How to: Specify Symbol File Locations from the Command Line

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

  • Paths specified in the VSPerfReport /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. VSPerfReport knows how to use the online symbol server to automatically look up symbol information and save the files to a local store. This does require that the computer you are using for reporting is connected to the Internet.

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

  • Set the _NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable.

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

You can also use both of the above methods.


If the computer has an installation of the Visual Studio IDE, a location for the Windows symbol files probably has been specified already. For more information, see How to: Reference Windows Symbol Information. You will still need to configure VSPerfReport to use the location and server as described below.

Specifying Windows Symbol Files

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:**srv*<local store>***where <local store> is the path to local directory that you created.

Specifying Component Symbol Files

If the PDB files for the components that you want to profile are not in their original location or in the folder containing the profililng data file, specify the locations by adding one or more paths to _NT_SYMBOL_PATH or to the /SymbolPath option. Separate paths with semi-colons.


The following command-line statement sets the __NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable to the Windows symbol server and the local directory to C:\Symbols. The VSPerfReport command line adds the C:\Projects\Symbols directory to the search path.

set _NT_SYMBOL_PATH=srv*C:\symbols*

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