Microsoft KB Archive/105675
INFO: First and Second Chance Exception Handling
The information in this article applies to:
- Microsoft Win32 Application Programming Interface (API), used with:
- Microsoft Windows NT Server versions 3.5, 3.51
- Microsoft Windows NT Workstation versions 3.5, 3.51
- Microsoft Windows 95
Structured exception handling (SEH) takes a little getting used to, particularly when debugging. It is common practice to use SEH as a signaling mechanism. Some application programming interfaces (APIs) register an exception handler in anticipation of a failure condition that is expected to occur in a lower layer. When the exception occurs, the handler may correct or ignore the condition rather than allowing a failure to propagate up through intervening layers. This is very handy in complex environments such as networks where partial failures are expected and it is not desirable to fail an entire operation simply because one of several optional parts failed. In this case, the exception can be handled so that the application is not aware that an exception has occurred.
However, if the application is being debugged, it is important to realize that the debugger will see all exceptions before the program does. This is the distinction between the first and second chance exception. The debugger gets the "first chance," hence the name. If the debugger continues the exception unhandled, the program will see the exception as usual. If the program does not handle the exception, the debugger will see it again (the "second chance"). In this latter case, the program normally would have crashed had the debugger not been present.
If you do not want to see the first chance exception in the debugger, then disable the feature. Otherwise, during execution, when the debugger gets the first chance, continue the exception unhandled and allow the program to handle the exception as usual. Check the documentation for the debugger that you are using for descriptions of the commands to be used.
Additional query words: 3.10 3.50 4.00
Issue type : kbinfo
Technology : kbAudDeveloper kbWin32sSearch kbWin32API
Last Reviewed: December 16, 2000