- Windows is a very complex OS, so debugging is something you may need to do often.
- That is where debugging software can really come in handy, and we will be listing some of the best below.
- This list includes entries like Restoro, WinDbg, Visual Studio Debugger, and others.
- Continue reading below to find more details about the best debugger software.
This post brings you a compilation of the best debugging software for Windows. So, if you own a Windows PC, and you are in need of debugging software, this piece will get you adequately informed on the most suitable one for you.
Debugging is the process of identifying and resolving errors (bugs) on a computer system. These errors could be program-specific i.e. affecting only one app or they could be the type that affects an entire operating system.
Basically, debugging software is optimized to deeply explore the operational setup of a system or a third-party program on a PC. And a standard debugging software can be adapted to debug drivers, apps (in user mode), and system OS (in kernel mode).
What are some good debugging tips and steps?
Before we review some healthy tips, we should stress out that patience and perseveration are a must. This is because most experts agree that debugging is generally harder than writing the code, to begin with.
Plus, there are different approaches to consider, such as proactive or reactive debugging. Whether you go for one or the other or even combine the two, it’s entirely up to you. So here goes.
- Reproduce the bug before adjusting the code (use print statements, identify the location of the error, use test case scenarios)
- Understand error codes and know what you are looking for
- Document the process (identify key components and assign corresponding metrics, follow progress)
- Use adequate debugging software and make methodical changes
While a standard debugging software should be multipurpose; adaptable to various system apps and operations, most of the available debuggers are lacking in this aspect.
As such, only a handful of tools is available in the market. And we have compiled a list of the best debugging software for Windows PC in this article. Follow through with rapt attention!
What are the best debugging software for Windows?
Debugging and fixing some of the most common issues in Windows 10 is usually done by cleaning and fixing whatever system files, registries, and DLL may have become damaged over time from intensive use of the PC,
Restoro is an excellent alternative when dealing with such issues, and while there are other third-party tools that may do a similar job, Restoro has proven itself to be the most efficient one among them.
It features a lightweight UI, and the entire debugging process is almost fully automated, so you don’t have to click too many buttons or configure too many settings to get your PC to pristine condition.
Not only will it clean your registries, it will also clean and fix your DLLs, remove the damage caused by malware, and more, all within a single scan spanning a couple of minutes.
Third-party tools may not seem like the go-to solution in this case, but Restoro is more than capable of getting the job done righ.
Windows Debugger, commonly called WinDbg, is the standard debugging software for Windows. It is the official debugging tool from Windows’ developer – Microsoft. The software requires two interlinked computer systems, to function at optimum capacity.
WinDbg is basically designed to debug Windows OS (in kernel mode) and applications (in user mode). It is also equipped to analyze crash dumps and examine processor registers. The software is the ultimate tool for fixing any form of bug attack on Windows PC.
Furthermore, Windows Debugger (WinDbg) is designed to support operating systems on virtual engines. To do this, all that is needed is a durable VirtualCOM port, to facilitate debugging of operating systems on virtual machines.
At times, debugging (via WinDbg) could be faster on virtual engines (especially VMWare) than on original OS.
WinDbg’s latest edition, known as WinDbg Preview, houses a powerful set of features, some of which include:
Automatic processor detection engine, Integrated TTD (Time Travel Debugging), Single-Click app debugging, Command windows, Logs, Debug breakpoints, Quick access, Text highlighting/unhighlighting, IDA Pro support, Model window, Feedback channel, Disassembly window, Simplified navigation, Dialog attachment, Data model support, Powerful GUI and many more.
The software is a commercial-licensed program, and it is available for download on Microsoft Store.
Visual Studio is another top-rated debugging software from Microsoft. Just like WinDbg, Visual Studio Debugger also hosts exclusive support for Windows PC, and it comes preinstalled on all versions of Visual Studio, an IDE (app development) program from Microsoft.
This debugger is commonly used to debug Windows apps, as it is designed to run in debugger mode i.e. it operates in sync with any app you want to debug. To debug an app, all you need to do is to set the breakpoints and you can start debugging.
Visual Studio is similar to WinDbg in terms of ease of usage and operability. However, unlike WinDbg, it cannot run kernel-mode coding (to debug a Windows OS).
This is one of the most notable shortcomings of the software. As such, its functionality is better applied to debug system programs and installed applications.
Some of the key features of Visual Studio include CodeView, Symbol & Source Integration, Remote debugging, Edit & Continue (live configuration), Attaching & Detaching, and C++ Full Support.
It also comes with Data Breakpoints, Configuration Wizard, Multi-watch Window, Call Stacks, SQL Debugging, Scriptability, ASP.NET debugging and more.
The Edit & Continue feature is a dynamic function that allows you to edit or make changes to a running debugging process, without having to exit the debugger or the target app.
As stated earlier, Visual Studio Debugger is a Microsoft product; hence, it is available for download on Microsoft Store.
OllyDbg is another top-rated x86 debugging software, specially designed for all 32-bit Microsoft Windows NT versions. It is basically a reverse engineering software, often adopted to “crack” system and installed apps on Windows PC.
OllyDbg is optimized to run binary analysis, in contrast to the conventional coding setup. Furthermore, it hosts an intuitive UI, whose functions can easily be extended by plug-ins.
Key features of OllyDbg include: Software cracking, Real-time editing (of bitcode), Malware analysis, Code analysis, DLLs debugging, File scanning, and Multi-thread apps debugging
It also comes with Open architecture, Customizable/extensible platform, Unicode support, Customizable disassembler, On-the-fly modifications, API context-sensitive support, Shows fixups, and many more.
OllyDbg is freeware, which means it is available for free download. However, there is an advanced version, which requires a paid license.
GNU Debugger, GDB, is one of the best debugging software for Windows. It is a portable computer debugger that operates on multiple programming languages. And it hosts cross-compatible support for Windows and Unix-like (multipurpose) operating systems.
GDB is program-specific, designed to identify, modify, suspend, terminate, and fix bugs on a specific application hosted on a PC. Essentially, it is able to examine the operational behavior of a target application, and reveal (and fix) all inherent elements (bugs) that could cause damage.
Notable features of GNU Debugger include 12+ programming language support, Remote debugging, Reversible debugging, Multi-CPU support, Python scripting support, Memory leak detectors, Watchpoints, Breakpoints, Debugging registers, Command-line interface (no GUI), Front ends (UltraGDB, Xcode debugger, and more), DMA support and many more.
GDB is licensed under the GNU’s General Public License (GPL), which means it is available free of charge.
Syser Debugger is a kernel-mode debugger, which serves as an operating system analyzer (debugger) and a driver developer for Windows computer systems. As such, it stands out as one of the best debugging software for Windows. Essentially, it is designed to debug Windows OS, apps and drivers.
The software is a 32-bit x86 debugger, which is specially designed for Windows NT operating systems. It is optimized to monitor all Windows commands at any point in time, and it aptly detects bugs at an early stage.
In addition, it is durable enough to run on virtual engines like VMWare, without having to worry about system crash and the likes.
Key features include source code & assembly debugging, breakpoints, color disassembly, syntax coloring, multi-CPU support, debug auto-generation, start-up scripts support, maintenance & technical support, disassembly windows, multilingual support (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese), customer support, free trial and more.
Syser Debugger’s service is offered at a license fee of $198.00
Debugging is an essential computer process, which facilitates the swift identification and repair (or removal) of various forms of bugs on computer systems.
There are numerous debugging software out there, many of which are either substandard or incompatible with Windows.
Therefore, in this article, we have compiled a list of the best debugging software for Windows, to better inform your decision (as a Windows user) on which one to employ.