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The NT Insider

Welcome to the home of The NT Insider – the only publication dedicated entirely to Windows system software. For more than 20 years, OSR has been proud to serve as a definitive technical resource for the Windows driver development community, and the articles within the pages of The NT Insider are just one of many ways we “pay it forward”.

So, what might you find within the pages of this publication? How about:

Technical Articles – short and long format pieces authored by OSR staff, covering beginner and advanced topics, and delivered with the detail and authority that you’ve come to expect from OSR.

Peter Pontificates – if you ask Peter for his opinion (or even if you don’t), you’ll get it. OSR partner Peter Viscarola needs to vent, sometimes even on topics that are relevant to the driver development community.

Analyst’s Perspective – OSR’s resident crash analysis expert, Scott Noone, uses this column to enlighten us all on everything from debugging fundamentals, to tips and tricks of root-cause analysis.

Guest Articles – we haven’t got the time to spend on the universe of potential topics that could be useful to our readers, and rely on respected community members to fill in the gaps.

Interviews & Book Reviews & More! – news on industry conferences, OS changes, WDK updates, reviews of technical books or driver development tools/HW, and even the occasional interview with key Microsoft staff – all to keep you informed!

Subscribe to The NT Insider
It’s easy (and, of course, it’s free)! Just send a blank email to join-ntinsider@lists.osr.com. We’ll send you an email when each new issue of The NT Insider is published. No spam, no advertising email, no sharing your email address, no bullshit.

Issue 1 (Jan-Feb)

  • Peter Pontificates: Yes, it’s Windows 10… But Which Windows 10?
  • Best Practices for Windows Driver Developers
    Are you following them all?  You sure?
  • Making Device Objects Accessible… and SAFE
    How hard can it be?  You’ll be surprised.  It’s harder than we thought.
  • Develop and Test Complex Driver Code in User Mode
    User Mode isn’t just for app devs any more. It turns out, you can save time and annoyance by testing parts of your driver code in user mode, using Visual Studio.  See what we’re talking about.
  • Windows 10: What’s New for File Systems and File System Filters
    Somebody has to look at the header files and see what’s been added when a new version of Windows ships.  That’s what we’ve done.


Issue 1 (May-June)



Issue 1 (March-April)

  • Peter Pontificates: Progress Means Moving Forward
    Progress and the Windows Start Menu?
  • Happiness is Xperf
    A walkthrough of use of Xperf, including how to add and secure analysis from custom trace events
  • KMDF and UMDF Hints
    The OSR team catalog’s it’s top five hints to make developing and debugging WDF drivers easier
  • Logical and Physical File Sizes in Windows
    When you’re developing solutions at the file system level in Windows, it’s all about file sizes. Learn here, how allocation size, End of File (EOF) and Valid Data Length (VDL) are managed and interpreted within the scope of (for example) the Windows VM system.
  • Fix Your (Offline) Symbols
    Working in an isolated environment with no access to the Microsoft public symbol server? Community contributor David Boyce delves into detail on how to use SymChk with manifest files to help get you symbols setup correctly.

Issue 2 (July-August)

Issue 3 (November-December)


 

Issue 1 (Jan-Feb)

Issue 2 (May-June)

Issue 3 (Sept-Oct)

  • Peter Pontificates: To the Cloud
    What’s the connection between Russian proverbs, the Dancing Plague of 1518 and storing critical company data in the “cloud” have in common? Peter explains.
  • Understanding Sync Scope in WDF Drivers
    In the mult-threaded/multi-processor world we live in, synchronizing access to data structures is just part of what we do as driver devs. In this article, we introduce Sync Scope as an option that you may wish to consider to protect your shared data.
  • Updating Drivers with KDFiles
    KDFiles is worth another look as a tool to ensure you’re keeping an updated copy of your driver between your development and target machine.
  • Guest Article: Windows and Real-Time
    Latency and real-time requirements: a topic of well-deserved coverage with gratitude to community contributor, Daniel Terhell for making it happen.
  • Isolation Realized
    OSR describes the use of a Windows isolation filter as part of its next generation file encryption solution.

2014 Issue 4 (Nov-Dec)


Issue 1 (March-April)

  • MSBUILD 101
    The Windows 8 WDK brings full integration with Visual Studio to driver developers. This article includes some fundamentals for working with MSBUILD and a walk-through of an MSBUILD project
  • Introducing Reader/Writer Spin Locks
    New as of the Windows 8 WDK (and supported back to Vist SP1), reader-writer spin locks are a great addition to the Windows driver developer tool chest
  • The Inverted Call Model in KMDF
    Beginner driver developers often want to know how to best allow their user mode program to be notified of an event in a kernel mode driver. This article discusses the inverted call model as it pertains to KMDF drivers
  • Fixing Broken Debugger Extensions
    This article discusses some limitations in the information available in public symbols (PDB files) provided by the Windows OS, and how to address them to ensure correct operation of kernel debugging tools
  • Another Look at Lint
    This article offers another look at the PC-Lint software utility, a helpful run-time analysis solution, with insight into integration with the Windows Driver Kit to allow for a broader range of checks for your driver.
  • Peter Pontificates: Coming to the Surface
    Peter relishes a rare “win” as a prognosticator, and speaks of a hopeful future tied to his Windows Surface


Issue 1 (Jan-Feb)

  • The Wonderful World of Software Drivers
    Software drivers do not claim hardware resources, do not manage hardware, and do not attach to an existing stack that has a Function Driver – but whether PnP-aware or legacy-style, they are a commonly written driver for monitoring and reporting tasks in the kernel.
  • Peter Pontificates: Pods of Fun
    Peter sees the light on the iPad – better late than never…
  • The Isolation Driver (Part II)
    Isolation drivers are an effective means of separating physical views (the physical content of a file) from logical views (the logical content of a file). The second part of this article in a series moves on from the fundamental architecture of an isolation driver, into some of the issues involved in creating one.
  • Debugging Race Conditions
    Windows crash analysis is a learned skill, and learning how to debug race conditions is one of those skills that will serve you well down the road.
  • Analyst’s Perspective: Analyzing User Mode State from a Kernel Connection
    This article uses a practical example to explain how to perform user mode analysis from a kernel debug session

Issue 2 (May-June)

Issue 3 (Sept-Oct)


2010 Issue1 (May-June)

2010 Issue2 (July-Aug)