Which are the most used symbolic debuggers by people around here?
(with symbolic debuggers I mean debuggers that take advantage of, and display, as much of the symbol information in exe files as possible, while tracing and such).

I'm looking for a good ring-3 symbolic debugger. I know that SoftICE is really powerful and cool, but is has some drawbacks compared to most ring-3 debuggers (possibility to easily toggle between your code editor and the currently traced code, other similar "multitasking" issues, and system stability issues).

I've been using OllyDbg some, but it doesn't seem like it supports symbols very much (e.g. display of labels on all memory addresses that are labelled in the source code, like SoftICE does), and I really need this to efficiently debug larger MASM programs, so I'm looking for a somewhat equal debugger to OllyDbg, just with better symbol support.

So, which symbolic debuggers do you like and recommend? It would be great to hear some suggestions.

Posted on 2002-12-15 17:46:19 by dELTA

just give SOFTICE a try and I bet you won't leave it for rest your life..
It's one of most powerful tool available. So I will suggest you SOFTICE.

Posted on 2002-12-15 21:59:34 by processingspeed
Maybe since we seem to have somewhat of an "in" with the OllyDbg folks, just maybe we can push for more support in this area...

I love symbolic dbg, and it was so easy in the "DOS" days. It would be great to see the same "level" available to us poor Win32Asm guys. But to be honest, I haven't looked that much at what's available, and it may already be out there. Part of my problem is that I code for 95 compat. I test on a 95B machine, and there are version problems (for lack of a better word) between ML 6.1x, that produces a ver 6 PDB file, and the only recent version of WinDbg that runs on 95, and uses ver 5 PDB info...

I still use WinDbg, even though there are folks here that hate it, and I never have been able to get asm syms working with it. But it's one of those things that I know like the back of my hand, and it still does pretty much everything I need. I've just got better things to do than learn another tool, when the one I have almost always does the job. And it's free.

One thing I've found that really helps with sym dbging is to always keep a .LST file "source" window open, along with the disasm window. Make 'em about the same size, and just manually "sync" them. It's easy enough to find and match the obj code, and then the "real source" is right next to it. .LISTALL (or the /Sg switch) is a must here.

Maybe it's just me, and being used to doing it for so long. YMMV... :)
Posted on 2002-12-16 00:28:39 by S/390
OllyDbg supports Borland and Microsoft debug formats, and also can
imports .map files with the help of a plugin

S/390: did you encounter any problem ?
come to OllyDbg Users Forum (link 2 lines below)
Posted on 2002-12-16 00:40:12 by TBD


just give SOFTICE a try and I bet you won't leave it for rest your life..
It's one of most powerful tool available. So I will suggest you SOFTICE.


I always wonder from where you guys got the money for SICE.
Posted on 2002-12-16 00:47:26 by bazik
I would recommend the VC++ debugger, because it is *integrated* into the editor, and gives you two types of disassembly to trace thru: your asm, and a mixture of your asm and the actual compiled code (so you can see what your code gets compiled to). You should be able to pick up the academic version of VC++ for pretty damn cheap.

I always wonder from where you guys got the money for SICE.
Heh :) I was at TechEd a couple of months ago, and i was talking to a Compuware/Numega rep. I was waffling about asm programming, and then i mentioned sice in the same sentence. Instantly his eyes narrowed, so i had to quickly reassure him that i was using a legally licensed copy belong to the company i was working for. Obviously not too many people pay money for their copy :grin:
Posted on 2002-12-16 02:33:48 by sluggy

Obviously not too many people pay money for their copy :grin:

Thats why we have this entry in the FAQ.
Posted on 2002-12-16 03:24:52 by bazik

I also wonder if NuMega ever considered also "crackers" to be in their market target. :grin:
Posted on 2002-12-16 03:56:42 by Maverick
I'm with Sluggy. VC++ has a very good symbolic debugger.

Can you get PDB files from NASM or FASM with link.exe?
Posted on 2002-12-16 04:08:34 by ThoughtCriminal
Thanks for all the opinions! I know VC++ debugger is good, it's just a bit bloated to install, and that's why I was looking for some more light-weight debuggers like OllyDbg. After having looked into it some more, OllyDbg really seems like it is supposed to support my symbols, but it just refuses to recognize them in my project for some reason. :( TBD, I will post some more on the OllyDbg Users Forum about it soon, and hope to get some help getting it working, so that I can evaluate OllyDbg's symbol support for myself.

Thanks all!
Posted on 2002-12-16 07:07:25 by dELTA
You could also try my GoBug symbolic debugger.
This works under Windows 95, 98 and ME, although I also have an NT, 2000 and XP version which is still under development.
Posted on 2002-12-29 11:26:48 by jorgon
I also wonder if NuMega ever considered also "crackers" to be in their market target

i am pretty much sure they have :-)
i asked the same question when i email DataRescue (was doing some research about disassemblers).

funny thing is that NuMega had Matt Peitrek ;-) a really good 'reverser' so i am pretty sure they knew that SoftICE is going down to the underground :-)
with all respect to NuMega i hope some will understand that this tool is a MUST to all who really needs all its potential power :alright:

btw, someone knows the name of the programmer who wrote SoftICE ? (at those times i think this tool has been coded by a team of 1 memeber :)) Go NuMega Go
Posted on 2002-12-29 13:09:42 by wizzra
Actually it's Compuware SoftIce.
Posted on 2002-12-29 17:42:28 by JimmyClif
now its Compuware, once it was NuMega ;-)

Btw, JimmyClif:
i didn't know ur a thundercats fan? :-)
Posted on 2002-12-31 08:07:30 by wizzra
I forgot about the ThunderCats for ages... but a month or so I went to the mall and saw a ThunderCats T-Shirt and all memories came back :) Besides He-Man I liked it a lot. Later on my favs were Olive et Tom and Les chevaliers du Zodiaque (Saint Seiya).

Posted on 2002-12-31 09:06:21 by JimmyClif
I use OllyDBG, because it is the best IMHO, I have VC++ and I dont like its debugger it doesnt seem to let me change the Registers and the flags and the FPU and 3DNow! and SSE registers
Posted on 2002-12-31 18:30:17 by x86asm
Ollydbg is one of the best tool developed for Win32asm coders.:alright:


Posted on 2003-01-01 06:10:39 by Vortex
Just to add to the list, I found a new freeware Win32 debugger that seems pretty nice called Debuggy.


Last Update:02.03.2003

-Native Debugger
-Resource Extractor
-Window Sniffer
-API Spy (*Under Construction*)-Note:Disable API Spy with Process Attach option while debugger raise the threads/DLL's
-File Hex Editor
Posted on 2003-03-24 02:35:32 by Masmer
Thanks Masmer:alright:


Posted on 2003-03-24 03:27:41 by Vortex
CodeView (microsoft) is a nice symbolic debugger,
but quite old :( for nowdays.
we do use it in uni though.
Posted on 2003-03-24 06:02:32 by wizzra