_chdir, _wchdir
Collapse the table of content
Expand the table of content

_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.

// 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

.NET Framework Equivalent

© 2015 Microsoft