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_chdir, _wchdir

Changes the current working directory.

int _chdir( 
   const char *dirname 
int _wchdir( 
   const wchar_t *dirname 


Path of new working directory.

These functions return a value of 0 if successful. A return value of –1 indicates failure. If the specified path could not be found, errno is set to ENOENT. If dirname is NULL, the invalid parameter handler is invoked, as described in Parameter Validation. If execution is allowed to continue, errno is set to EINVAL and the function returns -1.

The _chdir function changes the current working directory to the directory specified by dirname. The dirname parameter must refer to an existing directory. This function can change the current working directory on any drive. If a new drive letter is specified in dirname, the default drive letter is changed as well. For example, if A is the default drive letter and \BIN is the current working directory, the following call changes the current working directory for drive C and establishes C as the new default drive:


When you use the optional backslash character (\) in paths, you must place two backslashes (\\) in a C string literal to represent a single backslash (\).

_wchdir is a wide-character version of _chdir; the dirname argument to _wchdir is a wide-character string. _wchdir and _chdir behave identically otherwise.

Generic-Text Routine Mapping:

Tchar.h routine

_UNICODE and _MBCS not defined

_MBCS defined

_UNICODE defined






Required header

Optional header





<direct.h> or <wchar.h>


For more compatibility information, see Compatibility in the Introduction.

// crt_chdir.c
// arguments: C:\WINDOWS

/* This program uses the _chdir function to verify
   that a given directory exists. */

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

int main( int argc, char *argv[] )

   if(_chdir( argv[1] ) )
      switch (errno)
      case ENOENT:
         printf( "Unable to locate the directory: %s\n", argv[1] );
      case EINVAL:
         printf( "Invalid buffer.\n");
         printf( "Unknown error.\n");
      system( "dir *.exe");
Volume in drive C has no label. Volume Serial Number is 2018-08A1 Directory of c:\windows 08/29/2002 04:00 AM 1,004,032 explorer.exe 12/17/2002 04:43 PM 10,752 hh.exe 03/03/2003 09:24 AM 33,792 ieuninst.exe 10/29/1998 04:45 PM 306,688 IsUninst.exe 08/29/2002 04:00 AM 66,048 NOTEPAD.EXE 03/03/2003 09:24 AM 33,792 Q330994.exe 08/29/2002 04:00 AM 134,144 regedit.exe 02/28/2003 06:26 PM 46,352 setdebug.exe 08/29/2002 04:00 AM 15,360 TASKMAN.EXE 08/29/2002 04:00 AM 49,680 twunk_16.exe 08/29/2002 04:00 AM 25,600 twunk_32.exe 08/29/2002 04:00 AM 256,192 winhelp.exe 08/29/2002 04:00 AM 266,752 winhlp32.exe 13 File(s) 2,249,184 bytes 0 Dir(s) 67,326,029,824 bytes free