Build and debug the RawTherapee software under Windows

I would like to do some minor changes to a demosaic algorithm and need to rebuild and debug the code under Windows 11. So far I managed to compile using msys2 and the executable is fine.
Managed to get the code under some IDEs - Visual Studio, Visual Stusio Code etc. The compilation is fine and the executable is generated OK, but for a week I struggle to attach a debugger so I can debug easily the changes I apply. Anybody who has any experience with running successfully a debugger under windows? Thanks!


I suppose you already went through Get Started with C++ and MinGW-w64 in Visual Studio Code and Debug C++ in Visual Studio Code?

Come to think of it, IIRC my msys2 gcc toolchain was (semi-?)automatically picked up by VS Code and I didn’t do much to get it going.

Note that you need to install the gdb package matching your target environment, not the base MSYS one…

Here’s my launch.json I use for debugging darktable:

    // Use IntelliSense to learn about possible attributes.
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    "version": "0.2.0",
    "configurations": [
            "name": "(gdb) Launch",
            "type": "cppdbg",
            "request": "launch",
            "program": "C:\\msys64\\opt\\darktable\\bin\\darktable.exe",
            "args": [
            "stopAtEntry": true,
            "cwd": "C:\\msys64\\opt\\darktable\\bin",
            "environment": [
                    "name": "PATH",
                    "value": "C:\\msys64\\ucrt64\\bin;${env:PATH}"
            "externalConsole": false,
            "MIMode": "gdb",
            "miDebuggerPath": "C:\\msys64\\ucrt64\\bin\\gdb.exe",
            "setupCommands": [
                    "description": "Enable pretty-printing for gdb",
                    "text": "-enable-pretty-printing",
                    "ignoreFailures": true
                    "description":  "Set Disassembly Flavor to Intel",
                    "text": "-gdb-set disassembly-flavor intel",
                    "ignoreFailures": true

Also note that I (and darktable, and VS Code links above) use the UCRT64 environment, while I noticed RT still recommends the legacy MINGW64 one.

Hi, thanks for the quick reply!
Yes, I went trough Get started… etc. just have not installed any additional gdb package yet - will do and give it a try.
(btw I use UCRT64 too - not sure why they recommend the legacy environment either. )

I think having C:\msys64\ucrt64\bin in your PATH (and gdb.exe there of course) was a critical step as well.

Yes, I found that. Also, I found having env variable CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH = C:\msys64\ucrt64\ helps a lot too.

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Still no luck with Visual Studio (and Code) but managed to create Code::Blocks project and after adjusting few settings it compiles and debugs OK. No the fanciest IDE, but does the job, all sorted for now, thanks for you help !