Does calloc zero out the entire allocation?

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Category:Languages

The calloc function in C is used to allocate zeroed memory capable of holding at least the requested amount of elements of a specified size. In practice, most memory allocators may allocate a bigger block in order to increase efficiency and minimize fragmentation. The actual usable block size of an allocation in such systems is usually discoverable by means of special functions, i.e. _msize or malloc_usable_size.

Will calloc make sure the entire usable block is zeroed, or will it only zero the requested count*size part of the allocation?

 


It depends on the implementation. The standard does not require it to zero more than the requested memory size.

The standard says:

Synopsis

#include <stdlib.h> void *calloc(size_t nmemb, size_t size); 

Description

The calloc function allocates space for an array of nmemb objects, each of whose size is size. The space is initialized to all bits zero.

I would say that it is pretty clear that this does not enforce zeroing anything except the space you have requested in the calloc call.

This is from an existing implementation:

PTR memset (PTR dest, register int val, register size_t len) {   register unsigned char *ptr = (unsigned char*)dest;   while (len-- > 0)     *ptr++ = val;   return dest; }  void bzero (void *to, size_t count) {   memset (to, 0, count); }  PTR calloc (size_t nelem, size_t elsize) {   register PTR ptr;     if (nelem == 0 || elsize == 0)     nelem = elsize = 1;    ptr = malloc (nelem * elsize);   if (ptr) bzero (ptr, nelem * elsize);    return ptr; } 

It does only zero the memory you have requested. Other implementations may do it differently.

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