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Setting Up Remote Debugging

Visual Studio provides three ways to do remote debugging:

After setting up remote debugging using DCOM, you may need to grant permission to the debugger user by adding the user to the Debugger Users group or by configuring DCOM. When you install the remote debug components, setup automatically adds you (the installing user) to the Debugger Users group on that machine. If you need to add another user, see Adding Debugger Users and Configuring DCOM.

For a complete list of required permissions, see Required Permissions for Remote Debugging.

Note   Remote debugging setup installs SQL Debugging Components for SQL Server. For more information, see SQL Debugging Components.
Note   Remote debugging of ASP requires IIS to be installed on both the client and the remote machine.

Remote Debugging with DCOM and the Machine Debug Manager

For remote debugging using DCOM, the Machine Debug Manager (MDM.exe) must be installed and running on the remote machine. MDM.exe runs as a service, which can be configured using the Services control panel.

There are three ways to set up DCOM remote debugging.

  • You can install a full, licensed version of Visual Studio .NET on the remote machine.
  • You can run the Visual Studio Setup CD-ROM on the remote machine and choose Remote Components Setup in the setup wizard. This will install only the remote debugging components. After selecting Remote Components Setup, you will have two options.

    Native Remote Debugging installs components that enable a debugger to connect for debugging of native code only.

    Full Remote Debugging installs components that enable a debugger to connect for debugging of native code, managed code running on the common language runtime, and script (VBScript or JScript). If SQL Server is installed on the machine, components for SQL remote debugging will be installed as well.

    For more information, see Remote Components Setup.

  • You can manually install a minimal set of required components for native remote debugging. These files are:
    msvcmon.exe
    msvcr71.dll
    natdbgtlnet.dll
    

    natdbgdm.dll

    psapi.dll (Windows NT 4.0 only)

    For dump support (for more information, see Dumps), install this file as well:

    dbghelp.dll (supports dumps)

    You can copy all these files to the same location on the remote server, or you can run them from a share on the local machine where you are running Visual Studio .NET. Using a share allows you to debug an application running on a remote machine where you cannot install files.

The Machine Debug Manager Registration

If you install Windows NT Option Pack 4.0, the Machine Debug Manager disappears from the registry. The next time that you try remote debugging with Visual Studio .NET, you will get a dialog box asking you to register MDM. For more information, see MDM Registration Disappears After Installing Windows NT Option Pack 4.0.

Remote Debugging with the Remote Debug Monitor

Note   Remote debugging with the Remote Debug Monitor is available for remote debugging of native C or C++ applications only.

For remote debugging using Pipes or TCP/IP, you must install the Remote Debug Monitor and run it on the remote machine. The Remote Debug Monitor (Msvcmon.exe) is a small console application that communicates with the debugger host and controls the execution of the program that you are debugging. In addition, the Remote Debug Monitor requires certain support files. For more information, see Remote Components Setup.

Caution   TCP/IP debugging allows you to debug an application on a remote machine that does not have DCOM installed, but it provides less security than DCOM debugging, so be careful. If an unauthorized user connects to your machine through Msvcmon, he or she can penetrate the machine's security. Pipe debugging is more secure than TCP/IP, but it is significantly slower, so you may want to use TCP/IP if network speed is an issue.

The Remote Debug Monitor (Msvcmon) executable is installed in the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\Common7\Packages\Debugger directory. You can launch the Remote Debug Monitor from the Windows Start menu or from the command prompt. The command to start the Remote Debug Monitor is:

msvcmon

By default, the msvcmon command starts the Remote Debug Monitor in Pipe mode. If you want to debug in TCP/IP mode instead, the Remote Debug Monitor must be started with the -tcpip option:

msvcmon -tcpip

You can register the Remote Debug Monitor so that it can started automatically by the Visual Studio .NET debugger:

msvcmon -register

When debugging with Pipes, you can use the –s and –u options.

The –s option specifies a suffix that will be appended to the main pipe name during debugging:

msvcmon -s suffix

You may need to use the –s option if you are debugging an application running on a terminal server and another user is debugging on that machine at the same time you are. In that event, the first debugger user to connect gets access to the pipe name and the next user must specify a suffix to create a unique pipe name.

The –u option specifies a user who is allowed to connect and the domain the user is connecting from:

msvcmon -u mydomain\myusername

When debugging with TCP/IP, you can use the –anyuser option, –maxsessions, and –timeout options.

The –anyuser option allows any user to connect through Msvcmon using TCP/IP to debug applications:

msvcmon -anyuser
Note   The –anyuser option allows anyone who has network access to connect to the machine for remote debugging, which could pose a serious security risk.

The –maxsessions option allows you to change the maximum number of concurrent TCP/IP debugging sessions allowed by Msvcmon. For example, to change the maximum number of concurrent sessions to six, you would use:

msvcmon -maxsessions 6

When Msvcmon attempts to establish a TCP/IP connection, it uses a timeout value to determine how long it will wait for the connection before terminating the attempt. By default, this value is 900 seconds (15 minutes). You can change the timeout value using the–timeout option and a value that represents the time in seconds. For example, to change the timeout value to 120 seconds (two minutes), you would use:

msvcmon -timeout 120

If you run Msvcmon with a value of -1, the connection attempt will never time out:

msvcmon -timeout -1

There are two additional options that can be used for either Pipe or TCP/IP debugging. These are the -nowowwarn and -? Options.

The -nowowwarn option suppresses a warning that normally occurs when mscmon is run under the WOW64 emulator:

msvcmon -nowowwarn

The -? option lists all available Msvcmon options:

msvcmon -?
Note   The Remote Debug Monitor (Msvcmon) is required for remote debugging of native applications under DCOM as well as TCP/IP. Remote debugging under DCOM launches msvcmon automatically.

Required Permissions for Remote Debugging

This section lists the minimum permissions required for remote debugging. If you own a process, you can debug it without further permissions.

Unmanaged Code (C++)

To debug another user's process, you must be an Administrator on the machine where the process runs. As an Administrator, you can connect to the Machine Debug Monitor. In addition, Administrators have SE_DEBUG_PRIVILEGE at the operating system level by default.

To debug your own process, you must be an administrator or be listed in the Debugger Users group.

Caution   Adding users to the Debugger Users group may create a security risk by allowing those users to access the machine. You should add only those users that need debugger access on that particular machine. Do not add Everyone to the Debugger Users group.

Managed Code (Managed Extensions for C++, C#, Visual Basic, JScript .NET)

To debug another user's process, you must be an administrator on the machine where the process runs. For example, if aspnet_wp.exe is running as SYSTEM or ASPNET, you need to be an administrator to debug it.

To debug your own process, you must be an administrator or be listed in the Debugger Users group.

Caution   Adding users to the Debugger Users group may create a security risk by allowing those users to access the machine. You should add only those users that need debugger access on that particular machine. Do not add Everyone to the Debugger Users group.

T-SQL

You must have permission to execute sp_sdidebug() on the database.

You must have mssdi98.dll installed in the Binn directory of your SQL Server installation.

On operating systems before Windows XP, SQL Server must not be running as Local System.

See Also

Remote Debugging Errors | Remote Debugging Setup | Adding Debugger Users and Configuring DCOM | Just-In-Time Debugging

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