memory leak

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memory leak

A leak in a program's dynamic store allocation logic that causes it to fail to reclaim memory in the heap after it has finished using it, eventually causing the program to fail due to lack of memory.

These problems were severe on older machines with small, fixed-size address spaces, and special "leak detection" tools were written to diagnose them.

The introduction of virtual memory made memory leaks a less serious problem, although if you run out of virtual memory, it means you've got a *real* leak!

See aliasing bug.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

memory leak

A condition caused by a program that does not free up the extra memory it allocates. In programming languages, such as C/C++, the programmer can dynamically allocate additional memory to hold data and variables that are required for the moment, but not used throughout the program. When those memory areas are no longer needed, the programmer must remember to deallocate them.

When memory is allocated, but not deallocated, a memory leak occurs (the memory has leaked out of the computer). If too many memory leaks occur, they can usurp all of memory and bring everything to a halt or slow the processing considerably. In other environments, such as Java, the operating system allocates and deallocates memory automatically. Specifically allocating and deallocating memory, while error prone (in case one forgets to deallocate), allows the programmer more control over the computer's resources. See garbage collection.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Further investigation led to the conclusion that Microsoft Office files that included ActiveX controls were consistently causing memory leaks.
You have to make a judgment call on whether this technique applies to your application, if the application is designed to consume additional memory after each client request, then this technique will not help you determine if you have a memory leak. You will have to use commercially available Java/native memory leak finding tools instead.
Installing MemTurbo across a network may reduce support calls from users who may be running many applications and whose computers are prone to memory leaks.
* Use self-instrumenting tools to assist in coverage, complexity, and memory leak detection.
If an e-shop, sales system, self-provisioning or other information system gradually becomes slower and the only way to recover it is restarting the application, the likely cause of the problems is a memory leak in the source code.
The updates were directed towards fixing up of issues regarding stability, memory leaks, numerous bugs and other glitches.
.NET Memory Profiler is a powerful tool for finding memory leaks and optimizing the memory usage in programs written in C#, VB.NET or any other .NET Language.
India, March 16 -- Google has fixed the memory leak bug that primarily affected Google Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 users.
The bug has been reported in the Android Issue Tracker as "Memory Leak on Lollipop crashing Apps" and stated that the only way to fix the bug is by restarting their smartphone.
Updated software is likely to have bugs fixed, bugs that may slow your PC or Mac down with a memory leak, or an inefficiency that has come to light after the last update.
In the recent years, model based testing has been gaining pace in various technical organizations, for its ability to detect memory leaks and conflicts that could otherwise cause a software to crash.
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