This document shows you how to enable special debugging tools when using AGDE. These tools can help with hard-to-diagnose memory corruption and overwrite errors.
HWAddress Sanitizer and Address Sanitizer
- Stack buffer overflows and underflows
- Heap buffer overflows and underflows
- Stack use outside of its scope
- Double free and wild free errors
- Stack use after return (HWASan only)
We recommend enabling HWASan or ASan only when you're debugging an issue or as part of automated testing. While these tools are performant, their use does incur a penalty.
When enabled, both HWASan and ASan automatically check for memory corruption for the entire runtime of your app.
If a memory error is detected, the app crashes with a
SIGBART (signal abort)
error and prints a detailed message to logcat. A copy of the message is
also written to a file under
The error message looks similar to the following:
ERROR: HWAddressSanitizer: tag-mismatch on address 0x0042a0826510 at pc 0x007b24d90a0c
WRITE of size 1 at 0x0042a0826510 tags: 32/3d (ptr/mem) in thread T0
#0 0x7b24d90a08 (/data/app/com.example.hellohwasan-eRpO2UhYylZaW0P_E0z7vA==/lib/arm64/libnative-lib.so+0x2a08)
#1 0x7b8f1e4ccc (/apex/com.android.art/lib64/libart.so+0x198ccc)
#2 0x7b8f1db364 (/apex/com.android.art/lib64/libart.so+0x18f364)
#3 0x7b8f2ad8d4 (/apex/com.android.art/lib64/libart.so+0x2618d4)
0x0042a0826510 is located 0 bytes to the right of 16-byte region [0x0042a0826500,0x0042a0826510)
#0 0x7b92a322bc (/apex/com.android.runtime/lib64/bionic/libclang_rt.hwasan-aarch64-android.so+0x212bc)
#1 0x7b24d909e0 (/data/app/com.example.hellohwasan-eRpO2UhYylZaW0P_E0z7vA==/lib/arm64/libnative-lib.so+0x29e0)
#2 0x7b8f1e4ccc (/apex/com.android.art/lib64/libart.so+0x198ccc)
Install a HWASan build of the Android OS
To use HWASan, follow the Setup instructions in the HWASan documentation to install a HWASan build of the Android OS for Google Pixel devices.
For other devices, contact your manufacturer to obtain an HWASan build of the OS, if available, or use the software-only ASan tool.
Use the shared C++ Standard Library in your project
Due to a known issue, ASan is incompatible with C++ exception handling when
libc++_static. This issue is not seen when using
HWASan has its own implementation of operators
delete, which can't
be used if the standard library is statically linked into the project.
To change this setting, see the Linking the C++ Standard Library section of this document.
Enable Frame Pointer generation
HWASan and ASan use a fast frame pointer-based unwinder to generate stack trace information for memory allocation and deallocation events. This means that you must enable frame pointer generation in your C++ compiler settings to use these features. That is, you need to disable frame pointer omission optimization.
To change this setting, see the Enabling Frame Pointer generation section of this document.
Configuring your Visual Studio project to use HWASan or ASan
Enabling HWASan or ASan
To enable HWASan or ASan, go to Configuration Properties > General in the Property Pages for your project.
Figure 1: The project's Properties option in the Visual Studio Solution Explorer window.
Figure 2: The Address Sanitizer (ASan) setting in the general project properties.
To enable HWASan for your project, change the Address Sanitizer (ASan) setting to Hardware ASan Enabled (fsanitize=hwaddress).
To enable ASan for your project, change the Address Sanitizer (ASan) setting to ASan Enabled (fsanitize=address).
Enabling Frame Pointer generation
Frame Pointer generation is controlled by the Omit Frame Pointer C/C++ compiler setting and can be found in your project Property Pages under Configuration Properties > C/C++ > Optimization.
Figure 3: Where to find the Omit Frame Pointer setting.
When using HWASan or ASan, set the Omit Frame Pointer setting to No (-fno-omit-frame-pointer).
Linking the C++ Standard Library in shared library mode
The linker mode setting for the C++ Standard Library can be found in your project's Property Pages under Configuration Properties > General, in the Project Defaults section.
Figure 4: Where to find linker mode setting for the C++ Standard Library.
While using HWASan or ASan, set Use of STL to Use C++ Standard Libraries (.so). This value links the C++ standard library into your project as a shared library, which is required for HWASan and ASan to function correctly.
Creating a Build Configuration for Address Sanitizer use
If you prefer to use HWASan or ASan transiently, you might not want to create a new build configuration solely for their use. This might be the case if your project is small, you're exploring the feature, or in response to a problem you discover during testing.
However, if you find it useful and plan to use it regularly, you might consider creating a new build configuration for HWASan or ASan as demonstrated in the Teapot sample. You might do this if, for example, you regularly run Address Sanitizer as part of your unit tests, or during overnight smoke-tests of your game.
Creating a separate build configuration might be especially useful if you have a large project which consumes a large number of different third party libraries where you normally statically link them with the C++ standard library. Dedicated build configurations can help to ensure that your project settings remain accurate at all times.
To create a build configuration, from your project's Property Pages, click
Configuration Manager… button, and then open the
Active solution configuration drop-down. Then selection