Windows Debugging

I have been lucky enough to be in a Windows debugging class for the last 4 days. The company I work for had an instructor from Microsoft come in to give us two classes. Windows DNA Debugging and .NET Debugging. If you are a Windows developer and you ever have the opportunity to take these classes, do it!

Years ago, I was having troubles with IIS crashing. I remember talking to Microsoft support and they sent me a utility to capture a crash dump when IIS crashed. I sent it off to them and they figured out it was a problem with some Sybase DLLs. At the time, I had no clue how to read the crash dumps. Now that I have taken these classes, I can at least partially understand what is going on. Analyzing crash dumps seems to be something you need to do a LOT before you would become really good at it. There's a lot of assembly code and HEX values involved and it is a little overwhelming at first.

If you can't take the classes, Microsoft has some info here about installing and using the debugging tools. One really cool thing I didn't know about is that Microsoft has a symbol server that the debugger can download debug symbols from when it needs them. It handles getting the right version of each symbol file for you.

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