Dispose Method

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Performs application-defined tasks associated with freeing, releasing, or resetting unmanaged resources.

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

Sub Dispose

Use this method to close or release unmanaged resources such as files, streams, and handles held by an instance of the class that implements this interface. By convention, this method is used for all tasks associated with freeing resources held by an object, or preparing an object for reuse.

When implementing this method, ensure that all held resources are freed by propagating the call through the containment hierarchy. For example, if an object A allocates an object B, and object B allocates an object C, then A's Dispose implementation must call Dispose on B, which must in turn call Dispose on C. An object must also call the Dispose method of its base class if the base class implements IDisposable.

If an object's Dispose method is called more than once, the object must ignore all calls after the first one. The object must not throw an exception if its Dispose method is called multiple times. Instance methods other than Dispose can throw an ObjectDisposedException when resources are already disposed.

Because the Dispose method must be called explicitly, objects that implement IDisposable must also implement a finalizer to handle freeing resources when Dispose is not called. By default, the garbage collector automatically calls an object's finalizer prior to reclaiming its memory. However, once the Dispose method has been called, it is typically unnecessary for the garbage collector to call the disposed object's finalizer. To prevent automatic finalization, Dispose implementations can call the GC..::..SuppressFinalize method.

For more information on implementing finalizers and the Dispose method, see the GC class, the Object..::..Finalize method, and Implementing Finalize and Dispose to Clean Up Unmanaged Resources.

When you use an object that accesses unmanaged resources, such as a StreamWriter, a good practice is to create the instance with a using statement. The using statement automatically closes the stream and calls Dispose on the object when the code that is using it has completed. For an example, see the StreamWriter class.