0:000> sympath Symbol search path is: <empty> in VS .NET

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0:000> sympath Symbol search path is: <empty>
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Initially, the symbol path is set to empty and the debuggers use the well-known symbol paths to load the symbols Let s say that you have an application that, once installed, is located in the following folder:
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C:\program files\My application
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3 BASIC DEBUGGING TASKS
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Furthermore, let s say you need to debug an instance of that application and that your symbol files are stored in the following folder:
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C:\MySymbols
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Basic Debugging Tasks
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To use the symbols, you have to run the following command:
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0:000> sympath c:\mysymbols Symbol search path is: c:\mysymbols
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At this point, the debugger has recorded the new symbol path but has not yet loaded any symbols that are applicable from that path To tell the debugger to load the symbols, we can use the reload meta-command, which enumerates all the loaded modules in the process address space and attempts to find the associated symbol files associated with each module
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0:000> reload Reloading current modules *** ERROR: Symbol file could not be found ntdlldll -
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If the debugger fails to find a symbol file, it displays an error as shown previously In this particular case, it successfully loaded all the symbols except for the ntdlldll module, which was not found Ntdlldll is a module that is part of Windows and as such we would like to download the symbols for this module from the Microsoft public symbol server There is a simple meta-command called symfix that automatically sets the symbol path to the public Microsoft symbol server as illustrated in the following:
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0:000> symfix No downstream store given, using c:\Program Files\Debugging Tools for Windows (x86)\sym
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The message stating that no downstream store was given simply implies that no local path was given to cache the symbols that end up being downloaded Rather than redownloading the same symbols each and every time, you can specify a path to the symfix command that will store the downloaded symbols locally so that next time the debugger picks any existing symbol files from the local cache By default, if no local path (downstream store) was specified, the debuggers will use the sym folder under the installation path of the debugging package At this point, we know how to set the symbol path for our own symbols (using sympath) as well as how to set the symbol path to point to the public Microsoft symbol servers Another interesting variation of the sympath and symfix commands are the sympath+ and symfix+ commands These commands do not overwrite the existing symbol path but rather append another path to the existing symbol path already
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Controlling Execution
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set For example, let s say that we have set our symbol path to c:\mysym using the sympath command If we want to append another symbol path, we could use the following command:
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0:000> Symbol 0:000> Symbol 0:000> sympath c:\adndbin search path is: c:\adndbin sympath+ c:\mysym search path is: c:\adndbin;c:\mysym
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This concludes the abbreviated tour of how to set up the debugger to access the correct symbols Without proper symbols, debugging can quickly become an insurmountable obstacle, and knowing how to point the debuggers to the correct symbols is key to any debug session
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Controlling Execution
During any debugging session, it is useful to be able to control the execution of the target We may want to set a few breakpoints, resume execution until a breakpoint hits, look at the state of the target, step into functions, resume execution again, and so on The native debuggers provide a set of commands that enable you to control this execution In the next few sections, I will discuss the commands most commonly used to control execution
Breaking Execution
There are a number of different ways that the debugger can break execution depending on how the debugger has been configured In the most basic case, you may find that you want to manually break execution (such as in the case of a deadlock) to do some troubleshooting To manually break execution, you use the key sequence CTRL-C This causes the debugger to inject a thread into the target process and issue a breakpoint statement Other ways in which the debugger can break execution includes setting breakpoints, which is discussed in more detail later in the chapter Setting breakpoints provides a convenient way to choose at what point in the execution flow you want the debugger to break execution Finally, another common occurrence that causes the debugger to break execution is when an exception occurs (first or second chance) Exceptions are also discussed in more detail later in the chapter