Monthly Archives: February 2010

Debugging Tools for Windows is now part of the WDK

Yesterday a new release of “Debugging Tools For Windows” was released. Until now, it was possible to download the package as a single download of about 17 MB in size.

Starting with the new release, it seems that the Debugging Tools For Windows is now integrated in the WDK which means to download a 620 MB file.

Also it seems so, that the WDK does not install the Debugging Tools For Windows, it just installs a link to the setup…
So the question is: Why not provide the setup as a separate download as in previous version?

Here is a quote from the Debugging Tools For Windows download page:

This current version of Debugging Tools for Windows is available as part of the Windows Driver Kit (WDK). To download the WDK and install Debugging Tools for Windows:
1. Download and install the WDK.
2. Find the debugging tools link for Windows x86 version on the screen that appears and click to install the debuggers to a location of your choice.
3. After the installation is complete, you can find the debugger shortcuts by clicking Start, pointing to All Programs, and then pointing to Debugging Tools for Windows.

Conclusion: We will never understand marketing…

The Shim Database

The Shim database is a mystic area inside windows… For example it will display an UAC (admin) prompt if your application-name contains the word “*instal*”.
You can display all available shims with the Application Compatibility Administrator by using the /x command line switch.
Also there is a tool from Heath Steward which dumps the database into an XML file.
Of course, he failed to prvide the source-code of his sample project.
Also, Alex Ionescu wrote a small dump tool, but also has never published it…

So I decided to dig into this almost not documented world and write a small Shim-Dumper and Exe-matching tool (whitch source code 😉 ).

Shim Database Tool (sdb) v1.0
Copyright (C) 2010 Jochen Kalmbach

Usage:  sdb.exe [-noids] [-match] [PathToShimDatabse] [PathToFileName]
 -noids  Will prevent the output of the TagIds
 -match  Will match the provided file with the installed databases
         and displays the activated shims
         In this case 'PathToFileName' is required

NOTE: If no shim database path is provided,
      the default database will be used.

You can use it either for dumping the shimdatabase like:

sdb.exe >ShimDatabase.xml

This will redirect the output to an xml-file and will look something like:

   WordPerfect Office 2000
    Corel Corporation
    Corel Setup Wizard
    Corel Corporation Limited
    WordPerfect® 9

(be aware: the current Win7 database is about 17 MB!)

You also can use this tool to find out, if an application has a shim applied:

C:>sdb -match MyInstaller.exe
Shim found for file: MyInstaller.exe
Flags: 0x0:
Exe-Shim: 0x35472, Flags: 0x0:
Layer-Flags: 0x0:
Shim-Database: 11111111-1111-1111-1111111111111111

Currently it just displays the TagId of the Shim. You can use this to search the xml-file for the corresponding id.

Have fun, using this tool 😉

The project (VS2008) can be found here:
It will compile for x86 and x64.