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Microsoft KB Archive/105081

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Knowledge Base

PRB: "Warning: Calling DestroyWindow in CWnd::~CWnd" Message

Article ID: 105081

Article Last Modified on 11/21/2006


  • Microsoft Foundation Class Library 4.2, when used with:
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.1
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Professional Edition
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Enterprise Edition
    • Microsoft Visual C++ 5.0 Learning Edition

This article was previously published under Q105081


The following warnings are displayed when a debug version of a program is executed and TRACE() diagnostics are enabled:

   Warning: calling DestroyWindow in CWnd::~CWnd
   OnDestroy or PostNcDestroy in derived class will not be called


The above warnings are displayed by the CWnd::~CWnd() destructor. The warnings indicate the following:

  • The programmer has most likely called "delete" on a CWnd object rather than DestroyWindow().
  • An object derived from CWnd is not performing a DestroyWindow() call in its destructor.
  • Because the DestroyWindow() call is executed in the destructor for CWnd, only the CWnd portion of the CWnd-derived object is remaining when the DestroyWindow() is called. Thus, if you have a CWnd-derived object and receive this warning, the derived object's virtual functions will not exist and the CWnd functions will be called instead.


MFC Technote #17 contains more information on how to properly destroy a Window object and states the following cardinal rule:

   To destroy a C++ Windows object, use DestroyWindow, not "delete".

Also, examining CWnd::~CWnd() will reveal that the foremost task of the destructor is to ensure that the associated Windows window object has been destroyed. If a program calls DestroyWindow() before the CWnd destructor is called, the m_hWnd data member will be NULL, the TRACE0() messages will not occur, and DestroyWindow() will not be called in CWnd::~CWnd().

Keywords: kbprb kbwndw KB105081