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Inside Windows Storage: Server Storage Technologies for Windows® 2000, Windows® Server 2003, and Beyond by Dilip C. Naik

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1.1. Windows Kernel Mode and User Mode

This book uses the terms kernel mode and user mode regularly. Before we see how they are defined, a bit of background is in order.

Windows NT has been designed as a portable operating system with all processor- and hardware-dependent code isolated in a module called the hardware abstraction layer (HAL), which is described in Section 1.3.1. Although Windows NT did indeed once run on multiple processors, including PowerPC and Alpha, it is now supported only on Intel and Intel-compatible processors. Some basic details of the Intel x86 architecture are presented here so that the details of Windows NT presented later can be appreciated. This section does not attempt to describe all the features of the Intel x86 ...

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