Why won’t Visual Studio hit my breakpoints!?

Recently I got into a situation where Visual Studio 2019 ignored all my breakpoints, even in the simplest applications. I first thought it had to do with particular projects (I was playing around with development for the .NET runtime), but a brand new, super-simple console application showed the same behavior.

Breakpoint will not be hit.png

As you can see, Visual Studio even said that no symbols were loaded for the document. But it wasn’t even for a library I had imported, it was my own application!

Once I realized this was happening for all applications, I went menu-exploring for any options that might be causing this, and it didn’t take too long for me to find the culprit. Something I had disabled at some point while trying to stop VS from trying to load symbols for all the .NET internals, because it was causing pretty noticeable delays. It wasn’t very clear at the moment what the effect was going to be, but now I get it! “Always load symbols located next to modules” is what tells Visual Studio to automatically load the debugging symbols created next to your app when developing locally, so you probably want to make sure this is always enabled:

Unchecked box.png

You get here by opening the Tools menu, selecting Options, then going to Debugging -> Symbols, and clicking on Specify included modules at the bottom. Also of note, this is only relevant if you’ve selected “Load only specified modules” as opposed to “Load all modules, unless excluded”, like shown in the screenshot.

As soon as I checked that box and OK-ed out of all pop-ups, my breakpoints started working normally again.

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