Using Variable Breakpoints (Part 1)

by Apr 22, 2019

For debugging, variable breakpoints can be of invaluable help. They break into the debugger once a variable changes. If you know that a variable hits a certain value (or a NULL value) when bad things happen, you can make sure the debugger kicks in just then.

The example below illustrates how to use variable breakpoints. It is best to define them at the top of your script because that way you can use $PSCommandPath to find out the actual script file path that is required for breakpoints to work:

# initialize variable breakpoints (once)
# break when $a is greater than 10
Set-PSBreakpoint -Variable a -Action { if ($a -gt 10) { break }} -Mode Write -Script $PSCommandPath

# run the code to debug
    $a = Get-Random -Minimum -20 -Maximum 20
    "Drawing: $a"
} while ($true)

Make sure you save the code to a script file before you execute it: debugging always requires a physical file.

As you’ll see, the debugger kicks in whenever $a receives a value greater than 10. You can continue with the command “exit”, view all debugger options with “?”, and stop by pressing SHIFT+F4.

To remove all breakpoints, run this:

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