Understanding Windows CE 6's Device Driver Model

The new kernel architecture of Windows CE 6.0 includes changes in the device driver model. Check out Mike Hall interviewing Juggs Ravalia, of the Windows CE development team, to learn more.

Prior to CE 6, device drivers ran under the control of the device driver manager, in one of the 32 process slots in the lower 2 GB of virtual memory allocated to User Space. In the new model, many of the core OS services, such as the device manager, windowing event subsystem, and filesystem, are moving to kernel space.

As a result, driver developers now have the ability to create either kernel mode or user mode drivers. Kernel mode drivers offer better performance, but have the ability to crash the system because everything in the kernel is in the same memory space. User mode drivers, meanwhile, offer better stability because they can be isolated in separate protected process spaces.

The the 43-minute Channel 9 video is available for viewing, here.