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Deadlock Debugging for .NET

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Out of the box, .NET doesn't have any support for deadlock detection. Normally the way one checks for deadlocks is by attaching the debugger and examining each thread. Corneliu, creator of the GUI debugging tool HawkEye, has offered an alternative. His ACorns.Debugging tool works against most .NET programs, without recompiling them. Corneliu summarizes his tool as follows:

  1. The tool does not require to have the code re-compiled in any way or form, with any external dependencies, nor reference any external library or have you modify your code to use any special type of locks inside your code
  2. It works on release builds with no PDB files
  3. It works on running processes or previously captured memory dumps
  4. It detects deadlocks across multiple threads and returns detailed call-stack and lock usage information
  5. It only detect deadlocks in which threads are actively waiting for locks acquired by other threads
  6. It does not detect the dining philosophers problem or deadlocks created in combination of time waits + wake/check + lock
  7. It has an external dependency on the cdb.exe (part of the the free Debugging Tools for Windows package from Microsoft)
  8. It requires absolutely no installation. It an xcopy deployment
  9. And best of all it’s free (source code to be published soon)

For those of you just starting with parallel programming, Corneliu offers a brief introduction to deadlocks and instructions on interpreting the results of his program. depends on Microsoft's Debugging Tools for Windows.


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