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Visual Studio .NET External Tools

Visual Studio .NET includes a number of core external tools to aid in developing and debugging your applications. Some of these tools, such as Create GUID, Error Lookup, Spy++, and so forth, are already available on the Tools menu. Additional tools, however, are available in the ...\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET\Common7\Tools directory. (In addition, programming languages may provide their own specific tools.) You can run them outside of the Visual Studio .NET IDE, or you can optionally enable them to appear on the Tools menu by using the External Tools dialog box. To view this dialog, click External Tools on the Tools menu.

The following table lists the available tools in the Tools directory, along with their location and a description of their function. All of the location paths below should be prefaced by ...\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET\Common7\Tools.

File Name Name Location Description
AtlTraceTool ATL Trace Tool <root> Displays debug trace messages in the ATL and MFC sources. You can control the type and amount of messages displayed. For details, see ATLTraceTool Sample.
Bind Windows NT Image Binder ...\bin The linker stores addresses of exported DLL functions in a table that is separate from the table that contains the names of the exported DLL functions. Calls to exported DLL functions are made using an indirect jump through the table that contains the addresses. You can minimize load time by using Bind to bypass this lookup. For details, see Bind.
ErrLook Error lookup tool <root> Retrieves a system error message or module error message based on the value entered. For details, see ERRLOOK Reference.
GuidGen Create GUID <root> Generates a GUID based upon specified criteria. For details, see GUIDGEN Sample.
HCW Microsoft Help Workshop <root> Allows you to create Help files. For details, see the Help included with the tool.
ltm Microsoft Local Test Manager ...\bin A stand-alone conformance testing tool that can be used with different applications, using a variety of APIs, written in numerous programming languages. For details, see Local Test Manager.
mc Windows NT Message Compiler ...\bin A tool for creating messages needed by an application or dynamic-link library (DLL). For details, see Message Compiler.
Makehm MakeHM <root> A console application that produces a mapping between resource identifications and Help contexts. For details, see MAKEHM Sample.
Midl/midlc Microsoft IDL Compiler ...\bin Enable developers to create the interface definition language (IDL) files and application configuration files (ACF) required for remote procedure call (RPC) interfaces, and COM/DCOM interfaces. For details, see Microsoft Interface Definition Language.
MkTypLib Type Library Generator ...\bin Generates type libraries. For details, see Differences between MIDL and mktyplib.
Microsoft ODBC Test ...\bin An ODBC-enabled application that you can use to test ODBC drivers and the ODBC Driver Manager. For details, see ODBC Test.
OleView OLE/COM Object Viewer ...\bin Allows you to implement ActiveX Object viewers through custom ActiveX interfaces. For details, see OLEVIEW Sample.
RC Microsoft Resource Compiler ...\bin A tool for creating resource files. For details, see Resource Compiler.
ReBase Windows NT Image Rebaser ...\bin A command-line tool that you can use to specify the base addresses for the DLLs that your application uses. For details, see Rebase.
RowsetViewer Microsoft OLE DB Rowset Viewer ...\bin Allows you to view and manipulate OLE DB rowsets, with the added ability to call and manipulate other OLE DB methods from the datasource, session, command, rowset, transaction, and notification objects supported by any OLE DB provider. For details, see Rowset Viewer Overview.
UndName Windows NT C++ Symbol Undecorator ...\bin Allows you to view the decorated form of a function name after you compile the source file that contains the function definition or prototype. For details, see Viewing Decorated Names.
Uuidgen UUID Generator ...\bin Generates GUIDs. For details, see Creating Registration Information.
SPYXX Spy++ <root> Allows you to monitor messages sent to one or more windows and to examine the values of message parameters. For details, see Spy.
tstcon32 ActiveX Control Test Container <root> An ActiveX control container for testing and debugging ActiveX controls. For details, see Testing Properties and Events with Test Container.
Vcspawn Vcspawn <root> A utility program required by Visual C++ .NET development environment that tells the compiler to run and dump the output into the Output window.
Vsvars32.bat Vsvars32 <root> Sets environment variables for Visual Studio .NET command line tools. Similar to Vcvars32.bat.
WebDbg WebDbg <root> A simple utility used for viewing trace messages and interacting with asserts. For details, see Viewing Trace Messages And Handling Asserts.

See Also

C/C++ Build Tools | External Tools Dialog Box | Launching Tools from Visual Studio | Platform SDK