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noodlyappendage

What happens if I don't deallocate dynamic memory on application exit?

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I was just wondering what, if any, negative effect the following scenario would have. I create an object instance using the new operator. This object then exists for the life of the entire process. Then, when exiting the application, I do not call a corresponding delete to deallocate. I understand the problem with memory leaks in terms of memory usage of the process at run time, but if the application is exiting, wouldn't the operating system free up any memory it had used anyway?

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If you need security of anything in RAM, you must use mlock or VirtualLock or the like.

 

I had never heard of these before, and decided to google it to learn more. I stumbled upon this link, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2007/11/06/5924058.aspx, which is saying that when using VirtualLock, it is still possible for memory to be paged out by the operating system. It is a few years old though, so is this information still accurate? 

 

Edit: Actually, I just noticed at the bottom, the author includes a follow up which says his interpretation was incorrect, and VirtualLock is sufficient to secure memory. However I still found it to be an interesting read anyway.

Edited by noodlyappendage
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Even on mature operating systems, there are various system resources that are not automatically disposed of on program exit.

 

For example, semaphores and shared memory regions on Linux.

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A mature OS will deallocate memory on exit of the application, which answers your question. But knowing that should just be a curious tidbit because whether or not memory is freed by the OS is not really that relevant or useful...

 

Cleaning up after yourself is about more than just deallocating memory, it's also about running destructors which themselves may have side-effects (freeing other kinds of resources, flushing buffers, saving state, etc).

 

It's also not something you should really need to worry about in modern C++ code since all heap allocated memory should be being auto-deallocated by a stack-bound RAII container. The delete keyword is effectively deprecated under normal use and relegated for use only for implementing RAII containers or for extenuated circumstances such as interfacing with legacy code/frameworks.

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