Windows Driver Development

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I/O Control Codes (IOCTLs)

IOCTL is a UNIX term.

From the Wikipedia article, “ioctl”.

A Win32 DeviceIoControl takes as parameters:

  1. an open object handle (the Win32 equivalent of a file descriptor)
  2. a request code number (the “control code”)
  3. a buffer for input parameters
  4. length of the input buffer
  5. a buffer for output results
  6. length of the output buffer
  7. an OVERLAPPED structure, if overlapped I/O is being used.

Interrupt Request Level (IRQL)

The IRQL can be tempoarily raised at any point, but can only be lowered by the routine that raised it.


All user code, and most kernel code is executed at this level.


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Level 3 and above (except for one, called HIGH_LEVEL, see below) are interrupts reserved for connecting to hardware devices, and are known as (DIRQL ).

Driver Stack

A hardware device has not one, but many drivers which work together to provide the correct functionality. These are implemented on a “driver stack”.

Filter Drivers

Windows Driver Development Kit (WDK)

The compiler bundled with the WDK is optimised for driver development, and should not be used for standard C/C++ applications (and vise versa).

Windows Driver Model (WDM)

The Windows driver model was first included with Windows 98 and replaces the older VxD driver model.

Windows Driver Foundation (WDF)

The Windows driver foundation is event driven and object-orientated.

User Mode Driver Framework (UMDF)

Kernel Mode Driver Framework (KMDF)


Geoffrey Hunter

Dude making stuff.

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