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Check this out if you are interested in how memory works :)


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...this is a little C++ program I worked on some time ago - it simulates a typical memory leak that could happen if a program is not written with respect to good memory management

What it does, is it creates a linked list of 10,000 nodes in it, containing some data (like name, phone number, email address...) - it prints out the record number (0-10,000) and a generated record id

In the first instance of the program: Project2 - Leak - the program itself is missing a destructor - which is supposed to be part of the memory management - it basically destroys each node after it is processed - as nodes are added into memory - it leaks - your computer runs out of physical memory and the program starts using the oh famous page file - the program might crash ur computer if you have your page file set up too low - no worries, it doesnt harm it (just make sure you have everything saved before you run it)

In the 2nd instace of the program: Project1 - No Leak - the program uses the correct memory management, processes each linked list node (contact record) and it deletes it - the memory is not leaked and everything is fine :)

Source code: for those who are interested:

/* Warning:    Close all other applications before debugging this program.

   You may have to restart your computer after running the program.    */

#include <iostream>

#include <string.h>

#include <time.h>

using namespace std;

// forward declaration

int insert(void);

void deletion(void);

// global variables

int IDgenerator = 0;

class contact {


char name[30];

char phone[20];

char email[30];

contact *next;

int userId;


contact() {}

contact(char* name, char* phone, char* email){

strcpy(this->name, name);

strcpy(this->phone, phone);

strcpy(this->email, email);

userId = IDgenerator++;

this->next = NULL;


contact* getNext() { return next; }

void setNext(contact* nx) { next = nx; }

                                //This is the destructor method - uncoment it and it collects the

                                //unused memory - leak is fixed



// if(getNext() != NULL )

// delete getNext();


} *head = NULL; // declare head pointer as global

int main() { 

int i = 0, j = 0;

clock_t start =  clock( );

while (i<10000) {

for (j = 0 ; j<1000; j++) {

insert(); // insert 1000 records




cout << i << " - " << IDgenerator << endl;



clock_t end =  clock( );

cout << "time use = " << (end - start) / CLOCKS_PER_SEC << "seconds"<<endl;

return 0;


int insert() {

contact *node;

char sname[30] = "John", sphone[20] = "1234 567", semail[30] = "[email protected]";

node = new contact(sname, sphone, semail);

if (node == NULL) {

cout << "ERROR - Could not allocate memory !" << endl;

return -1;



head = node;

return 0;


void deletion() {

delete head;

head = NULL;


For those of you who would like to run the program - feel free :) I can assure you it wont harm ur system in any way - if you will run the memory leak program, make sure you are not running anything important (because your computer might crash if you have don't have the suffiecient memory)



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to shug - i have an explenation of what the programs do in my 1st post

to FellowEarth - the only difference in code is that you have to uncomment this



      //   if(getNext() != NULL )

      //      delete getNext();


so basically just remove the // from those 4 lines and you have a working code for the one that does not leak memory

the line delete getNext(); is actually recursive - c++ automatically calls the destructor method again every time it sees the word delete - and it will keep executing that method untill it reaches NULL - which would mean it reached the end of the linked list

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