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5.2 Default values

Visual Studio .NET 2003

The following categories of variables are automatically initialized to their default values:

  • Static variables.
  • Instance variables of class instances.
  • Array elements.

The default value of a variable depends on the type of the variable and is determined as follows:

  • For a variable of a value-type, the default value is the same as the value computed by the value-type's default constructor (Section 4.1.1).
  • For a variable of a reference-type, the default value is null.

Initialization to default values is typically done by having the memory manager or garbage collector initialize memory to all-bits-zero before it is allocated for use. For this reason, it is convenient to use all-bits-zero to represent the null reference.