PDB Parser Application

GHIDRA includes a bundled application pdb.exe for use within Microsoft Windows environments. This application is used to parse program debug information provided in the form of PDB files which are associated with specific executable programs and libraries. PDB files are produced during the compilation and linking process and may be made available by the software vendor for debugging purposes.


The native PDB parser application has been built with Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 using the 8.1 SDK to allow for possible use under Windows 7, 8.x and 10. For this application to execute properly the following prerequisites must be properly installed:

PDB File Processing

Execution of the native PDB parser for a specified PDB file produces an XML output which is subsequently parsed by GHIDRA during PDB Analysis. If running under windows the native PDB parser may be invoked directly if the appropriate PDB file can be located locally, while on other platforms only the XML file form produced by the PDB parser is supported. Batch conversion of PDB files to XML is facilitated by the support/createPdbXmlFiles.bat script. In the near future GHIDRA will adopt a pure Java implementation which will eliminate the Microsoft Windows native execution issue and the use of an intermediate XML format.

Microsoft Symbol Server

Although GHIDRA has been primarily designed to utilize locally stored PDB files during analysis, the ability to interactively download individual PDB files from a web-based Microsoft Symbol Server is also provided. This capability is accessed via the GUI while a program is open via the File → Load PDB File... action.

DIA SDK Dependency

In order for the native PDB parser to work on your Microsoft Windows machine, you must:

  1. Ensure you have msdia140.dll on your computer, and
  2. Register msdia140.dll in the Windows registry.

Ensure you have msdia140.dll on your computer

First, check to see if you already have the msdia140.dll library installed on your system. It is generally installed installed with Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 when C/C++ development support is included ( may be Community, Professional, or other VS 2017 distribution package name).

        C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\\DIA SDK\bin\amd64\msdia140.dll

This file is commonly located here, although it may be installed in other locations as well. Any 64-bit copy may be registered provided it is the correct version. There is no need to register more than one.

Register 'msdia140.dll' in the Windows registry

Please register 64-bit msdia140.dll even if you already had a copy of it on your computer since it is not registered by the Visual Studio installation process. You will need administrative rights/privileges in order to register the DLL in the Windows registry.

  1. Start a command prompt as an administrator:
  2. At the prompt within the displayed CMD window, navigate to the parent folder that contains the 64-bit version of msdia140.dll or specify the full path of the DLL to regsvr32 command below.
  3. Enter the following command to register the DLL:
	   regsvr32 msdia140.dll

When the registration has completed you should see a popup that indicates that "DllRegisterServer in msdia140.dll succeeded".