Getting Started with Windows Drivers
Starting at some point after Windows 10, version 2004, drivers that run on Windows will be classified as either Windows Drivers or Windows Desktop Drivers.
The Windows Driver classification will extend and replace the current Universal Driver classification.
This page provides a preview of the upcoming requirements for Windows Drivers.
The distinction between Windows Drivers and Windows Desktop Drivers does not affect any driver being submitted and certified for Windows 10 Version 2004. Changes in certification and submission will happen at a later date.
Windows Drivers Requirements
When Windows Drivers become a certification option, the following requirements will apply:
- Compliant with DCH Design Principles.
- Follow the principles of Driver Package Isolation.
- Follow API Layering Requirements.
- Certified with Windows Hardware Compatibility Program Certification Process using the Hardware Lab Kit. Note that the Windows Hardware Compatibility Program Certification Process requirements apply to both KMDF and UMDF drivers.
Windows Drivers vs. Windows Desktop Drivers
The following table summarizes the distinctions above:
|Feature||Windows Drivers||Windows Desktop Drivers|
|Runs on Windows Desktop||Yes||Yes|
|Runs on non-Desktop variants of Windows||Yes||No|
|Must be certified with WHCP||Yes||No|
|WDK & HLK are primary vehicles for developing and certifying drivers||Yes||Yes|
|Adhere to stricter reliability and serviceability requirements (e.g. driver package isolation)||Yes||No|
While it won't be required for a driver running only on Windows Desktop to meet the additional requirements for a Windows Driver, doing so will enhance driver serviceability and reliability, as well as preparing the driver for possible future certification on non-Desktop variants of Windows.