Finding answers to ASP.NET debugging issues

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ASP .NET Support Voice Column: Finding answers to ASP.NET debugging issues
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Welcome back the ASP.NET Support Voice Column! In this installment we are going to take a look at some common issues related to debugging ASP.NET applications in Visual Studio .NET, and how to search the Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) to find some useful documentation around the topic.

If you are one of the many Web developers that have moved to or are currently moving to Visual Studio .NET from Visual InterDev 6.0, then you may already have a bad taste in your mouth when someone mentions debugging server-side code, especially remote debugging. Did you know that syntax errors in your web.config file could affect your ability to debug? Have you ever seen the debugger skip breakpoints in your code? Have you ever witnessed firsthand any of the following errors when trying to debug your ASP.NET code?
  • "Error while trying to run project: Unable to start debugging on the web server. The server does not support debugging of ASP.NET or ATL Server applications. Run setup to install the Visual Studio .NET server components. If setup has been run, verify that a valid URL has been specified."
  • "Error while trying to run project: Unable to start debugging on the web server. Not enough storage is available to complete this operation."
  • "Error while trying to run project: Unable to start debugging on the Web server. You do not have permissions to debug the server. Verify that you are a member of the Debugger Users group on the server. Would you like to disable future attempts to debug ASP.NET pages for this project?"
If you are like me, you have probably encountered at least a couple of these at different times. Most of the debugger issues you will encounter should be pretty well documented in the KB. When Visual Studio .NET 2002 was getting ready for release there was already some attention being placed on how easy it would be to debug ASP.NET code. For many of us that were on the ASP support team at that time, we knew that customers were having problems setting up Visual InterDev 6.0 to debug their ASP code. As a result, the importance of providing our customers with good documentation around debugging ASP.NET code using Visual Studio .NET was clear.

Unfortunately, you still see threads on various discussion forums where developers are struggling through a debugging issue that is clearly documented in the KB. Of course, you need to be able to find the debugging articles, which can sometimes be fairly difficult as well. Just in case you came across this article in your search for information on how to resolve your debugging issue, take a look at the following article, which discusses many of the common debugging issues: INFO: Common Errors When You Debug ASP.NET Applications in Visual Studio .NET

If you read the last Support Voice column, Export data to Excel using an HTTPHandler, XSLT, and ASP.NET, you may already be aware of how useful using keywords can be when searching the KB. When Knowledge Base articles are created, they have specific "product elements" and keywords associated with them. If you know the keywords associated with a product or technology, try using those in place of their more generic English terms during your initial searches. This typically offers a bit more precision than just stringing together words or phrases. The following is a list of tips that should help improve your experience with the KB. For additional information, take a look at KB article 303992 INFO: Keywords to Search .NET Related Knowledge Base Articles
  • When you visit Microsoft Help and Support,, and click Search the Knowledge Base, try to limit your search by choosing the most relevant product (for example, select "ASP.NET" and not "Visual Studio .NET" or "All Products").
  • When searching the KB, you can narrow down the types of articles returned by supplying the kbAudDeveloper keyword. This filters your search to include only developer-related content. This way you shouldn't have an article on troubleshooting Microsoft Bob issues show up along side a bunch of articles around COM Interop and ASP.NET.
  • When you search the KB for articles on ASP.NET, you can use on of the following keywords to limit your results:
    • kbASPNetSearch (refers to all ASP.NET versions)
    • kbASPNet100 (refers to ASP.NET 1.0 included with the .NET framework 1.0)
    • kbASPNet110 (refers to ASP.NET 1.0 included with the .NET framework 1.0)
  • There are several types of articles in the KB, ranging from how-to's to hotfix articles. Try limiting your results to the type of issue you are having. Here are some examples of the available keywords and the type of articles they relate to:
    • kbPrb : This type of article is related to perceived issues with the product. This means that you are experiencing an issue with the product, but it isn't a bug. This is one of the more commonly documented types of articles around debugging scenarios.
    • kbInfo : This is an informational type of article. These types of articles are used to describe a concept or provide additional information around an issue. KB article 306172 from above is an example of this.
    • kbHowToMaster : These are the How-To articles. If you are just looking for a step-by-step explanation on how to perform a specific task, then this is usually going to be the format of the article.
    • kbQFE : This keyword is used to distinguish hotfix articles. These types of articles are used to describe issues where a fix is available for the specific issue described in the article, but may not have been fully tested and is not yet available in a service pack release.
    • kbBug : The kbBug keyword is reserved for articles that call out a specific bug in a product.
  • To make sense in the context of the debugging we need to leverage the kbDebug keyword. Keep in mind that this applies to debugging in general, so the search results will need to be filtered using additional keywords.
  • If your issue applies to Visual Studio .NET directly, then you might try including some of the following keywords as well:
    • kbVSNET2002Ac (Visual Studio .NET 2002 Academic version)
    • kbVSNET2002EntArch (Visual Studio .NEo .NET 2002 in general)
    • kbVSNET2003Ac (Visual Studio .NET 2003 Academic version)
    • kbVSNET2003EntArc (Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect)
    • kbVSNET2003EntDev (Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Developer)
    • kbVSNET2003Pro (Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional)
    • kbVSNET2003Search (Applies to Visual Studio .NET 2003 in general)
    • kbVSNETSearch (Applies to Visual Studio .NET, not a specific version)
    • kbVSsearch (Applies to Visual Studio in general, not a specific version)
    • kbIDE (Applies to issues with the Intergrated Development Environment)
To prove the point, try some of the following queries to retrieve some of the various articles around debugging ASP.NET.

Query for Informational articles related to debugging ASP.NET
Search Query : kbInfo kbASPNETSearch kbDebug

Query for articles related to perceived issues around debugging ASP.NET
Search Query : kbPrb kbASPNETSearch kbDebug

Query for How-To articles related to debugging ASP.NET
Search Query : kbHowToMaster kbASPNETSearch kbDebug

Modified How-To version of the above query demonstrating how the Visual Studio .NET keywords can give additional focus
Search Query : kbHowToMaster kbASPNETSearch kbDebug kbVSNETSearch
As always, feel free to submit ideas on topics you want addressed in future columns or in the Knowledge Base using the Ask For It form.

Article ID: 891027 - Last Review: 12/09/2015 01:58:13 - Revision: 2.2

Microsoft ASP.NET 1.0, Microsoft ASP.NET 1.1

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