Visual Studio Add-In To Automatically Attach to Development Server

Is anyone aware of a Visual Studio 2010 Add-In that will automatically allow you to attach to a running instance of the ASP.Net Development Server? And if there is more than one currently running, display a quick dialog that lets you choose from a list of just the ASP.Net Development Servers that are running?

Why do I want this? <– feel free to skip this part.

The way I usually develop / debug web applications is to launch a browser and navigate through the application until I get to the page I want (could be many pages deep.) I don’t want to have the debugger attached through these steps for various reasons (it is slower than not having it attached, extraneous break-points may be hit, I may have break when “thrown” turned on and not want to break earlier in the app when handled errors are thrown, etc…)

I navigate to the page I want, then use the Visual Studio menus to Debug > Attach to Process, and then from within the Attach to Process dialog, I have to scroll all the way down (pages and pages and pages of processes) until I find the WebDev.WebServer40.EXE process I want and choose that.

Doing this makes me take my hands off the keyboard and use a mouse (something I generally try to avoid.)

And doing this seems needlessly repetitive since, if I am debugging an ASP.Net Web Application, I always want to attach to an instance of the WebDev.WebServer40.exe.


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Method 1

I prefer to do the exact same thing and it IS possible to bind it all to a keystroke with a macro.

Goto Tools > Macros > Macro IDE

Add a new module and use this code (the funky comments are for syntax highlighting)

Imports System
Imports EnvDTE
Imports EnvDTE80
Imports EnvDTE90
Imports EnvDTE90a
Imports EnvDTE100
Imports System.Diagnostics
Imports System.Collections.Generic

Public Module AttachingModule
    Sub AttachToAspNET()
            Dim process As EnvDTE.Process

            Dim listProcess As New List(Of String)
            '' // uncomment the processes that you'd like to attach to.  I only attach to cassini
            '' // listProcess.Add("aspnet_wp.exe")
            '' // listProcess.Add("w3wp.exe")

            For Each process In DTE.Debugger.LocalProcesses
                For Each procname As String In listProcess
                    If process.Name.ToLower.IndexOf(procname) <> -1 Then
                    End If

        Catch ex As System.Exception
        End Try
    End Sub

End Module

Click on File > Close and return

Click on Tools > Options

Click on Environment > Keyboard

I put the macro in MyMacros, so I look for “Macros.MyMacros.AttachingModule.AttachToAspNET” in the “Show Commands Containing” textbox”.

I prefer to use Ctrl+Alt+D but put whatever you want in the “Press Shortcut Keys” textbox and click Assign, then OK

Now all you have to do is hit Ctrl+Alt+D to attach to all cassini instances.

I’ve seen various versions of this around the internets and this was the most recent I found. I had to modify that slightly to remove the extra web processes and to drop the .exe from WebDev.WebServer.exe, so that it would debug .net 4.0 instances of cassini.

Method 2

I don’t know of any such add-in but you can more easily attach to the process using shortcut keys and pressing ‘W’ to scroll to the WebDev process.

Ctrl+Alt+P – Attach to Process
(process window now has focus)
Press W, which jumps to processes starting with W
Press Enter to attach

Not an addin but you can do it without touching the mouse.

Method 3

Check this answer out: Attach To Process in 2012

This is a simple plugin that gives shortcuts to attaching to nunit agent, IIS and IIS Express. Its pure convenience as compared to Ctrl-Alt-P, but it is convenient.

Direct link to the plugin here

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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