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When Dave Solomon and I were writing the 3rd edition of the Windows Internals book series Inside Windows 2000 back in 1999, we pondered if there was a way to enable kernel debuggers like Windbg and Kd (part of the free Debugging Tools for Windows package that's available in the Windows Platform SDK) to provide a local interactive view of a running system. Dave had introduced kernel debugger experiments in the 2nd edition, Inside Windows NT, that solidified the concepts presented by the book. For example, the chapter on memory management describes the page frame database, the data structure the system uses to keep track of the state of every page of physical memory, and an accompanying experiment shows how to view the actual data structure definition and contents of PFN entries on a running system using the kernel debugger. At the time, however, the only way to use Windbg and Kd to view kernel information was to attach a second computer with a serial "null modem" cable to the target system booted in debugging mode. The inconvenience of having to purchase an appropriate serial cable and configure two systems for kernel debugging meant that many readers skipped the experiments, but otherwise might have followed along and deepened their understanding if it was easier.

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