System.IDisposable Interface

public interface IDisposable






Implemented by classes that require explicit control over resource cleanup.


Objects that need to free resources that cannot safely be reclaimed by the garbage collector implement the IDisposable interface.

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

[Note: IDisposable contains the System.IDisposable.Dispose method. The consumer of an object should call this method when the object is no longer needed. The IDisposable interface is generally provided for the release of unmanaged resources that need to be reclaimed in some order or time dependent manner. It is important to note that the actual release of these resources happens at the first call to System.IDisposable.Dispose for any given object that supports this interface. Programmers should take care to pair the creation of objects that implement IDisposable with at most one invocation of the Dispose method. Though it is legal to invoke Dispose more than once, if this happens it might indicate the presence of a bug since such an object is usually rendered otherwise unusable after the first Dispose invocation. ]

See Also

System Namespace


IDisposable Methods

IDisposable.Dispose Method

IDisposable.Dispose Method

void Dispose();


Performs application-defined tasks associated with freeing or resetting resources.


[Note: This method is, by convention, used for all tasks associated with freeing resources held by an object, or preparing an object for reuse.

When implementing the System.IDisposable.Dispose method, objects should seek to ensure that all held resources are freed by propagating the call through the containment hierarchy. For example, if an object A allocates an object B, and B allocates an object C, then A's System.IDisposable.Dispose implementation should call System.IDisposable.Dispose on B, which should in turn call System.IDisposable.Dispose on C. Objects should also call the System.IDisposable.Dispose method of their base class if the base class implements IDisposable.

If an object's System.IDisposable.Dispose method is called more than once, the object should ignore all calls after the first one. The object should not throw an exception if its System.IDisposable.Dispose method is called multiple times. System.IDisposable.Dispose can throw an exception if an error occurs because a resource has already been freed and System.IDisposable.Dispose had not been called previously.

A resource type might use a particular convention to denote an allocated state versus a freed state. An example of this is stream classes, which are traditionally thought of as open or closed. Classes that have such conventions might choose to implement a public method with a customized name, which calls the System.IDisposable.Dispose method.

Because the System.IDisposable.Dispose method must be called explicitly, objects that implement IDisposable should also implement a finalizer to handle freeing resources when System.IDisposable.Dispose is not called. By default, the garbage collector will automatically call an object's finalizer prior to reclaiming its memory. However, once the System.IDisposable.Dispose method has been called, it is typically unnecessary and/or undesirable for the garbage collector to call the disposed object's finalizer. To prevent automatic finalization, System.IDisposable.Dispose implementations can call System.GC.SuppressFinalize(System.Object). For additional information on implementing finalizers, see GC and System.Object.Finalize.



Resource classes should follow the pattern illustrated by this example:

class ResourceWrapper : BaseType, IDisposable {
  // Pointer to a external resource.
  private int handle; 
  private OtherResource otherRes; //Other resource you use.
  private bool disposed = false;

  public ResourceWrapper () {
    handle = //Allocate on the unmanaged side.
    otherRes = new OtherResource (...);
  // Free your own state.
  private void freeState () {
    if (!disposed) {
       CloseHandle (handle);
       dispose = true;

  // Free your own state, call dispose on all state you hold, 
  // and take yourself off the Finalization queue.
  public void Dispose () {
    freeState ();
    // If base type implements dispose, call it.

  // Free your own state (not other state you hold) 
  // and give your base class a chance to finalize. 
  ~ResourceWrapper (){

See Also

System.IDisposable Interface, System Namespace