This method returns an upper bound on the number of bytes needed to marshal the specified interface pointer on the specified object.

HRESULT GetMarshalSizeMax(
REFIID riid,
void *pv,
DWORD dwDestContext,
void * pvDestContext,
DWORD mshlflags,
ULONG * pSize );


  • riid
    [in] Reference to the identifier of the interface to be marshaled.
  • pv
    [in] Interface pointer to be marshaled; can be NULL.
  • dwDestContext
    [in] Destination context where the specified interface is to be unmarshaled. Values for dwDestContext come from the enumeration MSHCTX. Currently, unmarshaling can occur either in another apartment of the current process (MSHCTX_INPROC) or in another process on the same computer as the current process (MSHCTX_LOCAL).
  • pvDestContext
    [in] Reserved for future use; must be NULL.
  • mshlflags
    [in] Flag indicating whether the data to be marshaled is to be transmitted back to the client process — the normal case — or written to a global table, where it can be retrieved by multiple clients. Valid values come from the MSHLFLAGS enumeration.
  • pSize
    [out] Pointer to the upper bound on the amount of data to be written to the marshaling stream.

Return Values

The method supports the standard return value E_FAIL, as well as the following:

  • S_OK
    The maximum size was returned successfully.
    The specified interface was not supported.


This method is called indirectly, in a call to CoGetMarshalSizeMax, by whatever code in the server process is responsible for marshaling a pointer to an interface on an object. This marshaling code is usually a stub generated by COM for one of several interfaces that can marshal a pointer to an interface implemented on an entirely different object. An examples is the IClassFactory interface. For purposes of discussion, the code responsible for marshaling a pointer is here called the "marshaling stub."

To create a proxy for an object, COM requires two pieces of information from the original object: the amount of data to be written to the marshaling stream and the proxy's CLSID.

The marshaling stub obtains these two pieces of information with successive calls to CoGetMarshalSizeMax and CoMarshalInterface.

Note to Callers

The marshaling stub, through a call to CoGetMarshalSizeMax, calls the object's implementation of this method to preallocate the stream buffer that will be passed to IMarshal::MarshalInterface.

You do not explicitly call this method if you are:

  • Implementing existing COM interfaces, or
  • Defining your own custom interfaces, using the Microsoft Interface Definition Language (MIDL).

In both cases, the MIDL-generated stub automatically makes the call.

If you are not using MIDL to define your own interface (see Defining COM Interfaces), your marshaling stub does not have to call GetMarshalSizeMax, though doing so is highly recommended. An object knows better than an interface stub what the maximum size of a marshaling data packet is likely to be. Therefore, unless you are providing an automatically growing stream that is so efficient that the overhead of expanding it is insignificant, you should call this method even when implementing your own interfaces.

The value returned by this method is only guaranteed to be valid as long as the internal state of the object being marshaled does not change. Therefore, the actual marshaling should be done immediately after this function returns, or the stub runs the risk that the object, because of some change in state, might require more memory to marshal than it originally indicated.

Notes to Implementers

Your implementation of MarshalInterface will use this buffer to write marshaling data into the stream. If the buffer is too small, the marshaling operation will fail. Therefore, the value returned by this method must be a conservative estimate of the amount of data that will, in fact, be needed to marshal the interface. Violation of this requirement should be treated as a catastrophic error.

In a subsequent call to IMarshal::MarshalInterface, your IMarshal implementation cannot rely on the caller actually having called GetMarshalSizeMax beforehand. It must still be wary of STG_E_MEDIUMFULL errors returned by the stream and be prepared to handle them gracefully.

To ensure that your implementation of GetMarshalSizeMax will continue to work properly as new destination contexts are supported in the future, delegate marshaling to COM's default implementation for all dwDestContext values that your implementation does not understand. To delegate marshaling to COM's default implementation, call the CoGetStandardMarshal function.


Runs On Versions Defined in Include Link to
Windows CE OS 3.0 and later Objidl.h    

Note   This API is part of the complete Windows CE OS package as provided by Microsoft. The functionality of a particular platform is determined by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and some devices may not support this API.

See Also

CoGetMarshalSizeMax, IMarshal::MarshalInterface

 Last updated on Tuesday, July 13, 2004

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