Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Interesting debugging technique for windows

I've been reading "Windows Internals, Fifth Edition" and ran across an interesting way to debug not only windows drivers, but any user application.

If you have a MSDN license, you can get what's called the 'checked build'. This is a build with debug messages enabled and optimizations turned off. It's most useful for debugging device drivers, but it can help replicate timing issues with the kernel since the timing will be different than for the retail version. Rather than having to install each component from the checked build, you can limit it to a couple files files. The instructions below show how to install and set up your system to have a boot option for this.

Obtain the checked build

Install minimal comonents from the checked build

Especially if you are tracking down timing issues, this may expose the issues more clearly.

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