_execl, _wexecl

Loads and executes new child processes.


This API cannot be used in applications that execute in the Windows Runtime. For more information, see CRT functions not supported in Universal Windows Platform apps.


intptr_t _execl(
   const char *cmdname,
   const char *arg0,
   ... const char *argn,
intptr_t _wexecl(
   const wchar_t *cmdname,
   const wchar_t *arg0,
   ... const wchar_t *argn,


Path of the file to be executed.

arg0, ... argN
List of pointers to the parameters.

Return value

If successful, these functions don't return to the calling process. A return value of -1 indicates an error, in which case the errno global variable is set.

errno value Description
E2BIG The space required for the arguments and environment settings exceeds 32 KB.
EACCES The specified file has a locking or sharing violation.
EINVAL Invalid parameter (one or more of the parameters was a null pointer or empty string).
EMFILE Too many files open (the specified file must be opened to determine whether it's executable).
ENOENT The file or path isn't found.
ENOEXEC The specified file isn't executable or has an invalid executable-file format.
ENOMEM Not enough memory is available to execute the new process; the available memory has been corrupted; or an invalid block exists, indicating that the calling process wasn't allocated properly.


Each of these functions loads and executes a new process, passing each command-line argument as a separate parameter. The first argument is the command or executable file name, and the second argument should be the same as the first. It becomes argv[0] in the executed process. The third argument is the first argument, argv[1], of the process being executed.

The _execl functions validate their parameters. If either cmdname or arg0 is a null pointer or empty string, these functions invoke the invalid parameter handler as described in Parameter validation If execution is allowed to continue, these functions set errno to EINVAL and return -1. No new process is executed.


Function Required header Optional header
_execl <process.h> <errno.h>
_wexecl <process.h> or <wchar.h> <errno.h>

For more compatibility information, see Compatibility.


See the example in _exec, _wexec functions.

See also

Process and environment control
_exec, _wexec functions
exit, _Exit, _exit
_onexit, _onexit_m
_spawn, _wspawn functions
system, _wsystem