Posts Tagged Debugging

Where are the Visual Studio Parallel Debug Tools?


If you are just venturing into doing things in parallel with Visual Studio this one will be of interest you.

Being someone who is starting out using Visual Studio to develop parallel tasks, I’ve watched some demonstration of the support for parallel tasks in Visual Studio. That was fine, but when I came to get those nice windows up for my project I could not find where they were hidden.

The Parallel Task and Parallel Stack Windowsclip_image002

The only way I have found to get these windows displayed is as follows:

  1. Put some breakpoints into the code which has parallel activity. I put these break points into the “bits” of code I know are off on parallel tasks.
  2. Start debugging the program.
  3. Go to the Debug Tools Tool Bar, and select the “Breakpoints” icon. This then presents the dropdown menu with the parallel tool windows.
  4. There you can see there are keyboard short cuts to open the windows. This is fine if you can get the menu up and read the shortcuts, but I could never find the option to get the menu up. Why, these items only appear when the program is in “debug mode”.



  • This is another one of those, “easy when you know how” type of things. It is not entirely obvious when you start looking for the Parallel tools where to find them.
  • There are probably (undoubtable) other ways to get these windows up, but this is the one which I have found.

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Debug.WriteLine in C# 4.0 and .Net Framework 4.0


This is one is a very short blog post. There is a one improvement which has made its way into the C# 4.0 and .Net Framework, which I wish to share.

This improvement is a very simple one. If I had a paranoid streak, I would say Microsoft must have been watching the code I’ve been writing. Why? Because the code I write is littered with the following:

int i = 0;
// The old way
Debug.WriteLine(String.Format("What is i {0} - old way", i));

I use the debug output window in Visual Studio heavily. I find shoving formatted strings into the debug output window is one my standard ways of producing debug diagnostics from programs in development.

The Enhancement

public static void WriteLine(
    string format,
    params Object[] args

The above is the prototype of the addition to the Debug class, another overload of the WriteLine method. This WriteLine method is document here : Debug.WriteLine.

Simply put this is a WriteLine method which encapsulates the String.Format call. Which results in code like:

int i = 0;
// The old way
Debug.WriteLine(String.Format("What is i {0} - old way", i));
// New in Version 4 of C# and .Net Framework
Debug.WriteLine("What is i {0} - New C# 4.0 way", i);


It’s a great improvement. It will save me a lot of keystrokes when I’m developing. But this enhancement , has a downside, now I need to remember to use it!

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