Microsoft Windows CE 3.0  

Developing Native Device Drivers

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To port Windows© CE to a target platform, you must provide device drivers for the devices built into your platform. Some types of devices — such as keyboards, displays, and PC Card sockets — have a custom interface to the operating system. The drivers for these types of devices are called native device drivers because the interfaces they use are specific to Windows CE.

In general, native device drivers are of interest only to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who build Windows CE–based platforms. Independent hardware vendors (IHVs) who develop drivers for add-on hardware have no need to design or customize native device drivers. Therefore, the following sections regarding native device drivers are directed primarily to OEMs.

Microsoft defines custom interfaces for each type of native device driver. However, although each type of native device driver has a custom interface, native device drivers present a standard set of functionality for all devices of a particular class. This enables the Windows CE operating system to treat all instances of a particular device class alike, despite any physical differences. For example, many Windows CE–based platforms use some type of LCD panel as a display. However, there is a wide variety of these panels on the market that have different operating characteristics, such as resolution, bit depth, memory interleaving, and so on. By making all display drivers conform to the same interface, Windows CE can treat all display devices the same, regardless of the physical differences between the devices themselves.

Some drivers are statically linked to an executable, while other are built as DLLs and loaded at boot time or as needed.

Microsoft Windows CE Platform Builder version 3.0 provides sample native device drivers for the CEPC and ODO platforms: