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Windows Kernel Development

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  • User profile image
    Gandalf

    I have great interest in all manner of operating systems. I have read about Linux a lot, and some research on experimental operating systems, but I haven't found much on the Windows kernel. I've been skimming the forums, searching for anything that might be interesting about Windows kernel development. I cannot seem to find much discussion on it, save the one video on "managed kernels" by Christopher Brumme, and the occasional mention of Singularity.

    I wonder, what goes on at Microsoft on Windows kernel development? Is there anyone on the team here? Is there anything you'd want to share with us (within reason, that isn't confidential etc.). Is there any online resource that describes the inner workings of Windows? Is there anyone who would like to humour the curiosity of the Grey Wanderer?



  • User profile image
    rhm

    Not sure what's available online. You can start with the book Inside Windows 2000 (not sure if there's an XP update) by David A. Solomon and Mark E. Russinovich, MS Press (obviously Smiley.  That's not really aimed at kernel developers or device driver writers (usually the only people outside MS who write kernel space code), but it's a lot like other OS books.

    If you want hard facts like header files with structures in them then you want the device driver development kit (DDK). Not sure if you can just download that anymore or whether you have to have a MSDN subscription, but the documentation included with that is pretty extensive.

  • User profile image
    Gandalf

    Thank you very much for the pointer, I must look for that book sometime. I'm more interested in the inner workings and algorithms of the core kernel rather than writing device drivers. I was just wondering if there are any Windows kernel people reading these forums, if there's anything special being done with the upcoming Windows kernel and if there'll be any videos by the team. Thanks again.


  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    If we're recommending books, I particularly like "Operating System Concepts" by Silberschatz, Galvin & Gagne. The largest chunk of the book is just generic OS design techniques (not Windows specific) but it does contain sizeable chapters on the workings of both Linux and Windows XP.

    It may not be exactly what you're looking for, but it is a very interesting read!

  • User profile image
    Gandalf

    Sven Groot wrote:
    If we're recommending books, I particularly like "Operating System Concepts" by Silberschatz, Galvin & Gagne. The largest chunk of the book is just generic OS design techniques (not Windows specific) but it does contain sizeable chapters on the workings of both Linux and Windows XP.

    It may not be exactly what you're looking for, but it is a very interesting read!


    I am familiar with Silberschatz et. al., though I have not read the lastest edition of the book. I will try to look for it. I wonder if it still has dinosaurs on the cover.


  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    It does on my version (which has a chapter on Win2k, not XP, so it's not the latest). Wink

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Gandalf wrote:
    Thank you very much for the pointer, I must look for that book sometime. I'm more interested in the inner workings and algorithms of the core kernel rather than writing device drivers. I was just wondering if there are any Windows kernel people reading these forums, if there's anything special being done with the upcoming Windows kernel and if there'll be any videos by the team. Thanks again.




    We will be posting a series of videos soon that are focused on kernel-level thinking. I too am very interested in the future of the Windows kernel and what changes lie ahead...

    Stay tuned to Channel 9 for an upcoming new series Deep Windows.

    Cheers,

    Charles

  • User profile image
    eddwo

    I have a copy of Inside Windows 2000, which is very interesting. Their latest book "Windows Internals 4th Edition" came out in December and contains updated information on XP and 2k3, but I am still awaiting my order from Amazon.co.uk.

    There is also a fairly large chapter on Win2k in Andrew Tanenbaum's "Modern Operating Systems" which I studied at university,  thats what got me interested in operating system design in general.

    I don't think I'd be capable of writing kernel level code, at least not yet, but its nice to be able to find out how things really work under the hood.

    It just makes you realise how badly misinformed the /. crowd is about how NT works, I know a lot of them moved off Windows from 9x, but still, as computing professionals they ought to take at least a cursory interest. "IE in the kernel","No real security" pah.

    The big changes for Longhorn seem to be the "Glitch-Free" audio and video playback, which will involve some scheduler changes to guarantee minimum periods of execution for time-critical operations.

    There aren't many MSDN bloggers that discuss kernel issues. Larry goes into it from time to time, but mostly from a historical perspective, and Rob Earhart http://blogs.msdn.com/earhart/ appears to be on the kernel team.

  • User profile image
    The​Programmer

    I have a question about the Windows XP kernel. Does it get updated? Are we using the same kernel that it came out in Oct 2001?

    Fodera Core Linux gets a kernel update every 2 to 3 weeks. Sometimes that's really annoying. Besides, I have never heard about Windows XP kernel get updated.

    Does Windows XP kernel get updated?



    Thanks

  • User profile image
    eddwo

    Yes it does get updated. Certainly with service packs and sometimes with security updates as well.
    The kernel image itself is ntoskrnl.exe and you can look at the list of files updated in each service pack and security update on TechNet.

    A recent update is Security Bulleting MS04-044
    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms04-044.mspx

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