Windows Device Drivers

 

Introduction

Windows device drivers are very  important for the proper functioning and connectivity of a computer with other devices. A device driver is a program installed for operating an external device attached to the computer. However, the development of such a driver is not an easy task to do.It requires skills and deep understanding of computer parts. Thereby, often requiring driver development services from agencies. Nevertheless, the challenge of finding the most experienced and reliable agency still lies there.

Definition

A device driver, also known as a driver, provides a software interface to hardware devices, enabling operating systems and other computer programs to access hardware devices without needing to know detailed information about the hardware being used. Typically, a driver connects through the computer bus or communication subsystem to which the hardware connects. Drivers are hardware-dependent and operating-system-specific. They usually provide the interrupt handling required for any necessary asynchronous time-dependent hardware interface.

Functions Of A Driver

 

Device drivers simplify programming by acting as a translator betweena hardware device and the applications or operating systems that use it. Programmers can write the higher-level application code independently of whatever specific hardware the end-user is using.

For example, a high-level application for interacting with a serial port may simply have two functions for “send data” and “receive data”. At a lower level, a device driver implementing these functions would communicate to the particular serial port controller installed on a user’s computer. Despite different devices being used, hardware-specific device drivers abstracts these details into the same (or similar) software interface.

Development Of A Device Driver

A windows device driver’s development demands in-depth knowledge of the working of hardware and software for a given platform function. As a driver requires low-level access to hardware functions to operate, it typically operates in a highly privileged environment and can cause system operational issues if something goes wrong. However, in the case of user-level software on modern operating systems, a driver can cease to work without greatly influencing the rest of the system. Even the drivers executing in user mode can crash a system, especially, if the device is programmed enormously, Therefore, making it more troublesome and dangerous to diagnose problems.

Applications Operating With Drivers

The diversity of modern hardware and operating systems allow drivers to operate in different environments. Drivers may interface with:

  • printers
  • video adapters
  • Network cards
  • Sound cards
  • Local buses of various sorts—in particular, for bus mastering on modern systems
  • Low-bandwidth I/O buses of various sorts (for pointing devices such as mice, keyboards, USB, etc.)
  • Computer storage devices such as hard disk, CD-ROM, and floppy disk buses (ATA, SATA, SCSI)
  • Implementing support for different file systems
  • Image scanners
  • Digital cameras

Common levels of abstraction for device drivers include:

  • For hardware:
    • Interfacing directly
    • Writing to or reading from a device control register
    • Using some higher-level interface (e.g. Video BIOS)
    • Using another lower-level device driver (e.g. file system drivers using disk drivers)
    • Simulating work with hardware, while doing something entirely different
  • For software:
    • Allowing the operating system direct access to hardware resources
    • Implementing only primitives
    • Implementing an interface for non-driver software (e.g., TWAIN)
    • Implementing a language, sometimes quite high-level (e.g., PostScript)

Conclusion

Indeed, a device driver is of immense importance when it comes to operating a large number of applications. Moreover, the Windows device drivers development process is not an easy thing to crack as it requires great computer-based knowledge and skills. However, choosing the best driver development services and the installment of the correct device drivers for given hardware is a key component of computer system configuration.