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IUnknown interface

Enables clients to get pointers to other interfaces on a given object through the QueryInterface method, and manage the existence of the object through the AddRef and Release methods. All other COM interfaces are inherited, directly or indirectly, from IUnknown. Therefore, the three methods in IUnknown are the first entries in the VTable for every interface.

When to implement

You must implement IUnknown as part of every interface. If you are using C++ multiple inheritance to implement multiple interfaces, the various interfaces can share one implementation of IUnknown. If you are using nested classes to implement multiple interfaces, you must implement IUnknown once for each interface you implement.

When to use

Use IUnknown methods to switch between interfaces on an object, add references, and release objects.


The IUnknown interface has these methods.


Increments the reference count for an interface on an object.


Retrieves pointers to the supported interfaces on an object.


Decrements the reference count for an interface on an object.



Minimum supported client

Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]






IID_IUnknown is defined as 00000000-0000-0000-C000-000000000046

See also

Using and Implementing IUnknown



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