Microsoft shows tools used to debug Windows XP

At a seminar at the company's Silicon Valley Campus on Tuesday, one of the company's engineers gave demonstrations of tools that had been used to debug both the raw source code for the operating system, and the actual compiled programs.

The company began using a program called Vulcan in 1998 to optimise binary files that had been compiled from source code, but in early 2000, the company began running an improved version, during the creation of both Windows XP and Office XP, that allowed Vulcan to optimise and debug these files while they were running.

"Vulcan is also ideal for running on things like servers, where they're not going to let you take it down, because it probes for problems without slowing the system down," said Amitabh Srivastava, distinguished engineer, Microsoft research at the company's Programmer Productivity Research Centre.

Vulcan works in combination with Magellan, a central storage facility, where the information Vulcan gathers can then be studied. "The probe spits out information to Vulcan, where the engineer then looks for what he wants," he said.

Using the combination of the two tools, engineers can observe everything from performance and timing to which parts of the program are more efficient than others, Srivastava said.

Srivastava also demonstrated the improved versions of Prefix and Prefast, the tools used to debug the code when it is still in its source code form.

"When we started on the creation of Windows 2000, they were still new tools, we used them much more heavily in the creation of XP," Srivastava said.

The company's current plans include releasing Prefast to the public, to let developers use the tool.

Overall, the main difference between previous versions of the Windows operating system and Windows XP comes down to reliability, Srivastava said.

"We're entering enterprise space, and .NET, so the bar for reliability is much higher than before," he said. "We focused more on the reliability, than on trying to add new features to XP."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Douglas F. Gray

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?