Those of you who are used to doing performance analysis can appreciate the value of reducing interference between your application and other applications and services running on the system under study.  So far, I've been using the Visual Studio IDE to show you how you can collect and analyze a profile.  Since Visual Studio itself can be a resource intensive application, it is sometimes desirable to collect a profile without the IDE's assistance.  Further, it is sometimes desirable to collect a profile on a system that does not have Visual Studio installed.  For these purposes, the Concurrency Visualizer comes with support in the Visual Studio profiler command-line tools.  The command-line tools allow both launch and attach profile collection.  Here's how you can accomplish this:

Lanunch Scenario:

1. Open a Visual Studio Command Prompt window as an Admininstrator (remember, ETW-based collection requires high privileges).  The tool is usually found at Start->All Programs->Microsoft Visual Studio 2010->Visual Studio Tools->Visual Studio Command Prompt (2010).  The console will have the appropriate paths set up for the tools that we'll be using.

2. Start profiling and launch the application of interest using the following command (I usually do this from the directory containing the program of interest):

     vsperfcmd /start:CONCURRENCY,THREADONLY /launch:fullpathtoprogram.exe /output:profilefilename

3. Now the application should be launched and you can perform your test.  When finished, if you terminated the application, you can just run the following command to complete the profile collection:

     vsperfcmd /shutdown

4. When the above command completes, you will find the profile file "profilefilename.vsp" in the current directory.  All you need to do now is to open this .vsp file in Visual Studio (Ultimate or Premium) using the File->Open->File menu option.  Just so that you know, there are two other files containing profile data: profilefilename.app.ctl and profilefilename.krn.ctl

Attach Scenario:

1. Find the process id (PID) of the application that you're interest in.  You can use Task Manager to do that by enabling the PID column in Processes tab using the View->Select Columns option.

2. Attach to the process for analysis using the following command:

     vsperfcmd /start:CONCURRENCY,THREADONLY /attach:<pid of the process> /output:profilefilename

3. When you're done profiling the usage pattern that you're interested in, run the following commands:

     vsperfcmd /detach

     vsperfcmd /shutdown

4. When the above command completes, you will find the profile file "profilefilename.vsp" in the current directory.  All you need to do now is to open this .vsp file in Visual Studio (Ultimate or Premium) using the File->Open->File menu option.

If you'd like to collect on a system that does not have Visual Studio installed, you will need to install the Standalone Profiler tools.  There's a directory on the Visual Studio DVD containing the installer for these tools.  You will need to run this as an admin because it installs a driver.  In addition, the command-line tools require .NET 4.

That's all you need to collect profiles without the overhead of Visual Studio.  Now go give these a try!

-Hazim