MATLAB Answers

Can't run external program

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Paul Tartabini
Paul Tartabini on 9 Dec 2016
Commented: Walter Roberson on 3 Apr 2021
I have C program that I compiled and can run in a command window without a problem. I am trying to execute from the matlab command window using the ! operator:
When I do this command, matlab seems to accept the line without an error, but the code is not executed. I have tried the system command (nothing happens but I get a returned results of -1.073741515000000e+09). If I execute system commands like !del junkfile.txt
the file gets deleted. But nothing happens when I run my external program. I have tried calling with the full path, but that does not work and I get the same behavior.
Would appreciate any help you can give,
- Paul
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 3 Apr 2021
-1073741511 is hex C0000139 which appears to correspond to the Windows error code for "Entry point not found" . That indicates that you either tried to execute something that was inherently not properly created (such as if you tried to directly execute a DLL that did not have a main program), or else that the program you executed tried to use a DLL that could not be found.

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Answers (5)

Philipp Krauter
Philipp Krauter on 30 Dec 2018
The problem is that newer versions of Matlab are adding a folder to the Path environmental variable each time, the system() or dos() function are called. For me, removing this new path by calling
system('set path=%path:C:\Program Files\MATLAB\R2018b\bin\win64;=% & myprog.exe');
instead of
solves the problem.
Please note, that the folder to be removed from the environmental variable can differ. It can be read out using
Dan on 17 Mar 2021
Hey Philipp, thanks for your post. But I tried your method, there is still the matlab in the Path environmental variable, and the external program still could not run. I use MATLAB r2021a.

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Josh Philipson
Josh Philipson on 7 Feb 2020
Edited: Josh Philipson on 8 Feb 2020
Hi, I think I may have found something potentially helpful.
I had a very similar issue, and just resolved it. In case it's relevant, I was using Intel's Fortran compiler in a Visual Studio project to build a fortran file. TLDR; The built EXE was trying to load some dll that it couldn't do from within MATLAB, but within native windows cmd window, or double-click, evidently it could load it.
The relevant bit was from the magician, "Ian H (blackbelt)", over at who posted this bit:
  • You need to change the runtime library setting for your project within Visual Studio - the default within Visual Studio is to produce an executable that requires the Fortran runtime libraries.
  • Change to a Release configuration, then rIght click on your project in the solution explorer, select Properties, then in the Configuration Properties > Fortran > Libraries page change the Runtime Library option to "Multithreaded". Rebuild your project.
  • (If you use OpenMP within your project, then you will still have a dependency on some of the OpenMP DLL's.)
I sort of backed into this when I tried to run my compiled .exe on another PC that didn't have the same build environment setup, and it barfed on me indicating "libmmdd.dll" was not found. Additionally, I tried system('cmd &') to have Matlab open up a command window..and I found that one compiled version (i.e. via G77) worked, and the one I used Visual Studio for, didn't work!
From there I guess that it couldn't load that library in the MATLAB "system" scaffolding. I am not sure.
Regardless, for me the key was changing the "Runtime Library" option to "Multithreaded", from "Multithreaded dll". As soon as I could do it, the exe was runnable. Note: runnable from within Matlab, as well as runnable on the other Windows PC, that did not have the same development-environment. Seems all dependencies was 'packaged' into the fortran .exe.
Hope this helps someone! :)

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 9 Dec 2016
Try the dos() function instead.
Is the current folder the folder with the executable that you're trying to run?
Can you get a console window in the operating system and run the program from that? What operating system are you using?
  1 Comment
Nicolas Juarez
Nicolas Juarez on 1 Sep 2020
dos() seem to work for me, thanks for the help!

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Avner Atias
Avner Atias on 1 Nov 2020
Hi guys,
I know it's been a while and this issue may be resolved. I solved it in another approach. To bypass the faulty 'system' MATLAB command, the C++ program (or any other for that matter) can be ran via a BATCH file. Wrote the following simple function that generates a BATCH file:
function [] = Generate_Batch_File(Fullpath,Command)
FID = fopen(Fullpath,'w');
fprintf(FID,'echo on\n');
This generates a temporary BATCH file. Running the file succeeds and the C++ program in it runs smoothly with all the command line paraeters. Just pass the command line you want to execute instead of the 'Command' variable and u are set.
Hope this helps

Stefan Glasauer
Stefan Glasauer on 27 Feb 2021
Similar problem here, but the problem was that calling system or dos caused Matlab to hang:
system('myprogram "hello world"')
never comes back and has to be killed via Ctrl+C. However,
system('myprogram "hello world" &')
does come back, but leaves an open command window, which ispretty annoying when you want to call the program multiple times.
Therefore I also resorted to a batch file, here it is:
myprogram %1
this batch can now be called via
system('mybatch "hello world" &')
runs the program and closes the command window after running.
Perhaps this helps!
Stefan Glasauer
Stefan Glasauer on 27 Feb 2021
Correct, my problem was that running
myprogram "hello world"
from the commandline works without requesting any input, it returns immediately and shows the command prompt again. But
system('myprogram "hello world"')
never returns. That's why I had to run it with &, then it does come back, but leaves an open command window.

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