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The Black Box of .NET

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Want to have "WinDbg and SOS-like" features in VisualStudio?

While I've become adept at using WinDbg and all of it's extensions to do post-mortem crash-dump analysis, I've not yet ventured down the path of live-debugging strictly with WinDbg.  Maybe I'm dense, but it's anything but intuitive to me.  Call me "new-school" but there's just something about having a real UI while debugging that makes me more productive.

So, if you've ever needed to use some functionality of WinDbg or SOS (and any of the other extensions) while debugging in VisualStudio, there is some hope...

I've added 2 feature suggestions on the Microsoft Connect website for two features:
  1. View an object's rooted references at runtime -
  2. View an object's memory footprint/usage -
If either of these are something you'd like to see in an upcoming version of VisualStudio, please click the links above and vote for them!

As a side note, if you can't wait for the next version of VisualStudio, there are 2 different workarounds in the meantime:
  1. Load SOS into the Immediate Window as documented here:
  2. The other option is to stop at a breakpoint in VisualStudio, and then attach WinDbg in "non-invasive" mode.
While these workarounds seem to be mildly satisfactory, it'd be great if these features were already built in to the VS Debugger - so vote!


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