Microsoft releases a brand new WinDbg debugger tool

Sahash Khanal avatar. By: Sahash Khanal
2 minute read

Microsoft has a new treat for Windows developers. On Monday, the company released a preview version of a new WinDbg debugger tool. The newest version of the popular debugger features a lot of interesting UI and functionality improvements which developers will love.

The new WinDbg tool features some major UI changes, with Microsoft having adopted Ribbon UI for it. What this means is that the interface of the new WinDbg looks more modern. Ribbons serve as a great replacement for icons, specially when there are too many specific actions that are seldom used. Microsoft says that the ribbon for its new WinDbg is currently limited to the basics, but they will adding more for specific actions/contexts later.

Here are some of the other notable changes and additions introduced in the latest version of WinDbg:

  1. It now features a darker theme, which is a great change for developers who were forced to switch between their dark themed editors and the bright themed WinDbg.
  2. It now features familiar looking source windows, meaning that they look a lot like the source windows of most modern editors.
  3. The new file menu is much more clear about the options you have in starting and configuring a debugging session. The attach dialog is also much clearer and organized than it used to be, and it also allows you to launch a Store App or background tasks without having to setup PLMDebug.exe.
  4. It can remember all of your recent sessions, along with the settings you used during those sessions. This can be accessed from the recent targets list in the file menu.
  5. It features a number of window improvements, such as the disassembly window keeping its highlighting in the right spot when scrolled and the better highlighting and scrolling of the memory window.
  6. Many windows are now asynchronous, meaning that their loading process can be canceled by running another command.

The underlying engine of the new WinDbg is pretty much the same as the older version, meaning that developers can use the same old commands, extensions and work flow that they’re used to. The debugger, however, now features a full-fledged scripting experience. The WinDbg preview lets you write and execute JavaScript and NatVis directly from the debugger.

Microsoft has also made the debugger data model more extensible in the new WinDbg. There is also new type of window called the model window, which can present the results of any model query in a normal hierarchy view or table.

You can download the Preview version of the new WinDbg from the Windows Store. Note that you will need to have theWindows 10 Anniversary Update or later installed.

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