The latest version of this sample is hosted on GitHub.

The Game Definition File Validator (GDFTrace.exe) utility is a debugging aid for working with Game Definition File Editor (GDF) files for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 Preview. It is a command-line tool for validating the XML against the schema, displaying a 'human readiable' summary, and generating validation warnings. It can be used either directly extracting the GDF from the containing EXE/DLL file, or against the 'raw' XML file.

If run without any command-line parameters, it displays the following help.


This utility was originally published as part of the legacy DirectX SDK. This version does not require the DirectX SDK to build and can be built using Visual Studio 2010, Visual Studio 2012, or Visual Studio 2013 Preview.


The GDFTrace.EXE must have the both the GamesExplorerBaseTypes.v1.0.0.0.XSD and GDFSchema.v1.0.0.0.XSD files located in the same directory as the EXE to fully validate the GDF files.

Building with Visual Studio 2012/2013

The Visual Studio 2010 project files can be updated to use Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2013 automatically. Be sure to add to the Processor Definitions of all configurations _WIN32_WINNT=0x0600 so the resulting DLL/EXE will be compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.x.

Version History

The DirectX SDK (June 2010) contained the previously released version of this utility. This version is similiar with the following improvements:

More Information

Windows Games Explorer

Creating a GDF File

Games Explorer

Games for Windows Technical Requirements (TR 1.1 and 1.2)

Games for Windows Test Cases (TR 1.1 and 1.2)

Where is the DirectX SDK?

Where is the DirectX SDK (2013 Edition)?