Andrew Connell

Fix VS .NET debugger when unable to debug by manually attaching to a process

The following steps helps me resolve a nasty VS.NET debugging issue I was having. When you launch the VS .NET debugger automatically by pressing the PLAY button or F5, debugging works just fine. However, if you try to manually attach to a process (like w3wp.exe in Windows Server 2003), the debugger is never able to load the debug symbols and it won''t stop on your breakpoints.

Last week I had a nasty issue: I couldn’t get the debugger to attach to a process while working on a MCMS 2002 project.

As MCMS developers know, you can’t just hit F5 to fire off the debugger, you have to build your project, manually attach to the web process, and then browse to your site. So this little issue was giving me fits. I finally cried uncle and used one of my PSS tickets you get with an MSDN subscription.

It was such an obscure fix, I decided to throw it up on my blog for others who may have this issue.

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Andrew Connell
Developer & Chief Course Artisan, Voitanos LLC. | Microsoft MVP
Written by Andrew Connell

Andrew Connell is a web developer with a focus on Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. He’s received Microsoft’s MVP award every year since 2005 and has helped thousands of developers through the various courses he’s authored & taught. Andrew’s the founder of Voitanos and is dedicated to delivering industry-leading on-demand video training to professional developers. He lives with his wife & two kids in Florida.