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CreateILockBytesOnHGlobal function

The CreateILockBytesOnHGlobal function creates a byte array object that uses an HGLOBAL memory handle to store the bytes intended for in-memory storage of a compound file. This object is the OLE-provided implementation of the ILockBytes interface.

The returned byte array object supports both reading and writing, but does not support region locking . The object calls the GlobalReAlloc function to grow the memory block as required.


WINOLEAPI CreateILockBytesOnHGlobal(
  _In_  HGLOBAL    hGlobal,
  _In_  BOOL       fDeleteOnRelease,
  _Out_ ILockBytes **ppLkbyt


hGlobal [in]

A memory handle allocated by the GlobalAlloc function, or if NULL a new handle is to be allocated instead. The handle must be allocated as moveable and nondiscardable.

fDeleteOnRelease [in]

A flag that specifies whether the underlying handle for this byte array object should be automatically freed when the object is released. If set to FALSE, the caller must free the hGlobal after the final release. If set to TRUE, the final release will automatically free the hGlobal parameter.

ppLkbyt [out]

The address of ILockBytes pointer variable that receives the interface pointer to the new byte array object.

Return value

This function supports the standard return values E_INVALIDARG and E_OUTOFMEMORY, as well as the following:


The byte array object was created successfully.


If hGlobal is NULL, the CreateILockBytesOnHGlobal allocates a new memory handle and the byte array is empty initially.

If hGlobal is not NULL, the initial contents of the byte array object are the current contents of the memory block. Thus, this function can be used to open an existing byte array in memory, for example to reload a storage object previously created by the StgCreateDocfileOnILockBytes function. The memory handle and its contents are undisturbed by the creation of the new byte array object.

The initial size of the byte array is the size of hGlobal as returned by the GlobalSize function. This is not necessarily the same size that was originally allocated for the handle because of rounding. If the logical size of the byte array is important, follow the call to CreateILockBytesOnHGlobal with a call to ILockBytes::SetSize.

After creating the byte array object with CreateStreamOnHGlobal, StgCreateDocfileOnILockBytes can be used to create a new storage object in memory, or StgOpenStorageOnILockBytes can be used to reopen a previously existing storage object that is already contained in the memory block. GetHGlobalFromILockBytes can be called to retrieve the memory handle associated with the byte array object.

If a memory handle is passed to CreateILockBytesOnHGlobal or if GetHGlobalFromILockBytes is called, the memory handle of this function can be directly accessed by the caller while it is still in use by the byte array object. Appropriate caution should be exercised in the use of this capability and its implications:

  • Do not free the hGlobal memory handle during the lifetime of the byte array object. ILockBytes::Releasemust be called before the memory handle is freed.
  • Do not call GlobalReAlloc to change the size of the memory handle during the lifetime of the byte array object. This may cause application crashes or memory corruption. Avoid creating multiple byte array objects on the same memory handle, because ILockBytes::WriteAt and ILockBytes::SetSize methods may internally call GlobalReAlloc.
  • If possible, avoid accessing the memory block during the lifetime of the byte array object, because the object may internally call GlobalReAlloc and do not make assumptions about its size and location. If the memory block must be accessed, the memory access calls should be surrounded by calls to GlobalLock and GlobalUnLock.
  • Avoid calling the object’s methods while the memory handle is locked with GlobalLock. This can cause method calls to fail unpredictably.

If the caller sets the fDeleteOnRelease parameter to FALSE, then the caller must also free the hGlobal after the final release. If the caller sets the fDeleteOnRelease parameter to TRUE, the final release will automatically free the hGlobal. The memory handle passed as the hGlobal parameter must be allocated as movable and nondiscardable, as shown in the following example:

HGLOBAL	hMem = ::GlobalAlloc(GMEM_MOVEABLE,iSize);
if (!hMem)

LPVOID pCompoundFile = ::GlobalLock(hMem);
... // Fill memory

CComPtr<ILockBytes> spLockBytes;
HRESULT hr = ::CreateILockBytesOnHGlobal(hMem,FALSE,&spLockBytes);

CreateILockBytesOnHGlobal will accept memory allocated with GMEM_FIXED, but this usage is not recommended. HGLOBALs allocated with GMEM_FIXED are not really handles and their value can change when they are reallocated. If the memory handle was allocated with GMEM_FIXED and fDeleteOnRelease is FALSE, then the caller must call GetHGlobalFromILockBytes to get the correct HGLOBAL value in order to free the handle.

This implementation of ILockBytes does not support region locking. Applications that use this implementation with the StgCreateDocfileOnILockBytes or StgOpenStorageOnILockBytes functions should avoid opening multiple concurrent instances on the same ILockBytes object.

Prior to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, this implementation did not zero memory when calling GlobalReAlloc to grow the memory block. Increasing the size of the byte array with ILockBytes::SetSize or by writing to a location past the current end of the byte array will leave any unwritten portions of the newly allocated memory uninitialized. The storage objects returned by the StgCreateDocfileOnILockBytes and StgOpenStorageOnILockBytes may increase the size of the byte array without initializing all of the newly allocated space.

Compound files in memory are typically used as scratch space or with APIs that require a storage object, and in these cases the uninitialized memory is generally not a concern. However, if the contents of the memory block will be written to a file, consider the following alternatives to avoid potential information disclosure:

  • Copy the logical contents of the in-memory compound file to the destination file using the IStorage::CopyTo method rather than directly writing the contents of the memory block.
  • Instead of a compound file in memory, create a temporary file by calling StgCreateStorageEx with a NULL value for the pwcsName parameter. When it is time to write to the destination file, use the IRootStorage::SwitchToFile method.
  • Implement the ILockBytes interface such that memory reallocations are zeroed (see for example the HEAP_ZERO_MEMORY flag in HeapReAlloc). The memory contents of this byte array can then be written to a file.


Minimum supported client

Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps | Windows Store apps]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps | Windows Store apps]







See also




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