November, 2008

  • Never doubt thy debugger

    Need a hotfix… then “Fix it!”

    • 1 Comments

    Things keep moving and after some discussion (here and here I already expressed my view on the matter), the first KB article with a “Fix it” button to directly download the relevant hotfix has gone live a couple of days ago, check it out: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945402/en-us.

    fixit

    Carlo

    Quote of the day:
    Committee--a group of men who individually can do nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be done. - Fred Allen
  • Never doubt thy debugger

    Troubles downloading public symbols?

    • 1 Comments

    Imagine you are debugging your dump, are already looking forward for the output of the command you just typed (say a kpn to get the stack of a thread) and you get this message instead:

    *** ERROR: Symbol file could not be found.  Defaulted to export symbols for mscorwks.dll
    WARNING: Frame IP not in any known module. Following frames may be wrong.

    As you can understand, not having the symbols for mscorwks in a .NET dump can make your analysis harder and above all without matching symbols you cannot really trust what you see in your debugger (despite the title of my blog! smile_regular) and ultimately it can make the dump almost useless. I actually talked with a customer a few days ago whom got this exact situation and he was quite frustrated and upset with Microsoft for not hiving the symbol for the core .NET dll on the public symbol server.

    Anyway, without losing his temper that developer used the !sym noisy command to have a look at the symbol loading output, here is what he got:

    SYMSRV:  The operation timed out
    SYMSRV:  d:\symbols\mscorwks.pdb\62286AFFFC674D5198883B98518936FF2\mscorwks.pdb not found
    SYMSRV:  http://msdl.microsoft.com/download/symbols/mscorwks.pdb/62286AFFFC674D5198883B98518936FF2/mscorwks.pdb not found

    The pdb was actually on the server, but for some reason we were timing out the operation.

    Some researches on the Internet brought to article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/181050

    The time-out limit is five minutes for versions 4.0 and 4.01 and is 60 minutes for versions 5.x and 6. Also, the time-out limit is 30 seconds for Windows Internet Explorer 7

    A 30 second timeout might not be enough if you are with Internet Explorer 7 on a “slow” connection…

    How can this be fixed? Add a ReceiveTimeout DWORD value with a data value of x milliseconds (so number of seconds multiplied 1000) in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings

     

    P.s.
    Credit for this post must go to Efthimios Dalamagkidis, former CSS Engineer and now CSS customer, thanks for discussing with me! smile_regular

     

    Carlo

    Quote of the day:
    When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained. - Mark Twain
  • Never doubt thy debugger

    Invalid length for a Base-64 char array

    • 6 Comments

    There are various causes for this error, this is one we had some time ago when paginating through a DataGrid (for this case we’re talking about ASP.NET 1.1); the error appeared systematically under a specific user pattern:

    Invalid length for a Base-64 char array. 
    Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code. 
    
    Exception Details: System.FormatException: Invalid length for a Base-64 char array. 
    
    Source Error: 
    
    An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.     
    
    Stack Trace: 
    
    [FormatException: Invalid length for a Base-64 char array.]    System.Convert.FromBase64String(String s) +0    System.Web.UI.LosFormatter.Deserialize(String input) +25    System.Web.UI.Page.LoadPageStateFromPersistenceMedium() +101  [HttpException (0x80004005): Invalid_Viewstate  Client IP: 213.199.128.155  Port: 24949  User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; InfoPath.2; MS-RTC LM 8)  ViewState: dDw2Mjg2Njc3OTM7dDw7bDxpPDA+Oz47bDx0PDtsPGk8MT47aTwzPjs+O2w8dDxwPHA8bDxUZXh0Oz47bDxcZTs+Pjs+Ozs+O3Q8QDA8cDxwP 
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    We tried to use the ViewState Decoder and got the same error. During a discussion with the customer we found he was using an HttpModule to have a sort of custom logging to trace all incoming requests and outgoing responses… during the same discussion we browsed a few other working pages on the same site and doing some tests we found a difference in the viewstate produced.

    To make the story short we notice a weird character sequence in the failing viewstates (="") while in the working viewstates we never have two double-quote characters like that. Again using ViewState Decoder we tried to past the same failing viewstate but we changed the two last digits with two “equal” signs (==) and it worked…

    This meant that something was touching the viewstate, and after some further investigation we found a problem in the custom HttpModule which under some circumstances was incorrectly adding the two double-quotes at the end of the string. Needless to say that fixing the bug also resolved the problem.

    End of the story: if you search the Internet you can find a few viewstate decoders and loggers tools, give them a try if you find yourself in trouble with the viewstate, with some luck you’ll be able to quickly spot the problem and fix it. Of course, if this is not enough you can still call CSS smile_regular

     

    Carlo

    Quote of the day:
    It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important. - Martin Luther King Jr.
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