Trying to return string array and print contents but receiving error


I am trying to return a string array in a function and print the variables of it. I know that there is no way to actually return an array in c++ but you can pass its pointer. So I set up the function to return the pointer value and then print it from there but the pointer is not working. I am getting an exception that it is unable to access reading location.

Exception thrown at 0x7AD2F3BE (ucrtbased.dll) in BankApp__.exe: 0xC0000005: Access violation reading location 0xCCCCCCCC.

I am using visual studio so when using the debugger I see that its unable to read the contents at that pointer.

string * User::getPersonal() {
    string arr[] = { FirstName, LastName, Address, Birthday };
    return arr;

int main() 
    User testUser1, testUser2;
    testUser1.createLogin("wman", "password", "Wil", "Man", "333 3 Street", "09-03-1997");
    testUser2.createLogin("johndoe", "password", "John", "Doe", "123 ABC St.", "12-01-1990");
    User users[] = { testUser1, testUser2 };

    for (int i = 0; i < sizeof(users) / sizeof(users[0]); i++) {
        string * infoArray = users[i].getPersonal();
        //cout << *infoArray << endl;
        //cout << infoArray << endl;
        for (int i = 0; i < 4; i++) {
            string fields[] = { "First Name", "Last Name", "Address", "Birthday"};
            cout << fields[i] << ": " << *(infoArray + i) << endl;
        cout << "~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~" << endl;


getPersonal() returns the string array pointer that holds all the data of User. and then i want to loop through the elements and print them out. Is there a better way to do this?

asked on Stack Overflow Jun 19, 2020 by wvano97 • edited Jun 19, 2020 by songyuanyao

1 Answer


You're trying to return a pointer pointing to a local (stack allocated) array, which will be destroyed when the function returns and the returned pointer is always dangled.

You can use std::vector or std::array instead. e.g.

std::vector<string> User::getPersonal() {
    std::vector<string> arr = { FirstName, LastName, Address, Birthday };
    return arr;
answered on Stack Overflow Jun 19, 2020 by songyuanyao • edited Jun 19, 2020 by user48956

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