Pointer Checker Overview

The pointer checker is not supported on OS X* systems.

This feature requires installation of another product. For more information, see Feature Requirements.

The pointer checker is a debugging feature that helps you find buffer overruns in applications. The feature performs bounds checking for memory accesses through pointers and identifies any out-of-bounds access in pointer-checker enabled code. The pointer checker can also detect dangling pointers, that is, pointers that point to memory that has been freed. When this detection is enabled, using a dangling pointer in an indirect access will also cause an out-of-bounds error.

The C and C++ languages define semantics for memory access for pointers. However, many applications still make out-of-bounds memory accesses and these accesses can go undetected, risking data corruption and increasing vulnerability to malicious attacks. The pointer checker provides full checking of all memory accesses through pointers and catches out-of-bounds memory accesses before memory corruption occurs. When you compile your code with the pointer checker enabled, it identifies and reports out-of-bounds memory accesses.

The pointer checker is designed for use during application testing and debugging. Because it adds overhead in terms of the size and execution time of a program, you will want to deploy programs with the pointer checker disabled.

Your application can contain both pointer checker enabled code as well as code that is not enabled. The pointer checker allows this co-existence because it does not change the data structure layout of functions during its checking.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.