Viewing strings in the Visual C++ 6.0 Debugger

Posted on 2003-03-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-13

Here's the relevant information...

    LPOLESTR pwszTarget = NULL;

// @@@ ======= TEST =======
    pwszTarget = (LPOLESTR) CoTaskMemAlloc(
                 (ustrlen(" Filename.EXT") + 1)
                 * sizeof(OLECHAR));
    if (!pwszTarget)
        hr = E_OUTOFMEMORY, throw HRException();
    ustrcpy(pwszTarget, OLESTR(" Filename.EXT"));
// @@@ ======= END  =======

Now my problem is this:

I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing in Visual C++, yet the project that I am currently working on requires that I make things work.  In the snippet above, I am attempting to allocate space for 'pwszTarget', then load a constant string into it.

I have made the following assumptions:

- Memory must be allocated before the copy of the string to 'pwszTarget'
- OLESTR() is used because that's the way everything else that I've seen is done
- It isn't working

I mention that last assumption because I'm not even sure if it *isn't* working.  This brings up the second part of my question, how do I view a string in the debugger for Visual C++ 6.0?  

This is what I'm seeing in the watch window with a few variations on how the variable is displayed...

     &pwszTarget                0x0012eaa8 "Я"
     pwszTarget             0x0017afd0
     (char *)(pwszTarget)   0x0017afd0 " "
     *pwszTarget                32

Much thanks,
Question by:EmbeddedProgrammer
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Author Comment

ID: 8085038
Oh, and in case anyone points it out, I *do* realize that " " is 32 in ASCII... :).  I believe that this is the start of the string that I mention, but why isn't the rest of it shown?


Author Comment

ID: 8085066
I realize that I'm talking to myself here, but it's been a long day. :P

Does this have something to do with the fact that a UNICODE string is interleaved with '0's, and the debugger thinks this is the end of the string when displaying it?  If so, is there another way to see the WHOLE string at runtime in the debugger?


Author Comment

ID: 8085068
I realize that I'm talking to myself here, but it's been a long day. :P

Does this have something to do with the fact that a UNICODE string is interleaved with '0's, and the debugger thinks this is the end of the string when displaying it?  If so, is there another way to see the WHOLE string at runtime in the debugger?

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Expert Comment

ID: 8086334
First of all I will suggest you to use TCHAR. TCHAR can act as a multibyte string or a wide string depending on compilation options set to _MBCS or _UNICODE
So the code can be as simple as:

_tcscpy(szTarget, _T("Filename.EXT"));

Next, to watch the string value in debugger, go to
View-->OutputWindows --> Memory

Once the memory window is open, copy the address of the target string from watch window and paste in memory edit box. Press return and you   should be able to see the string value in BSTRs, OLESTRs
In your case above, the addr of pwszTarget, that is 0x0012eaa8, should be pasted in the memory window
&pwszTarget                0x0012eaa8 "P/"

Good luck,

Accepted Solution

EmbeddedProgrammer earned 0 total points
ID: 8089216
Thanks for your comment, Rsan.

Unfortunately, I don't have the option to change the variable types that are used.  I'm working from a template and many of the variables are already in place.  I will, however, keep this in mind if I ever have to work with this horrible language on another project. ;)

Another person that I was talking to mentioned the method of viewing memory.  Though this approach would work, it seems very cumbersome when there are many strings to be viewed while debugging.

I was able to solve the problem by turning on an option called "Display unicode strings", under "Tools" | "Options", then on the "Debug" tab.  This checkbox was disabled for some reason.  Whether that is the default in the installation, or the original project template that I received contained the setting, I don't know.  Why it was disabled in the first place, I don't know.  All I know is that now I can view unicode strings within the debugger (and with that neat little 'MouseOver' feature).  This allows me to debug as debugging should be done instead of doing so blindly.


Expert Comment

ID: 8095677
The display unicode strings option is contained in the workspace nor project, and it comes off by default for VC6.

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Expert Comment

ID: 9889686
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA. I will
leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:

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