What is Windows Driver?

For my first post, I would like to give a good backgrounder about “Windows Driver”, what is it and why we need it?

Windows Driver Model (WDM) also know as “Win32 Driver Model” – is base structure for device drivers implemented in Windows 98 and Windows 2000 as replacement for VxD, which was the base structure for Windows 95 and Windows 3.1 including Windows NT Driver Model, the earlier windows version.

WDM drivers are well designed to follow device communication hierarchy using I/O (Input/Output) request packets (IRPs), in layman’s term its the piece of codes that tells what electronic devices (ICs, Transistors, capacitors, etc) will do. Remember that it’s a digital communication meaning their communication is just “1” and “0” which can be translated to “Open” and “Close”. Because of Windows different driver structure, compatibility is a major consideration. Below is the basic compatibility table.

Window version Capability
Win 3.1 No
Win NT 4.0 No
Win 95 No
Win 98 Yes
Win ME Yes
Win 98 SE Yes
Win 2000 Yes
Win XP Yes
Win Server 2003 Yes
Win Vista Yes
Win 7 Yes

So our driver now these days are WDM driver and because of its forward compatibility this driver base may be available for next couple of Window version.

All computer equipment needs to communicate to our Window Operation System before it become useful to us. That is the simple reason why Windows driver are also important to us.

So that is concludes our basic Windows driver backgounder.