Export (0) Print
Expand All

GCHandle Structure

Updated: March 2011

Provides a means for accessing a managed object from unmanaged memory.

Namespace:  System.Runtime.InteropServices
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

'Declaration
<ComVisibleAttribute(True)> _
Public Structure GCHandle
'Usage
Dim instance As GCHandle

The GCHandle structure is used in conjunction with the GCHandleType enumeration to create a handle corresponding to any managed object. This handle can be one of four types: Weak, WeakTrackResurrection, Normal, or Pinned. Once allocated, you can use a GCHandle to prevent the managed object from being collected by the garbage collector when an unmanaged client holds the only reference. Without such a handle, the object can be collected by the garbage collector before completing its work on behalf of the unmanaged client.

You can also use the GCHandle to create a pinned object that returns a memory address and prevents the garbage collector from moving the object in memory.

When the handle goes out of scope you must explicitly release it by calling the Free method; otherwise, memory leaks may occur. When you free a pinned handle, the associated object will be unpinned and will become eligible for garbage collection, if there are no other references to it.

The following example shows an App class that creates a handle to a managed object using the GCHandle.Alloc method, which prevents the managed object from being collected. A call to the EnumWindows method passes a delegate and a managed object (both declared as managed types, but not shown), and casts the handle to an IntPtr. The unmanaged function passes the type back to the caller as a parameter of the callback function.

Imports System
Imports System.IO
Imports System.Threading
Imports System.Windows.Forms
Imports System.Runtime.InteropServices
Imports System.Security.Permissions

Public Delegate Function CallBack(ByVal handle As Integer, ByVal param As IntPtr) As Boolean 


Module LibWrap

    ' passing managed object as LPARAM 
    ' BOOL EnumWindows(WNDENUMPROC lpEnumFunc, LPARAM lParam);
    <DllImport("user32.dll")> _
    Function EnumWindows(ByVal cb As CallBack, ByVal param As IntPtr) As Boolean 
    End Function 
End Module 'LibWrap


Module App

    Sub Main()
	Run()

    End Sub

    <SecurityPermission(SecurityAction.Demand, UnmanagedCode:=true)> _
    Sub Run()

        Dim tw As TextWriter = System.Console.Out
        Dim gch As GCHandle = GCHandle.Alloc(tw)

        Dim cewp As CallBack
        cewp = AddressOf CaptureEnumWindowsProc

        ' platform invoke will prevent delegate to be garbage collected 
        ' before call ends
        LibWrap.EnumWindows(cewp, GCHandle.ToIntPtr(gch))
        gch.Free()

    End Sub 


    Function CaptureEnumWindowsProc(ByVal handle As Integer, ByVal param As IntPtr) As Boolean 
        Dim gch As GCHandle = GCHandle.FromIntPtr(param)
        Dim tw As TextWriter = CType(gch.Target, TextWriter)
        tw.WriteLine(handle)
        Return True 

    End Function 
End Module

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows XP Starter Edition, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2000 SP4, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 98, Windows CE, Windows Mobile for Smartphone, Windows Mobile for Pocket PC, Xbox 360, Zune

The .NET Framework and .NET Compact Framework do not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

.NET Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Compact Framework

Supported in: 3.5, 2.0, 1.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: 3.0, 2.0, 1.0

Date

History

Reason

March 2011

Freed objects are eligible for garbage collection when all references are released.

Customer feedback.

Community Additions

ADD
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft