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/SECTION (Specify Section Attributes)


The /SECTION option changes the attributes of a section, overriding the attributes set when the .obj file for the section was compiled.

A section in a portable executable (PE) file is roughly equivalent to a segment or the resources in a new executable (NE) file. Sections contain either code or data. Unlike segments, sections are blocks of contiguous memory with no size constraints. Some sections contain code or data that your program declared and uses directly, while other data sections are created for you by the linker and library manager (lib.exe) and contain information vital to the operating system. For more information on NE files, see Knowledge Base article "Executable-File Header Format" (Q65122). You can find Knowledge Base articles in the MSDN Library, or at http://support.microsoft.com.

Specify a colon (:) and a section name. The name is case sensitive.

Do not use the following names, as they will conflict with standard names. For example, .sdata is used on RISC platforms:

  • .arch
  • .bss
  • .data
  • .edata
  • .idata
  • .pdata
  • .rdata
  • .reloc
  • .rsrc
  • .sbss
  • .sdata
  • .srdata
  • .text
  • .xdata

Specify one or more attributes for the section. The attribute characters, listed below, are not case sensitive. You must specify all attributes that you want the section to have; an omitted attribute character causes that attribute bit to be turned off. If you do not specify R, W, or E, the existing read, write, or executable status remains unchanged.

The meanings of the attribute characters are shown below.

Character Attribute Meaning
E Execute The section is executable
R Read Allows read operations on data
W Write Allows write operations on data
S Shared Shares the section among all processes that load the image
D Discardable Marks the section as discardable
K Cacheable Marks the section as not cacheable
L Preload VxD only; marks the section as preload
P Pageable Marks the section as not pageable
X Memory-resident VxD only; marks the section as memory-resident

K and P are peculiar in that the section flags that correspond to them are in the negative sense. If you specify one of them on the .text section (/SECTION:.text,K), there will be no difference in the section flags when you run DUMPBIN with the /HEADERS option; it was already implicitly cached. To remove the default, specify /SECTION:.text,!K and DUMPBIN will reveal section characteristics, including "Not Cached."

A section in the PE file that does not have E, R, or W set is probably invalid.

The ALIGN=# lets you specify an alignment value for a particular section. See /ALIGN for more information.

To set this linker option in the Visual Studio development environment

  1. Open the project's Property Pages dialog box. For details, see Setting Visual C++ Project Properties.
  2. Click the Linker folder.
  3. Click the Command Line property page.
  4. Type the option into the Additional Options box.

To set this linker option programmatically

See AdditionalOptions Property.

See Also

Setting Linker Options | Linker Options

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