Intel x86 Assembly Language & Microarchitecture Calling Conventions 32-bit cdecl


cdecl is a Windows 32-bit function calling convention which is very similar to the calling convention used on many POSIX operating systems (documented in the i386 System V ABI). One of the differences is in returning small structs.


Parameters are passed on the stack, with the first argument at the lowest address on the stack at the time of the call (pushed last, so it's just above the return address on entry to the function). The caller is responsible for popping parameters back off the stack after the call.

Return Value

For scalar return types, the return value is placed in EAX, or EDX:EAX for 64bit integers. Floating-point types are returned in st0 (x87). Returning larger types like structures is done by reference, with a pointer passed as an implicit first parameter. (This pointer is returned in EAX, so the caller doesn't have to remember what it passed).

Saved and Clobbered Registers

EBX, EDI, ESI, EBP, and ESP (and FP / SSE rounding mode settings) must be preserved by the callee, such that the caller can rely on those registers not having been changed by a call.

All other registers (EAX, ECX, EDX, FLAGS (other than DF), x87 and vector registers) may be freely modified by the callee; if a caller wishes to preserve a value before and after the function call, it must save the value elsewhere (such as in one of the saved registers or on the stack).