The Windows I/O Model

The Windows I/O model governs how the system and associated drivers handle I/O requests. The model encompasses more than data transfers to and from a device—it operates as a general packet-based mechanism that handles communication between the clients who issue the requests and the device stack. Clients include applications, kernel subsystems such as the PnP manager, and the drivers themselves.

All Windows I/O requests are carried by I/O request packets (IRPs). In addition to carrying I/O-related requests that applications send to drivers—read, write, create, and so on—IRPs are also used to carry Plug and Play requests, power management requests, WMI requests, notifications of changes in device status, and queries about device ...

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