Version: 1.0.3
Updated: 04.10.2004

SymGet utility can be used to download symbol files from symbol servers.

It is easy to use and configure, and it allows to download symbol files into flat directory structure (useful when we have to download system symbols for use with Visual C++ 6.0 debugger; other similar tools like SymChk download symbols into more complex directory structure that requires additional steps to make symbol files accessible for Visual C++ 6.0).

Command line options

symget [-v] ConfFile

The name of the configuration file
Verbose. It asks SymGet to produce verbose output for troubleshooting purposes.
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symget -?
Get help

Configuration file

Configuration file allows to specify the following information:

  • Symbol search path (including path to the symbol server)
  • Destination path (the location where downloaded symbols will be stored)
  • Optional flag that asks SymGet to produce file extension - based directory
  • structure (as the one used by system symbol packages; e.g. symbols\dll, symbols\exe, etc.)
  • List of executables to download symbols for


; Settings section is used to specify settings

; Symbol search path

; Destination path (it must exist, otherwise an error will be reported)

; Create extension based directory structure.
; In the context of this example it will result in downloading symbols for ntdll.dll 
; and kernel32.dll into c:\winnt\symbols\dll directory.

; Files section is used to specify the list of files to download symbols for.

; Full path to a file is required

; Example: Download files for ntdll.dll and kernel32.dll

SymGet package includes two sample configuration files (sysw2k.ini and syswxp.ini).

Additional information: downloading system symbols for use with Visual C++ 6.0 debugger

If you need to download symbols for use with Visual C++ 6.0 debugger, consider the following information:

1. Visual C++ 6.0 debugger looks for system symbols in %systemroot%\symbols directory and its subdirectories. Therefore specify this directory in SymbolDest setting of the configuration file. (Do not use %systemroot% as is, use the actual path like c:\winnt\symbols).

2. If you work on Windows XP, one more step is needed to let the debugger find symbol files. See KB304989 for more information.

3. Windows XP SP2 uses a new debug information format, which is not supported by Visual C++ 6.0 debugger. Here you can find additional information.

Supported operating systems

SymGet works on Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server.


If you have problems with downloading symbols, consider running SymGet with -v (verbose) option. The resulting output will contain detailed information about the download process, which most likely will allow to determine the reason of the problem.

If you suspect that there is a bug in SymGet, do the following:

1. Run SymGet with -v option (verbose) and capture the output into a file.

symget -v conffile.ini > output.txt

2. Send the output file to the developer along with description of the problem.

Note also that there can be a temporary network problem between your computer and symbol server, so it might make sense to try again after a failed attempt to download a symbol file. -v (verbose) option can help to find the reason of the problem.


Download SymGet (470 Kb)