This documentation is archived and is not being maintained.

IDisposable Interface

Defines a method to release allocated resources.

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

public interface class IDisposable

The IDisposable type exposes the following members.

Public methodSupported by the XNA FrameworkSupported by Portable Class LibraryDisposePerforms application-defined tasks associated with freeing, releasing, or resetting unmanaged resources.

The primary use of this interface is to release unmanaged resources. The garbage collector automatically releases the memory allocated to a managed object when that object is no longer used. However, it is not possible to predict when garbage collection will occur. Furthermore, the garbage collector has no knowledge of unmanaged resources such as window handles, or open files and streams.

Use the Dispose method of this interface to explicitly release unmanaged resources in conjunction with the garbage collector. The consumer of an object can call this method when the object is no longer needed.

It is a version-breaking change to add the IDisposable interface to an existing class, because it changes the semantics of the class.

Important noteImportant

C++ programmers should read Destructors and Finalizers in Visual C++. In the .NET Framework version, the C++ compiler provides support for implementing deterministic disposal of resources and does not allow direct implementation of the Dispose method.

For a detailed discussion about how this interface and the Object::Finalize method are used, see the Garbage Collection and Implementing a Dispose Method topics.

Calling the IDisposable Interface

When calling a class that implements the IDisposable interface, use the try/finally pattern to make sure that unmanaged resources are disposed of even if an exception interrupts your application.

For more information about the try/finally pattern, see Try...Catch...Finally Statement (Visual Basic), try-finally (C# Reference), or try-finally Statement (C).

Note that you can use the using statement (Using in Visual Basic) instead of the try/finally pattern. For more information, see the Using Statement (Visual Basic) documentation or the using Statement (C# Reference) documentation. 

The following example demonstrates how to create a resource class that implements the IDisposable interface.

#using <System.dll>
#using <System.Windows.Forms.dll>

using namespace System;
using namespace System::ComponentModel;
using namespace System::Windows::Forms;

// The following example demonstrates how to create a class that 
// implements the IDisposable interface and the IDisposable.Dispose
// method with finalization to clean up unmanaged resources. 
public ref class MyResource: public IDisposable

   // Pointer to an external unmanaged resource.
   IntPtr handle;

   // A managed resource this class uses.
   Component^ component;

   // Track whether Dispose has been called.
   bool disposed;

   // The class constructor.
   MyResource( IntPtr handle, Component^ component )
      this->handle = handle;
      this->component = component;
      disposed = false;

   // This method is called if the user explicitly disposes of the
   // object (by calling the Dispose method in other managed languages, 
   // or the destructor in C++). The compiler emits as a call to 
   // GC::SuppressFinalize( this ) for you, so there is no need to 
   // call it here.
      // Dispose of managed resources.

      // Call C++ finalizer to clean up unmanaged resources.

      // Mark the class as disposed. This flag allows you to throw an
      // exception if a disposed object is accessed.
      disposed = true;

   // Use interop to call the method necessary to clean up the 
   // unmanaged resource.
   static Boolean CloseHandle( IntPtr handle );

   // The C++ finalizer destructor ensures that unmanaged resources get
   // released if the user releases the object without explicitly 
   // disposing of it.
      // Call the appropriate methods to clean up unmanaged 
      // resources here. If disposing is false when Dispose(bool,
      // disposing) is called, only the following code is executed.
      CloseHandle( handle );
      handle = IntPtr::Zero;


void main()
   // Insert code here to create and use the MyResource object.
   MyResource^ mr = gcnew MyResource((IntPtr) 42, (Component^) gcnew Button());

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Portable Class Library

Supported in: Portable Class Library

Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2 x64 Edition, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core supported with SP1 or later), Windows Server 2003 SP2

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