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Can You Provide a Memory Leak Example?
During your IT interview, you may be asked to provide a memory leak example. Here?s everything you need to know to give them an excellent answer.
What is a Memory Leak?
The first thing you should know is that the term memory leak refers to a situation when certain parts of the memory cannot be reached anymore, usually due to a program that manages memory allocations incorrectly. This leads to situations when certain objects stored in the memory cannot be reached by the running code.
Consequences of a Memory Leak
Memory leaks clog up the memory up to the point where the program crashes. If the memory leaks are not fixed, more and more memory will be used up by data that cannot be accessed. Thus, the program will encounter more and more difficulties and eventually it will crash altogether.
How to Fix Memory Leaks
Memory leaks can be easily fixed by using automatic garbage collectors, like those implemented in Java, or manual debuggers, which are ideal for C++ because it does not include automatic garbage collectors.
Memory Leak in C++
Memory Leaks actually occur quite frequently in C++ because the program does not feature automatic debugging tools. As such, the programmer must use tools like Parasoft Insure++, Dr. Memory, Valgrind, BoundsChecker, or others to manually fix memory leaks.
The ?new? operator is commonly used to allocate new memory. This memory can then be deallocated by using the ?delete? operator (or the ?delete[ ]? operator). Memory leaks commonly occur when the wrong ?delete? operator is used in C++. They can also occur when variables containing dynamic memory are overwritten without actually freeing any existing memory.
Memory Leak in Java
As opposed to C++, memory leaks do not usually occur in Java because it features automatic garbage collectors that pick up such issues and correct them immediately. While memory leaks in Java are possible, they usually are too few to actually crash a program.
If you are asked to provide a memory leak example in Java, you should start by pointing out that they are usually prevented by garbage collectors and that they do not commonly lead to significant issues.