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What is a dangling pointer in C and C plus plus?

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2012-06-10 15:53:09
2012-06-10 15:53:09

A dangling pointer is one that points to a memory location but the memory itself has been freed or released back to the system. The memory may still contain valid information, but the system can overwrite the data at any time so any attempt to access that memory via the dangling pointer could prove disastrous. As soon as memory is released, the pointer is invalid -- because the memory it points to is potentially invalid.

To prevent this, always nullify pointers (set them to point at memory address zero) when they are no longer required, immediately after releasing the memory they point to. There are occasion when this is not necessary, such as when releasing a member pointer in a class destructor, but if a pointer is re-used, it must be initialised before being accessed again.

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