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The Case of The Unquoted Command Line: Process Monitor and MPGO.EXE

| Sunday, April 29, 2012
A few months ago I wrote about MPGO, a new Microsoft tool that ships with .NET 4.5 and enables profile-guided optimization of managed assemblies. Specifically, MPGO optimizes the layout of native images for managed assemblies, which reduces startup times, working set sizes, and page fault costs.

Shameless plug: Pro .NET Performance has a large section dedicated to improving startup performance, and I’ve written about this before: Using Prefetch to improve startup performance, Rebasing and compression.

Anyway, I was experimenting with MPGO and encountered a strange error when working with some of my assemblies. Specifically:

C:\Temp\mpgo test>mpgo -scenario App.exe -assemblylist App.exe -OutDir . 

Error:  Timeout or error when trying to instrument assembly C:\Temp\mpgo test\App.exe (FFFFFFFF) 
Profile information will not be collected for this assembly. 
This will not prevent information from being collected for other assemblies 

Error:  Timeout or Error when trying to remove instrumented assembly C:\Temp\mpgo test\App.exe (FFFFFFFF) 
Failed to merge collected profile data into assembly C:\Temp\mpgo test\App.exe: 
Unexpected Internal Exception The file "C:\Temp\mpgo test\App.ibc" does not exist

This error struck me as odd, because the application in question was really simple, and I certainly didn’t know what error FFFFFFFF meant. I tried specifying the full path to the executable, and got a different error instead:

C:\Temp\mpgo test>mpgo -scenario "C:\temp\mpgo test\App.exe" -assemblylist "C:\temp\mpgo test\App.exe" -OutDir . 

Session executable does not appear to exist.

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