< cpp‎ | utility‎ | program
Defined in header <cstdlib>
char* getenv( const char* env_var );

Searches the environment list provided by the host environment (the OS), for a string that matches the C string pointed to by env_var and returns a pointer to the C string that is associated with the matched environment list member.

This function is not required to be thread-safe. Another call to getenv, as well as a call to the POSIX functions setenv(), unsetenv(), and putenv() may invalidate the pointer returned by a previous call or modify the string obtained from a previous call.

(until C++11)

This function is thread-safe (calling it from multiple threads does not introduce a data race) as long as no other function modifies the host environment. In particular, the POSIX functions setenv(), unsetenv(), and putenv() would introduce a data race if called without synchronization.

(since C++11)

Modifying the string returned by getenv invokes undefined behavior.


[edit] Parameters

env_var - null-terminated character string identifying the name of the environmental variable to look for

[edit] Return value

Character string identifying the value of the environmental variable or null pointer if such variable is not found.

[edit] Notes

On POSIX systems, the environment variables are also accessible through the global variable environ, declared as extern char **environ; in <unistd.h>, and through the optional third argument, envp, of the main function.

[edit] Example

#include <iostream>
#include <cstdlib>
int main()
    if(const char* env_p = std::getenv("PATH"))
        std::cout << "Your PATH is: " << env_p << '\n';

Possible output:

Your PATH is: /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games

[edit] See also

C documentation for getenv