Debugging Toolbox

Windbg scripts, debugging and troubleshooting tools and techniques to help you isolate software problems.

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  • Blog Post: 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 all...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: [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. ...
  • Blog Post: [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...
  • Blog Post: 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...
  • Blog Post: [PowerShell Script] PowerDbg v5.0—Using PowerShell to Control WinDbg

    I’m very excited to present the new PowerDbg v5.0! There’s just one change, but it’s a HUGE change that makes PowerDbg extremely fast and easier to use. Let me explain: Send-PowerDbgCommand is the heart of PowerDbg . This is the cmdlet that sends information to WinDbg and retrieves information...
  • Blog Post: [PowerShell Script] PowerDbg v4.0 - Using PowerShell to Control WinDbg

    Good news! Here’s the newest PowerDbg library. This version is more stable and has more features. Let me tell you about them and how to install it. New Features - Send-PowerDbgCTRL-BREAK / Send-PowerDbgResumeExecution If you’re wondering why do you need these cmdlets I can see at least...
  • Blog Post: [PowerShell Script] Displaying the Top 5 Exceptions and Up to 5 Different Call Stacks For Each Exception

    During a lab I had about a month ago, one of my colleagues, Tag, whom I had opportunity to mention in a previous post, asked me if I could create a PowerShell script that displays statistics of exceptions, with call stacks included. For me it sounded like a neat idea because sometimes !DumpAllExceptions...
  • Blog Post: [PowerShell Script] PowerDbg v3.1 - Using PowerShell to Control WinDbg

    This new version has one more parser for !PrintException and a killer feature that my colleagues and myself have wanted since the beginning: PowerDbg, more specifically Send-PowerDbgCommand , which now has the ability to wait until a command finished its execution. It means no more delays to wait for...
  • Blog Post: Special Command: Using s to Explore The Memory

    Very often I found myself scanning the stack or the entire virtual memory for the process to find information that may help me. This information may be strings, DWORDS, bytes, chars, etc… To accomplish this you should use the s command. Here I exemplify how you can use it to scan the memory...
  • Blog Post: [PowerShell Script] Displaying the Call Stack for Inner and Hidden Exceptions

    This script automates a technique I’ve been using for a long time whenever I need to see the stack for exceptions hidden in a call stack and if you are like me, you prefer to use an automated approach rather than a manual approach. I’m not going to write the technique here because Mike Stall has already...
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