Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Working with the Watch and other debug windows


Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

with Walt Ritscher

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Working with the Watch and other debug windows

In this example, I will look at the watch, locals, call stack, and thread windows inside Visual Studio. I'm inside a project called UsingWatchWindows. This is a WPF application, and I have a little sample UI down here in MainWindow.xaml. Let's take a look at it. There are six buttons in here, and each of these buttons allows me to show you one of the windows inside Visual Studio. And before I show you the actual windows, I need to build my application, and then I am going to attach the Debugger by clicking the Debug > Start Debugging.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
8h 9m Intermediate Nov 16, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training, author Walt Ritscher demonstrates how to use Visual Studio 2010 Professional to develop full-featured applications targeting a variety of platforms. Starting with an overview of the integrated developer environment, the course covers working with code editors, navigating and formatting code, and deploying applications. Also included are tutorials on running performance and load tests, and debugging code. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Creating a Visual Studio project
  • Building the user interface
  • Binding to an RSS feed
  • Coding with IntelliSense
  • Creating rich Internet applications with Silverlight
  • Building Windows applications with Windows Forms
  • Integrating with SQL Server
  • Working with Microsoft Office applications
  • Understanding extensibility in Visual Studio
  • Working with data, ADO.NET and datasets
  • Using source control
ASP.NET Silverlight Visual Studio
Walt Ritscher

Working with the Watch and other debug windows

In this example, I will look at the watch, locals, call stack, and thread windows inside Visual Studio. I'm inside a project called UsingWatchWindows. This is a WPF application, and I have a little sample UI down here in MainWindow.xaml. Let's take a look at it. There are six buttons in here, and each of these buttons allows me to show you one of the windows inside Visual Studio. And before I show you the actual windows, I need to build my application, and then I am going to attach the Debugger by clicking the Debug > Start Debugging.

Then I am going to click on this Watch Windows button. Notice that I have this code in here that causes the debugger to stop automatically if a debugger is attached. I talked about that in the previous movie. I am going to press F10 to step through a few lines of code. The idea behind the watch window is that it's a permanent repository for data that you want to look at. So if I want to keep this s1 around, instead of having to hover over this to see what's stored in there, I can just take it and drag it down and drag, drop it into the Watch area.

And then when I see the data down here, and I notice that there's an error, I can fix as while I am at the breakpoint by double-clicking on the value in the watch window. Typing in the new value, hi, and it shows it red now that signifies I've just changed that value. Now if I hover over the s1 variable up here, you see that it now contains the new data. So I can edit the data and watch the data. Of course, I can drag more sophisticated objects down here, like this book object, and then I can click on this Plus symbol to expand the details and read more about this class.

I don't have to use variables that I have declared. I can work with the local class. I'm inside this MainWindow.xaml file right now as I am running. So I could come down here and type something in, like the word "this," which refers to the current instance, and then I can read information now about this window I'm inside. Also, I can see information about some of the buttons in here, and I can also use completely arbitrary calls out to .NET framework. For instance, I could say System.IO. Directory.Exists, type in the path to a directory like so, and then it will evaluate that expression and tell me that no, that directory does not exist.

Next I would like to show you the locals and autos windows. I am going to press F5 to finish running the code in here and return back to my UI. Click on that Locals and Autos buttons. Now I'm going to take a look at these two windows here and here. So the autos windows watches your cursor, and as you step through your code--I am pressing F10-- it's keeping an eye on the line of code where the yellow marker is and several other lines of code around that marker. So right now I can see three variables.

If I press the F10 key one more time, you will see that those variables change. Now compare that to the Locals Window. The Locals Window shows me all variables that are in scope inside this method, so that would be the sender, which is a parameter, RoutedEventArgs which is a parameter, plus also these other variables here. Now as I step through my code, I'm going to get to this line of code right here, 68, and that's going to move me in to another function. So as I press F11 now, I have now entered the second function, and you will notice that the Locals Windows changes and shows me only the variables that are in scope inside that function.

Pressing F11 a few more times, I will leave this function and return back to the previous calling function, and then again the Locals Window repopulates with the data from that area. I will press F5 to continue. Next, I want to show you the call stack. In this example I have a function called callStackButton_Click, and it's going to call a function called CreateLoan. So if I go over and click on this Call Stack button--and if you don't see these windows, you may need to go up to Debug > Windows and enable the different windows.

As you can see, there are a lot of other windows I am not going to cover, for instance, there is the Register's window and the Memory window. So here I am. I am ready to make this call. If I look at the Call Stack, I see that I am inside this function. Now I am going to press F11. Now I have entered the second function, and the call stack now reflects that and says, "I am in this CreateLoan," and it was called from this button click procedure. One of the things I can do in the Call Stack window is double-click on the previous function, and it will take me over and show me where the code was where I entered this function.

Then I can double-click on this one with the yellow marker, which takes me back to the current line of code is ready to execute. I will press F11 a few times. Now I have entered another class, and you can see the call stack in now three-deep. And then when I leave this, it goes back to being two-deep. Press F5 one more time. I am going to click on this button. The Immediate window lives over here, and what the Immediate window allows me to do is run one single line of code and evaluate it.

So right now, I would like to call this function, Financial CreateLoan. So I come over here, and I will type in "Fin". There is Financial.CreateLoan. I pass the person's name in, and then I pass in the value of the loan--$5-- and I am going to press Enter, and that function just ran, and notice nothing happened up here, right? I am running this function independently.

It was happening in this window, and then I get back the results from that function. I can also print any details I want by typing in the question mark, which is shorthand for print, and then I can type in something like "this.Width". Here I am referring to the window that I'm inside, and I can find out that I am 525 pixels wide. Press F5 one more time. Next, I want to look at the Thread windows. So I am going to click on this button right here. I am inside this click procedure.

By going in and choosing Debug > Windows > Threads, I can examine how many threads I am running. Now, you may not see the same number of threads that I have here. I have got two threads. It depends on whether you have this thing called the VsHost running or not, which is a special debugger helper. If VsHost is running, then you'll end up with four or five more threads than what I currently have. So I have got the main thread, and I've got one worker thread.

I have another example-- let me press F5--where I am going to spawn a worker thread to go do some extra work. Let's make this a little bit smaller. What I am going to do here is I am going to queue up a thread from the ThreadPool and tell it to go run the code in this OpenTheFiles method. So currently, I'm on the UI thread, because I'm running inside this WPF application. When I get down to this line of code, I will be running on a ThreadPool thread. So I can see the difference in this window. I am going to press F5.

Now I have hit this breakpoint that's inside the OpenTheFiles function. And as I can see in this Thread Window, I'm now running on this thread down here, 1352. As you saw earlier, there are other Debug windows available. For example, there is the Register Window, which shows the data that is stored in the CPU registers. These additional debugging windows are adapted for special debugging tasks and worth investigating.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: Which edition of Visual Studio 2010 do I need to follow along in this course?
A: The course is taught with Visual Studio 2010 Professional, but can also be used with the Premium or Ultimate editions. The Express editions of Visual Studio, including Visual Basic 2010 Express, Visual C# 2010 Express, and Visual C++ Express, are not covered in this course.
Q: I'm attempting to download the exercise files for this course, and my virus protection is blocking me from unzipping the downloaded file. Are the files corrupted?
A: The alert is a false-positive message. Your antivirus software is detecting the active code included in the exercise files, which in some ways resembles viral code. There is nothing to be alarmed about and you can ignore the warning. This is common among coding courses and environments.
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.