How to debug a non starting application with ProcMon

I just had to install some old legacy software on a new Windows 10 computer. Vendor says it “should work”, but apparantly not without some challenges.

Fast forward ten minutes. Application installed successfully. A couple dll error messages during the setup but I happily ignored those and went on my way.

I cross my fingers and start the application…. nothing happens. Try again. Reboot. Still nothing. Login as local administrator account and reinstall software. Nothing. Start in compatibility mode for XP and set to 256 colors… nothing. Run as admin. Nothing works, you know the drill.

So naturally our next point is to either give up or go all in and fire up ProcessMonitor. Unfortunately we really needed this to work so ProcMon it is.


1) First of we have to set up some filters. Click on the Filter button as showed in the picture below:

2) Set the Process Name == executable filename.exe and Result != SUCCESS. Leave the default filters as they are.

3) Now clear the log for good measure and start the troubling application. ProcMon will now be populated with every single failed event processed by the application.

In the picture above I started to notice a pattern with .NET framework. Then I remembered we had some other software which required .NET framework 3.5, and that’s not easily available on Windows 10. So the next thing I did was to install .NET framework 3.5 and the application worked!!

See this other post for .NET 3.5 install instructions:

How to install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows 10


How to install .NET Framework 3.5 on Windows 10

If you’re trying to install .NET Framework 3.5 using the regular installer, it’ll most likely say you already have a newer version installed. Luckily you can still install it using some other methods which I’ll quickly go through today along with its probability of success (because for reasons they only work sometimes).


Using Windows Features – probably won’t work

  • Open appwiz.cpl (Programs and Features) and click on Turn Windows features on or off [1]
  • Mark the checkbox for .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)
  • Press OK


Using DISM online version – might work

  • Open command prompt as administrator
  • Enter command: DISM.EXE /Online /Add-Capability /CapabilityName:NetFx3~~~~
  • If it works you’ll see a progress bar for the download + installation.


Using DISM offline version – works most of the time

  • Get a copy of the .NET Framework 3.5 installation .cab file.
    You can find this inside the Windows 10 install .iso file (open the .iso file in 7-Zip or any other package utility and copy the file from \sources\sxs\ directory to a place on your drive, like C:\Temp
  • Enter command: DISM.EXE /Online /Add-Package /PackagePath:C:\Temp\
  • If it works you’ll see a progress bar for the installation.