Saturday, 19 June 2004

Windows Driver Foundation

Microsoft have decided to do something about the relative instability of Windows device drivers. They are, by all accounts, very hard to write.

Introduction to the Windows Driver Foundation

Interesting point: the Kernel-Mode Driver Framework will be supported in Windows 2000 and later (i.e. a lot of it will be compiled into/linked into the driver binary). I also see that USB device drivers will be moving into user-mode for Longhorn.

I recently had to update a CE device's OS image using a special download program and the device's Initial Program Loader, over a USB connection. The device required a special driver - which promptly crashed my PC (with a KMODE_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED fault). I suspect a possible incompatibility with XP SP1 with the MS04-011 patch. Using an unpatched Windows 2000 SP4 box worked. Of course, I couldn't use Virtual PC, because it doesn't virtualise USB controllers, hubs or devices.

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