While you should always have your PDB files in symbol servers, there are times when you’re doing private (aka local) builds and moving those builds around hither and yon in a test environment where you can accidentally forget to copy over a binary’s PDB file. That leads to the common question: short of starting a debugger, how can I check that a PDB file matches a particular binary?

Obviously you can always take an educated guess if a PDB file matches a binary from the timestamp. That will work in most cases, but to completely check, you’ll need to rely on SYMCHK.EXE, a command line tool that comes with the Debugging Tools for Windows (AKA WinDBG). The trick is to tell SYMCHK.EXE to use the PDB file directory as your symbol server. In the following example, I’m running the SYMCHK.EXE command from the same directory where my binary, RinjPlay.exe is located.

symchk RinjPlay.exe /s .

If the PDB matches the binary, you’ll see the following output.

SYMCHK: FAILED files = 0


If the PDB does not match, your output will look like the following.

SYMCHK: RinjPlay.exe        FAILED   – RinjPlay.pdb mismatched or not found

SYMCHK: FAILED files = 1


As with any SYMCHK.EXE command, you can pass /v to get detailed output about your binary and PDB file matching.