Spy++ without Visual Studio

Put simple Tips and Tricks that are not entire Tutorials in this forum
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Spy++ without Visual Studio

05 Dec 2015, 04:34

Well the title of my post is a little misleading since you do need to install VisualStudio once. This is mainly because I'm not allowed by Microsoft to redistribute the tool due to licenses. But the thing is you don't need to have visual studio installed to use spy++, you only need to have the right modules/dll's. I've tested almost every thinkable tool out on the planet but spy++ is, to my humble opinion, still the best tool for the job.

Oke, so here is what to do. If you have a virtual machine, for the sake of security I suggest you should use one if you ever plan on installing developers tools, then download and install the latest version of Microsoft visual studio. For this tutorial it will be the 2015 version. Once installed you can find spy++ for both 64 and 32 bit OS in the following folder:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\Tools\

Get the tools folder out you're VM and dump it somewhere on you're physical hard disk. You be wise to rename the tools folder to spy++. Now when you execute the spy++.exe you'll see it fails to run. Thats because you don't have the right visual studio redistributable installed. Download and install the following two. Take note of the "for visual studio" part, in case the links are broken and you search them via some search engine:

Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012
Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015

If you don't want to install the VisualC++ redist, like I did not want to, than you could also dump the dll's they install in the spy++ folder. Sorry but I forgot which those where you need to sort that you're self.

For those who check with dependency walker what dll's spy++ is using will notice there will be a lot of missing modules. But don't worry about that the application will work just fine. I suspect that is because the functions that are needed are also available in the 2012 && 2015 redist dll, but I never checked it so am just guessing. If you really feel you need one of the missing modules you can always pull them from the VM and dump them in the spy++ folder.

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