Microsoft Previews Beginner-Friendly Windows Debug Tool

Microsoft has issued a preview of a new Windows debug (WinDbg) console that's described as being "less intimidating" and "a bit easier for beginners."

WinDbg typically might be used to debug "blue screen" Windows crashes via crash dump analyses, so it's not for everyone. Version 1.0 of the WinDbg preview is currently available for download from the Windows Store.

The new tool only works with the Windows 10 "anniversary update" (version 1607) operating system right now because it's dependent on some of that OS's features, Microsoft explained, in an announcement this week. The download page indicates it'll work just with Home or Pro editions.

The less intimidating aspect of WinDbg appears to be its use of the Ribbon menu, which shows the commands that are available depending on the context of what's happening on the screen. The file menu displays options for debugging sessions. Also, the source windows "should look more like the source windows you're used to seeing in every other modern editor," Microsoft promised. Another cosmetic addition is the ability to select a "dark theme" for the WinDbg console.

Users of WinDbg preview get some tooling help, too. The console "remembers" recent sessions "and some of the settings" that were used, which can be accessed from the File menu. Highlighted items in the console windows will now stay highlighted when you scroll within the window. It's possible to stay within the console to "write and execute your JavaScript and NatVis" scripts instead of having to use a separate development environment to create them. Moreover, script writers get "error highlighting" and color coding via "IntelliSense."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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