How to: Start Spy++

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac noVisual Studio Code

You can start Spy++ either from Visual Studio or at a command prompt.

When you start Spy++, if a message is displayed to ask permission to make changes to the computer, select Yes.


You can run only one instance of Spy++. If you try to start a second instance, it just causes the currently running instance to get the focus.


Spy++ requires the following components. You can select these components from the Visual Studio Installer by selecting the Individual Components tab, and then selecting the following components.

  • Under Debugging and testing, select C++ profiling tools
  • Under Development activities, select C++ core features

If you made any changes, follow the prompts to install these components.

Start Spy++ from Visual Studio

On the Tools menu, select Spy++.

Because Spy++ runs independently, after you start it you can close Visual Studio.


When you log messages with Spy++, it may cause the operating system to perform more slowly.

Start Spy++ at a command prompt

  1. In a Command Prompt window, change directories to the folder that contains spyxx.exe. Typically, the path to this folder is ..\Visual Studio installation folder\Common7\Tools\.

  2. Enter spyxx.exe or, for the 64-bit version, spyxx_amd64.exe.

For more information on the 32-bit and 64-bit version of Spy++, see 64-bit operating systems.

See also