_getch, _getwch

_getch, _getwch

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Gets a character from the console without echo.


This API cannot be used in applications that execute in the Windows Runtime. For more information, see CRT functions not supported in Universal Windows Platform apps.


int _getch( void );
wint_t _getwch( void );

Return Value

Returns the character read. There’s no error return.


The _getch and _getwch functions read a single character from the console without echoing the character. None of these functions can be used to read CTRL+C. To read a function key or arrow key, each function must be called twice. The first call returns 0 or 0xE0. The second call returns the key scan code.

These functions lock the calling thread and so are thread-safe. For non-locking versions, see _getch_nolock, _getwch_nolock.

By default, this function’s global state is scoped to the application. To change this, see Global state in the CRT.

Generic-Text Routine Mappings

Tchar.h routine
_UNICODE and _MBCS not defined
_MBCS defined
_UNICODE defined



Required header

<conio.h> or <wchar.h>

For more compatibility information, see Compatibility.


// crt_getch.c
// compile with: /c
// This program reads characters from
// the keyboard until it receives a 'Y' or 'y'.

#include <conio.h>
#include <ctype.h>

int main( void )
   int ch;

   _cputs( "Type 'Y' when finished typing keys: " );
      ch = _getch();
      ch = toupper( ch );
   } while( ch != 'Y' );

   _putch( ch );
   _putch( '\r' );    // Carriage return
   _putch( '\n' );    // Line feed
Type 'Y' when finished typing keys: Y

See also

Console and Port I/O
_getche, _getwche
_cgets, _cgetws
getc, getwc
_ungetch, _ungetwch, _ungetch_nolock, _ungetwch_nolock