Device Drivers

Drivers are control programs that enable communication between hardware devices and the operating system, and are necessary for Windows to communicate with hardware.

Windows includes installation drivers that support a huge number of different hardware devices. Thousands of drivers are available through a Windows Update, and there are hundreds of new drivers every month.

Device Drivers are small programs designed to help applications at a higher level to communicate with hardware. Device Drivers are running in kernel mode, and provide an interface between the input/output manager and hardware.

There are several types of device drivers. The following provides an overview of some of them:

* Drivers for hardware devices. Using the hardware layer, these drivers take care of input/output for physical equipment.

* File system drivers are Windows drivers that take care of input/output to files.

* File system filter drivers perform tasks such as encryption or writing data to more than one disk. They also do scanning to locate viruses. File system drivers for the network transfer the file system input/output to other computers at a network.

* Protocol drivers implement a networking protocol such as TCP/IP or NetBUI.

* Software drivers are kernel modules that perform operations that can only be done in kernel mode on behalf of some user mode process.


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