INTRODUCTION TO THE DEBUGGERS in Software

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2 INTRODUCTION TO THE DEBUGGERS
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We can now recognize some situations in which kernel debugging is not an acceptable technique in the toolbox, but we are not always sure when it can be really useful Therefore, in the later section Debugging Scenarios, we will reveal some typical situations in which a kernel debugger is extremely useful
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Basic Debugger Tasks
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After setting up the debugger, you should see a command prompt or a debugger windows waiting for your commands After a new command is entered, the debugger switches to execution mode, executes the command displaying the results, and switches back into the command prompt mode If the command entered requires the target to execute code, any debugger event encountered while executing the command returns the debugger back into the command mode In the following sections, we describe some of the most used commands and provide a brief description of the resultant output, highlighting the most relevant information from it
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Introduction to the Debuggers
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Entering Debugger Commands
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Within the console-based debuggers ntsdexe, cdbexe, and kdexe, the entire console window is used to display the results of the commands entered at the command prompt In WinDbg, the output window is a special window, identifiable by the Command title The window has an input box at the bottom that is used to enter commands in the same fashion as in the console-based debuggers The Command menu item in the Tool menu can be used to display the command windows (alternatively, the Alt+1 shortcut) One big advantage of the GUI interface is the capability to show multiple views of the debugged process at the same time, eliminating the need to enter a new command to display that piece of information and accept commands from the menu and toolbar All user interface commands have one correspondent textual command and can be entered in the command window Because the WinDbg s command window is more or less identical to the console of any text-based debugger, all examples in this book are illustrated using the command window commands Furthermore, one of the biggest advantages WinDbg has over the console mode debugger is the source mode capabilities With proper access to symbol and source files, which are managed by using a process similar to the one described in 4, Managing Symbol and Source Files, the power of WinDbg is fully realized The user benefits from a debugger that automatically retrieves the source files, shows, and synchronizes multiple views into the debugger target while enabling fine control of the debugger target using the command prompt This debugger can also be extended with business-specific functionality, as explained in 11, Writing Custom Debugger Extensions You can use any command from the multitude of debugger commands or debugger extensions commands, but your goal is to resolve a specific problem, and we should follow some general directions The generic workflow used to resolve a debugger session starts by identifying the current debugging environment and correct, if possible, any problem with the symbols The next step is to understand why the debugger stopped where it did and, with the available information, create possible scenarios leading to the current stop With each such scenario in mind, we should use any piece of information from the debugger session to try to prove that the scenario was really executed If we find any contradiction, we should go back and try another scenario With the scenario proven by the current state of the application in mind, the developer goes to the source code, finds the problem, and fixes it In the next section, we explore the basic commands used to explore the application state required in the steps described previously
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Basic Debugger Tasks
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Interpreting the Debugger Prompt
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Without entering any commands in the debugger and just by looking at the debugger prompt, including some of the previous console output, we can figure out a few details concerning the debugger target We will start by examining the normal output from a user mode debugger immediately after starting a new process (for example, c:\>windbg notepad) The output is shown in Listing 26 Listing 26 User mode debugger output
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(2d423c): Break instruction exception - code 80000003 (first chance) eax=7ffdf000 ebx=00000001 ecx=00000002 edx=00000003 esi=00000004 edi=00000005 eip=77f75a58 esp=0084ffcc ebp=0084fff4 iopl=0 nv up ei pl zr na po nc cs=001b ss=0023 ds=0023 es=0023 fs=0038 gs=0000 efl=00000246 ntdll!DbgBreakPoint: 77f75a58 cc int 3 0:000> vertarget Windows XP Version 2600 (Service Pack 2) UP Free x86 compatible Product: WinNt, suite: SingleUserTS kernel32dll version: 5126002180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm040803-2158) Debug session time: Mon May 28 20:21:23486 2007 (GMT-7) System Uptime: 2 days 18:44:45827 Process Uptime: 0 days 0:01:04402 Kernel time: 0 days 0:00:00000 User time: 0 days 0:00:00010 0:000> lastevent Last event: 2d423c: Break instruction exception - code 80000003 (first chance) 0:000> || 0 Live user mode: <Local>
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