How to: Launch a stand-alone .NET Framework application with the profiler to collect concurrency data by using the command line

This topic describes how to use Visual Studio Profiling Tools command-line tools to start a .NET Framework stand-alone (client) application and collect process and thread concurrency data


Command-line tools of the Profiling Tools are located in the \Team Tools\Performance Tools subdirectory of the Visual Studio installation directory. On 64-bit computers, both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of the tools are available. To use the profiler command-line tools, you must add the tools path to the PATH environment variable of the command prompt window or add it to the command itself. For more information, see Specify the path to command-line tools.

While the profiler is attached to the application, you can pause and resume data collection. To end a profiling session, the Profiler must no longer be attached to the application and the Profiler must be explicitly shut down.

Start the application with the profiler

To launch a .NET Framework target application with the Profiler, you use VSPerfClrEnv.exe to set the .NET Framework profiling variables. You then use the VSPerfCmd /start and /launch options to initialize the Profiler and start the application. You can specify /start and /launch and their respective options on a single command line. You can also add the /globaloff option to the command line to pause data collection when the target application starts. You then use /globalon on a separate command line to start to collect data.

To start an application with the profiler

  1. Open a command prompt window.

  2. Start the profiler. Type:

    VSPerfCmd /start:concurrency[,{ResourceOnly|ThreadOnly}] /output:OutputFile [Options]

    • The /start option initializes the profiler.

      /start:concurrency Enables collecting both resource contention and thread execution data.
      /start:concurrency,resourceonly Enables collecting only resource contention data.
      /start:concurrency,threadonly Enables collecting only thread execution data.
    • The /output:OutputFile option is required with /start. OutputFile specifies the name and location of the profiling data (.vsp) file.

      You can use any of the following options with the /start:concurrency option.

    Option Description
    /user :[domain\]username Specifies the optional domain and user name of the account to be granted access to the profiler.
    /crosssession Enables profiling of processes in other logon sessions.
    /wincounter : WinCounterPath Specifies a Windows performance counter to be collected during profiling.
    /automark : Interval Use with /wincounter only. Specifies the number of milliseconds between Windows performance counter collection events. Default is 500 ms.
    /events : Config Specifies an Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) event to be collected during profiling. ETW events are collected in a separate (.etl) file.
  3. Start the target application. Type:

    VSPerfCmd /launch : AppName [Options] [Sample Event]

    You can use any of the following options with the /launch option.

    Option Description
    /args : Arguments Specifies a string that contains the command-line arguments to be passed to the target application.
    /console Starts the target command-line application in a separate window.
    /targetclr : Version Specifies the version of the common language runtime (CLR) to profile when more than one version of the runtime is loaded in an application.

Control data collection

While the target application is running, you can control data collection by starting and stopping the writing of data to the file by using VSPerfCmd.exe options. Controlling data collection enables you to collect data for a specific part of program execution, such as the starting or shutdown of the application.

To start and stop data collection

  1. The following pairs of VSPerfCmd.exe options start and stop data collection. Specify each option on a separate command-line. You can turn data collection on and off multiple times.

    Option Description
    /globalon /globaloff Starts (/globalon) or stops (/globaloff) data collection for all processes.
    /processon : PID /processoff : PID Starts (/processon) or stops (/processoff) data collection for the process specified by the process ID (PID).
    /attach :{PID|ProcName} /detach[:{PID|ProcName}] /attach starts to collect data for the process specified by the process ID (PID) or process name (ProcName). /detach stops data collection for the specified process or for all processes if a specific process is not specified.

End the profiling session

To end a profiling session, the profiler must not be collecting data. You can stop collecting concurrency data by closing the profiled application or by invoking the VSPerfCmd /detach option. You then invoke the VSPerfCmd /shutdown option to turn off the profiler and close the profiling data file. The VSPerfClrEnv /off command clears the profiling environment variables.

To end a profiling session

  1. Do one of the following to detach the profiler from the target application.

    • Close the target application.


    • Type VSPerfCmd /detach

  2. Shut down the profiler

    VSPerfCmd /shutdown

See also

Collect concurrency data