Name

memcpy — copy memory area

Synopsis

        #include <string.h>
void *memcpy( void *dest,
  const void *src,
  size_t n);
 

DESCRIPTION

The memcpy() function copies n bytes from memory area src to memory area dest. The memory areas must not overlap. Use memmove(3) if the memory areas do overlap.

RETURN VALUE

The memcpy() function returns a pointer to dest.

ATTRIBUTES

For an explanation of the terms used in this section, see attributes(7).

Interface Attribute Value
memcpy() Thread safety MT-Safe

CONFORMING TO

POSIX.1-2001, POSIX.1-2008, C89, C99, SVr4, 4.3BSD.

NOTES

Failure to observe the requirement that the memory areas do not overlap has been the source of significant bugs. (POSIX and the C standards are explicit that employing memcpy() with overlapping areas produces undefined behavior.) Most notably, in glibc 2.13 a performance optimization of memcpy() on some platforms (including x86-64) included changing the order in which bytes were copied from src to dest.

This change revealed breakages in a number of applications that performed copying with overlapping areas. Under the previous implementation, the order in which the bytes were copied had fortuitously hidden the bug, which was revealed when the copying order was reversed. In glibc 2.14, a versioned symbol was added so that old binaries (i.e., those linked against glibc versions earlier than 2.14) employed a memcpy() implementation that safely handles the overlapping buffers case (by providing an "older" memcpy() implementation that was aliased to memmove(3)).

SEE ALSO

bcopy(3), bstring(3), memccpy(3), memmove(3), mempcpy(3), strcpy(3), strncpy(3), wmemcpy(3)

COLOPHON

This page is part of release 4.16 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at https://www.kernel.org/doc/man−pages/.


  Copyright 1993 David Metcalfe (davidprism.demon.co.uk)
and Copyright 2015 Michael Kerrisk <mtk.manpagesgmail.com>

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References consulted:
    Linux libc source code
    Lewine's _POSIX Programmer's Guide_ (O'Reilly & Associates, 1991)
    386BSD man pages
Modified Sun Jul 25 10:41:09 1993 by Rik Faith (faithcs.unc.edu)