Remote Debugging a Windows 8 RT app on Surface with BT Infinity & HomeHub 3.0

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I ran across an interesting problem today, and I thought I’d blog about it as it may save you some time if you encounter a similar issue in the future.

Scenario: you’ve deployed Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 Remote Debugging Tools to your Surface RT device, and running Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 on your desktop PC (x64, in my case). When you attempt to remote debug on Surface, Visual Studio 2012 reports that it cannot connect to MSVSMON.exe on the remote device.

Background: for testing purposes, I disabled the firewalls on both the Surface and the desktop PC, and I tried configuring MSVSMON.exe to work with and without authentication on port 4016. Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 could never discover the Surface, either, unless I ran MSVSMON.exe as a service on the Surface. As a service, my developer machine could discover the Surface but even then, still couldn’t connect.

For reference, the developer machine was connected via ethernet, and the Surface (obviously) via WiFi to the same router.

Ping from the desktop to Surface failed, but it did resolve the IP address. Ping from the Surface back to the desktop always worked, returning an IPv4 address.

After trying many things for several hours, I tried changing my router because I believed what I was seeing was symptomatic of a networking issue. This immediately cured the problem.

It would seem, at least in my case, that my BT HomeHub 3.0 prevented establishing a connection to MSVSMON.exe between LAN and WiFi. I don’t know why – I can only assume perhaps there is a firmware issue on the HomeHub 3.0.

I can’t verify it with another HomeHub as I don’t have access to a replacement router, however swapping it out for a brand new Netgear DGND3700 did the trick nicely. If you have a HomeHub 3.0 and are on BT Infinity, please let me know if you can reproduce this issue.

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5 thoughts on “Remote Debugging a Windows 8 RT app on Surface with BT Infinity & HomeHub 3.0

  1. Anybody been successful runing a VPN server or web server with in-bound access from a third party site in another town / city? We got it to work for a day and then it went south again. Latest thought is another Firewall in the VDSL “modem” but I don’t think I can get to it’s management interface to turn it off. Any help would be appreciated.

    Do all Infinity installs come with a separate access box and a separate Home Hub – I am thinking yes??

    Any suggestions / help would be appreciated.

    Thanks Robert

  2. Rich,

    I had exactly the same problem and ended up buying a new router. I did quite a bit of reading about this on the net first and it would appear that the problem is widespread (and not Surface related). As an example, ping your desktop from Surface whilst it’s on Ethernet, then disconnect the cable and try again. Voila, failure.

    Before consigning the BT Home Hub to the “shelf of shame” I ordered a USB–>LAN adaptor for the Surface which (on the Microsoft web site) was on the hardware compat list. Needless to say that didn’t cut the mustard either (and I got hold of the manufacturer who was very helpful indeed, and said they had no knowledge of how their product had ended up on the compat list as it wasn’t).

    Anyhow, I purchased a decent router (the first time I’ve ever had to buy one) and that works fine. Plus I now have guest wireless access in my house and a whole load of other goodies.

    Morgan

    • Hi Morgan,

      Thanks for commenting. I had a little surf around too and it does seem like a lot of folks with (shall we say) “non-premium” routers have an issue with this. Fortunately, it’s only really developers who are likely to encounter this particular problem. But, like you, I now have a powerful router (for the first time) with lots of other awesome features – and the guest WiFi access is brilliant! :)

      Cheers

      Richard.

  3. Jason

    I have a BT Home Hub 3.0B running firmware dated 28th august 2012. My surface and dev laptop are both wirelessly connected and I am able to remote debug my WinRT Surface device from within VS2012 no problems. I followed the standard procedure as outlined here; http://timheuer.com/blog/archive/2012/10/26/remote-debugging-windows-store-apps-on-surface-arm-devices.aspx. I even managed to retain my authentication settings as both machines use the same account.

    Hope that helps,

    Jason.

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