Windows XP SP2 and the Visual Studio Debugger

Oh what fun XP SP2 was for the debugger team! The firewall defaulting to On obviously completely broke Remote Debugging, and the DCOM changes broke it even more. Kept us busy for a long time. Well Gregg, mostly.

The results are threefold:

  • A new KB 841177 that links to and describes how to use:
    • An HTA file that configures most of the firewall for you, on both sides
  • The original KB 833977 has a few changes that are not yet live. Look for an update soon.

The HTA file is mine: yes, this is the rare occurrance you can view my actual source code. Enjoy! (Don't laugh, this was my first real HTA).

If you are wondering what to do with the VS 2005 Whidbey debugger and SP2, its easy: you dont have to do a darn thing. Beta 1 includes "open firewall for you" code.

The NX changes we thought might also break the debugger, as we do weird things injecting code sometimes, but we were wrong: we had no NX work to do. On the other hand the .NET CLR folks had a butt-load of work for NX, though the OS folks in the end added AppCompat shims so that the unpatched CLR will still work on an NX-enabled machine.

I am anxiously awaiting my home machines being offered the upgrade as SP2 is a huge step forward in Windows security. Sure there are some app-compat issues, like the ones we fixed, but so long as you are dealing with a reputable vendor they should be able to supply work-arounds and maybe patches for any issues effecting you. I have updated two machines in the office so far with no issues.