Saves the current FPU operating environment at the memory location specified with the destination operand, and then masks all floating-point exceptions. The FPU operating environment consists of the FPU control word, status word, tag word, instruction pointer, data pointer, and last opcode. Figures 8-9 through 8-12 in the IA-32 Intel Architecture Software Developer's Manual, Volume 1, show the layout in memory of the stored environment, depending on the operating mode of the processor (protected or real) and the current operand-size attribute (16- bit or 32-bit). In virtual-8086 mode, the real mode layouts are used.
The FSTENV instruction checks for and handles any pending unmasked floating-point exceptions before storing the FPU environment; the FNSTENV instruction does not. The saved image reflects the state of the FPU after all floating-point instructions preceding the FSTENV/FNSTENV instruction in the instruction stream have been executed.
These instructions are often used by exception handlers because they provide access to the FPU instruction and data pointers. The environment is typically saved in the stack. Masking all exceptions after saving the environment prevents floating-point exceptions from interrupting the exception handler.
The assembler issues two instructions for the FSTENV instruction (an FWAIT instruction followed by an FNSTENV instruction), and the processor executes each of these instructions separately. If an exception is generated for either of these instructions, the save EIP points to the instruction that caused the exception.