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Memory leak detection for WinCE

, 12 Jun 2001 CPOL
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This code detects memory leaks in embedded VC++ almost the same way crtdbg does in VC++.


This code detects memory leaks in embedded VC++ almost the same way crtdbg does in VC++. At the end of program execution it will display in the debug window if there were any memory leaks and how the memory looks so you can identify where your memory leak occurred. It will display in the debug window a message saying no memory leaks detected if there are no memory leaks. Similar to what crtdbg.h does in VC++. The code detects memory leaks generated with calls to new and delete operators in C++. The code doesn't detect memory leaks generated with C functions: malloc, calloc, free, but that can be done in the future. Let me know and I will program it.

There are 3 simple steps in order to enable memory leak detection:

  1. Define _DEBUG
    #define _DEBUG
  2. Include "crtdbg.h"
    #include "crtdbg.h"
  3. Let your first line in the code be:
    _CrtSetDbgFlag (ON);

Tips on debugging:

Tip 1:

Although it doesn't display the line where the memory leak occurred (read Tip 2), the utility display the address in hex, and you can add a small code to the operator new function, just after the first malloc:

	if (retPtr == (void*)0x76DA0)
		dumb instruction; <- place a breakpoint on this one

so you can detect easily which line of your code called the operator new to allocate memory at the specified address and wasn't freed.

Tip 2:

Here's a trick that allow you to get the correct line and filename where the memory leak occurred. Define the following line in every file, or define it in a header file and include it in every file where you want accurate line and filename:

#define new new(_T(__FILE__), __LINE__)

What the code actually does is override the global operator new that besides allocating memory, it retains the pointer to the allocated memory in a list. The operator delete simply releases memory and deletes the reference to that memory from the list. In the end of the program execution, all the pointers still in the list simply mean memory leaks, and they are displayed in the debug window.

The macro _CrtSetDbgFlag (ON); simply declares an instance of garbageCollector. It has to be the first line of your code, to insure it is the last variable in your program to be destroy, as in its destructor it performs checking of the pointer list and it displays memory leaks. So its destructor must be the last destructor called.


Public domain


Please report any bugs to You can use and distribute this code freely, but please keep these few lines. If you make any improvements, or have any ideas about how this code could be improved or just you feel you need to comment this code in any way, please send your comments, idea, improvements to me to my email above.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Ciprian Miclaus

United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

GeneralEnabling memory leak detection in VC++ Pingroupelizas26-Feb-10 3:34 
QuestionHow to port wince in smdk2410 board. Pinmemberamiya das30-Mar-08 22:41 
Questionwhat about new byte[x] and delete [] Pinmemberbsyossi15-Jan-07 0:29 
GeneralC rountines Pinmembermarkpotts16-Nov-06 1:15 
GeneralRe: C rountines PinmemberCookie FJ15-Feb-08 19:06 
QuestionWhat if CMemoryDump PinmemberSreekanth Muralidharan28-Nov-05 20:18 
GeneralSolution for possible bug with delete PinmemberTommyknocker19806-Oct-05 23:48 
First of all thank you very much for this usefull code!!Big Grin | :-D
This is a possible solution for the bug as mentioned in the first reply to the theme "Now its ready for WCE MFC" (see[^]).
In the file WCECrtDBG.cpp I made the follwing changes (written in bold font)
#define WCErtDBG_FILE
#include "WCECrtDBG.h"
#undef WCErtDBG_FILE
In the header file I inserted the following lines:
    class garbageCollector {
        garbageCollector() {}

    #ifndef WCErtDBG_FILE
      #define delete ::delete

    #define DEBUG_NEW                                ::new (THIS_FILE, __LINE__, true, true)
I think the problem is, that the delete-operator defined in WCECrtDBG.cpp is not called in other classes, but only in the class where the garbace collector has been added. In my case I put it in the Dialog-Class (MyProjectDlg.cpp). If I use some other classes, then the delete operator of WCECrtDBG.cpp isn't called in those classes.
Here an example to illustrate my thought:
void function1(void) {/* some code */ }
class BaseClass
  void function1(void) { /* some code */ };
class SubClass : public BaseClass
  void function1(void) { /* some code */};
  void function2(void) 
     function1();             // calls SubClass::function1
     BaseClass::function1();  // calls BaseClass::function1
     ::function1();           // calls the global function1 
The "bug" with the delete-operator must be something like that.
But with the mentioned enhancements it seems to work correct.
Please tell me if I am right with my thought.
GeneralRe: Solution for possible bug with delete PinmemberSreekanth Muralidharan30-Nov-05 17:59 
GeneralRe: Solution for possible bug with delete Pinmemberlenux27-Feb-08 22:00 
Generalactivation key Pinmemberchhavir27-Jul-05 23:17 

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