Locating Delphi exceptions in a live session or dump using WinDbg

The offsets used in this blog are correct for Delphi XE2, and this information is only valid for x86.  You will have to plug in other values for other versions of Delphi.  You can find more details in my earlier Delphi WinDbg blog articles:

The following WinDbg command will return a list of all Delphi exception records located within the stacks of each thread in the process.  Delphi uses the exception code 0EEDFADE:

~*e s -d poi(@$teb+8) poi(@$teb+4) 0EEDFADE

If you just wanted to do the current thread, you would run:

s -d poi(@$teb+8) poi(@$teb+4) 0EEDFADE

What is teb?   It’s the Thread Environment Block.  The data at teb+8 and teb+4 are the current bottom of the stack and the top of the stack, respectively.

For example, when looking at a crash dump we received, we were able to spot exceptions in two different threads:

0:000&> ~*e s -d poi(@$teb+8) poi(@$teb+4) 0EEDFADE
0012e9ec  0eedfade 00000000 00000001 00000000  ................
0012ef6c  0eedfade 00000003 00000000 7586d36f  ............o..u
0012f3d4  0eedfade 00000001 00000000 7586d36f  ............o..u
0012f42c  0eedfade 00000001 00000007 0012f43c  ............<...
0012f6ec  0eedfade 00000003 00000000 7586d36f  ............o..u
0012fb70  0eedfade 00000001 00000000 7586d36f  ............o..u
0012fbc8  0eedfade 00000001 00000007 0012fbd8  ................
04a6f06c  0eedfade 00000003 00000000 7586d36f  ............o..u
04a6f4e8  0eedfade 00000001 00000000 7586d36f  ............o..u
04a6f540  0eedfade 00000001 00000007 04a6f550  ............P...
04a6f72c  0eedfade 00000003 00000000 7586d36f  ............o..u
04a6fb94  0eedfade 00000001 00000000 7586d36f  ............o..u
04a6fbec  0eedfade 00000001 00000007 04a6fbfc  ................

This has returned exception records in two different thread stacks (0012* and 04a6*).  We can see a number of potential exception records; some of these are not really records (because the 0EEDFADE value is not only used in the EXCEPTION_RECORD structure; it is also passed as a parameter to the RaiseException function among others).  However, if the 3rd DWORD shown is 0, then this is probably a real exception record, and not part of a function call.  Why this?  Because EXCEPTION_RECORD's third member is a pointed to a nested exception record, which it seems is always set to NULL in Delphi.

To examine the exception record run the following command:

0:000>.exr 0012ef6c
ExceptionAddress: 7586d36f (KERNELBASE!RaiseException+0x00000058)
   ExceptionCode: 0eedfade
  ExceptionFlags: 00000003
NumberParameters: 7
   Parameter[0]: 005f2d4c
   Parameter[1]: 08c92148
   Parameter[2]: 800a0e7f
   Parameter[3]: 005f2d4c
   Parameter[4]: 0299ef64
   Parameter[5]: 0012f48c
   Parameter[6]: 0012f458

To confirm that this is a real Delphi exception check two things:

  1. The ExceptionAddress should point to an address within the RaiseException function (that actual address may vary between versions of Windows).
  2. It should have 7 parameters:
0: code address where the exception was raised
1: address of the Exception object
2-6: additional data relating to the exception type and stored registers

Let's examine the Exception object:

0:000> dd 08c92148
08c92148  004c2134 08cbb20c 0012ee54 800a0e7f
08c92158  08cf3f94 080cb690 0000002a 0054e1a4
08c92168  08c99fec 0000005e 08134330 00000000
08c92178  00000000 00000024 00000032 00000100
08c92188  0000001a 00000003 0000000b 4473624f
08c92198  54657461 00656d69 0000002a 0054e1a4
08c921a8  08c99fec 0000005d 08134314 00000000
08c921b8  00000000 00000023 00000032 00000100

From here, we can use the same spelunking techniques as in my previous WinDbg articles:

0:000> da poi(poi(8c92148)-38)+1
004c214f  "EOleException.!L"
0:000> du poi(8c92148+4)
08cbb20c  "Operation cannot be performed wh"
08cbb22c  "ile executing asynchronously"

You can also skip examining the exception record if you want, with shortcuts such as:

da poi(poi(poi(0012ef6c+18))-38)+1; du poi(poi(0012ef6c+18)+4)

How about working with nested exceptions?  Take the following scratch program:

unit NestedExceptions;


  Winapi.Windows, Winapi.Messages, System.SysUtils, System.Variants, System.Classes, Vcl.Graphics,
  Vcl.Controls, Vcl.Forms, Vcl.Dialogs, Vcl.StdCtrls;

  TForm1 = class(TForm)
    Button1: TButton;
    procedure Button1Click(Sender: TObject);
    { Private declarations }
    { Public declarations }

  Form1: TForm1;


{$R *.dfm}

  EWhatAMess = class(Exception);

  EAnotherError = class(Exception);

  ESomeError = class(Exception)
    FExtraData: string;
    constructor Create(const Message, ExtraData: string);

procedure HandleThisOneToo;
  raise EWhatAMess.Create('What a mess');

procedure HandleIt;
    raise EAnotherError.Create('Another Error Message');
    on E:EAnotherError do

procedure TForm1.Button1Click(Sender: TObject);
    raise ESomeError.Create('Some Error Message', 'Here''s some extra data');
    on E:ESomeError do

{ ESomeError }

constructor ESomeError.Create(const Message, ExtraData: string);
  FExtraData := ExtraData;
  inherited Create(Message);


Build this program, then load it up in WinDbg.  You'll need to enable the event filter for 0EEDFADE as per my previous blog.  Click the bad, bad button and watch as the exceptions are thrown.  For the first two exceptions, just g.  On the third exception, we'll spelunk with the search technique.

0:000> ~*e s -d poi(@$teb+8) poi(@$teb+4) 0EEDFADE
0018e814  0eedfade 00000001 00000000 754ab9bc  ..............Ju
0018e86c  0eedfade 00000001 00000007 0018e87c  ............|...
0018e9ac  0eedfade 00000003 00000000 754ab9bc  ..............Ju
0018ee60  0eedfade 00000001 00000000 754ab9bc  ..............Ju
0018eeb8  0eedfade 00000001 00000007 0018eec8  ................
0018f014  0eedfade 00000003 00000000 754ab9bc  ..............Ju
0018f4c8  0eedfade 00000001 00000000 754ab9bc  ..............Ju
0018f520  0eedfade 00000001 00000007 0018f530  ............0...

The first instance of an exception in the stack will have the Exception Flag 00000001.  This is the one we are interested in, in each case.  Let's look at them:

0:000> da poi(poi(poi(0018e814+18))-38)+1; du poi(poi(0018e814+18)+4)
0051138f  "EWhatAMess"
02548654  "What a mess"
0:000> da poi(poi(poi(0018ee60+18))-38)+1; du poi(poi(0018ee60+18)+4)
00511437  "EAnotherErrorH.Q"
0256c36c  "Another Error Message"
0:000> da poi(poi(poi(0018f4c8+18))-38)+1; du poi(poi(0018f4c8+18)+4)
00511523  "ESomeErrorJ"
02581d3c  "Some Error Message"

You may find that some exception records are no longer valid as they can be overwritten over time.  This happens for nested exceptions, unfortunately, if you don't actually break on the exception in WinDbg before it is handled in the application (which will typically be the case if you attach a debugger to a process with an exception dialog visible).  In this situation, only the final exception record will point to a live Exception object. You may notice that innermost exception had a little bit of extra data.  How do we pull that out?  Let's look at the ESomeError object in memory:

0:000> dd poi(18f4c8+18)
02548698  005114d4 02581d3c 00000000 00000000
025486a8  00000000 00000000 0256c32c 00000000
025486b8  00000073 00000000 00000000 00000000
025486c8  00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
025486d8  00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
025486e8  00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
025486f8  00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000
02548708  00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000

What have we got here?  Breaking that data down, we have:

02548698 005114d4 Pointer to class
+0000004 02581d3c Pointer to Exception.FMessage Unicode string
+0000008 00000000 Exception.FHelpContext
+000000C 00000000 Exception.FInnerException
+0000010 00000000 Exception.FStackInfo
+0000014 00000000 Exception.FAcquireInnerException

That InnerException data would be useful — but it is not commonly used, yet. And then we have the data for ESomeError:

+0000018 0256c32c ESomeError.FExtraData

Examining that:

0:000> du 256c32c
0256c32c  "Here's some extra data"

And there you have it. Knock yourself out!

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