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Written by Oleksandr Gavenko (AKA gavenkoa), compiled on 2017-10-13 from rev 5ee52f8d25b5.

Driver for Windows.


NNTP driver development group at msnews.microsoft.com:119
Web-interface to NNTP forum

Which version exist?

  • VxD
    Windows 3.x and Windows 9x
  • Windows Driver Model (WDM)
    Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista (for backwards compatibility)
  • Windows Driver Foundation (WDF)
    Windows 2000 and later

List drivers

List of all installed drivers:

cmd> driverquery
cmd> driverquery /v

Show hardware information:

cmd> msinfo32
Windows XP/2003 System Information Tool.



Winobj is a program that lets you browse the Windows NT Object Manager namespace.


The DeviceTree V2.12 utility is a Windows XP/Server 2003 utility written by OSR, that allows the user the ability to display the drivers and devices loaded in 2 different views. The first view Driver View the user sees a list of all the drivers loaded in kernel mode and all the devices that those drivers have created. In the second view PnP View the user sees a list of all the devices in the system from that of Plug and Play Manager (PnP).

Microsoft DDK.


Supported device classes:

cmd> devcon.exe classes

Which files used by specific driver (with "*" prints list of files for all drivers):

cmd> devcon.exe driverfiles *

Device ID (names included):

cmd> devcon.exe hwids *

Device status (running/stoped):

cmd> devcon.exe status *

USB Command Verifier.

All USB peripherals are required to pass the Device Framework tests in order to gain certification.


Windows 98 SE/ME.

  • .386 VxD driver under Windows 3.x
  • .vxd VxD driver under Windows 95

Windows NT (2000/XP/2003).

  • .inf Stored in %Windir%Inf.
  • .pnf Precompiled INF File. Stored in %Windir%Inf.

Driver type.


How to use or to reference the Usbser.sys driver from universal serial bus (USB) modem .inf files.

Driver class.

System-Supplied Device Setup Classes
Drivers for the Supported USB Device Classes

How list drivers?

Set environment devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices to 1 and run Device Manager, select "View" --> "Show hidden devices".

How install drivers?


If you update any driver in Device Manager backup is created with old driver under following directory:



Driver Install Frameworks (DIFx) tools allow installing driver starting from Windows 2000 and onward.

It consist from API (from library, DIFxAPI, DIFxApp) and command line tool (DPInst.exe) which can be found in WDK and their licence allow redistribution.

Information about Driver Install Frameworks Tools.
Driver Package Installer (DPInst).
Creating a DPInst Installation Package.
DPInst Command-Line Switches.
Logging Installation Information and Error Messages. %SystemRoot%\DPINST.LOG.
Summary of the DPInst XML Elements.


This command-line specifies the location of the driver package's INF file (c:toastertoastpkg.inf) and the toaster device's hardware identifier (ID), which is specified within the INF file:

cmd# devcon.exe install c:\toaster\toastpkg.inf {b85b7c50-6a01-11d2-b841-00c04fad5171}\mstoaster


Using the DevCon Tool to Install a Driver Package

How debug Windows drivers.

To detect whether a driver loaded, check the status of the device in Device Manager.

SetupAPI logs information about device installation in a plain-text log file that you can use to verify the installation of a device and to troubleshoot device installation problems.

For Windows XP/2003 check:


For Windows Vista and later versions of Windows check:

%SystemRoot%\inf\SetupAPI.dev.log     installation events in the device
%SystemRoot%\inf\SetupAPI.app.log     application installation


Troubleshooting Install and Load Problems with Signed Driver Packages
Improve Driver Debuggability
Debugging Tools for Windows
Checked and Free Build Differences
Debugging Driver Installation
SetupAPI Device Installation Log Entries

Driver signing.

Type of signature:

  • Signed by a Windows signing authority.
  • Signed by a trusted publisher.
  • Signed by an untrusted publisher.
  • Signed by a publisher of unknown trust.
  • Altered.
  • Unsigned.
Type of signature and performed action.
Code-Signing Best Practices.
Device Installation Signing Requirements.
Windows Logo Program Test Categories.
Root Authority Cross-Certificate List

Disable signing requirement on Windows 7 x64.

cmd> bcdedit -set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
cmd> bcdedit -set TESTSIGNING ON

To revert back:

cmd> bcdedit.exe -set loadoptions ENABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS
cmd> bcdedit.exe -set TESTSIGNING OFF

Tools for Signing Drivers.

'certmgr.msc' present in Windows 2000 and upper.

From Windows SDK/WDK:

CertMgr Inf2Cat MakeCat MakeCert Pvk2Pfx SignTool

To register certificate in Windows 7 (or install "Admin Tools Pack" in Windows XP):

cmd> certutil -addstore TrustedPublisher cert.cer


Tools for Signing Drivers
Admin Tools Pack

Invoking a Device Properties Dialog Box from a Command-line Prompt.

You need get device-instance-ID-parameter:

 cmd# rundll32.exe devmgr.dll,DeviceProperties_RunDLL /DeviceID "ACPI\PNP0F03\4&1A8C8C2E&0"

* http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff548170.aspx

Driver Selection Process.

Windows uses the following criteria to select a driver for a device:

  • Windows selects the driver that has the lowest rank value as the best match for the device.
  • For drivers that have equal rank, Windows selects the driver that has the most recent date.
  • For the drivers that have equal rank and date, Windows selects the driver that has the highest version.
  • Windows XP SP1 and later: For drivers that have equal rank, date, and version, Windows can select any driver.
  • Windows XP and Windows 2000: For drivers that have equal rank, date, and version, Windows can select any driver.


Windows driver for USB

Drivers for the Supported USB Device Classes

Distributing a Driver Package.

Windows Update.

You can distribute a driver package through the Windows Update program if the driver package:

  • Passes the WHQL test program and receives a WHQL release signature.
  • Qualifies for the Windows Logo program.
  • Meets additional requirements that ensure that Windows Update can determine the correct driver package for the user's device, can legally distribute it, and can automatically download it.


Hardware ID.

PCI and AGP buses: Contain subsystem ID and subsystem vendor ID (&SUBSYS in the ID string). Drivers must have VID/DID/SVID/SID PNP ID entries to be published via Windows Update.

PCI Device Subsystem IDs and Windows specifications are available at:

PCMCIA: Always specific; contains PCMCIA in the ID string.

USB: Contains VID and &PID in the ID string.

IEEE 1394: Always specific; contains 1394 in the ID string.

HID: Contains &VID and &PID in the ID string.

IDE: Contains IDEin the ID string.

Parallel Port Printers: Contain LPTENUMin the ID string.

IrDA Printers: IDs begin with HWP.

Windows Update Driver Publishing