Updates for Debugging Installed App Packages in Visual Studio 2015 Update 2

Aaron Hallberg

In Visual Studio 2015 Update 2, we added support to the Debug Installed App Package dialog for:

  • Starting an installed application on Xbox, HoloLens, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices
  • Attaching to processes already running on IoT devices
  • Sorting the apps based on “Running” or “Not Running” state

Note that attach to process is not currently supported for Xbox or HoloLens, but we hope to add it in a future release.

Debugging Installed App Packages

Open the Debug Installed App Package dialog from Debug -> Other Debug Targets -> Debug Installed App Package…


To get the list of apps to appear that you have installed on your target device (Xbox, HoloLens, or IoT), you need to first select that device. Change the selection drop down from “Local Machine” to “Remote Machine”.


In the Remote Connections dialog that opens, enter the “Address” of your device, and make sure the Authentication Mode is set to “Universal (Unencrypted Protocol)”.


When you press Select, we will query your device for all of the applications installed and then display them in the Debug Installed App Package dialog.

The Debug Installed App Package dialog now divides this list of installed apps into two sections, apps that are “Running” and apps that are “Not Running”. To start debugging an app that is already installed on the device, select an app that appears in the “Not Running” list and then click the “Start” button at the bottom on the dialog. There is a known issue for Xbox and HoloLens devices where all of the apps that are installed will appear in the “Not Running” list (even if they are already running). Pressing “Start” on these apps will shut down and restart the application with debugging.

For IoT devices, you can attach to an already running process by selecting that app from the “Running” list and then clicking the “Attach” button at the bottom on the dialog.


When you select an application to debug and press either “Attach” or “Start”, we will deploy the remote debugger to the device so you can start debugging. This may take a little bit of time and you will see a message for “Starting remote debugger” while this is happening. Note that when connecting to a remote Desktop machine you will still need to manually install and start the remote debugger before Visual Studio can connect to it.

The Debug Installed App Package dialog also lets you debug Desktop UWP apps that are “Running” or “Not Running”. So now you can use this dialog to attach to “Running” desktop UWP apps to get a nice view of exactly which app you are selecting rather than just a process name like you get from the Attach to Process dialog.

Wrap Up

In a future release, we plan to distinguish already “Running” apps for Xbox and HoloLens devices to enable attaching to running applications. Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments section below, using the Send Feedback feature in Visual Studio, or through Twitter.

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