Platform-independent GUID generation in C++?


What is the best way to programmatically generate a GUID or UUID in C++ without relying on a platform-specific tool? I am trying to make unique identifiers for objects in a simulation, but can't rely on Microsoft's implementation as the project is cross-platform.


  • Since this is for a simulator, I don't really need cryptographic randomness.
  • It would be best if this is a 32 bit number.
2/12/2009 9:25:00 PM

Accepted Answer

If you can afford to use Boost, then there is a UUID library that should do the trick. It's very straightforward to use - check the documentation and this answer.

5/23/2017 12:34:44 PM

on linux: man uuid

on win: check out for UUID structure and UuidCreate function in msdn

[edit] the function would appear like this

extern "C"
#ifdef WIN32
#include <Rpc.h>
#include <uuid/uuid.h>

std::string newUUID()
#ifdef WIN32
    UUID uuid;
    UuidCreate ( &uuid );

    unsigned char * str;
    UuidToStringA ( &uuid, &str );

    std::string s( ( char* ) str );

    RpcStringFreeA ( &str );
    uuid_t uuid;
    uuid_generate_random ( uuid );
    char s[37];
    uuid_unparse ( uuid, s );
    return s;

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