What Is BSS in Data Structure?


Heather Bennett

What Is BSS in Data Structure?

Data structures are essential components of computer science and programming. They help organize and store data efficiently, allowing for faster and more effective operations.

One important concept in data structure is the BSS segment.

The BSS Segment

BSS stands for “Block Started by Symbol” or “Block Storage Segment.” It is a section of memory used by programs to store uninitialized global and static variables.

In other words, it is a chunk of memory reserved for variables that do not have an explicit initial value.

When a program is compiled, the BSS segment is allocated in the computer’s memory along with other segments like the stack and heap. The BSS segment is typically located before the program’s data segment.

How BSS Works

When a variable is declared without an initial value, it is stored in the BSS segment. For example:

int count;
char message[100];
float total;

In this code snippet, the variables count, message, and total are stored in the BSS segment because they are not assigned any specific values.

During program execution, when a variable stored in the BSS segment is accessed for the first time, its value will be automatically set to zero or a null value depending on its data type (e.g., integers will be initialized to 0, strings to null).

Advantages of Using BSS

  • Easier Memory Management: By using the BSS segment for uninitialized variables, programmers can avoid explicitly assigning default values, saving time and effort.
  • Reduced Executable Size: Storing uninitialized variables in the BSS segment reduces the size of the compiled executable, as it does not need to include explicit initial values for these variables.

Limitations of BSS

While the BSS segment offers advantages, it is important to be aware of its limitations. One limitation is that variables stored in the BSS segment cannot be explicitly initialized with non-zero values at compile-time.

Additionally, if a program requires a large amount of memory for uninitialized variables, it may lead to excessive memory usage.


The BSS segment is a crucial part of data structures in programming. It provides a dedicated area in memory for storing uninitialized global and static variables.

By utilizing the BSS segment, programmers can simplify memory management and reduce executable size. However, it is important to consider its limitations and potential impact on memory usage.

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