WinDbg Getting started with WinDbg

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This section provides an overview of what windbg is, and why a developer might want to use it.

It should also mention any large subjects within windbg, and link out to the related topics. Since the Documentation for windbg is new, you may need to create initial versions of those related topics.


Important versions of WinDbg, for supported versions of WinDbg. See also a detailed list with historical versions online.

It's important to note that there's a versioning scheme change from older 6.12 to the newer 6.1 version. The older versions have low numbers (<100) in the third place while newer versions have high numbers (>6000).

In many cases, WinDbg versions provided for newer Windows versions still work on older versions on Windows, e.g. Version 10 of WinDbg can still be used on Windows 7. However, some commands may make use of API calls that are not available and thus fail. Therefore it's good to have several versions of WinDbg available.

VersionDescriptionRelease Date
6.12.0002.633provided for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 42010-05-21
6.2.8400.0update for Windows 8 (?)2012-06-23
6.2.9200.16384provided for Windows 8 and .NET Framework 4.52012-11-15
6.3.9600.16384provided for Windows 8.12013-10-17
10.0.10075.9provided for Windows 102015-04-29
10.0.10586.567provided since Windows 10, build 15112015-10-30
10.0.14321.1024provided since Windows 10, build 16072016-07-29


WinDbg is often used as an abbreviation of "Debugging tools for Windows". It contains different debuggers:

WinDbgthe debugger with a graphical user interface
CDBconsole debugger, user mode debugger which runs in the currently open console
NTSDnew terminal symbolic debugger, user mode debugger which opens a new terminal (console) as the name suggests
KDthe kernel debugger, which runs in the currrently open console
NTKDnew terminal kernel debugger, opens a new terminal

The commands are identical, except that there may be GUI related commands which don't work in the console versions.

Installation or Setup

Microsoft describes 3 ways of installing WinDbg:

  • as part of the WDK (Windows Driver Kit)
  • as part of the SDK (Software Development Kit)
  • with the installer of the SDK and deselecting everything else but "Debugging Tools for Windows"

To get the installer, visit Download the WDK, WinDbg, and associated tools and scroll down to a section called "Get debugging tools".

A well-known and convenient but inofficial source is Codemachine where you can also download older versions of the Debugging Tools directly.

The setup itself is straight-forward. Click through the installer until it finishes.

Got any WinDbg Question?