A quick search in the web reveals that the number of the books that are related to windows device drivers can be counted with the fingers of one hand. Even worse, most of the books are either too old (published before or around windows 2000) and/or not easily readable. Another problem is that the Windows Driver Model (WDM) is becoming more complex as time passes, so the newer books are relatively more complex to read than the older ones.
Based on all of this and after looking at different book reviews, I decided to read a few books that make it easier for a beginner to get an insight on driver development.
So, I think that the best book to start with regarding driver development is Windows NT Device Driver Development (OSR Classic Reprints) (original version was published in 1997) by Peter G. Viscarola and W. Anthony Mason. This book is divided into 3 parts. The first part (chapters 1-8) talk about Windows internals fundamental concepts, like HAL, scheduling, virtual memory, registry, etc. The second part (chapters 9-20) is the bulk of the book and talks about the development of device drivers. Actually, this can be further subdivided into chapters 8-10, which talk about the I/O manager, 11-17, which is the core part of the book (DriverEntry, Dispatch routines, Interrupt Service Routines, Deffered Procedure Calls, Programmed I/O and DMA), and chapters 18-20, which talk about building and debugging a driver. Finally, chapters 21-24 talk about alternate NT driver architectures, like File system drivers, SCSI drivers, Video miniport drivers and NDIS (network) miniport drivers. I think that there are both advantages and disadvantages in this book. I'll start with the advantages:
Of course, the book has also some disadvantages:
So, in order to solve the disadvantages of the first book, I think that the solution is to read The Windows 2000 Device Driver Book: A Guide for Programmers (2nd Edition) (published in 2000) by Art Baker and Jerry Lozano. The strengths of this book are exactly those above:
So, after finishing both these books and playing with the source code (and with the source code that can be found in the WDK or elsewhere in the net), I think that the next step is to read Programming the Microsoft Windows Driver Model, Second Edition (published in 2002) by Walter Oney. Again, this book has both advantages and disadvantages. This time, I'll start with the disadvantages :) :
Finally, I think that such a review would be incomplete, if I didn't refer to Microsoft Windows Internals, Fourth Edition: Microsoft Windows Server(TM) 2003, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 (Pro-Developer) (published in December 2004) by Mark E. Russinovich and David A. Solomon. This book doesn' t talk directly about writing device drivers, but it talks about windows internals in general. Some of them are covered in the above mentioned books, however this book is the newest of all and provides the most in-depth analysis. Also, chapter 9 is devoted specifically to the I/O manager and to windows device drivers, so it's definately worth to read. I especially like one particular section in chapter 9 that is titled "Structure of a Driver" and gives a high-level overview of all the components of a driver. That's exactly an important thing that is missing from Walter Oney's book and is not clearly explained in the rest of the books. So, according to the book, a windows device driver is composed of:
Here I would like to note that all the above books are for the Windows Driver Model. As I've mentioned many times before, Microsoft is changing the driver model for Windows Vista. However, there aren't any books for the Windows Driver Foundation (WDF - the new windows model) yet. The only public announcement for such a book is the Introduction to the Windows Driver Foundation - Kernel Mode Driver Framework by Peter Viscarola, Tony Mason, Mark Cariddi, Brenda Ryan, Scott Noone, and OSR.
This blog is the best one... Thanks for info.
i have found this as one of the finest references for device driver books.
great advice! i've been struggling to decide which one to begin with after reading some of the negative comments about these books on amazon.com, now your posting has shed some much needed light on this topic!
Simply the best review I ever read in the net. Now I got a very clear idea which book I should go for my WDM driver development project on XP.
I would like the driver book where i
can go over the book thank you.
There's one more book from Microsoft Press on the topic of drivers development with WDF: http://www.microsoft.com/MSPress/books/10512.aspx
Serge, that's true, however it was published after I wrote this article. I was one of the reviewers of the book that you are mentioning, however I haven't read all of it yet. I'll update the post, after I finish reading the book.
I will sound probably stupid to point out, but the sentence "so the newer books are relatively more complex to read than the newer ones." should end with older ones.
this is gold!... thanks iliast
You're right Tanveer. Thanks for the correction!
Your review is great ! Thanks for the info.
I have used the Oney book many times. It's helpful to have not only the theory, but samples that can be used as the basis for your own work. Thanks for the overviews.
thanks iliast. im going to start reading them.