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Visual Studio External Tools 

Visual Studio 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, and ATL/MFC Trace Tool, are already available on the Tools menu. Additional tools, however, are available in the ...\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\Tools directory. Programming languages may provide their own specific tools. You can run these utilities outside of the Visual Studio 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.

Tools available via shortcuts

Some tools are added automatically as a shortcut under Microsoft Visual Studio 2005\Visual Studio Tools\ on the Programs or All Programs menu of Windows. These tools include:

Tool More Information

Dotfuscator Community Edition

Dotfuscator 2.1

MFC-ATL Trace Tool

ATLTraceTool Sample

Visual Studio 2005 x64 Cross Tools Command Prompt

Visual Studio 2005 Command Prompt

Visual Studio 2005 Itanium Cross Tools Command Prompt

How to: Enable a 64-Bit Visual C++ Toolset at the Command Line

Visual Studio 2005 Remote Debugger

Visual Studio 2005 Remote Debugger Configuration Wizard

How to: Set Up Remote Debugging

Tools available via the Tools menu in Visual Studio

The following table lists the tools available by default on the Tools menu in Visual Studio. With the exception of Dotfuscator Community Edition, each of these tools can be found in the root of the Tools directory for Visual Studio.

File Name Name Location Description


ActiveX Control Test Container

...\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\Tools

An ActiveX control container for testing and debugging ActiveX controls. For details, see Testing Properties and Events with Test Container and ActiveX Control Test Container (tstcon32.exe).


Create GUID

...\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\Tools >

Generates a GUID based upon specified criteria. For details, see GUIDGEN Sample and Create GUID (guidgen.exe).


Dotfuscator Community Edition

…\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Application\PreEmptive Solutions

See Dotfuscator 2.1 for more information.


Error Lookup

...\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\Tools

Retrieves a system error message or module error message based on the value entered. For details, see ERRLOOK Reference.


ATL/MFC Trace Tool

...\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\Tools

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 and ATL/MFC Trace Tool (AtlTraceTool8.exe).

Additional tools

Additional tools and utilities are located in ...\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\Tools\ and ...\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\Tools\bin. This table provides information on a select few of these tools. All of the location paths below should be prefaced by ...\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\Tools.


To locate Help for a tool that does not appear in this table, search for the file name of the executable using the Search page or Index.

File Name Name Location Description


Windows NT Image Binder


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 BindImageEx.


Microsoft Local Test Manager


A stand-alone conformance testing tool that can be used with different applications, using a variety of APIs, written in numerous programming languages.


Microsoft ® Makehm Application


A console application that produces a mapping between resource identifications and Help contexts. For details, see MAKEHM Sample.


Windows NT Message Compiler


A tool for creating messages needed by an application or dynamic-link library (DLL). For details, see Message Compiler.


Microsoft IDL Compiler


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.


Type Library Generator


Generates type libraries. For details, see Differences between MIDL and mktyplib.

Odbcte32/ odbcte32w

Microsoft ODBC Test


An ODBC-enabled application that you can use to test ODBC drivers and the ODBC Driver Manager. For details, see ODBC Test.


OLE/COM Object Viewer


Allows you to implement ActiveX Object viewers through custom ActiveX interfaces. For details, see OLEVIEW Sample.


Microsoft Resource Compiler


A tool for creating resource files. For details, see Resource Compiler.


Windows NT Image Rebaser


A command-line tool that you can use to specify the base addresses for the DLLs that your application uses. For details, see Rebase.


Microsoft OLE DB Rowset Viewer


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.


Windows NT C++ Symbol Undecorator


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.


UUID Generator Executable

<root> and \bin

Generates GUIDs.




Sets environment variables for Visual Studio command line tools. Similar to Vcvars32.bat.


Microsoft ® ATL Server Custom Debug and Trace Tool


A simple utility used for viewing trace messages and interacting with asserts. For details, see Viewing Trace Messages And Handling Asserts.

See Also