Bus Drivers

A bus driver services a bus controller, adapter, or bridge (see the Possible Driver Layers figure). Microsoft provides bus drivers for most common buses, such as PCI, PnpISA, SCSI, and USB. Other bus drivers can be provided by IHVs or OEMs. Bus drivers are required drivers; there is one bus driver for each type of bus on a machine. A bus driver can service more than one bus if there is more than one bus of the same type on the machine.

The primary responsibilities of a bus driver are to:

  • Enumerate the devices on its bus.

  • Respond to Plug and Play IRPs and power management IRPs.

  • Multiplex access to the bus (for some buses).

  • Generically administer the devices on its bus.

Bus drivers are essentially function drivers that also enumerate children.

During enumeration, a bus driver identifies the devices on its bus and creates device objects for them. (For information about device objects, see Device Objects and Device Stacks.) The method a bus driver uses to identify connected devices depends on the particular bus.

A bus driver performs certain operations on behalf of the devices on its bus, including accessing device registers to physically change the power state of a device. For example, when the device goes to sleep, the bus driver sets device registers to put the device in the proper device power state.

Note, however, that a bus driver does not handle read and write requests for the child devices that are connect to its bus. Read and write requests to a child device are handled by the child device's function driver does the parent bus driver handle reads and writes for the device.

Because a bus driver acts as the function driver for its controller, adapter, or bridge, it also manages device power policy for these components.

A bus driver can be implemented as a driver/minidriver pair, the way a SCSI port/miniport driver pair drives a SCSI host bus adapter (HBA). In such driver pairs, the minidriver is linked to the second driver, which is a DLL.