extensible locals and watch- The data model is now powering the locals and watch windows. NatVis and JavaScript extensions that extend the data model will be reflected in those windows. You can even put LINQ queries into the watch window! 
  • Model windows- There's a new type of window called a model window. Model windows will show the results of any model query in a normal hierarchy view or a table. You'll see in the FAQ that WinDbg Preview doesn't have a modules window, you can use a model window to make your own with@$cursession.Modules! This also has the benefit that if you make a JavaScript extension that extends modules, it'll automatically update your window. 
  • Built-in scripting environment- One of the biggest complaints with scripting and extending the debugger is having to go into an IDE to write and iterate on it with WinDbg Preview you can write and execute your JavaScript and NatVis directly from the debugger. The script window has error highlighting, IntelliSense, and easier execution of scripts. 

Restrictions and other things worth noting 

While we've got that big list of what's new and awesome, this is still a preview, so there's some things that you should be aware of. 

  • At this point in the preview, we're only offering WinDbg Preview through the Windows Store. That means only devices running Windows 10 Anniversary Update can install it. 
  • You might hit errors when trying to do something that requires elevation. You'll have to manually launch WinDbg Preview elevated. 
  • The concept of a workspace is going to be changing a lot. A workspace in WinDbg Preview is vastly different from one in WinDbg. The MSDN documentation linked above has more information. 

That's where we are today. The core experiences are there and we'll be releasing improvements faster than our normal pace now in that we're shipping from the Windows Store. Please don't hesitate to send us feedback and feature requests in the Feedback Hub or in the comments below, we want your input as we move forward! 

 

-Andy Luhrs 

@aluhrs13 

Comments (96)

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  1. Brian Catlin says:

    Following the link to the store, I get “WinDbg Preview is currently not available”

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      The store takes around 24 hours to fully propagate, so it might take a bit. Also make sure you’re on Windows 10 Anniversary update (14393) or newer.

      1. Ian Yates says:

        Still unavailable although it looks like many on Twitter have been using it. I will continue to refresh the store. It’s not US only or anything is it?

      2. Anon says:

        24 hours later, still “currently not available”

      3. Well, it’s been 24 hours, and it still isn’t available. I’m running 15063

      4. must be taking a while to propagate…still not available from store here in Australia, green ticks on meeting all the requirements…

      5. Karthik says:

        Checked it in store today. I still get “Windbg Preview is currently not available”. I am checking this from India. Is there any region restriction. By the way, I am running Windows 10 – Version 1703, OS Build 15063.0.
        What could I be missing?

      6. William Holroyd says:

        It’s been two days, and I’m using Enterprise build 16273 – still not available according to the store.

      7. Macaque says:

        Store works for me now! 8/31 5:45pm EST

  2. Philip Craig says:

    Is the plan to target this for Windows 7 also? Many corporate clients only have Windows 7

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      We’re planning on including it in the SDK/WDK in the future. We’re using the store for the time being because it lets us get updates and fixes out much faster than any other option.

  3. Do you have plans to add ability to write plugins? (like Visual Studio extensions)

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Not in the immediate future, but it’s architected in a way where it wouldn’t be difficult to add. Throw the request in the Feedback Hub!

        1. Kevin Gosse says:

          Gave it a try. You did a pretty fine job decoupling the app, extending it is a pleasure 🙂
          https://twitter.com/KooKiz/status/902929965582356483

  4. Ivan says:

    I would like to test it but, Windows 10 only? Sorry can’t do it.

    Hope you include this new version in the Windows SDK, and make it available to Windows 7 users too.

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      We’re planning on including it in the SDK/WDK in the future. We’re using the store for the time being because it lets us get updates and fixes out much faster than any other option.

  5. Anton Rechkov says:

    Andy, that’s a great news.
    What will happen with old WinDbg version, any plans to make it obsolete? Do new changes affect kd and cdb as well?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      We still aren’t 100% sure what we’re going to do with old WinDbg, it’ll be around for a while at least while this is still in Preview. No changes to the console debuggers.

      1. It would be great if you just replace the old one and keep the old name WinDbg.exe 🙂

  6. Jeffrey LeCours says:

    Looking forward to the new look. I wish it wasn’t delivered via the store but c’est la vie.

    Also, can’t wait for managed / SOS data to be available for dx. 😉

  7. JoeH says:

    I presume you made available by using Desktop Bridge? What challenges did you folks run into to onboard it?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Yep, Desktop Bridge. I don’t think we made any actual changes at all really.

  8. Francisco Lopes says:

    Just leave it in the Store, it’s just better than have to download an entire SDK for it. Previously I could download it stand alone years back and it was easier to get an update than wait for Windows SDK, from the Store it’s an improvement overall. The Preview is not available for me yet though, still waiting…

    1. Gabriele says:

      There’s no need for the Store to have a download independent from the sdk, it used to be so and it’s not anymore just because of some stupid decision on their part.
      A completely independent installer was indeed included in the sdk, the last time I checked, just not distributed on the web.

  9. Onur Gumus says:

    Is it possible to run multiple instances of new WinDBG.

  10. Eric Lauffenburger says:

    Hey Andy,
    Looks fantastic! Glad to see this tool finally enter the modern world 🙂

    So, one question: when do I want to use this over the excellent debugging tools in visual studio? Does this offer me something that those tools can’t?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Windbg is a “system level” debugger. For one, it’s a kernel debugger which is used for debugging drivers and other kernel components, but it is also used for low level user mode debugging. Visual studio is usually what you want to use for application level debugging and the “F5” experience, but windbg gets used a lot for “hard” debugging problems where debugger extensions can be used to do some complex analysis. Windbg is also preferred for crash dump analysis, partly due to the powerful “!analyze” extension that can automatically debug a large class of problems.

  11. Xhanti says:

    Will it be multi-threaded?

  12. Ivan says:

    I can’t believe Windows 7 users will be left out of this preview’s test phase.

    Couldn’t you release the previews on Nuget?

    For example, the Visual C++ team release preview packages of the toolchain on Nuget.

    1. Raul Tambre says:

      Windows 7’s mainstream support has ended, so Windows 7 users shouldn’t be expecting anything besides security updates anyways.

  13. mg says:

    pls, dont go VS way.
    I WANT MY OLD GOOD WINDDBG

  14. Allan says:

    Still not showing up in the store fore me (sweden) I’m on insider fast ring with skip-a-head, could that be the reason?
    Really like to try it out 🙂

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Not likely related to Insider rings, it takes around 24 hours after publishing to be available for everyone.

  15. Funbit says:

    This is fantastic! Looking forward to the release!

  16. Kevin Gosse says:

    Any plan to open source it at some point? I’m glad to finally see a major update, but overall windbg development has been painfully slow. It’d be great if we could contribute, or even fork it to adapt it fully to our needs…

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      No promises, but we’re big fans of open source, so we’re looking at what we can do to make it happen.

  17. Xy Deng says:

    Even with my 64 bit Windows 10 Pro 15063.540 I’ve only got “This app does not work on your device”.
    I notice that the architecture it supports is x86. Could this be the problem?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      It’s marked as x86 in the store because it supports x86 and x64. The main UI binaries are running as “AnyCPU” so they will run as 64-bit on 64-bit OS and 32-bit on 32-bit OS. Both 32-bit and 64-bit debugging engines are included. The UI will try to autodetect the correct engine to use when debugging so you get a 32-bit engine when debugging a 32-bit target (the debugging engine is hosted in a separate process from the UI). The autodetection still has some edge cases where it doesn’t work but it should be correct for most debugging cases.

  18. Joao Correia says:

    Store only release is crap. The store is a wasteland and sticking this to that platform will simply force people to either ignore it until it comes from elsewhere or simply look for other solutions.

    Why not just release a standalone like before? This isnt anything remotely useful to the kind of users you want in the store anyway, this isn’t for dumb joe to use.

  19. David Boyce says:

    “Hopefully you’ve heard about the debugger data model by now. If you haven’t check out some of my older blog posts at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/windbg and our MSDN docs linked above.”

    Rather than require a somewhat frustrating search through posts and docs which assume knowledge of the debugger data model, why not provide a direct link to https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/debugger/native-objects-in-javascript-extensions ?

    It’s still inadequate as an introduction to those who spend their time almost exclusively in C/C++, though.

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Thanks for the feedback, I’ve added links to the JavaScript and NatVis docs. JavaScript is a really simple language, if you have a solid understand of C/C++, writing basic scripts in JavaScript isn’t difficult.

  20. Wow, this is a big deal! Will it also be in Windows Store for those of us still on Win8.1? Or will we have to wait for the SDK/WDK version?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Anything older than Windows 10 Anniversary Update will have to wait for the SDK/WDK

  21. Luiz Salamon says:

    Please, have another way for download. My work enterprise block access to app site.

  22. please share the appx, I still can’t get it from store ☹🙄

  23. markRoddy says:

    It is still unavailable in the app store: “WinDbg Preview is currently not available”.

  24. sdfdsf says:

    “WinDbg Preview is currently not available.”
    “Share”
    http://imgur.com/a/Js0s4

    Care to explain? It’s been more than 24 hours.

  25. dats liao says:

    hi andy, we can’t download this preview version from app store. Only “share” button on the windbg preview download page.
    os version: windows 10(10.0.15063.540), could you tell us how to fix this? thanks.

  26. Anders Tan says:

    That’s great! I can’t wait to try it, my machine is x64 win10 enterprise 15063.540 in China. But when I enter app store, it shows that the app is not available. I think it has been more than 24h after you published this post. Please tell me how to get this app, thanks a lot!

  27. vzcz says:

    I get an error message when starting app: The parameter is not correct

    1. vzcz says:

      After using the windows troubleshooter for Windows Store Apps, it found a problem with the temporary file store location. After it finished, this, and other Desktop bridge applications runs as expected

  28. Staffan Gustafsson says:

    So, how do I launch it from the command line?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Check out https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/debugger/windbg-command-line-preview – You can run “WinDbgX” from pretty much any commandline to run it.

      1. Staffan Gustafsson says:

        It seems the -a option has been removed. Broke our scripts. What is the reason for removing it?

      2. Staffan Gustafsson says:

        Same with -srcpath.

        1. Andy Luhrs says:

          It’s not really that they were “removed”, since it’s a complete re-write we haven’t added them yet. File feedback in the Feedback Hub (http://aka.ms/dexex) to get them on our radar. Preferably two separate feedback items, one for -srcpath and one for -a.

  29. Jeff Xi says:

    Until now, “WinDbg Preview is currently not available”. Why?

  30. mark roddy says:

    It now appears to have made it through the store publish.

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Good to hear it’s showing up for you! Let us know what you think!

      1. Phil B says:

        Still not available for me on Insider Preview Slow Ring (currently 16251).

  31. Günter Born says:

    Won’t launch under Windows 10 Pro (32 Bit, German) – I see DbgX.Shell.exe a few seconds in task manager, then the process terminates. Event manager showed me an unhandled exception System.BadImageFormatException in Framworkversion v4.0.30319 for DbgX.Shell.exe in .NET Runtime.

    Tried the old WinDbg on same machine – runs like a champ. Wonderful new world of store apps I guess …

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Thanks Gunter, we’ve received a few crash dumps with this error and we’re looking into the root cause. I didn’t explicitly say it in the post, but early in the Preview, we’d expect it to be a little less stable than good old WinDbg.

  32. Staffan Gustafsson says:

    I am interested in exposing the object model to other languages, like PowerShell.
    Is there any info available on how to write a psprovider.dll?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      We’re planning on releasing the APIs to expose the object model to other languages in the near future, we’re still in the process of finalizing them.

  33. Gerry says:

    Is everything going to be released through the Microsoft Store (TM)??

    Just release an .msi and be done with it! PLEASE DON’T FORCE US TO USE THE STORE!

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Thanks for the Feedback Gerry. Like I say in the post, we’re planning on releasing it in the SDK and WDK in the future. The store gives us quick and easy updatability during the preview.

  34. Macaque says:

    Can’t wait to try but store still says “WinDbg Preview is currently not available” :O

    ver: Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.15063]

  35. ge0rdi says:

    Hello.
    Is it possible to use custom WinDbg extensions (DLLs)?
    If so, where to put them?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Yep, extensions work just like before. You can put them anywhere and use the fully qualified path.

  36. Jon says:

    I guarantee there is zero intersection between people who use windbg and people who are willing to put up with the windows store lol.

    1. Macaque says:

      Me! Oh and it has ESRB rating ‘E’, very cool! 😀

  37. Su Llewellyn says:

    The Microsoft store is unavailable because our organization blocks it. Can you provide us devs with a more direct link that doesn’t involve the online Microsoft Store?

  38. George Morrison says:

    Is the UI built using WPF? Any chance you guys may release the theme open source? I’m very interested in the docking control as well.

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Yep WPF. No promises, but we’re big fans of open source, so we’re looking at what we can do to make it happen.

      1. shushamen says:

        please, please ,please, >github

  39. Onu Gumus says:

    Any improvements regarding sos and clr debugging? Are these new Windows working with car too?

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      No major changes to the behavior with SOS and CLR.

  40. Shaun says:

    Still not able to install it from the Aus store, there is no button to ‘install’, however it does show up in the search. (I have ticks for all requirements)

  41. Sean Feldman says:

    Still not available in the store.

  42. ivan jiroo says:

    I see windbg preview in the store however, there is no ‘get’ or ‘download’ option. I have windows 10 pro, creators update, anyone else having this issue still?

    1. ivan jiroo says:

      I was able to download it this morning! Thanks!

  43. Ivan says:

    It’s ironic that they released this preview only on the Store because it would allow faster updates, yet, it’s unavailable everywhere and people can’t download it.

    1. ivan jiroo says:

      Thanks for the confirmation that its also not working for you. Its a complicated system; I’m sure its a one off error or my potato of a router refuses to let the store update.

  44. Karol says:

    I can’t get it to work. I get this error all over the program:
    The procedure entry point SymGetSourceFileChecksumW could not be located in the dynamic link library C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WinDbg_1.0.10.0_x86__8wekyb3d8bbwe\amd64\dbgeng.dll.
    It won’t start the debugger.

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      We’ll look into this today. Thanks for reporting it!

      1. Shaun says:

        I am seeing the same error.

  45. NN says:

    Tried to use it.
    1. It crashes when I analyze a dump.
    I have stack overflow crash and click in the bottom of stack window makes it crashing.

    2. Seems like symbols path is not preserved

    1. Andy Luhrs says:

      Can you share more information about the crash with windbgfb@microsoft.com? A crash dump would be great, but any details would be helpful.

      For the symbol path, right now settings like symbol path are persevered as part of recent targets. So if you set your symbol path for a specific session, then open that target through the “recent targets” tab in the File menu, it’ll have the same symbol path. The best way to preserve your symbol path “globally” is to set it up how you want, then run “.settings save

  46. Windows store? Are you going insane Microsoft? What’s wrong with a DOWNLOAD LINK?

  47. I get an error when trying to run: C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\Microsoft.WinDbg_1.0.13.0_x86_8wekyb3d8bbwe\DbgX.Shell.exe Cannot create a file when that file already exists

  48. Daniel Bezerra says:

    I love Ribbon, but why didn’t you guys use the same one used by the Windows team (like in File Explorer, Paint and WordPad)?

    We are begging here for consistency. 🙏

  49. MacIn173 says:

    Is there any way (or is it planned/possible at all) to get it on older systems, like Windows 7/corresponding server versions?

    1. MacIn173 says:

      OK, I should’ve really read comments before posting. Then the question is how long users of older systems have to wait for the SDK release?

  50. Dirk Manly says:

    My company (in their infinite wisdom) blocks the store. Is there any way to directly download? (other than installing on a machine that’s not shackled by stupid policies)

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