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Allocates memory blocks.

void *malloc(
   size_t size 



Bytes to allocate.

malloc returns a void pointer to the allocated space or NULL if there is insufficient memory available. To return a pointer to a type other than void, use a type cast on the return value. The storage space pointed to by the return value is guaranteed to be suitably aligned for storage of any type of object. If size is 0, malloc allocates a zero-length item in the heap and returns a valid pointer to that item. Always check the return from malloc, even if the amount of memory requested is small.

The malloc function allocates a memory block of at least size bytes. The block may be larger than size bytes because of space required for alignment and maintenance information.

In Visual C++ 2005, malloc sets errno to ENOMEM if a memory allocation fails or if the amount of memory requested exceeds _HEAP_MAXREQ. For information on this and other error codes, see errno, _doserrno, _sys_errlist, and _sys_nerr.

The startup code uses malloc to allocate storage for the _environ, envp, and argv variables. The following functions and their wide-character counterparts also call malloc:

The C++ _set_new_mode function sets the new handler mode for malloc. The new handler mode indicates whether, on failure, malloc is to call the new handler routine as set by _set_new_handler. By default, malloc does not call the new handler routine on failure to allocate memory. You can override this default behavior so that, when malloc fails to allocate memory, malloc calls the new handler routine in the same way that the new operator does when it fails for the same reason. To override the default, call


early in your program, or link with NEWMODE.OBJ (see Link Options).

When the application is linked with a debug version of the C run-time libraries, malloc resolves to _malloc_dbg. For more information about how the heap is managed during the debugging process, see The CRT Debug Heap.

malloc is marked __declspec(noalias) and __declspec(restrict), meaning that the function is guaranteed not to modify global variables, and that the pointer returned is not aliased. For more information, see noalias and restrict.

Routine Required header Compatibility


<stdlib.h> and <malloc.h>

ANSI, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003

For additional compatibility information, see Compatibility in the Introduction.


All versions of the C run-time libraries.

// crt_malloc.c
// This program allocates memory with
// malloc, then frees the memory with free.

#include <stdlib.h>   // For _MAX_PATH definition
#include <stdio.h>
#include <malloc.h>

int main( void )
   char *string;

   // Allocate space for a path name
   string = malloc( _MAX_PATH );

   // In a C++ file, explicitly cast malloc's return.  For example, 
   // string = (char *)malloc( _MAX_PATH );

   if( string == NULL )
      printf( "Insufficient memory available\n" );
      printf( "Memory space allocated for path name\n" );
      free( string );
      printf( "Memory freed\n" );


Memory space allocated for path name
Memory freed

Not applicable. To call the standard C function, use PInvoke. For more information, see Platform Invoke Examples.