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How to trace memory leaks C++ with a few lines of code:
free source code for instant use in windows projects.

SFK The Book - New Productivity Heights.

starting point: let's say we have a simple C++ program like this:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>

char *joinStrings(char *p1, char *p2)
{
   int nlen1 = strlen(p1);
   int nlen2 = strlen(p2);
   char *pres = new char[nlen1+nlen2+10];
   strcpy(pres, p1);
   strcat(pres, p2);
   return pres;
}

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
   printf("string concatenation test:\n");
   char *psz1 = "hello";
   char *psz2 = "world";
   char *pszj = joinStrings(psz1, psz2);
   printf("result: %s\n", pszj);
   return 0;
}
this program seems to run without problems, producing this output:
   string concatenation test:
   result: helloworld
however we don't really know if all memory has been freed.
 

to find out, download memdeb.cpp from here and extend the example like this:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>

#include "memdeb.cpp"

char *joinStrings(char *p1, char *p2)
{
   int nlen1 = strlen(p1);
   int nlen2 = strlen(p2);
   char *pres = new char[nlen1+nlen2+10];
   strcpy(pres, p1);
   strcat(pres, p2);
   return pres;
}

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
{
   printf("string concatenation test:\n");
   char *psz1 = "hello";
   char *psz2 = "world";
   char *pszj = joinStrings(psz1, psz2);
   printf("result: %s\n", pszj);

   listMemoryLeaks();

   return 0;
}
now, the program produces this output:
string concatenation test:
result: helloworld
MEM LEAK: adr 32075ch, size 20, alloc'ed in test.cpp 10
[SMEMDEBUG: 1 new's, 0 delete's, 0 errors, 1 leaks]
if you want to integrate the memory tracing into a project with several .cpp files, include it everywhere, defining in most files
#define MEMDEB_JUST_DECLARE
before the include. only in one .cpp file, leave out this define. it should also be easy to split memdeb.cpp into a .hpp and .cpp, as the code is rather short.

NOTE:

  • as all free stuff, SFK memory tracing comes without any warranty
  • it eats some performance when used with many memory objects
  • it is not thread safe
and if you integrate this into a project, always do it in a way which allows (de)activation through a define, e.g.
   #ifdef WITH_MEMORY_TRACING
     #include "memdeb.cpp"
   #endif

SFK memory tracing is used to track memory leaks in the text file processor swiss file knife. read more about sfk here.

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