Function core::ptr::write_unaligned

1.17.0 (const: unstable) · source ·
pub unsafe fn write_unaligned<T>(dst: *mut T, src: T)
Expand description

Overwrites a memory location with the given value without reading or dropping the old value.

Unlike write(), the pointer may be unaligned.

write_unaligned does not drop the contents of dst. This is safe, but it could leak allocations or resources, so care should be taken not to overwrite an object that should be dropped.

Additionally, it does not drop src. Semantically, src is moved into the location pointed to by dst.

This is appropriate for initializing uninitialized memory, or overwriting memory that has previously been read with read_unaligned.


Behavior is undefined if any of the following conditions are violated:

  • dst must be valid for writes.

Note that even if T has size 0, the pointer must be non-null.

§On packed structs

Attempting to create a raw pointer to an unaligned struct field with an expression such as &packed.unaligned as *const FieldType creates an intermediate unaligned reference before converting that to a raw pointer. That this reference is temporary and immediately cast is inconsequential as the compiler always expects references to be properly aligned. As a result, using &packed.unaligned as *const FieldType causes immediate undefined behavior in your program.

Instead, you must use the ptr::addr_of_mut! macro to create the pointer. You may use that returned pointer together with this function.

An example of how to do it and how this relates to write_unaligned is:

#[repr(packed, C)]
struct Packed {
    _padding: u8,
    unaligned: u32,

let mut packed: Packed = unsafe { std::mem::zeroed() };

// Take the address of a 32-bit integer which is not aligned.
// In contrast to `&packed.unaligned as *mut _`, this has no undefined behavior.
let unaligned = std::ptr::addr_of_mut!(packed.unaligned);

unsafe { std::ptr::write_unaligned(unaligned, 42) };

assert_eq!({packed.unaligned}, 42); // `{...}` forces copying the field instead of creating a reference.

Accessing unaligned fields directly with e.g. packed.unaligned is safe however (as can be seen in the assert_eq! above).


Write a usize value to a byte buffer:

use std::mem;

fn write_usize(x: &mut [u8], val: usize) {
    assert!(x.len() >= mem::size_of::<usize>());

    let ptr = x.as_mut_ptr() as *mut usize;

    unsafe { ptr.write_unaligned(val) }