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WinGDB installation bundle comes as a Windows Installer (MSI) archive. Please follow the instructions given by the installer. You also have an option to uninstall or repair the software.

Avoid installation of WinGDB into a network or removable drive. WinGDB is a Visual Studio extension and must be available for Visual Studio application to access. The recommended location is the same drive as Visual Studio has been installed to. Otherwise you might get error messages at Visual Studio startup, and WinGDB would be disabled.

The installer supports multiple Visual Studio versions. For each version, it allows you to choose whether install WinGDB for that Visual Studio version or not. The installer detects Visual Studio versions present on your computer and enables these selections by default.

It is expected that during installation you will see the UAC prompt twice. The UAC prompt looks like this:

The Unknown publisher is normal -- obtaining a publisher certificate is very expensive for a small company and we decided not to do this currently. Click Yes to proceed.

You also should see the UAC prompt second time. It is needed to run special configuration step within Visual Studio. This step is required to properly register a plugin, along with its menus and font / color categories.

Click Yes again. The configurator will be launched. This process may take several minutes. WinGDB actually runs Visual Studio in setup mode in the background. During the configuration, the following window is being displayed:

On Windows XP you will not encounter UAC prompts (as there is no such feature on Windows XP). The Visual Studio configuration step will be run, though.

Required Visual Studio settings

In case you use Visual Studio 2019 revision 16.1 or later, there is one additional configuration step required. Go to the Tools menu, open Options dialog, select Extensions category and enable 'Allow synchronous autoload of extensions' option and restart Visual Studio. Otherwise WinGDB menu will not appear.

This option restores the extension loading model which was implemented in all previous Visual Studio versions until VS 2019 16.1. The change of the model were introduced (according to Microsoft claims) to improve Visual Studio starting performance. There is no empirical evidence however, that the change gives any visible performance gains. On the other hand, it completely breaks the compatibility with existing plugins. This option affects only starting phase of Visual Studio and possible difference in starting time might be a couple milliseconds. Apart from that, there is no change in Visual Studio behavior and no overheads during the working time. Therefore you can safely enable it, in spite of the 'not recommended' clause.

Installation troubleshooting

There are reported (rare) situations when the configuration step mentioned above might fail silently. This is a problem in Visual Studio extensibility related to Windows security and user account mechanisms. It is more likely to happen in old Visual Studio (prior to VS 2010). If you encounter issues with missing user interface components (menus, options, icons or fonts/color settings), please perform the following steps:

If this does not help, reinstall WinGDB.

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