The buffer size parameter to GetFileVersionInfo is the size of your buffer, no really

Raymond Chen


The GetFileVersionInfo function takes a
pointer to a buffer (lpData) and a size
and that size is the size of the buffer, in bytes.

No really, that’s what it is.

The application compatibility folks found one popular game
which wasn’t quite sure what that dwLen parameter
The programmers must have thought it meant “The size of the version resources
you want to load” and called it like this (paraphrased):

void CheckFileVersion(LPCTSTR pszFile)
 BYTE buffer[1024];
 DWORD dwHandle;
 DWORD dwLen = GetFileVersionInfoSize(pszFile, &dwHandle);
 if (GetFileVersionInfo(pszFile, dwHandle, dwLen, buffer)) {

“Gosh, the
GetFileVersionInfo function wants to know how big
the version info is,
so we need to call GetFileVersionInfoSize to find out!”
they must have thought.

This code worked great… for a while.
It was checking the file version of the video driver.
(My guess is that they were trying to detect specific
video drivers so they could work around bugs in them
or take advantage of driver-specific features.)
But if you had a video driver whose version
resource needed more than 1024 bytes of space,
the program crashed with stack corruption.

I don’t know whether the Windows Vista
application compatibility folks decided
that it was worth fixing this program’s bug, since it occurred
even on Windows XP.
If so decided, the fix would have been fairly straightforward.
Once the program was detected,
we would just have had to take the
value the program passed as dwLen and modify it
according to the simple formula

dwLen = min(dwLen, 1024);

before doing the real work of loading the version information.

For those playing along at home, by the way, the correct
code would go something like this:

void CheckFileVersion(LPCTSTR pszFile)
 DWORD dwHandle;
 DWORD dwLen = GetFileVersionInfoSize(pszFile, &dwHandle);
 if (dwLen) {
  BYTE *pBuffer = (BYTE*)malloc(dwLen);
  if (pBuffer) {
   if (GetFileVersionInfo(pszFile, dwHandle, dwLen, pBuffer)) {

(Use your favorite memory allocation technique instead of malloc
and free.)

Raymond Chen
Raymond Chen

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