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This question is appropriate only for programs created on the windows platform.

If I build a release of my program with the /Zi option (create pdb file and store path to file in exe) then I don’t have to ship pdb file with release but we could retain for internal use. The pdb file would be retained for our internal Quality Assurance use. Then if a crash occurred, we have a system of printing the stack trace at the point of crash and this 'system' would have access to the exe symbols and we would get a nicely populated stack track in this file.

But there is a slight complication in that the final executable is created by a separate build dept in our company. We developers can of course create a release build.

My query is that one of my colleagues is saying that the exe built by build team would be different from a release build created by us in development. But I don’t understand why? Is my colleague correct? If so why? And if so does this mean my plan for using pdb files with release builds is not possible?

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Your real question seems to be, "Will compiling with the /Zi option change the outputted executable?", which I don't think is on topic for this site. – Kris Harper Apr 19 '12 at 11:08
Why not have this release department build and give you PDBs? – stonemetal Apr 19 '12 at 11:44

Yes, you have to use the exact PDB file with the exact EXE file created together in the build. I don't have the details ready, but there are timestamps (and checksums?) in these files that will differ and prevent the whole thing from working properly.

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