Chapter: Java The Complete Reference - The Java Language - Introducing Classes

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Garbage Collection - Java

Since objects are dynamically allocated by using the new operator, you might be wondering how such objects are destroyed and their memory released for later reallocation.

Garbage Collection

 

Since objects are dynamically allocated by using the new operator, you might be wondering how such objects are destroyed and their memory released for later reallocation. In some languages, such as C++, dynamically allocated objects must be manually released by use of a delete operator. Java takes a different approach; it handles deallocation for you automatically. The technique that accomplishes this is called garbage collection. It works like this: when no references to an object exist, that object is assumed to be no longer needed, and the memory occupied by the object can be reclaimed. There is no explicit need to destroy objects as in C++. Garbage collection only occurs sporadically (if at all) during the execution of your program. It will not occur simply because one or more objects exist that are no longer used. Furthermore, different Java run-time implementations will take varying approaches to garbage collection, but for the most part, you should not have to think about it while writing your programs.


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