Error: Debugging Isn't Possible Because a Kernel Debugger is Enabled on the System

When debugging managed code, you may get the following error message:

Debugging isn't possible because a kernel debugger is enabled on the system

This message occurs when you try to debug managed code on a system that is running Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Vista that has been started in debug mode.

To fix this problem

  • Disable kernel debugging and debug in Visual Studio.


  • Debug using the Kernel Debugger instead of Visual Studio.


  • In the Kernel Debugger, disable user-mode exceptions.

To disable kernel debugging

  1. Locate boot.ini on your System drive (usually C:\). The boot.ini file may be hidden and read-only. You will have to type the following command to see it:

    dir /ASH
  2. Open boot.ini by using Notepad and remove the following options:

  3. Reboot the computer.

  4. Restart Visual Studio and debug.

To debug with the Kernel Debugger

  1. If the Kernel Debugger is hooked up, you will see a message asking if you want to continue to debug. Click the button to continue.

  2. You may get a User break exception(Int 3) If this occurs, type the following Kernel Debugger command to continue to debug:


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