Wide String Types

On Win32, a wide string variable occupies four bytes of memory which contain a pointer to a dynamically allocated string. When a wide string variable is empty (contains a zero-length string), the string pointer is nil and no dynamic memory is associated with the string variable. For a nonempty string value, the string pointer points to a dynamically allocated block of memory that contains the string value in addition to a 32-bit length indicator. The table below shows the layout of a wide string memory block on Windows.

Wide string dynamic memory layout (Windows)




32-bit length indicator (in bytes)


-Icharacter string


NULL character

The string length is the number of bytes, so it is twice the number of wide characters contained in the string.

The NULL character at the end of a wide string memory block is automatically maintained by the compiler and the built-in string handling routines. This makes it possible to typecast a wide string directly to a null-terminated string.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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