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Windows Vista Security: Praxisorientierte Sicherheit für Profis by Marcus Nasarek

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Chapter 5: Customizing Your Computer’s Hardware Devices
Early FireWire implementations, which I’ll call standard FireWire (as opposed to the
FireWire, FireWire 100, or FireWire 200 designation), have a different number of
pins on their connector cables and a different number of connectors on their ports.
Because of this, you can tell standard FireWire and FireWire 400 apart by looking
closely at the cables and ports. If you look closely at standard FireWire cables and
ports, you’ll see four pins or four connectors. If you look closely at FireWire 400
cables and ports, you’ll see six pins or six connectors. FireWire 400 cables may also
be slightly thicker than standard FireWire cables (because they have more wires and
require more shielding than standard FireWire).
When you are purchasing an external device for your computer, you’ll also want to
consider how easy it is to connect the device to different systems. Although just about
all Windows-based computers have USB 1.0 or higher ports, not all computers have
FireWire ports. Because of this, if you are purchasing an external device for use at
home and at the office, you may want to get a device that supports USB. For a bit more
money, you also may be able to get a device with a dual interface that supports USB 2.0
and FireWire 400, or a triple interface that supports USB 2.0, FireWire 400, and Fire-
Wire 800. A device with dual or triple interfaces will give you more options.
Hardware Installation: What You Need to Know
Each hardware device installed on your computer has an associated device driver.
The device driver tells the operating system how to use the hardware abstraction
layer (HAL) to work with the related hardware device. The HAL in turn performs the
low-level communications with the hardware device. When you install a hardware
device through the operating system, you are essentially telling the operating system
about the device driver it uses, and this is what allows the operating system to work
with the device.
When you are installing hardware devices and working with device drivers, you need
to know:
Where the operating system stores device drivers
How the operating system validates device drivers
When the operating system checks for driver updates
You’ll find answers to these questions in the sections that follow.
Where Does the Operating System Store Device Drivers?
Windows Vista has an extensive library of device drivers, which are maintained in the
driver store. You’ll find the driver store in the %SystemRoot%\System32\DriverStore
folder. Within the driver store, you’ll find subfolders with localized driver informa-
tion for each language component configured on the system. For example, for local-
ized U.S. English driver information, you’ll find a subfolder called en-US.
Hardware Installation: What You Need to Know
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The driver store also has a file repository containing nearly ten thousand files that
support tens of thousands of different devices. The file repository is located in the
%SystemRoot%\System32\DriverStore\FileRepository folder. The purpose of the file
repository is to be the main storage location for device drivers. As you install updates
and service packs for the operating system, you may also be updating or changing
driver information files in the file repository.
Microsoft has certified every device driver in the driver store to be fully compatible
with Windows Vista. These drivers are also digitally signed by Microsoft to ensure
their authenticity. When you install a Plug and Play hardware device, Windows Vista
checks the driver store for a compatible device driver. If a device driver is found,
Windows Vista automatically installs the device.
In the file repository, device drivers are organized by device class. In the various sub-
folders, you’ll find .inf and .sys files for each device driver. You may also find .man
and .dll files for drivers.
All device drivers have an associated Setup Information file, which ends with the .inf
extension. The .inf file is a text file containing detailed configuration information
about particular classes of devices or a related set of devices. As an example, the
msmouse.inf file has driver information for logical serial mouse and logical PS/2
mouse devices from Microsoft (see Figure 5-3).
Figure 5-3. Viewing the devices associated with the driver file

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