strcpy, wcscpy, _mbscpy

Copy a string. More secure versions of these functions are available; see strcpy_s, wcscpy_s, _mbscpy_s.

char *strcpy(
   char *strDestination,
   const char *strSource 
wchar_t *wcscpy(
   wchar_t *strDestination,
   const wchar_t *strSource 
unsigned char *_mbscpy(
   unsigned char *strDestination,
   const unsigned char *strSource 
template <size_t size>
char *strcpy(
   char (&strDestination)[size],
   const char *strSource 
); // C++ only
template <size_t size>
wchar_t *wcscpy(
   wchar_t (&strDestination)[size],
   const wchar_t *strSource 
); // C++ only
template <size_t size>
unsigned char *_mbscpy(
   unsigned char (&strDestination)[size],
   const unsigned char *strSource 
); // C++ only


  • strDestination
    Destination string.

  • strSource
    Null-terminated source string.

Return Value

Each of these functions returns the destination string. No return value is reserved to indicate an error.


The strcpy function copies strSource, including the terminating null character, to the location specified by strDestination. The behavior of strcpy is undefined if the source and destination strings overlap.

Security noteSecurity Note

Because strcpy does not check for sufficient space in strDestination before copying strSource, it is a potential cause of buffer overruns. Consider using strcpy_s instead.

wcscpy and _mbscpy are wide-character and multibyte-character versions of strcpy. The arguments and return value of wcscpy are wide-character strings; those of _mbscpy are multibyte-character strings. These three functions behave identically otherwise.

In C++, these functions have template overloads that invoke the newer, secure counterparts of these functions. For more information, see Secure Template Overloads.

Generic-Text Routine Mappings

TCHAR.H routine

_UNICODE & _MBCS not defined

_MBCS defined

_UNICODE defined







Required header




<string.h> or <wchar.h>



For additional compatibility information, see Compatibility in the Introduction.


// crt_strcpy.c
// compile with: /W3
// This program uses strcpy
// and strcat to build a phrase.

#include <string.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main( void )
   char string[80];

   // Note that if you change the previous line to
   //   char string[20];
   // strcpy and strcat will happily overrun the string
   // buffer.  See the examples for strncpy and strncat
   // for safer string handling.

   strcpy( string, "Hello world from " ); // C4996
   // Note: strcpy is deprecated; consider using strcpy_s instead
   strcat( string, "strcpy " );           // C4996
   // Note: strcat is deprecated; consider using strcat_s instead
   strcat( string, "and " );              // C4996
   strcat( string, "strcat!" );           // C4996
   printf( "String = %s\n", string );
String = Hello world from strcpy and strcat!

.NET Framework Equivalent


See Also


String Manipulation (CRT)

strcat, wcscat, _mbscat

strcmp, wcscmp, _mbscmp

strncat, _strncat_l, wcsncat, wcsncat_l, _mbsncat _mbsncat_l

strncmp, wcsncmp, _mbsncmp, _mbsncmp_l

strncpy, _strncpy_l, wcsncpy, _wcsncpy_l, _mbsncpy, _mbsncpy_l

_strnicmp, _wcsnicmp, _mbsnicmp, _strnicmp_l, _wcsnicmp_l, _mbsnicmp_l

strrchr, wcsrchr, _mbsrchr, _mbsrchr_l

strspn, wcsspn, _mbsspn, _mbsspn_l