getenv_s, _wgetenv_s

Gets a value from the current environment. These versions of getenv, _wgetenv have security enhancements, as described in Security Features in the CRT.

Important

This API cannot be used in applications that execute in the Windows Runtime. For more information, see CRT functions not supported with /ZW.

Syntax

errno_t getenv_s(   
   size_t *pReturnValue,  
   char* buffer,  
   size_t numberOfElements,  
   const char *varname   
);  
errno_t _wgetenv_s(   
   size_t *pReturnValue,  
   wchar_t *buffer,  
   size_t numberOfElements,  
   const wchar_t *varname   
);  
template <size_t size>  
errno_t getenv_s(   
   size_t *pReturnValue,  
   char (&buffer)[size],  
   const char *varname   
); // C++ only  
template <size_t size>  
errno_t _wgetenv_s(   
   size_t *pReturnValue,  
   wchar_t (&buffer)[size],  
   const wchar_t *varname   
); // C++ only  

Parameters

pReturnValue
The buffer size that's required, or 0 if the variable is not found.

buffer
Buffer to store the value of the environment variable.

numberOfElements
Size of buffer.

varname
Environment variable name.

Return Value

Zero if successful; otherwise, an error code on failure.

Error Conditions

pReturnValue buffer numberOfElements varname Return Value
NULL any any any EINVAL
any NULL >0 any EINVAL
any any any NULL EINVAL

Any of these error conditions invokes an invalid parameter handler, as described in Parameter Validation. If execution is allowed to continue, the functions set errno to EINVAL and return EINVAL.

Also, if the buffer is too small, these functions return ERANGE. They do not invoke an invalid parameter handler. They write out the required buffer size in pReturnValue, and thereby enable programs to call the function again with a larger buffer.

Remarks

The getenv_s function searches the list of environment variables for varname. getenv_s is not case sensitive in the Windows operating system. getenv_s and _putenv_s use the copy of the environment that's pointed to by the global variable _environ to access the environment. getenv_s operates only on the data structures that are accessible to the run-time library and not on the environment "segment" that's created for the process by the operating system. Therefore, programs that use the envp argument to main or wmain might retrieve invalid information.

_wgetenv_s is a wide-character version of getenv_s; the argument and return value of _wgetenv_s are wide-character strings. The _wenviron global variable is a wide-character version of _environ.

In an MBCS program (for example, in an SBCS ASCII program), _wenviron is initially NULL because the environment is composed of multibyte-character strings. Then, on the first call to _wputenv, or on the first call to _wgetenv_s, if an (MBCS) environment already exists, a corresponding wide-character string environment is created and is then pointed to by _wenviron.

Similarly in a Unicode (_wmain) program, _environ is initially NULL because the environment is composed of wide-character strings. Then, on the first call to _putenv, or on the first call to getenv_s if a (Unicode) environment already exists, a corresponding MBCS environment is created and is then pointed to by _environ.

When two copies of the environment (MBCS and Unicode) exist simultaneously in a program, the run-time system must maintain both copies, and this causes slower execution time. For example, when you call _putenv, a call to _wputenv is also executed automatically so that the two environment strings correspond.

Caution

In rare instances, when the run-time system is maintaining both a Unicode version and a multibyte version of the environment, the two environment versions may not correspond exactly. This happens because, although any unique multibyte-character string maps to a unique Unicode string, the mapping from a unique Unicode string to a multibyte-character string is not necessarily unique. For more information, see _environ, _wenviron.

Note

The _putenv_s and _getenv_s families of functions are not thread-safe. _getenv_s could return a string pointer while _putenv_s is modifying the string and thereby cause random failures. Make sure that calls to these functions are synchronized.

In C++, use of these functions is simplified by template overloads; the overloads can infer buffer length automatically and thereby eliminate the need to specify a size argument. For more information, see Secure Template Overloads.

Generic-Text Routine Mappings

TCHAR.H routine _UNICODE & _MBCS not defined _MBCS defined _UNICODE defined
_tgetenv_s getenv_s getenv_s _wgetenv_s

To check or change the value of the TZ environment variable, use getenv_s, _putenv, and _tzset, as required. For more information about TZ, see _tzset and _daylight, _dstbias, _timezone, and _tzname.

Requirements

Routine Required header
getenv_s <stdlib.h>
_wgetenv_s <stdlib.h> or <wchar.h>

For additional compatibility information, see Compatibility.

Example

// crt_getenv_s.c  
// This program uses getenv_s to retrieve  
// the LIB environment variable and then uses  
// _putenv to change it to a new value.  

#include <stdlib.h>  
#include <stdio.h>  

int main( void )  
{  
   char* libvar;  
   size_t requiredSize;  

   getenv_s( &requiredSize, NULL, 0, "LIB");  
   if (requiredSize == 0)  
   {  
      printf("LIB doesn't exist!\n");  
      exit(1);  
   }  

   libvar = (char*) malloc(requiredSize * sizeof(char));  
   if (!libvar)  
   {  
      printf("Failed to allocate memory!\n");  
      exit(1);  
   }  

   // Get the value of the LIB environment variable.  
   getenv_s( &requiredSize, libvar, requiredSize, "LIB" );  

   printf( "Original LIB variable is: %s\n", libvar );  

   // Attempt to change path. Note that this only affects  
   // the environment variable of the current process. The command  
   // processor's environment is not changed.  
   _putenv_s( "LIB", "c:\\mylib;c:\\yourlib" );  

   getenv_s( &requiredSize, NULL, 0, "LIB");  

   libvar = (char*) realloc(libvar, requiredSize * sizeof(char));  
   if (!libvar)  
   {  
      printf("Failed to allocate memory!\n");  
      exit(1);  
   }  

   // Get the new value of the LIB environment variable.   
   getenv_s( &requiredSize, libvar, requiredSize, "LIB" );  

   printf( "New LIB variable is: %s\n", libvar );  

   free(libvar);  
}  
Original LIB variable is: c:\vctools\lib;c:\vctools\atlmfc\lib;c:\vctools\PlatformSDK\lib;c:\vctools\Visual Studio SDKs\DIA Sdk\lib;c:\vctools\Visual Studio SDKs\BSC Sdk\lib  
New LIB variable is: c:\mylib;c:\yourlib  

See Also

Process and Environment Control
Environmental Constants
_putenv, _wputenv
_dupenv_s, _wdupenv_s