When Visual Studio 2013/2015 Refuses To Debug

Posted on: 2016-11-15

What is this? Visual Studio for reasons unknown has decided it doesn't want to allow debugging anymore.

If I try and run the debugger I get a message box saying

Unable to start debugging "(executable name)"

Underneath unhelpfully...

"No more data is available."

I originally thought it was due to the complex features of a large project I was working on. So after head scratching I thought I'd do something stupid and do 'Hello World'. Too my surprise that wouldn't run in the debugger either! I also found out that the problem happened on Visual Studio 2013 and 2015 in the same way. I even upgraded both installations to latest update and the problem still occurred.

Current Solution

If I right click on the project, expand 'Configuration Properties' and select 'Debugging' changing the Debugger Type to 'Mixed' (from 'Auto') fixes the problem. Why/how that broke Visual Studio debugging I don't know. Note that 'Native Only' doesn't work for me, which is kind of strange because my executable is native only.

Update 3: Huh. It's even more messed up than I thought. The previous test was on Visual Studio 2013 where it would only debug in 'Mixed' mode. I moved to a different complex Visual Studio 2015 project, built that and set it to 'Mixed'. I tried debugging the project - but it fails to start and now instead of "No more data is available" I get "Catastrophic Failure!". Yikes.

If on that project I set the debugger to 'Native Only' it does work though. Really not sure what is the underlying problem, but it all seems very fragile, and the error messages are pretty useless.

Previous 'Fix'

Update 2: This may help somebody where the above fix doesn't work. I found MSDN: cant debug/unable to start debugging "no more data is available" which didn't fix the problem but did lead me to this fix...

Hmmm - perhaps this doesn't strictly fix the problem as github: Issue with starting Visual Studio debugger implies that setting the option uses an older debug engine - and therefore isn't really fixing the problem. So that is really just a temporary work around for now perhaps. Having any debugger is an improvement on nothing.

This worked for my 'Hello World' project, but the option wasn't available for the large project, for reasons unknown, and so I had to find another solution which is what led me to the solution above. The solution above seems superior, as you still use the latest debugger.


Tony Sutton on April 17, 2017 at 6:46 pm said:

I had this same error message on my new computer with VS 2015. Like Update 2 shown above, Tools -> Options, Debugging -> General, except for me selecting “Use Managed Compatibility Mode” fixed my error.


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