Why is msbuild and link.exe "hanging" during a build?


We have a few C++ solutions and we run some build scripts using batch files that call msbuild.exe for each of the configurations in the solutions.

This had been working fine on 3 developer machines and one build machine, but then one of the projects started to hang when linking. This only happens on the newest machine which is a quad core, 2.8ghz I think. It runs on Windows Server 2003 and the others are on XP or Vista.

This happens consistently even if I change the order of builds in the bat file.

If I run the build from the IDE on that machine it does not hang.

Any ideas about what could possibly be causing this?

I am using Visual Studio 2008.


I see now that when it is hung the following are running:

  • link.exe (2 instances) One with large memory usage and one with a small amount of memory usage.
  • vcbuild.exe
  • msbuild.exe
  • vcbuildhelper.exe
  • mspdbsrv.exe


The exe file exists and so does the pdb file.

The exe file is locked by some process, and I can't delete it or move it. I can delete the pdb file though.

I also have the problem if I just use VCBuild.exe.

I decided to try debugging the 2 link.exe processes and the mspdbsrv.exe processes.

When I attached the debugger/MSdev IDE to them I got a message box saying that the application was deadlocked and/or that "all threads have exited".

I guess I will have to check for a service pack for that msdev install on that machine.


In the debug.htm output file I get all sorts of stuff output after the link.exe command is generated.

However, for the release buildlog.htm the linke.exe line is the last line.

This is clearly a hang in the linker. Definitely a Microsoft bug.

I am now trying to figure out what the .rsp (linker response) file is.

When I issue:

link.exe @c:\\Release\RSP00000535202392.rsp /NOLOGO /ERRORREPORT:QUEUE

That is the last line in the release build log. The debug one has lots more information after that.

Reinstalling a different version of Visual Studio did not solve the problem.

I will open an issue/ticket with Microsoft. I will post an answer if I can.

7/13/2009 2:43:33 PM

Accepted Answer

Whole-program optimization (/GL and /LTCG) and /MP don't mix -- the linker hangs. I raised this on Connect.

The upshot is that it's a confirmed bug in VS2008; contact PSS if you want a hotfix; and the fix is included in VS2010.

If you can't wait that long, turn off /MP (slower compiles) or /LTCG (slower code).

VS2012 screenshot for setting

9/10/2012 9:51:44 PM

I had a similar problem, but with Visual Studio 2010.

This is a project that had worked fine on another computer, but just not my new one. The symptoms described matched the original Visual Studio 2008 Issue.

I was able to resolve the issue by installing the Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1)

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/confirmation.aspx?id=23691 - or just go to microsoft and search for "Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1"

I had run my windows "check for updates" and had thought I had installed all service packs, but apparently, I had not installed any Visual Studio Service Packs.

After installing the VS2010 SP1, I no longer had this issue. I confirmed that I had installed VS2010 and the Service Pack 1 on other older computer with the working project a while back.

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