_execve, _wexecve
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_execve, _wexecve

Loads and executes new child processes.

Important note Important

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

intptr_t _execve( 
   const char *cmdname,
   const char *const *argv,
   const char *const *envp 
intptr_t _wexecve( 
   const wchar_t *cmdname,
   const wchar_t *const *argv,
   const wchar_t *const *envp 


Path of the file to execute.


Array of pointers to parameters.


Array of pointers to environment settings.

If successful, these functions do not return to the calling process. A return value of –1 indicates an error, in which case the errno global variable is set.

errno value



The space required for the arguments and environment settings exceeds 32 KB.


The specified file has a locking or sharing violation.


Invalid parameter.


Too many files open (the specified file must be opened to determine whether it is executable).


The file or path not found.


The specified file is not executable or has an invalid executable-file format.


Not enough memory is available to execute the new process; the available memory has been corrupted; or an invalid block exists, indicating that the calling process was not allocated properly.

For more information about these and other return codes, see _doserrno, errno, _sys_errlist, and _sys_nerr.

Each of these functions loads and executes a new process, passing an array of pointers to command-line arguments and an array of pointers to environment settings.

_execve and _wexecve validate their parameters. If cmdname is a null pointer, or if argv is a null pointer, pointer to an empty array, or if the array contains an empty string as the first argument, these functions invoke the invalid parameter handler as described in Parameter Validation. If execution is allowed to continue, these functions set errno to EINVAL and return -1. No process is launched.


Required header

Optional header





<process.h> or <wchar.h>


For more compatibility information, see Compatibility in the Introduction.

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