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Posted 21 May 2002

Detailed memory leak dumps from a console app

, 21 May 2002
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How to get path and line number info for memory leaks, in a console app


Finding memory leaks in a non-MFC app can be difficult because the debugger doesn't display path and line number info in the debug window. But, it's quite easy to enable that info. Here's how:

Step 1

Copy this to a file called LeakWatcher.h


#include <crtdbg.h>

#ifdef _DEBUG
void* operator new(size_t nSize, const char * lpszFileName, int nLine)
    return ::operator new(nSize, 1, lpszFileName, nLine);
#define DEBUG_NEW new(THIS_FILE, __LINE__)

#define MALLOC_DBG(x) _malloc_dbg(x, 1, THIS_FILE, __LINE__);
#define malloc(x) MALLOC_DBG(x)

#endif // _DEBUG

#endif // #include guard

Step 2

Call _CrtDumpMemoryLeaks(); at the end of your program (or wherever you want to see outstanding memory allocations).

Steps 3...N

Add this to each of your source files (after your last #include) :

#include "LeakWatcher.h"

#ifdef _DEBUG
#define new DEBUG_NEW
#undef THIS_FILE
static char THIS_FILE[] = __FILE__;

What does it do?

This does the same thing an MFC app does - it provides the path and line number of each allocation to the C-runtime allocation routines. Those routines store the path and line number for each allocation, and spit them out when you call _CrtDumpMemoryLeaks();. You should recognize that little chunk of code in step 3 from every source file that the AppWizard (and ClassWizard, mostly) has ever created.

Why not just use _CRTDBG_MAP_ALLOC?

#define _CRTDBG_MAP_ALLOC will provide file/line info for leaks caused by malloc, but for leaks with new, it ends up telling you that the leak occurred in crtdbg.h (because that's where MS defined their new) - not really useful.


This represents about ten minutes of searching through Microsoft's C runtime and MFC source files. So, all of the credit goes to MS. But, all of the blame goes to MS, too, for not making this part of the non-MFC headers. Anyway, have fun and be excellent to each other.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Chris Losinger
Software Developer
United States United States
Chris Losinger is the president of Smaller Animals Software, Inc..

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralLink Errors Pin
Christian Cheney19-Nov-02 5:59
sussChristian Cheney19-Nov-02 5:59 
GeneralRe: Link Errors Pin
Chris Losinger19-Nov-02 6:05
memberChris Losinger19-Nov-02 6:05 
GeneralRe: Link Errors Pin
Christian Cheney19-Nov-02 6:09
sussChristian Cheney19-Nov-02 6:09 
GeneralRe: Link Errors Pin
Chris Losinger19-Nov-02 6:19
memberChris Losinger19-Nov-02 6:19 
GeneralRe: Link Errors Pin
Christian Cheney19-Nov-02 6:22
sussChristian Cheney19-Nov-02 6:22 
GeneralRe: Link Errors Pin
Christian Cheney19-Nov-02 9:15
sussChristian Cheney19-Nov-02 9:15 
GeneralRe: Link Errors Pin
DaveDrPop10-Jun-05 3:42
memberDaveDrPop10-Jun-05 3:42 
GeneralRe: Link Errors Pin
ben staveley-taylor29-Mar-06 0:05
memberben staveley-taylor29-Mar-06 0:05 
GeneralRe: Link Errors Pin
Chrabros6-Sep-05 19:53
memberChrabros6-Sep-05 19:53 

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