RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode Method (Object)


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Serves as a hash function for a particular object, and is suitable for use in algorithms and data structures that use hash codes, such as a hash table.

Namespace:   System.Runtime.CompilerServices
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

public static int GetHashCode(
	object o


Type: System.Object

An object to retrieve the hash code for.

Return Value

Type: System.Int32

A hash code for the object identified by the o parameter.

The RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode method always calls the Object.GetHashCode method non-virtually, even if the object's type has overridden the Object.GetHashCode method. Therefore, using RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode might differ from calling GetHashCode directly on the object with the Object.GetHashCode method.


Although the RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode method returns identical hash codes for identical object references, you should not use this method to test for object identity, because this hash code does not uniquely identify an object reference. To test for object identify (that is, to test that two objects reference the same object in memory), call the Object.ReferenceEquals method. Nor should you use GetHashCode to test whether two strings represent equal object references, because the string is interned. To test for string interning, call the String.IsInterned method.

The Object.GetHashCode and RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode methods differ as follows:

  • Object.GetHashCode returns a hash code that is based on the object's definition of equality. For example, two strings with identical contents will return the same value for Object.GetHashCode.

  • RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode returns a hash code that indicates object identity. That is, two string variables whose contents are identical and that represent a string that is interned (see the String Interning section) or that represent a single string in memory return identical hash codes.


Note that GetHashCode always returns identical hash codes for equal object references. However, the reverse is not true: equal hash codes do not indicate equal object references. A particular hash code value is not unique to a particular object reference; different object references can generate identical hash codes.

This method is used by compilers.

The common language runtime (CLR) maintains an internal pool of strings and stores literals in the pool. If two strings (for example, str1 and str2) are formed from an identical string literal, the CLR will set str1 and str2 to point to the same location on the managed heap to conserve memory. Calling RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode on these two string objects will produce the same hash code, contrary to the second bulleted item in the previous section.

The CLR adds only literals to the pool. Results of string operations such as concatenation are not added to the pool, unless the compiler resolves the string concatenation as a single string literal. Therefore, if str2 was created as the result of a concatenation operation, and str2 is identical to str1, using RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode on these two string objects will not produce the same hash code.

If you want to add a concatenated string to the pool explicitly, use the String.Intern method.

You can also use the String.IsInterned method to check whether a string has an interned reference.

The following example demonstrates the difference between the Object.GetHashCode and RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode methods. The output from the example illustrates the following:

  • Both sets of hash codes for the first set of strings passed to the ShowHashCodes method are different, because the strings are completely different.

  • Object.GetHashCode generates the same hash code for the second set of strings passed to the ShowHashCodes method, because the strings are equal. However, the RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode method does not. The first string is defined by using a string literal and so is interned. Although the value of the second string is the same, it is not interned, because it is returned by a call to the String.Format method.

  • In the case of the third string, the hash codes produced by Object.GetHashCode for both strings are identical, as are the hash codes produced by RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode. This is because the compiler has treated the value assigned to both strings as a single string literal, and so the string variables refer to the same interned string.

using System;
using System.Runtime.CompilerServices;

public class Example
   public static void Main()
      Console.WriteLine("{0,-18} {1,6} {2,18:N0}    {3,6} {4,18:N0}\n",
                        "", "Var 1", "Hash Code", "Var 2", "Hash Code");

      // Get hash codes of two different strings.
      String sc1 = "String #1";
      String sc2 = "String #2";
      ShowHashCodes("sc1", sc1, "sc2", sc2);

      // Get hash codes of two identical non-interned strings.
      String s1 = "This string";
      String s2 = String.Format("{0} {1}", "This", "string");
      ShowHashCodes("s1", s1, "s2", s2);

      // Get hash codes of two (evidently concatenated) strings.
      String si1 = "This is a string!";
      String si2 = "This " + "is " + "a " + "string!";
      ShowHashCodes("si1", si1, "si2", si2);

   private static void ShowHashCodes(String var1, Object value1, 
                                     String var2, Object value2)
      Console.WriteLine("{0,-18} {1,6} {2,18:X8}    {3,6} {4,18:X8}",
                        "Obj.GetHashCode", var1, value1.GetHashCode(),
                        var2, value2.GetHashCode());

      Console.WriteLine("{0,-18} {1,6} {2,18:X8}    {3,6} {4,18:X8}\n",
                        "RTH.GetHashCode", var1, RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode(value1),
                        var2, RuntimeHelpers.GetHashCode(value2));
// The example displays output similar to the following:
//                        Var 1          Hash Code     Var 2          Hash Code
//    Obj.GetHashCode       sc1           94EABD27       sc2           94EABD24
//    RTH.GetHashCode       sc1           02BF8098       sc2           00BB8560
//    Obj.GetHashCode        s1           29C5A397        s2           29C5A397
//    RTH.GetHashCode        s1           0297B065        s2           03553390
//    Obj.GetHashCode       si1           941BCEA5       si2           941BCEA5
//    RTH.GetHashCode       si1           01FED012       si2           01FED012

Universal Windows Platform
Available since 8
.NET Framework
Available since 1.1
Portable Class Library
Supported in: portable .NET platforms
Available since 2.0
Windows Phone Silverlight
Available since 7.0
Windows Phone
Available since 8.1
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