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Windows Internal Debugging

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Teddy Rogers

About This File

The internal mechanisms of what allows user-mode debugging to work have rarely ever been fully explained. Even worse, these mechanisms have radically changed in Windows XP, when much of the support was re-written, as well as made more subsystem portable by including most of the routines in ntdll, as part of the Native API. This three part series will explain this functionality, starting from the Win32 (kernel32) viewpoint all the way down (or up) to the NT Kernel (ntoskrnl) component responsible for this support, called Dbgk, while taking a stop to the NT System Library (ntdll) and its DbgUi component.

The reader is expected to have some basic knowledge of C and general NT Kernel architecture and semantics. Also, this is not an introduction on what debugging is or how to write a debugger. It is meant as a reference for experienced debugger writers, or curious security experts.




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