Does dereferencing deleted pointers always result in a crash?

I have a very simple C++ code sample here:

char *s = new char[100];
strcpy(s, "HELLO");
delete [] s;
int n = strlen(s);

If I run this code from Visual C++ 2008 by pressing F5 (Start Debugging,) this always result in crash (Access Violation.) However, starting this executable outside the IDE, or using the IDE's Ctrl+F5 (Start without Debugging) doesn't result in any crash. What could be the difference?

I also want to know if it's possible to stably reproduce the Access Violation crash caused from accessing deleted area? Is this kind of crash rare in real-life?


  • Accessing memory through a deleted pointer is undefined behavior. You can't expect any reliable/repeatable behavior.

    Most likely it "works" in the one case because the string is still "sitting there" in the now available memory -= but you cannot rely on that. VS fills memory with debug values to help force crashes to help find these errors.