Thursday, November 08, 2007

Disabling Visual Studio 2005 Just-In-Time Debugger

Being a TFS administrator, I run into some of the oddest situations. Here's today's.

A user of mine works with files located on a Unix machine, but accessible via Samba. She basically just looks at logs. Because Notepad does not handle the "end of line" character well (it will not automatically stick in a carriage return when viewing the file) she uses WordPad. Yes, you're probably just as surprised as me. Some people still use WordPad!

I had a good laugh asking her why she used such an antiquated tool. It's because WordPad will insert a carriage return when viewing so the log file looks nice. I directed her to more advanced tools (Textpad is my favorite), and she said she'd look into getting something better in the future.

Anyway, the real problem was that WordPad was throwing random exceptions for her. In the past she got the "WordPad MFC Application has encountered a problem and needs to close. We're sorry for the inconvenience." Thanks Microsoft. I appreciate your apology.

After installing Visual Studio Team Explorer, it was tossing up the Just-In-Time debugger and asking her if she wanted to debug the error in WordPad. This confused the user and prompted an email to the TFS administrator who made her install the offending software.

My goal was to turn off the debugger and return to Microsoft's apology note. I first started by going to Visual Studio's Tools > Options > Debugging > Just-In-Time and unchecking all the boxes. The standard Just-In-Time debug message went away, but it was replaced with an ugly "you don't have a default debugger configured dummy!" message. Or something along that line.

A quick Google search led me to this article. They show you the two reg hacks to fully disable debugging on your machine. Remember, standard registry backups should be applied before doing these steps.

I'm glad to note the user is now back to normal and continues to use WordPad and still gets random exceptions.

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