Using wmain Instead of main

Microsoft Specific

In the Unicode programming model, you can define a wide-character version of the main function. Use wmain instead of main if you want to write portable code that adheres to the Unicode specification.

You declare formal parameters to wmain using a similar format to main. You can then pass wide-character arguments and, optionally, a wide-character environment pointer to the program. The argv and envp parameters to wmain are of type wchar_t*.

If your program uses a main function, the multibyte-character environment is created by the operating system at program startup. A wide-character copy of the environment is created only when needed (for example, by a call to the _wgetenv or _wputenv functions). On the first call to _wputenv, or on the first call to _wgetenv if an MBCS environment already exists, a corresponding wide-character string environment is created and is then pointed to by the _wenviron global variable, which is a wide-character version of the _environ global variable. At this point, two copies of the environment (MBCS and Unicode) exist simultaneously and are maintained by the operating system throughout the life of the program.

Similarly, if your program uses a wmain function, an MBCS (ASCII) environment is created on the first call to _putenv or getenv, and is pointed to by the _environ global variable.

For more information on the MBCS environment, see Single-byte and Multibyte Character Sets in the Run-Time Library Reference.

See Also


main: Program Startup