Category : Assembly Language Source Code
Archive   : D86V372.ZIP
Filename : D05.DOC

Output of file : D05.DOC contained in archive : D86V372.ZIP

In addition to immediate-execution assembly language commands,
there is a set of commands recognized by the debugger. They are
identified by the first keyword on the line being a single letter
(i.e., the second character of the line is a non-letter, usually
a comma or ENTER).

General Operands to Debugger Commands

Most of the debugger commands consist of their single-letter
identifier, followed by a comma, followed by one or more general
operands, separated by commas. General operands can be one of
the following:

a. a numeric constant, whose format is just as in the assembly
language (leading zero means default hex, otherwise default

b. a register name

c. a user symbol from the assembly language program being

Format of Debugger Command Examples

Many of the examples given below will be given in double quotes.
Note that the double quotes are not part of the command. You are
encouraged to try out the example on the debugger, by typing the
string within the quotes, not including the quotes, and always
followed by the ENTER key. Note further that the double-quoted
string may be broken across two lines of this manual, but that
does not mean you should type an ENTER where the string is broken
--debugger commands always consist of a single line, always
terminated by ENTER.

The Debugger Command Set

Following is a description of the debugger commands recognized:

B sets and clears the fixed breakpoints of the program. The
debugger has four breakpoints. Two are transitory; they are
automatically cleared after each return from the program to
the debugger. They can be set by the G command. The other two
are fixed-- they will remain in effect until you explicitly
clear them. The fixed breakpoints are controlled by this B

You follow the B with zero, one, or two general operands. If
there are zero operands (the B is followed immediately by an
ENTER), then both fixed breakpoints are cleared. If there are
one or two operands, then the fixed breakpoints are set to the

Note that previously-set breakpoints can be implicitly
cleared, by overwriting them with other breakpoints. If your
B command has one operand, and there was one breakpoint
previously set, the debugger sets the unused breakpoint, so
that both remain in effect. If your B command has one
operand, and both breakpoints were previously set, the most
recently set breakpoint is saved, and the older breakpoint is

The status screen, displayed by typing Ctrl-S, shows you the
B-command breakpoints in effect.

Examples: if you type "b,numout", the debugger will set a
breakpoint at location NUMOUT, which should be a label in the
program being debugged. You may start and stop the program
many times, and the breakpoint will stay there. You may even
allow the program to stop at NUMOUT repeatedly; the breakpoint
is not cleared even if the program stops there. If you
subsequently type the command "b,01000", then there will be
breakpoints at both NUMOUT and location hex 01000. If you
then type "b,01200", the first breakpoint NUMOUT is
overwritten; the two breakpoints now in effect are 01000 and
01200. The 01000 breakpoint will be next in line to be
overwritten. You may clear both breakpoints by typing "b".
There is no way to clear one breakpoint at a time.

D sets or clears a data breakpoint. This command is available
only to registered D86 users running on a 386-based machine. A
data breakpoint causes the program to trap to the debugger
whenever a specified memory location is accessed. The trap
occurs after the instruction causing the access, so you should
press the Up-arrow key to see the instruction.

You follow the "D" with a comma, followed by a specification
parameter. The parameter consists of up to three characters,
at most one each from the following categories:

1. A letter giving the size of the memory element being
checked: B for byte, W for word, D for doubleword, or a
minus sign if you are clearing the breakpoint. Default is

2. The letter R if you wish to trap if the memory location is
either written to or read from. If you leave the R out,
the trap will occur only if the memory location is written

3. A digit, (0,1,2, or 3) giving the number of the 386
breakpoint register you are using to set the trap. Default
is 0.

You terminate the specification parameter with a comma, then
provide one or two numbers to specify the memory location you
are trapping. If you provide two numbers, the first is the
segment register value and the second is the offset. If you
provide only one number, it is the offset-- the value of DS is
used as the segment register value. As with all value
parameters in D86, you can give a register name or a label
instead of a number. You can also leave out the address
entirely, to preserve the previous address setting of that
breakpoint register.

Note that the 386 requires Word and Doubleword breakpoints to
be aligned in memory. If you provide an odd address for a
Word breakpoint, the 386 will ignore the bottom bit of your
address. Similarly, the 386 will ignore the bottom two bits
of your address for a Doubleword breakpoint.

Examples: D,R1,ES,0400 sets a byte data read-or-write
breakpoint, using the 386's register number 1, at memory
location ES:0400. D,-1 would clear that breakpoint. D,R1
would set it again with its previous value. D,W,MY_VAR sets a
Word breakpoint, using the 386's register number 0, at
location DS:MY_VAR-- the trap will occur if either byte of the
variable MY_VAR is written to (but MY_VAR should be aligned to
an even address for this to work).

If the D command is enabled, you'll get a one-line display of
the data breakpoint registers in the status window (invoked
via Ctrl-S). The registers are presented in order: 0,1,2,3.
The breakpoint type is given, followed by the 5-digit absolute
memory address of the breakpoint.

F finds a string of memory bytes. The memory to be searched
starts at the current CS:IP location. The string being sought
is contained in memory at the CS:IP location marked with the
last Shift-F7 command. The number of bytes in the target
string is given as the first operand to the F command. For
example, "F,1" finds the next instance of a single byte value
after the current CS:IP. If the marked location points to a
NOP, "F,1" will find the next NOP code.

If you provide a second operand to F, it is a "retreat
number". For example, "F 2,10" assumes that you are looking
for a 2-byte sequence, and you have retreated 10 bytes from
the starting location for your search. When the string is
found, F will retreat 10 bytes from that string. That way you
can view the instructions that preceded the found string. I
use this feature when I am searching for BIOS and DOS
interrupt calls in a program. I want to retreat before the
calls, to see what function numbers were loaded into
registers. I can use the F3 key to repeat the searches,
giving me a sequence of disassembly displays with the
interrupt in the middle.

F with no operands returns CS:IP to the marked location, in
case you want to use F7 to deposit another string to be

If you have never pressed Shift-F7 in this session, the marked
location is 0C000 of the program's starting segment. That's
often a good "scratchpad" area for small programs, far from
both the program and the stack.

G starts the user program. You can give one or two operands to
G, specifying locations within the program at which you wish
to return to the debugger. These are "transitory
breakpoints"; both of them are cleared when the program
returns to the debugger for any reason.

Whenever you start the program, at least one instruction from
the program will be executed, even if there is a breakpoint at
the current instruction pointer location. This means you can
set a breakpoint at the current location; instructing the
program to return to the debugger the next time it gets back
to the current location.

J jumps to the location indicated by the operand, within the
current code segment. J is useful when you are exploring
memory outside of your program's memory area. In that case,
the immediate JMP command is executed from a buffer within
your program's original code segment. JMP would therefore
return you to that segment. J will keep you in the distant

L creates a disassembly listing, with addresses, hex bytes, and
disassembled code. You can output either the entire COM
program, or a section of memory beginning with the current
CS:IP location. You omit the first operand if you want the
entire COM program. If you want a section of memory, you
provide the offset beyond the memory section as the first
operand. You give the name of the output file for the listing
as the second operand. If you omit the second operand, the
listing goes to the printer. Examples: L,,FOO.LST outputs the
entire COM program to FOO.LST. L,0200,SEG.LST outputs the
section of memory from CS:IP up to CS:0200 to SEG.LST.

O sets a special fixed breakpoint. Whenever your program calls
MSDOS via INT 021, the debugger will monitor the function
number passed in the AH register. If the function number
falls within the range specified by this command, the program
will trap back to the debugger. If you give two operands to
O, the operands are the lower and upper bounds for the range
of trapped functions. If you give one operand, only that
function number will be trapped. If you give no operands, any
previous O-trap setting is cleared.

For example, note that function 3F hex is the READ function
for MSDOS version 2. If you want to trap whenever this READ
function is invoked, you can issue the command O,03F and then
start up your program with the G command. Another example:
suppose you want to insure that a program does not make any of
the new Version 3 DOS calls, 59 hex and above. You can issue
the command O,059,0FF and then start your program.

NOTE: if the second operand is less than the first, then the
range wraps around through zero. For example, O,059,030 traps
on 059 through 0FF, and also 0 through 030-- both version 3
and version 1 calls.

SECOND NOTE: The EXIT function, hex 4C is always trapped by
D86, regardless of your O-command settings. The only way you
should be able to exit from D86 is via the Q-command. (If you
do succeed in exiting some other way, I want to hear about it.
In that case, D86 will become very confused if you reinvoke it
before rebooting the computer.)

Q exits the debugger and goes back to the operating system.

W writes the program (if it was a COM format) and the symbol
table back to the disk. In this present version, you don't
have any options as to what to name the files. The program
name given when D86 was invoked is always used, except that
the files are always written to the current directory. The
program file has the same extension as the file that was
loaded, and the symbols file has the SYM extension.

D86 writes the program from location 0100 in the original code
segment, up to the end-of-file location saved when the program
was loaded, and possibly extended by a patch-memory operation
while at the end of the program. Any symbols added while in
the patch-memory mode are saved in the symbols file, so that
you can "reverse engineer" programs for which you do not have
source, and save the symbol table results you have gleaned.

  3 Responses to “Category : Assembly Language Source Code
Archive   : D86V372.ZIP
Filename : D05.DOC

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