/SECTION (Specify Section Attributes)



The /SECTION option changes the attributes of a section, overriding the attributes set when the .obj file for the section was compiled.

A section in a portable executable (PE) file is a named contiguous block of memory that contains either code or data. Some sections contain code or data that your program declared and uses directly. Other data sections are created for you by the linker and library manager (LIB) and contain information vital to the operating system. For more information, see PE Format.

Specify a colon (:) and a section name name. The name is case sensitive.

Don't use the following names, as they conflict with standard names. For example, .sdata is used on RISC platforms:

  • .arch

  • .bss

  • .data

  • .edata

  • .idata

  • .pdata

  • .rdata

  • .reloc

  • .rsrc

  • .sbss

  • .sdata

  • .srdata

  • .text

  • .xdata

Specify one or more attributes for the section. The attribute characters, listed below, aren't case sensitive. You must specify all attributes that you want the section to have. An omitted attribute character causes that attribute bit to be turned off. If you don't specify R, W, or E, the existing read, write, or executable status remains unchanged.

To negate an attribute, precede its character with an exclamation point (!). The meanings of the attribute characters are shown in this table:

Character Attribute Meaning
E Execute The section is executable
R Read Allows read operations on data
W Write Allows write operations on data
S Shared Shares the section among all processes that load the image
D Discardable Marks the section as discardable
K Cacheable Marks the section as not cacheable
P Pageable Marks the section as not pageable

K and P are unusual in that the section flags that correspond to them are used in the negative sense. If you specify one of them on the .text section by using the /SECTION:.text,K option, there's no difference in the section flags when you run DUMPBIN with the /HEADERS option; the section was already implicitly cached. To remove the default, specify /SECTION:.text,!K instead. DUMPBIN reveals section characteristics, including "Not Cached."

A section in the PE file that doesn't have E, R, or W set is probably invalid.

The ALIGN=number argument lets you specify an alignment value for a particular section. The number argument is in bytes and must be a power of two. For more information, see /ALIGN.

To set this linker option in the Visual Studio development environment

  1. Open the project's Property Pages dialog box. For more information, see Set compiler and build properties.

  2. Choose the Configuration Properties > Linker > General property page.

  3. Modify the Specify Section Attributes property. Choose OK or Apply to save your changes.

To set this linker option programmatically

See also

MSVC linker reference
MSVC linker options