Fortunately, there is a built-in command-line debugger bundled with at least Windows 2000, XP and 2003 (this debugger has been removed from Windows Vista). And I am not talking about DEBUG.EXE ;) I am talking about NTSD.EXE, which is originally part of the Debugging Tools for Windows.
Warning: NTSD has not been upgraded since Windows 2000. On Windows XP SP2, NTSD will randomly crash with a "BEX error" message (even if hardware DEP is not enabled).
A useful application of debugging can be logging textboxes (which include asterisks protected boxes). Let's take a running NOTEPAD.EXE process for instance. The following command will attach NTSD to this process:
ntsd -pn notepad.exe
The WinDbg commands would be:
bp GetWindowTextA "r $t0=poi(esp+8); gu; da @$t0; g;"
bp GetWindowTextW "r $t1=poi(esp+8); gu; du @$t1; g;"
Explanation: the target functions (ANSI and Unicode versions) have the following prototype:
int GetWindowText( HWND hWnd, LPTSTR lpString, int nMaxCount );
At the function entry point, save the lpString pointer (esp+8) into a temporary register, then go up (until return), and read output value back.
Unfortunately, this will not work with NTSD (BEX error). We will have to find the RET address manually (using the step over or the unassemble command), then set the following breakpoints:
bp 7e3b218c "da poi(esp+8); g;"
bp 7e39ce0b "du poi(esp+8); g;"
Then if we try to replace "it" by "works" using NOTEPAD menu:
Next post: how to log form boxes inside Internet Explorer.