Managing Kernel Objects

The Windows Object Manager controls objects that are part of the kernel-mode operating system. An object is a collection of data that the operating system manages.

Typical kernel-mode objects include the following objects:

Kernel-mode objects enable you to manipulate objects in partnership with the object manager without damaging the portions of the objects that the operating system needs. This principle is called encapsulation and is one of the core concepts of object-oriented programming. (Because kernel-mode objects do not provide other aspects of object-orientation, kernel-mode programming is typically referred to as object-based.) Kernel-mode objects do not follow the same rules as objects in C++ or Microsoft COM.

Kernel-mode objects can be referenced by pointers. An object may have an object name. For more information about object names, see Object Names.

User-mode programmers can reference objects only through indirection, using a handle. If an object has a name, you can use it to obtain the handle in user mode. For more information about handles, see Object Handles.

Kernel-mode objects have a very specific life-cycle. For more information about object life-cycles, see Life Cycle of an Object.

Object security is a prime concern for kernel-mode programming. For more information on object security, see Object Security.

The kernel-mode environment stores objects in a virtual directory system, also known as the object namespace. This allows objects to be accessed in a hierarchical way with parent and child objects. This namespace is similar to a file system set of directories but does not exactly correspond to a particular file system on your computer. For more information about object directories, see Object Directories.