IUnknown::QueryInterface(REFIID,void**) method (unknwn.h)

Queries a COM object for a pointer to one of its interface; identifying the interface by a reference to its interface identifier (IID). If the COM object implements the interface, then it returns a pointer to that interface after calling IUnknown::AddRef on it.


HRESULT QueryInterface(
  REFIID riid,
  void   **ppvObject




A reference to the interface identifier (IID) of the interface being queried for.


Type: void**

The address of a pointer to an interface with the IID specified in the riid parameter. Because you pass the address of an interface pointer, the method can overwrite that address with the pointer to the interface being queried for. Upon successful return, *ppvObject (the dereferenced address) contains a pointer to the requested interface. If the object doesn't support the interface, the method sets *ppvObject (the dereferenced address) to nullptr.

Return value

This method returns S_OK if the interface is supported, and E_NOINTERFACE otherwise. If ppvObject (the address) is nullptr, then this method returns E_POINTER.


For any given COM object (also known as a COM component), a specific query for the IUnknown interface on any of the object's interfaces must always return the same pointer value. This enables a client to determine whether two pointers point to the same component by calling QueryInterface with IID_IUnknown and comparing the results. It is specifically not the case that queries for interfaces other than IUnknown (even the same interface through the same pointer) must return the same pointer value.

There are four requirements for implementations of QueryInterface (In these cases, "must succeed" means "must succeed barring catastrophic failure.").

  • The set of interfaces accessible on an object through QueryInterface must be static, not dynamic. This means that if a call to QueryInterface for a pointer to a specified interface succeeds the first time, then it must succeed again. If the call fails the first time, then it must fail on all subsequent calls.
  • It must be reflexive—if a client holds a pointer to an interface on an object, and the client queries for that interface, then the call must succeed.
  • It must be symmetric—if a client holding a pointer to one interface queries successfully for another, then a query through the obtained pointer for the first interface must succeed.
  • It must be transitive—if a client holding a pointer to one interface queries successfully for a second, and through that pointer queries successfully for a third interface, then a query for the first interface through the pointer for the third interface must succeed.

Notes to implementers

Implementations of QueryInterface must never check ACLs. The main reason for this rule is that COM requires that an object supporting a particular interface always return success when queried for that interface. Another reason is that checking ACLs on QueryInterface does not provide any real security because any client who has access to a particular interface can hand it directly to another client without any calls back to the server. Also, because COM caches interface pointers, it does not call QueryInterface on the server every time a client does a query.


Minimum supported client Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]
Minimum supported server Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]
Target Platform Windows
Header unknwn.h

See also