- In VS2008, click on Project->Settings->Debug. When you get to the debug settings for your project, you'll notice each of your build targets in a dropdown at the top of the page. Select a target and then scroll and click the 'Advanced' button. By default, STSDEV doesnt generate a PDB for most of its build targets, so you'll want to change the "Debug Info" drop-down selection to "full". Repeat for each build target that you need debug info to be generated for (at least DebugDeploy and DebugRedeploy).
- Build and deploy your solution using one of the targets you changed above.
- Map a drive to \\machinename\c$\windows\assembly. This allows you to see the file structure of the GAC without the shell getting in the way.
- Copy your just-generated PDB file from the project directory to the GAC_MSIL folder in your new mapped-drive directory. You'll need to do this each time you build. *some people say this isnt necessary, however.
- Attach your VS debugger to the w3wp.exe process. If there is more than one instance of w3wp running, use 'iisapp' from the command line to get a description for each one. This will help you pick.
- Set your breakpoints. At this point the symbols for your assembly might not be loaded (you'll get the dreaded empty-circle breakpoint). Don't worry - VS will find them.
- Browse to your feature-activation system page and activate your feature.