This is the documentation for the latest (main) development branch of Zephyr. If you are looking for the documentation of previous releases, use the drop-down list at the bottom of the left panel and select the desired version.

Code And Data Relocation


This feature will allow relocating .text, .rodata, .data, and .bss sections from required files and place them in the required memory region. The memory region and file are given to the scripts/build/ script in the form of a string. This script is always invoked from inside cmake.

This script provides a robust way to re-order the memory contents without actually having to modify the code. In simple terms this script will do the job of __attribute__((section("name"))) for a bunch of files together.


The memory region and file are given to the scripts/build/ script in the form of a string.

An example of such a string is: SRAM2:/home/xyz/zephyr/samples/hello_world/src/main.c,SRAM1:/home/xyz/zephyr/samples/hello_world/src/main2.c

This script is invoked with the following parameters: python3 -i input_string -o generated_linker -c generated_code

Kconfig CONFIG_CODE_DATA_RELOCATION option, when enabled in prj.conf, will invoke the script and do the required relocation.

This script also trigger the generation of linker_relocate.ld and code_relocation.c files. The linker_relocate.ld file creates appropriate sections and links the required functions or variables from all the selected files.


The text section is split into 2 parts in the main linker script. The first section will have some info regarding vector tables and other debug related info. The second section will have the complete text section. This is needed to force the required functions and data variables to the correct locations. This is due to the behavior of the linker. The linker will only link once and hence this text section had to be split to make room for the generated linker script.

The code_relocation.c file has code that is needed for initializing data sections, and a copy of the text sections (if XIP). Also this contains code needed for bss zeroing and for data copy operations from ROM to required memory type.

The procedure to invoke this feature is:

  • Enable CONFIG_CODE_DATA_RELOCATION in the prj.conf file

  • Inside the CMakeLists.txt file in the project, mention all the files that need relocation.

    zephyr_code_relocate(FILES src/*.c LOCATION SRAM2)

    Where the first argument is the file/files and the second argument is the memory where it must be placed.


    function zephyr_code_relocate() can be called as many times as required.

Additional Configurations

This section shows additional configuration options that can be set in CMakeLists.txt

  • if the memory is SRAM1, SRAM2, CCD, or AON, then place the full object in the sections for example:

    zephyr_code_relocate(FILES src/file1.c LOCATION SRAM2)
    zephyr_code_relocate(FILES src/file2.c LOCATION SRAM)
  • if the memory type is appended with _DATA, _TEXT, _RODATA or _BSS, only the selected memory is placed in the required memory region. for example:

    zephyr_code_relocate(FILES src/file1.c LOCATION SRAM2_DATA)
    zephyr_code_relocate(FILES src/file2.c LOCATION SRAM2_TEXT)
  • Multiple regions can also be appended together such as: SRAM2_DATA_BSS. This will place data and bss inside SRAM2.

  • Multiple files can be passed to the FILES argument, or CMake generator expressions can be used to relocate a comma-separated list of files

    file(GLOB sources "file*.c")
    zephyr_code_relocate(FILES ${sources} LOCATION SRAM)
    zephyr_code_relocate(FILES $<TARGET_PROPERTY:my_tgt,SOURCES> LOCATION SRAM)


By default, all relocated functions and variables will be marked with KEEP() when generating linker_relocate.ld. Therefore, if any input file happens to contain unused symbols, then they will not be discarded by the linker, even when it is invoked with --gc-sections. If you’d like to override this behavior, you can pass NOKEEP to your zephyr_code_relocate() call.

zephyr_code_relocate(FILES src/file1.c LOCATION SRAM2_TEXT NOKEEP)

The example above will help ensure that any unused code found in the .text sections of file1.c will not stick to SRAM2.


When a NOCOPY option is passed to the zephyr_code_relocate() function, the relocation code is not generated in code_relocation.c. This flag can be used when we want to move the content of a specific file (or set of files) to a XIP area.

This example will place the .text section of the xip_external_flash.c file to the EXTFLASH memory region where it will be executed from (XIP). The .data will be relocated as usual into SRAM.

zephyr_code_relocate(FILES src/xip_external_flash.c LOCATION EXTFLASH_TEXT NOCOPY)
zephyr_code_relocate(FILES src/xip_external_flash.c LOCATION SRAM_DATA)

Relocating libraries

Libraries can be relocated using the LIBRARY argument to zephyr_code_relocation() with the library name. For example, the following snippet will relocate serial drivers to SRAM2:

zephyr_code_relocate(LIBRARY drivers__serial LOCATION SRAM2)


Take care if relocating kernel/arch files, some contain early initialization code that executes before code relocation takes place.

Additional MPU/MMU configuration may be required to ensure that the destination memory region is configured to allow code execution.

Samples/ Tests

A test showcasing this feature is provided at $ZEPHYR_BASE/tests/application_development/code_relocation

This test shows how the code relocation feature is used.

This test will place .text, .data, .bss from 3 files to various parts in the SRAM using a custom linker file derived from include/zephyr/arch/arm/cortex_m/scripts/linker.ld

A sample showcasing the NOCOPY flag is provided at $ZEPHYR_BASE/samples/application_development/code_relocation_nocopy/