Unused Useful Tools in Visual Studio

Tools @Image courtesy of Thanamat/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unused Useful Tools in Visual Studio

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Back from a vacation is always a great and refreshing feeling. A small break always adds a new dimension to the thoughts. Lets see what we have today which we can call ‘new’ .

We are good working on visual studio and enjoy doing coding because we love it the most, but we simply ignore the tools that comes as a package with Visual studio and ever uses them. Microsoft has put a lot of effort in these tools to make developer’s life easy and comfortable but we as a developer only think of making it more complex. It’s a comment out of humor and trust me,it’s not the reality.


This tool can be used to generate a GUID in a variety of formatting options.This tool is very useful in conditions where unique identifier is required to identify a component or a lot of IDs are required during testing.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Create GUID. The Create GUID tool appears with a GUID in the Result box.
  2. Select the format you want for the GUID.
  3. Click Copy and paste it wherever required in source code.



ERRLOOK is the short name for Error Lookup.It retrieves a system error message or module error message based on the value entered.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Error Lookup. The Error Lookup tool appears with a Value box.
  2. Drag and drop a hexadecimal or decimal value from the Visual Studio debugger into the Value box .
  3. Click Look Up button and ERRLOOK retrieves the error message text automatically and populates the Error Message text area.


  1. Click the Modules button to bring up the Additional Modules for Error Searching dialog.
  2. Enter the name of the desired EXE or DLL in the edit box and click Add to include the modules in your error message search.
  3. Remove a module from the list by highlighting it and clicking the Remove button.


Note: Modules listed in the Additional Modules for Error Searching dialog are also searched.


This tool is called as ATL/MFC Trace Tool. It is used to display debug trace messages in the ATL and MFC sources.

  1. Open an MFC or an ATL project.
  2. On the Debug menu, click Start Debugging.
  3. On the Tools menu, click ATL/MFC Trace Tool.
  4. Expand the nodes in the Trace List tree.
  5. The running application, modules within that application, and trace categories for each module are displayed.
  6. Use the controls in the Process group, Module group, and Category group to customize how information is displayed in the Output window for each process, module, or trace category.
  7. Click Apply.

Below screenshot is taken without any MFC project and is only for display purpose.



This tool is called as PreEmptive Dotfuscator and Analytics. it is used to protect .NET programs against reverse engineering while making them smaller and more efficient. Dotfuscator and Analytics also provides a way of injecting additional pre-built functionality that provides usage tracking, tamper detection, and expiration into .NET applications.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Dotfuscator Software Services. The community sign up page will appear.
  2. Accept it and you can use the services.
  3. Right-Click Dotfuscator and Add assemblies.
  4. There are many configuring options available like Renaming, Control Flow, String Encryption, Removal, Linking, PreMark, Instrumentation which can be used to set renaming options and exclusions, choose built-in renaming rules, and configure analytics settings.
  5. Options such as Control Flow Obfuscation, String Encryption, Removal, Linking, and PreMark are exclusive to Dotfuscator Professional Edition.
  6. There is a Results node also, which can be used to inspect the results like how it renamed the types, methods, and fields, once the project is build.



This tool is called as SPY++. It provides a graphical view of the processes, threads, windows, and window messages of a system. The main purpose of Spy++ is to log messages that originated in Windows.

  1. Spy++ has a toolbar and hyperlinks with various options.
  2. It provides a Refresh command to update the active view
  3. It has a Window Finder Tool to select a window by mouse pointer positioning.
  4. A Font dialog box to customize view windows.
  5. It can be used to search for specified windows, threads, processes, or messages and also,view the properties of selected windows, threads, processes, or messages.



This tool is called as WCF Service Configuration Editor. It is used to create and modify configuration settings for WCF services using a graphical user interface. This tool comes in handy as we can avoid manual editing of configuration files for WCF projects.

  1. It is used to manage settings for WCF bindings, behaviors, services, and diagnostics.
  2. Other than WCF configuration files,it can be used to manage executable files, COM+ services, and Web-hosted services.
  3. The editor supports IntelliSense and enforces schema compliance.


This is just an overview of these Useful Unused tools of Visual Studio. Maybe, we can explain them in our future articles with a related ‘How-to’ section.

Author: hershey

A passion for knowledge drives me to do programming, A passion for programming drives me to create something different, A passion for creation drives me to spread the knowledge.

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  1. nice superb explaination

    Post a Reply
  2. thanks for the tutorial
    I am having a problem.
    The feature “Create SQL server database” isn’t available , I can’t select it.
    Can you help, please ?

    Post a Reply

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