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The PDB Info Stream (aka the PDB Stream)
.. contents::
.. _pdb_stream_header:
Stream Header
At offset 0 of the PDB Stream is a header with the following layout:
.. code-block:: c++
struct PdbStreamHeader {
ulittle32_t Version;
ulittle32_t Signature;
ulittle32_t Age;
Guid UniqueId;
- **Version** - A Value from the following enum:
.. code-block:: c++
enum class PdbStreamVersion : uint32_t {
VC2 = 19941610,
VC4 = 19950623,
VC41 = 19950814,
VC50 = 19960307,
VC98 = 19970604,
VC70Dep = 19990604,
VC70 = 20000404,
VC80 = 20030901,
VC110 = 20091201,
VC140 = 20140508,
While the meaning of this field appears to be obvious, in practice we have
never observed a value other than ``VC70``, even with modern versions of
the toolchain, and it is unclear why the other values exist. It is assumed
that certain aspects of the PDB stream's layout, and perhaps even that of
the other streams, will change if the value is something other than ``VC70``.
- **Signature** - A 32-bit time-stamp generated with a call to ``time()`` at
the time the PDB file is written. Note that due to the inherent uniqueness
problems of using a timestamp with 1-second granularity, this field does not
really serve its intended purpose, and as such is typically ignored in favor
of the ``Guid`` field, described below.
- **Age** - The number of times the PDB file has been written. This can be used
along with ``Guid`` to match the PDB to its corresponding executable.
- **Guid** - A 128-bit identifier guaranteed to be unique across space and time.
In general, this can be thought of as the result of calling the Win32 API
`UuidCreate <>`__,
although LLVM cannot rely on that, as it must work on non-Windows platforms.
Matching a PDB to its executable
The linker is responsible for writing both the PDB and the final executable, and
as a result is the only entity capable of writing the information necessary to
match the PDB to the executable.
In order to accomplish this, the linker generates a guid for the PDB (or
re-uses the existing guid if it is linking incrementally) and increments the Age
The executable is a PE/COFF file, and part of a PE/COFF file is the presence of
number of "directories". For our purposes here, we are interested in the "debug
directory". The exact format of a debug directory is described by the
`IMAGE_DEBUG_DIRECTORY structure <>`__.
For this particular case, the linker emits a debug directory of type
``IMAGE_DEBUG_TYPE_CODEVIEW``. The format of this record is defined in
``llvm/DebugInfo/CodeView/CVDebugRecord.h``, but it suffices to say here only
that it includes the same ``Guid`` and ``Age`` fields. At runtime, a
debugger or tool can scan the COFF executable image for the presence of
a debug directory of the correct type and verify that the Guid and Age match.