Re: Help with debugging

Ethin Probst

Hi Andrew,
How do you debug the EFI binary with LLDB? Can LLDB use GDB stubs or
does that work differently?

On 6/11/21, Andrew Fish <> wrote:

On Jun 11, 2021, at 10:06 AM, Ethin Probst <>

Hey all,

So Leif and I have discussed this at length but I thought I'd reach
out to all of you for more help.

I'm having a lot of trouble debugging my UEFI app. Here's how I do

- I load the app using uefi-run
( like this (from the main EDK
II directory): uefi-run -b Build/OvmfX64/DEBUG_GCC5/FV/OVMF.fd
Build/OvmfX64/DEBUG_GCC5/X64/Shell.efi -- -M q35 -m 24G -usb -device
qemu-xhci -device usb-audio,audiodev=audio -audiodev alsa,id=audio -s
-debugcon file:../debug.log -global isa-debugcon.iobase=0x402
uefi-run -b Build/OvmfX64/DEBUG_GCC5/FV/OVMF.fd
Build/OvmfX64/DEBUG_GCC5/X64/Shell.efi -- -M q35 -m 24G -usb -device
qemu-xhci -device usb-audio,audiodev=audio -audiodev alsa,id=audio -s
-debugcon stdio -global isa-debugcon.iobase=0x402
- I connect to the remote GDB stub (localhost:1234) and wait until
OVMF gives me the image base. Then I use:
add-symbol-file UsbAudio.debug <image base>
Here's where everything breaks down. One of two things happens at this
1. Either I get the wrong debug information (I get source code but the
image isn't loaded anymore), and resetting the system and placing a
breakpoint (either software or hardware) has no effect; or
2. If I use CpuBreakpoint(), the firmware gives me the registers and
the image base and entry point addresses, and then appears to just sit
there waiting for something. Once I load the symbols using the image
base it gives me, I can't actually do anything in the debugger; I
can't list code because I get "1 in <artificial>", I can't jump into
my code without triggering a general protection exception or not
actually causing anything to happen... You get the idea.

So I'm really, really confused on what's going wrong. Do you guys have
any advice?

Caveat emptor as I use lldb for my daily driver debugger so I might be a
little off on gdb specifics…. Also my terminology may be lldb centric.

Easy one 1st. When you run on top of a debugger using CpuBreakpoint() works
great as the debugger hides its self from you. On x86 CpuBreakpoint() is an
INT 3h instruction (0xCC) and it causes an exception 3. If you don’t have a
debugger hooked in underneath the exception 3 is going to get handled in
the unexpected exception handler, and that is probably in the CPUD DXE
driver or DXE Core or some such. So you are going to end up with the
PC/IP/RIP in the wrong driver. A lot of times for hardware debuggers it
works better to use CpuDeadLoop(). The gdb-remote stub from QEMU acts a lot
more like a JTAG hardware debugger than a pure software debugger. Also note
that CpuDeadLoop() is an infinite loop, so you can modify the loop variable
with the debugger to continue.

I’d suggest a work flow of run your App/Driver, hit the CpuDeadLoop(),
attach gdb. Now after you have the target established load the symbols. The
reason for me suggesting this flow is the debugger has a flexible concept of
what the target is. If you load symbols that will create a target for a
stock x86-64 image. When you connect to the QEMU gdb-remote there is a
handshake that describes the target and what registers are available. I seem
to remember QEMU exports some of the system registers, like the control
registers, so it is an extended version of the x86-64 target. So this
changing the target definition might confuse the debugger. To be safe I
always connect 1st and then load symbols.

The EFI images are PE/COFF relocatable executables that are linked around
zero. They get loaded into memory and relocated, so that is why you need to
specify the load address to get the symbols to resolve. One trick I use is
to load the ELF (or PE/COFF) build output directly into the debugger. This
lets you poke around the image at the linked address. You can disassemble
the functions to see what they look like, obviously you can read any
variables. This can be useful if you get the unhandled exception and it
prints out the load address and offset (you can use the offset directly). It
is also a good way to debug why your symbols are not quite loaded at the
correct address, as you can see what bytes/instructions should be at a given


Andrew Fish

Ethin D. Probst

Ethin D. Probst

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