Notes from a dark corner

Debugging ASP.NET, the CLR and anything that uses clock cycles.

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  • Blog Post: Background Transfer API chalk and talk

    On February 26th, 6pm – 8pm GMT (10am – 12pm PST) members of our Windows Store apps developer support team will deliver an online chalk and talk about how to use and debug the Background Transfer API. “ WHAT : How to use and debug Background Transfer API issues WHEN : February 26th, 2014. 10am-12pm PST...
  • Blog Post: DebugDiag 2.0 available

    An awesome update to that long staple tool in the IIS and general debugging toolbox has now been released. DebugDiag 2.0 is HERE ! Go get it! Doug
  • Blog Post: CLRMD: .NET Crash Dump and Live Process Inspection

    Lee Culver, a software developer on the .NET Runtime team, has shipped an awesome managed code library for anyone interested in analysing memory dumps and the internals of running .NET applications.  Known as CLRMD, this library allows you to write code that does all the kinds of stuff you do with...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft Next 2012 – featuring support diagnostics!

    The Microsoft Next 2012 contest recently concluded and among the finalists this year was a video by Steve Edwards showcasing some of the great work going on within Microsoft Customer Service and Support around the world to automate the collection and analysis of the diagnostic data needed to resolve...
  • Blog Post: Enhanced JavaScript Debugging support in Visual Studio 11 beta

    Interesting post by Dmitri Leonov on enhanced JavaScript Debugging support in Visual Studio 11 beta
  • Blog Post: Managing source windows in WinDBG

    If you make use of the source code debugging features WinDBG you may find it quite annoying the way that each time you hit a point in the debug that relates to source in a file you do not already have open WinDBG opens yet another source window. This results in lots of open source windows and a constantly...
  • Blog Post: Tips for successful .NET Debugging with WinDBG

    Here are my tips for pain free .NET debugging with WinDBG 1) Always use a 32-bit debugger for a 32-bit process and a 64-bit debugger for a 64-bit process, both to generate the dump and to analyse it. Use usermode dumps only (managed debugger extensions are not expected to work with kernel mode) and ensure...
  • Blog Post: An interesting tool for managed memory analysis–LeakShell

      A very interesting article on manager memory troubleshooting and also the introduction of a new tool called LeakShell from Christophe Nasarre . Then he has a later post in which he talks about using LeakShell in conjunction with dump files. Great stuff Christophe! HTH Doug
  • Blog Post: New developer tools features in IE9

    Good blog post here detailing the new developer tools features in Internet Explorer 9. HTH Doug
  • Blog Post: You spent HOW much on our new server and the app slowed DOWN??!!

    I had a support case recently where the customer had moved their server farm onto brand new hardware, each server with lots of CPUs. At the same time they had taken the operating system from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 R2. I forget how many CPUs they had but let’s just say that their task...
  • Blog Post: Enabling Gflags or AppVerifier options for a particular service or COM+ package.

    I saw the following tip go around on email. Certain debugging options such as PageHeap and AppVerifier setting are set per process name (because they use the ImageFileExecutionOptions key in the registry). That can make it tricky setting them for processes that host other things such as dllhost.exe,...
  • Blog Post: Debug Analyzer.NET–a tool to really rev up your debugging

    One of my colleagues Sukesh has just released a beta of a tool he has written called Debug Analyze.NET . I’ve not had the chance to give it a test drive yet but it looks to be a very powerful and rich framework/tool to help you automate the debugging experience. Very useful if you do a lot of dump analysis...
  • Blog Post: Finding the .NET version in a debug session

    An interesting little question came up on one of our internal discussion groups today. “How can I find in a debug session the version of the .NET runtime being used in the debuggee?” [in an automated/scripted fashion and without using debugger extensions or symbols] Here is what I came up with: 0:029>...
  • Blog Post: An index to Maoni's blog posts about the GC

    Maoni Stephens has a great blog about how the .NET Garbage Collector (GC) works. I was delivering a .NET debug class last week and had cause to bring together an index of her many GC related posts: Maoni's WebLog : Using GC Efficiently – Part 1 Maoni's WebLog : Using GC Efficiently – Part 2 Maoni's WebLog...
  • Blog Post: Tool to turn Hyper-V VM state into a memory dump – vm2dmp tool

    Here is a very clever idea made reality. Take a virtual machine that you want to do some kernel level spelunking on. Rather than going into the guest and generating a kernel dump by one of the usual methods, take the saved state of the virtual machines and use this new tool to make a memory dump. HTH...
  • Blog Post: Generating Application Verifier logs for web applications

    Application Verifier is a useful tool for capturing application bugs (mostly of the non-.NET variety) – things like heap corruption, resource leaks, invalid handle usage and the ignoring of exceptions by exception handlers to name a few.  It has a reasonably friendly GUI for configuring which applications...
  • Blog Post: Failed to CoCreate profiler

    Sometimes support cases are like buses. You never see one and then two or three the same come along all at once. Recently one of my team mates asked me about an error his customer was getting in their event log: Source: CLR Category: None Event ID: 0 Description: The description for Event ID (0) in Source...
  • Blog Post: .NET Type internals

    If you debug .NET a lot you need to know what is going on inside a .NET application. I came across a great article about .NET Type internals that is very useful. HTH Doug
  • Blog Post: Object doesn't support this property or method

    This is a short post about a very strange support case I had. I should start by mentioning however that you could see the same error for other reasons, not least of which because you’ve mistyped the property or method name :-). In this particular case the customer had a class ASP web application that...
  • Blog Post: On memory leaks…

    If you have a rusty old bucket and it is overflowing because you put too much water in it, then you should certainly think about buying a nice new plastic one at some point. But the new one will still overflow if you put too much water in it.
  • Blog Post: “THIS DUMP FILE IS PARTIALLY CORRUPT”.

    I was investigating an issue today and needed to create a kernel dump on demand in my repro machine, a copy of Windows Server 2003 SP2 hosted in Hyper-V. I successfully blue-screened it (!): and left it to get on with generating the dump and rebooting. Because I wasn’t watching it I never saw it actually...
  • Blog Post: Debugging and Profiling API enhancements in CLR 4.0

    There’s a very interesting interview been published on Channel 9 about the new and changed profiling and debugging APIs in CLR 4.0. While I’m mentioning CLR 4.0, here are a bunch of links related to Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0: Downloads Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Beta 1 Microsoft .NET...
  • Blog Post: Must know info on PDB files…

    I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything written by John Robbins that is not worth reading. But in a recent post he talks about a subject that rings particularly true for me – the importance of debug symbols. Symbols are like the Rosetta stone of debugging – they are the key to interpreting debugger...
  • Blog Post: “Failed to load data access DLL, 0x80004005” – OR – What is mscordacwks.dll?

    Ever seen this error in a WinDBG/CDB debug session? Failed to load data access DLL, 0x80004005 Verify that 1) you have a recent build of the debugger (6.2.14 or newer)             2) the file mscordacwks.dll that matches your version of mscorwks...
  • Blog Post: Escaping entries in ADPlus config files

    This is a useful point I saw discussed recently on some internal email. So I thought I would blog it before I lose it. If you use ADPlus at all and make use of the (very useful) configuration file option you may have run into the situation where it complains about certain characters. For example, suppose...
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