Assembly and Cracking From the Ground Up
An Introduction by Greythorne the Technomancer

SoftICE Setup Information

This section is basically a glorified FAQ on solving
setup problems and setting up the softice debugger.

SoftICE in General

How do i switch into softice when it is loaded?


My video flips out when i switch into softice.

SoftICE has not been set up properly with the correct video drivers.
If you are certain that your settings should be correct for your machine,
look into getting the driver updates.
Though NuMega has mentioned that they are not perfect,
the driver updates have tended to solve this problem.

They are located in the tech directory at numega by name of: for Win'95

for Win-NT

Where did it install the Softice files?

Look in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
You will see it listed there in all it's path and glory.

I would rather use a different key combination to enter softice,
or I like to connect to UNIX shells on the net,
and I really miss being able to use CTRL-D since it is
the standard 'quit program' function for UNIX apps.

Switch into softice and set the key to what you really would rather it be.

I usually set mine to ALT-W since it doesn't
seem to conflict with any of my usual programs.

The command is: ALTKEY ALT W for this example.
You can set this permanently in the winice.dat
init string directly or through symbol loader.

Are there other ways to toggle softice?

If you are already in it, the default commands to leave softice are:




ny one of the above will work (as well as ctrl-D of course)

What init string should i try?

Unlimited possibilities exist. Try this one:
watch es:di;watch ds:si;watch eax;altkey alt w;g;

SoftICE for Win95

I know I have set things up right, but when I run symbol loader,
all it says is '
SoftICE is not active. Symbols cannot be loaded.'

First check your autoexec.bat file. It often happens that the path is either incorrect, or it contains a space in the path name. If there is a space, it can be dealt with either by re-installing softice into a directory that has no spaces in its path, putting quotes around the path, or by replacing the offending directory name in the path with it's shortened name: softic~1 instead of "soft ice" for example. (do a dir from the DOS prompt and you will see on the left all of the short forms of the filenames, and the long names on the right.

SoftICE for WinNT

I have been testing standard breakpoints but hmemcpy or
<other 16-bit functions> don't respond.

Being 32-bit in nature, SoftICE for NT does not have some of the
16-bit symbol files that come with the Win95 release.

SoftICE for DOS

My Pentium reboots when I try to start softice.

Version 2.80 seems to solve this problem.
The previous versions were designed with 486 in mind.

Newer versions of Soft-Ice for DOS have come with patches in the file for a wide array of problems. It is clear from this file that in some cases it can be a nightmare to solve this.

Why won't softice "snap" like the first few tutorials describe?

SoftICE for DOS version 2.62 is the last recorded version of softice that could snap as described. Basically, that means that pentium users just have to go about the crack a little differently if the readme patches don't work as planned.

I have tried - but even with any driver updates,
my video still flips out in softice for dos. What am i doing wrong?

Probably nothing, it is altogether possible that you have a quirky video card. I have a #9gxe64 pro in one machine, and it refuses several video modes when task switching between a debugger such as softice for dos and game wizard pro. The solution is to either get a replacement video card (in my case the same card would work if made in a different batch) or to use a different debugger, such as softice for win95 or Periscope for DOS (which is a decent debugger in itself)

You could also use a second monitor for debugging: the old monochrome ibm pc monitors with a hercules monochrome graphics card serves this purpose when issuing the command ALTSCR ON to softice.


with a second monitor - b&w w/monochrome card
memory search hangs
(s 0...ffffffff type command)
this works fine without an alternate display screen


Also: Version 3.2 of SoftICE for Win'95 allows it to make a VGA window on your screen, instead of the switch screen effect that softice usually does. This is nice because the driver is compatible with many video displays without requiring any special settings.