Accessing specific memory locations in C

For accessing Specific memory from user space, we have to map the memory Address to Programs Virtual Address using mmap(), the below C code shows the implementation:

Take a file "test_file" containing "ABCDEFGHIJ".

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <sys/mman.h>
#include <fcntl.h>

int main(void)
    char *map_base_addr;  // Maping Base address for file
    int fd;         // File descriptor for open file
    int size = 10;

    fd= open("test_file", O_RDWR);  //open the file for reading and writing
    map_base_addr= mmap(NULL, size, PROT_READ|PROT_WRITE, MAP_SHARED, fd, 0);// Maping file into memory

    char *ch= map_base_addr;
    int i;

    /*Printing first 10 char*/
    for(i=0; i<size; i++)

    *(ch+1) = 'b';
    *(ch+4) = 'z';
    *(ch+7) = 'x';

    /*Printing char after modification*/
    for(i=0; i<size; i++)
    /* Finally unmap the file. This will flush out any changes. */
    munmap(map_base_addr, size);

The output will be:


Common C compilers will allow you to set a pointer from an integer and to access memory with that, and they will give you the expected results. However, this is an extension beyond the C standard, so you should check your compiler documentation to ensure it supports it. This feature is not uncommonly used in kernel code that must access memory at specific addresses. It is generally not useful in user programs.

As comments have mentioned, one problem you may be having is that your operating system loads programs into a randomized location each time a program is loaded. Therefore, the address you discover on one run will not be the address used in another run. Also, changing the source and recompiling may yield different addresses.

To demonstrate that you can use a pointer to access an address specified numerically, you can retrieve the address and use it within a single program execution:

#include <inttypes.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdint.h>

int main(void)
    //  Create an int.
    int x = 0;

    //  Find its address.
    char buf[100];
    sprintf(buf, "%" PRIuPTR, (uintptr_t) &x);
    printf("The address of x is %s.\n", buf);

    //  Read the address.
    uintptr_t u;
    sscanf(buf, "%" SCNuPTR, &u);

    //  Convert the integer value to an address.
    int *p = (int *) u;

    //  Modify the int through the new pointer.
    *p = 123;

    //  Display the int.
    printf("x = %d\n", x);

    return 0;

Obviously, this is not useful in a normal program; it is just a demonstration. You would use this sort of behavior only when you have a special need to access certain addresses.