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How to: Set Up Remote Debugging

The Visual Studio remote tools let you run, debug, and test an application that is running on one device from a another computer that is running Visual Studio. To debug on a remote device, you must install the Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2012.

NoteNote

Windows Store apps

For information about remote debugging of Windows Store apps, see Running Windows Store apps on a remote machine in the Windows Developer Center.

To debug on a remote device:

  • The remote device and the Visual Studio computer must be connected over a network or connected directly through an Ethernet cable. Debugging over the internet is not supported.

  • The remote device must be running the Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2012.

  • You must be an administrator to install the remote tools on the remote device. To communicate with the remote tools, you must have user access to the remote device.

NoteNote

Versions and updates

The Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2012 are not supported for other versions of Visual Studio.

We recommend that you install the update version of the Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2012 that matches the update version of your Visual Studio installation.

You must install the Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2012 that matches the operating system (x86, x64, ARM) of the remote device. We recommend that you install the Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2012 that match the update version of your Visual Studio installation.

The VS debugger is compatible with any combination of versions of VS 2012 and the Remote Tools for VS 2012. However, the newest functionality in Visual Studio requires both Visual Studio and the Remote Tools to be on the most up to date version. 

Other diagnostic tools might require the same versions of the remote tools and Visual Studio.

To run or save the installation program for the remote tools, choose one of the links in this table:

NoteNote

For Visual Studio 2012 installations with Update 3, download the appropriate Update 2 version of the remote tools.

In the setup dialog box, accept the user agreement, and then choose Install.

By default, the remote tools are installed on the remote device in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\Remote Debugger folder.

NoteNote

To start the remote tools for the first time, you must have administrative permissions on the remote device to allow the debugger to configure the firewall.

  1. On the Start menu of the remote machine, choose Remote Debugger. You must have administrator privileges to start the remote tools for the first time.

    When you start the remote tools for the first time, the Configure Remote Debugging dialog box appears.

    Remote Debugging Configuration dialog

  2. If the Windows Service API is not installed, choose the Install button.

  3. Select the type of networks that you want the remote tools to communicate with. At least one network type must be selected.

  4. Choose Configure remote debugging to configure the firewall and start the Remote Debugging Monitor.

  5. To change the Authentication mode or to specify a timeout value for the remote tools, choose Options on the Remote Debugging Monitor Tools menu.

    Caution noteCaution

    By default, the remote tools uses Windows Authentication. You can choose to run the remote tools in No Authentication mode, but this mode is strongly discouraged. There is no network security when you run in this mode. Choose the No Authentication mode only if you are sure that the network is not at risk of from malicious or hostile traffic.

  6. By default, Administrators of the remote device can connect to the remote tools. To grant or deny other users permission to use the remote tools, choose Permissions on the Tools menu.

When the debugger is running, it broadcasts its identity on the local sub-net of the network, which allows a Visual Studio computer on the same sub-net to know that the remote device is available as a remote debugging target.

You can change the configuration of the remote tools after you have started it for the first time.

  1. Start the remote tools. On the Start menu of the remote machine, choose Remote Debugger.

  2. To grant or deny other users permission to use the remote tools, choose Permissions on the Tools menu. You must have administrator privileges to grant or deny permissions.

  3. To change the Authentication mode or to specify a timeout value for the remote tools, choose Options on the Remote Debugging Monitor Tools menu.

    Caution noteCaution

    You can choose to run the remote tools in No Authentication mode, but this mode is strongly discouraged. There is no network security when you run in this mode. Choose the No Authentication mode only if you are sure that the network is not at risk of from malicious or hostile traffic.

  4. To run the remote tools as a service or change remote debugging network options To run the remote tools as a service or change remote debugging network options, on the Start menu, search for Remote Debugger Configuration Wizard. By default, the remote tools run as a Windows application. In the Configuration Wizard, you can choose to run the remote tools as a Windows service. You can also restrict the networks that the remote tools is allowed to communicate with. You must have administrator privileges to perform these actions.

In most cases, you will install the remote tools on the remote device. You can run also run the remote tools from a shared directory on the Visual Studio computer. This practice is not recommended.

Running from a shared directory has the following limitations:

  1. Launching Windows Store apps is not supported. However, it is still possible to manually attach.

  2. Debugging JavaScript is not supported.

  3. Stepping into a web service is not supported. However, it is still possible to manually attach.

  4. Automatically launching an ASP.NET site under the debugger is not supported. However, it is still possible to manually attach.

To run the remote tools from a share:

  1. Share the Remote tools folder in the Visual Studio installation directory.

    The default install path is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\Remote Debugger.

  2. On the remote device, open the shared folder, and then choose the msvsmon.exe file in the sub folder whose name corresponds with the operating system type of the remote device.

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