Microsoft releases a brand new WinDbg debugger tool in Windows Store

Microsoft yesterday released a preview version of a brand new WinDbg debugger tool for Windows developers. This is a major update with lots of new features that will be loved by developers. First of all, it comes with more modern visuals. Microsoft has adopted the popular Ribbon UI for WinDbg. Read about the UI changes below.

  • Ribbon?- Ribbons are great when icons don’t do a great job of describing an action, and when there are a lot of different contextual actions that are only relevant sometimes. Right now our ribbon is pretty barebones with the basics, but over time we’ll be adding more ribbons for specific contexts while you’re debugging.
  • Re-worked file menu?- The new file menu makes it much more clear which options you have for starting and configuring your debugging session. The attach dialog is much cleaner and more organized now and there’s even a new option to launch your Store App or background tasks without needing to set it up with PLMDebug.exe.
  • Familiar source windows?- Source windows now are better in pretty much every way and should look more like to the source windows you’re used to seeing in every other modern editor.
  • Dark theme?- This one is pretty self-explanatory, a lot of people use dark themes in their editors, and then flip over to the glaring brightness of WinDbg. Now it can match!
  • Recent targets?- Instead of having to have your KDNET key and IP on a sticky-note on your monitor, WinDbg Preview will now remember all your recent sessions and some of the settings that you had during that session. You can quickly access them again from the recent targets list in the file menu.
  • Various window improvements?- Many windows have gone a while without updates or just have glaring bugs. Some of the notable things we’ve done differently are that the disassembly window keeps its highlighting in the right spot when scrolled, and the memory window has better highlighting and scrolling. Many windows are also asynchronous now and loading can be cancelled by running another command.

Since this new WinDbg uses the same underlying engine as the existing WinDbg tool, all the existing commands, extensions, and workflows will still work just as they did before. Microsoft is also making debugger data model easily extensible. Read about it below.

  • Extensible locals and watch?- The data model is now powering the locals and watch windows. NatVis and JavaScript extensions that extend the data model will be reflected in those windows. You can even put LINQ queries into the watch window!
  • Model windows?- There’s a new type of window called a model window. Model windows will show the results of any model query in a normal hierarchy view or a table. You’ll see in the FAQ that WinDbg Preview doesn’t have a modules window, you can use a model window to make your own [email protected]$cursession.Modules! This also has the benefit that if you make a JavaScript extension that extends modules, it’ll automatically update your window.

Finally, WinDbg now has a built-in full-fledged scripting experience. With the new WinDbg Preview, you can write and execute your JavaScript and NatVis directly from the debugger. The script window has error highlighting, IntelliSense, and easier execution of scripts.

You can download WinDbg Preview from Windows Store here. Please note that you need to have Windows 10 Anniversary Update or later installed to use this tool.

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