ConvertSecurityDescriptorToStringSecurityDescriptor function

The ConvertSecurityDescriptorToStringSecurityDescriptor function converts a security descriptor to a string format. You can use the string format to store or transmit the security descriptor.

To convert the string-format security descriptor back to a valid, functional security descriptor, call the ConvertStringSecurityDescriptorToSecurityDescriptor function.


BOOL WINAPI ConvertSecurityDescriptorToStringSecurityDescriptor(
  _In_  PSECURITY_DESCRIPTOR SecurityDescriptor,
  _In_  DWORD                RequestedStringSDRevision,
  _In_  SECURITY_INFORMATION SecurityInformation,
  _Out_ LPTSTR               *StringSecurityDescriptor,
  _Out_ PULONG               StringSecurityDescriptorLen


SecurityDescriptor [in]

A pointer to the security descriptor to convert. The security descriptor can be in absolute or self-relative format.

RequestedStringSDRevision [in]

Specifies the revision level of the output StringSecurityDescriptor string. Currently this value must be SDDL_REVISION_1.

SecurityInformation [in]

Specifies a combination of the SECURITY_INFORMATION bit flags to indicate the components of the security descriptor to include in the output string. The BACKUP_SECURITY_INFORMATION flag is not applicable to this function. If the BACKUP_SECURITY_INFORMATION flag is passed in, the SecurityInformation parameter returns TRUE with null string output.

StringSecurityDescriptor [out]

A pointer to a variable that receives a pointer to a null-terminated security descriptor string. For a description of the string format, see Security Descriptor String Format. To free the returned buffer, call the LocalFree function.

StringSecurityDescriptorLen [out]

A pointer to a variable that receives the size, in TCHARs, of the security descriptor string returned in the StringSecurityDescriptor buffer. This parameter can be NULL if you do not need to retrieve the size.

Return value

If the function succeeds, the return value is nonzero.

If the function fails, the return value is zero. To get extended error information, call GetLastError. The GetLastError function may return one of the following error codes.

Return codeDescription

A parameter is not valid.


The revision level is not valid.


A security identifier (SID) in the input security descriptor could not be found in an account lookup operation.


The access control list (ACL) is not valid. This error is returned if the SE_DACL_PRESENT flag is set in the input security descriptor and the DACL is NULL.



If the DACL is NULL, and the SE_DACL_PRESENT control bit is set in the input security descriptor, the function fails.

If the DACL is NULL, and the SE_DACL_PRESENT control bit is not set in the input security descriptor, the resulting security descriptor string does not have a D: component. For more information, see Security Descriptor String Format.


Minimum supported client

Windows XP [desktop apps | UWP apps]

Minimum supported server

Windows Server 2003 [desktop apps | UWP apps]







Unicode and ANSI names

ConvertSecurityDescriptorToStringSecurityDescriptorW (Unicode) and ConvertSecurityDescriptorToStringSecurityDescriptorA (ANSI)

See also

Access Control Overview
Basic Access Control Functions