Levels of Support for PnP

The extent to which a device supports PnP depends on the PnP support in both the device hardware and the device drivers (see the following table).

PnP driver Non-PnP driver

PnP Device

Full PnP

No PnP

Non-PnP Device

Possible partial PnP

No PnP

Any device that supports PnP should have PnP support in its drivers.

A non-PnP device can have some PnP capability if it is driven by a PnP driver. For example, an ISA sound card or an EISA network card can be manually installed and then a PnP driver can treat the card like a PnP device.

If a driver does not support PnP, its devices behave as non-PnP devices regardless of any hardware PnP support. A non-PnP driver can constrain the PnP and power management capabilities of the whole system.

Legacy drivers (that is, drivers written before the operating system supported PnP) continue to work as they did previously, without any PnP capability. New drivers should include PnP support.

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