3.4.9. LDREX and STREX

Load and Store Register Exclusive.


LDREX{cond} Rt, [Rn {, #offset}]
STREX{cond} Rd, Rt, [Rn {, #offset}]
LDREXB{cond} Rt, [Rn]
STREXB{cond} Rd, Rt, [Rn]
LDREXH{cond} Rt, [Rn]
STREXH{cond} Rd, Rt, [Rn]



Is an optional condition code. See Conditional execution.


Is the destination register for the returned status.


Is the register to load or store.


Is the register on which the memory address is based.


Is an optional offset applied to the value in Rn. If offset is omitted, the address is the value in Rn.


LDREX, LDREXB, and LDREXH load a word, byte, and halfword respectively from a memory address.

STREX, STREXB, and STREXH attempt to store a word, byte, and halfword respectively to a memory address. The address used in any Store-Exclusive instruction must be the same as the address in the most recently executed Load-exclusive instruction. The value stored by the Store-Exclusive instruction must also have the same data size as the value loaded by the preceding Load-exclusive instruction. This means software must always use a Load-exclusive instruction and a matching Store-Exclusive instruction to perform a synchronization operation, see Synchronization primitives.

If a Store-Exclusive instruction performs the store, it writes 0 to its destination register. If it does not perform the store, it writes 1 to its destination register. If the Store-Exclusive instruction writes 0 to the destination register, it is guaranteed that no other process in the system has accessed the memory location between the Load-exclusive and Store-Exclusive instructions.

For reasons of performance, keep the number of instructions between corresponding Load-Exclusive and Store-Exclusive instruction to a minimum.


The result of executing a Store-Exclusive instruction to an address that is different from that used in the preceding Load-Exclusive instruction is unpredictable.


In these instructions:

  • Do not use PC.

  • Do not use SP for Rd and Rt.

  • For STREX, Rd must be different from both Rt and Rn.

  • The value of offset must be a multiple of four in the range 0-1020.

Condition flags

These instructions do not change the flags.


    MOV     R1, #0x1            ; Initialize the ‘lock taken’ value
    LDREX   R0, [LockAddr]      ; Load the lock value
    CMP     R0, #0              ; Is the lock free?
    ITT     EQ                  ; IT instruction for STREXEQ and CMPEQ
    STREXEQ R0, R1, [LockAddr]  ; Try and claim the lock
    CMPEQ   R0, #0              ; Did this succeed?
    BNE     try                 ; No – try again
    ....                        ; Yes – we have the lock.
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