I encountered a repeatable crash in VS2008 for the first time today.

I was working on a C# file in the editor.  SP1 added some design time hints on syntax or potential compile time problems.  The code I was working on had a few red squiggly lines letting me know that I should correct something.

Well, when I tried to edit one particular line, VS would freeze on me then throw a nice "Sorry, I'm crashing" error dialog and then close.  VS has crashed on me before, but that has typically been because something else was unstable on my system.  So, after restarting VS, it crashed in exactly the same place.  I even resorted to rebooting my box, and still there was no help.

Time and time again, VS would crash as soon as I placed the cursor on that particular line of code.  I have no idea what was so special about that line.  It was fairly short and was just a simple property assignment.

Eventually, I resorted to editing the file as much as I could in TextPad, saving, then trying the updated file in VS.  Finally VS stopped crashing on me.

Whenever the error dialog would popup, I would click the "send error" button, but no information would come back.  I just hope that someone is reading the error info and might have a clue as to the cause.

Since the event, I started investigating what the cause might have been.  I searched the web for VS2008 SP1 bugs but didn't have any luck.  I did find a couple of other blogs that had VS problems and learned a few things.  First, I will probably use Microsoft Connect the next time I encounter a problem.  Second, they have Debugging Tools you can download that will prepare a dump file they can use to investigate the problem. 

You can get the dump file with the following steps:

1. Download the Debugging Tools and install. Assume that you copy it to
“C:\Debuggers”.

2. Open a command line prompt. Close all unnecessary applications.

3. Try to reproduce the problem.

4. Before VS IDE crashes , execute the following command at the command line prompt:

cscript C:\Debuggers\adplus.vbs -crash -FullOnFirst -pn devenv.exe –o C:\Dump

Dump file will be generated at “C:\Dump” and it usually takes several hundred MB. Make sure that you have sufficient disk space.

Also, I learned that you can find some "fault" information in the Application event log.  Though, as you can see, it's not very helpful to me, but it could help the next time I need to report a problem.

e.g.:
Faulting application devenv.exe, version 9.0.30729.1, stamp 488f2b50, faulting module kernel32.dll, version 5.1.2600.5512, stamp 4802a12c, debug? 0, fault address 0x00012aeb.

For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.



If only I could turn the clock back a few hours and reproduce the problem.  I am glad that I am not experiencing the problem now, but I've lost an opportunity to help improve Visual Studio.

posted on Friday, November 14, 2008 10:57 PM
Filed Under [ .Net Tools Quality ]

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