Visual Studio 2015 Debugging: Cannot examine values.


  • I’ve just updated from Visual Studio 2102 to Visual Studio 2015 Update 1.

    I can compile and debug C++ projects, but I’m no longer able to inspect local STL containers and variables in debug and release mode. Neither by hovering over the variable nor from the Auto, Local or Watch window; 'Children cannot be evaluated' is shown instead.

    I have set the flag "use managed compatibility mode" in Tools | Options | Debugger | General. 

    Is there a setting I have to change in order to be able to see the values ? Does I need to write my own .natvis file even for STL obejcts?

    • Edited by CrelJo Tuesday, March 8, 2016 3:14 PM
    Tuesday, March 8, 2016 2:52 PM

All replies

  • Hi CrelJo,

    I create a sample Win32 Console project and add a line of code to define a variable and set value. Then I add a breakpoint on this line of code. When I start debugging and Visual Studio hit the breakpoint, I Add Watch for this line of code from right-click context menu and I can watch the value for this variable in all of Auto, Local and Watch window.

    Please create a simple C++ project to check whether this problem occurs with all projects or just this specific project.

    If just for this specific project, whether your project is large and reference many other libraries? Since if the 'Children cannot be evaluated' message often appeared when it doesn't load completely. You can try create a new project and then move the project files one by one to confirm whether it is the real reason. And it also can help us make sure which file causes this issue.

    If for all project, please try with below steps to troubleshoot this problem.

    1. Run Visual Studio as administrator.
    2. Close the Avira Antivirus installed on your computer. Most antivirus software will prevent or verify other program's operations.
    3. Run Visual Studio 2015 with "devenv /ResetSkipPkgs" command in Command Prompt.
    4. Run Visual Studio 2015 in safe mode with "Deven.exe /SafeMode" command to prevents all third-party VSPackages from loading when Visual Studio starts, thus ensuring stable execution.
    5. Reset all settings in Visual Studio 2015 with Tools -> Options -> Import and Export settings -> Reset all settings.

    If above steps don't work, please check the ActiveLog.xml under the path of %AppData%\Microsoft\VisualStudio\14.0. This file will log all operations when you operate Visual Studio. Please check whether there has any error log in this file which may be the reason for this problem.

    Best Regards,

    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 5:44 AM
  • Hi Weiwei,

    Thanks for the reply. 

    The problem occurs with all C++ projects and it only concerns STL containers. That is, I can watch the values of simple doubles and string, as in your test project. But not for STL objects.

    Running as administrator doesn't fix the issue, and neither does any of the other steps listed, so it seems.  

    I'm not able to locate the ActiveLog.xml log file. Could it be named something different ?

    Best regards,


    Wednesday, March 9, 2016 9:43 AM
  • Hi CrelJo,

    So you have tried all above steps and non of them works, is it right?

    I also test with STL containers and the same result, I can watch the value of them.

    >>I'm not able to locate the ActiveLog.xml log file. Could it be named something different ?

    Because you don't turn on the log switch for your Visual Studio. Please turn on it with command of Devenv /log. And then re-operate your Visual Studio again to check whether there has any log information are collected.

    In addition please list all installed product for Visual Studio from menu Help -> About Microsoft Visual Studio. I will compare them with mine to check whether there has any difference.

    Best Regards,

    Thursday, March 10, 2016 2:01 AM