Debugging Tools for Windows

Choosing the Best Method

There are several different ways to debug a service application. In order to choose the correct method, you must first make two choices: the time at which the debugger is attached to the service application and what debugging configuration to use.

There are three stages at which the debugger can be attached to the service application:

There are three debugging configurations you can choose:

If your service is running on Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003, you can combine any of these three attach options with any of these three debugging configuration options.

If your service is running on Windows Vista or a later version of Windows, there is one restriction on how these choices can be combined. If you want to debug from the beginning of the service startup, or from the time that an exception is encountered, you must use either remote debugging or kernel-controlled user-mode debugging.

In other words, on Windows Vista and later, you cannot use local debugging unless you plan to attach the debugger manually after the service is already running. This restriction results from the fact that in these versions of Windows, services run in session 0, and any debugger that is automatically launched and attached to the service is also in session 0, and does not have a user interface on the computer that the service is running on.

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