How to Make a Phone Book Build and Run

Here’s a short cheat sheet summarizing an internal talk I gave a while ago about VC++ build diagnostics. These switches and tools are all documented, most are surveyed in previous posts here, and all are very useful when struck by baffling build/load errors.

Stage Diagnostic Tool
Solution / project configuration Tools/ Options/ Projects and Solutions/ Build and Run/ MSBuild output verbosity – Diagnostic
Includes Project Properties/ configuration /C-C++/ Advanced/Show Includes – Yes
Preprocessor Project Properties/ configuration /C-C++/ Preprocess to a File – Yes
Compiler output, obj or lib VS command prompt – “Dumpbin /ALL YourBin.lib > YourOutput.txt”
optionally undname on relevant names in the result
Linkage Project Properties/configuration/Linker/Show Progress – VERBOSE
Complete binary Dependency Walker
Loader Gflags / ShowSnaps
When in doubt Process Monitor

To use this effectively you must first define the exact stage where the failure occurs (which isn’t always trivial), then use the listed switch/tool.

Specifically Process Monitor is useful in multiple contexts – but mostly when you suspect used file is being consumed from an erroneous location. I recommend not adding a process name filter, as multiple processes are typically involved – devenv.exe, MSBuild.exe, cl.exe, link.exe, mspdbsvr etc. For header files there’s /ShowIncludes and for dll’s there’s link /verbose or Gflags/ShowSnaps, but many other files are consumed and have potential for errors (property sheets, resources, etc.) and ProcessMonitor covers them all.

Enjoy.

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