How to use the cleanup stack

This document describes how to use the cleanup stack when a function leaves.

The cleanup stack is used as follows:

  1. Use CleanupStack::PushL() to push a pointer to the object onto the cleanup stack before any operation which might leave is performed

  2. Use CleanupStack::Pop() to pop the pointer from the cleanup stack when all operations that might leave have completed

If a function leaves, then part of leave processing is to pop and destroy all objects on the cleanup stack. Thus, the cleanup stack may be used to prevent objects becoming orphaned if a leave occurs.

void doExampleL()
 // allocate with checking
 CExample* myExample = new (ELeave) CExample;

 // do something that cannot leave
 myExample->iInt = 5; // cannot leave: no protection needed

 // do something that can leave: use cleanup stack
 CleanupStack::PushL(myExample); // pointer on cleanup stack
 myExample->DoSomethingL(); // something that might leave
 CleanupStack::Pop(); // it didn't leave: pop the pointer

 // delete
 delete myExample;


  • The cleanup stack is necessary here because the CExample would be orphaned on the heap if a leave occurred. This is because the CExample is referred to only by an automatic pointer myExample, which itself becomes orphaned on the stack when the leave occurs. If the CExample ’s address had been stored in an object which was not orphaned by the leave, then it would not be necessary to use the cleanup stack to ensure that it is cleaned up correctly.

  • The CleanupStack::PushL() operation itself may leave because more memory may be needed for more cleanup stack frames. It is guaranteed that the object is pushed to the stack before any attempt is made to allocate more stack space. Thus, a failure of CleanupStack::PushL() will cause the object that was being pushed to be cleaned up properly.