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_spawnv, _wspawnv

Creates and executes a new process.


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 _spawnv(
   int mode,
   const char *cmdname,
   const char *const *argv
intptr_t _wspawnv(
   int mode,
   const wchar_t *cmdname,
   const wchar_t *const *argv


Execution mode for the calling process.

Path of the file to be executed.

Array of pointers to arguments. The argument argv[0] is usually a pointer to a path in real mode or to the program name in protected mode, and argv[1] through argv[n] are pointers to the character strings forming the new argument list. The argument argv[n+1] must be a NULL pointer to mark the end of the argument list.

Return value

The return value from a synchronous _spawnv or _wspawnv (_P_WAIT specified for mode) is the exit status of the new process. The return value from an asynchronous _spawnv or _wspawnv (_P_NOWAIT or _P_NOWAITO specified for mode) is the process handle. The exit status is 0 if the process terminated normally. You can set the exit status to a nonzero value if the spawned process specifically calls the exit routine with a nonzero argument. If the new process didn't explicitly set a positive exit status, a positive exit status indicates an abnormal exit with an abort or an interrupt. A return value of -1 indicates an error (the new process isn't started). In this case, errno is set to one of the following values.

Value Description
E2BIG Argument list exceeds 1024 bytes.
EINVAL mode argument is invalid.
ENOENT File or path isn't found.
ENOEXEC Specified file isn't executable or has invalid executable-file format.
ENOMEM Not enough memory is available to execute the new process.

For more information about these and other return codes, see errno, _doserrno, _sys_errlist, and _sys_nerr.


Each of these functions creates and executes a new process, passing an array of pointers to command-line arguments.

These functions validate their parameters. If either cmdname or argv is a null pointer, or if argv points to null pointer, or argv[0] is an empty string, the invalid parameter handler is invoked, as described in Parameter validation. If execution is allowed to continue, these functions set errno to EINVAL, and return -1. No new process is spawned.

By default, this function's global state is scoped to the application. To change this behavior, see Global state in the CRT.


Routine Required header
_spawnv <stdio.h> or <process.h>
_wspawnv <stdio.h> or <wchar.h>

For more compatibility information, see Compatibility.


See the example in _spawn, _wspawn functions.

See also

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