Summary of Read/Write Dispatch Routines

Keep the following points in mind when implementing a DispatchRead, DispatchWrite, or DispatchReadWrite routine:

  • It is the responsibility of the highest-level driver in a chain of layered drivers to check the parameters of incoming read/write IRPs for validity before setting up the next-lower-level driver's I/O stack location in an IRP.

  • Intermediate and lowest-level drivers generally can rely on the highest-level driver in their chain to pass down transfer requests with valid parameters. However, any driver can perform sanity checks on the parameters in its I/O stack location of an IRP, and each device driver should check the parameters for conditions that might violate any restrictions imposed by its device.

  • If a DispatchReadWrite routine completes an IRP with an error, it should set the I/O stack location Status member with an appropriate NTSTATUS-type value, set the Information member to zero, and call IoCompleteRequest with the IRP and a PriorityBoost of IO_NO_INCREMENT.

  • If a driver uses buffered I/O, it might need to define a structure to contain data to be transferred and might need to buffer some number of these structures internally.

  • If a driver uses direct I/O, it might need to check whether the MDL at Irp->MdlAddress describes a buffer containing too much data (or too many page breaks) for the underlying device to handle in a single transfer operation. If so, the driver must split up the original transfer request into a sequence of smaller transfer operations.

    A closely coupled class driver might split up such a request in its DispatchReadWrite routine for its underlying port driver. SCSI class drivers, particularly for mass-storage devices, are required to do this. For more information about requirements for SCSI drivers, see Storage Drivers.

  • A lower-level device driver's DispatchReadWrite routine should postpone splitting a large transfer request into partial transfers until another driver routine dequeues the IRP to set up the device for the transfer.

  • If a lower-level device driver queues a read/write IRP for further processing by its own routines, it must call IoMarkIrpPending before it queues the IRP. The DispatchReadWrite routine also must return control with STATUS_PENDING in these circumstances.

  • If the DispatchReadWrite routine passes an IRP on to lower drivers, it must set up the I/O stack location for the next-lower driver in the IRP. Whether the higher-level driver also sets an IoCompletion routine in the IRP before passing it on with IoCallDriver depends on the design of the driver and of those layered under it.

    However, a higher-level driver must call IoSetCompletionRoutine before it calls IoCallDriver if it allocates any resources, such as IRPs or memory. Its IoCompletion routine must free any driver-allocated resources when lower drivers have completed the request but before the IoCompletion routine calls IoCompleteRequest with the original IRP.

  • If a higher-level driver allocates IRPs for lower drivers that might include an underlying removable-media device driver, the allocating driver must establish the thread context in each IRP it allocates.

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