Chapter 4

Debugging and Automation

Debuggers are programs that leverage support from the processor and operating system to enable tracing of other programs so that one can discover bugs or simply understand the logic of the debugged program. Debuggers are an essential tool for reverse engineers because, unlike disassemblers, they allow runtime inspection of the program's state.

The purpose of this chapter is to familiarize you with the free debugging tools from Microsoft. It is not intended to teach you debugging techniques or how to troubleshoot memory leaks, deadlocks, and so forth. Instead, it focuses on the most important commands and automation/scripting facilities, and how to write debugger extensions for the sole purpose of aiding you in reverse engineering tasks.

The chapter covers the following topics:

  • The debugging tools and basic commands—This section covers the basics of debugging, various commands, expression evaluations and operators, process and thread-related commands, and memory manipulation.
  • Scripting—The scripting language of the debugger engine is not very user friendly. This section explains the language in a structured and easy to follow manner, with various examples and a set of scripts to illustrate each topic. After reading this section, you will start leveraging the power of scripting in the debugger.
  • Using the SDK—When scripts are not enough, you can always write extensions in C or C++. This section outlines the basics of extension writing in C/C++. ...

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