How to: Specify Symbol File Locations from the Command Line

To display symbol information such as function names and line numbers, the VSPerfReport command-line tool requires access to the symbol (.pdb) files of the profiled components and the Windows system files. Symbol files are created when a component is compiled. For more information, see VSPerfReport. VSPerfReport automatically searches the following locations for symbol files:

  • Paths specified in the /SymbolPath option or in the _NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable.

  • The exact local path where a component was compiled.

  • The directory that contains the profiling data (.vsp or .vsps) file.

Microsoft provides the .pdb files for many of its products online in a symbol server. If the computer that you are using for reporting is connected to the Internet, VSPerfReport connects to the online symbol server to automatically look up symbol information and save the files to a local store.

You can specify the location of symbol files and the Microsoft symbol server store in the following ways:

  • Set the _NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable.

  • Add the /SymbolPath option to the VSPerfReport command line.

You can also use both of these methods.


If Visual Studio is installed on the local computer, a location for the Windows symbol files probably has been specified already. For more information, see How to: Reference Windows Symbol Information. You still must configure VSPerfReport to use the location and server as described later in this topic.

To configure the use of the Windows symbol server

  1. If necessary, create a directory to store the symbol files locally.

  2. Use the following syntax to set the _NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable or the VSPerfReport /SymbolPath option:


    where LocalStore is the path of the local directory that you created.

Profiling Tools searches for the.pdb files of the components that you want to profile in their original locations that are stored in the components or in the folder that contains the profiling data file. You can specify other locations to search by adding one or more paths to _NT_SYMBOL_PATH or to the /SymbolPath option. Separate paths with semi-colons.

The following command line sets the _NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable to the Windows symbol server and the local directory to C:\Symbols.

set  _NT_SYMBOL_PATH=srv*C:\symbols*

The following VSPerfReport command line adds the C:\Projects\Symbols directory to the search path by using the /SymbolPath option.

VSPerfReport MyApp.exe /SymbolPath:C:\Projects\Symbols /summary:all

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