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µVISION DEBUGGER: Connect to a running Target without Hardware Reset

Information in this knowledgebase article applies to:

  • Keil MDK 5
  • µVision Debugger
  • ULINK Debug Adapter


Sometimes I want to connect to an application that is running on my target board to analyze the memory and variables in the current context. But the debugger issues a hardware reset when it starts,  and the current status of my application is lost.

How can I connect to a running application on my target hardware without a hardware reset?


The µVision Debugger usually resets the target hardware to ensure consistent startup behaviour. Several debugger options influence the startup behavior.

If you disable all of the following options no hardware reset performs at debugger start:

  • Options For Target - Debug - Load Application at startup
  • Options For Target - Debug - Settings - Reset after connect (with Options For Target - Debug - Settings - Connect selected as NORMAL)
  • Options For Target - Utilities - Update Target before Debugging

If all the options shown in the picture below are disabled, the debugger starts without performing a hardware reset.

Note, select "Connect: Without Stop" if you want to keep the target running.

With these options disabled, the debugger starts, and the target hardware stops at the current location of the program counter. This allows you to analyze the memory and register content.

Because Options For Target - Debug - Load Application at startup is disabled, the debugger does not have any application program and debug information. To load this information into the debugger, use the LOAD debugger command with the option NORESET or INCREMENTAL.

You may automate this LOAD using an Initialization File under Options For Target - Debug. For example, the following debug command loads the program and debug information of the current application, where %L is the linker output file name for the project:





The following Discussion Forum threads may provide information related to this topic.

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 14, 2020

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