What are symbol files?

1,940 pts.
Tags:
Symbol files
Visual Basic
Can anyone explain to me what Symbol Files are or what it means to install symbol files. I'm using Visual Basic but I don't think that matters, I think this is a standard term for all programmers.

Software/Hardware used:
Visual Basic. PC
ASKED: August 13, 2012  7:24 PM
UPDATED: August 14, 2012  11:56 AM

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Symbol files are files that include information that is only needed when you want to debug a program.

 

That information is not included in binaries (exe files), and is only created when you compile (and link) an application for “debugging”.

 

 

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  • TomLiotta
    Most likely you're asking about debug files.   A lot of the program source code that you write consists of references to names, e.g., variables, branch labels, functions, etc. When the source is compiled, those names mostly disappear from compiled binary object. They are replaced by pointers, memory addresses, offsets and stuff that CPUs understand.   A symbol table (file) provides debuggers a way to translate those references back out to English so names that you can recognize are displayed.   Tom
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  • TheFinder
    Thanks guys, I have since figured it out after I posted, but again thank you.
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