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The architecture of Windows NT , a line of operating systems produced and sold by Microsoft , is a layered design that consists of two main components, user mode and kernel mode. It is a preemptive , reentrant multitasking operating system, which has been designed to work with uniprocessor and symmetrical multiprocessor SMP -based computers.

Starting with Windows XP , Microsoft began making bit versions of Windows available; before this, there were only bit versions of these operating systems. Programs and subsystems in user mode are limited in terms of what system resources they have access to, while the kernel mode has unrestricted access to the system memory and external devices.

Kernel mode in Windows NT has full access to the hardware and system resources of the computer. The Windows NT kernel is a hybrid kernel ; the architecture comprises a simple kernel , hardware abstraction layer HAL , drivers, and a range of services collectively named Executive , which all exist in kernel mode.

The user mode layer of Windows NT is made up of the “Environment subsystems”, which run applications written for many different types of operating systems, and the “Integral subsystem”, which operates system-specific functions on behalf of environment subsystems. The kernel mode stops user mode services and applications from accessing critical areas of the operating system that they should not have access to.

The kernel sits between the hardware abstraction layer and the Executive to provide multiprocessor synchronization , thread and interrupt scheduling and dispatching, and trap handling and exception dispatching. The kernel is also responsible for initializing device drivers at bootup.

Kernel mode drivers exist in three levels: highest level drivers, intermediate drivers and low-level drivers. Windows Driver Model WDM exists in the intermediate layer and was mainly designed to be binary and source compatible between Windows 98 and Windows The lowest level drivers are either legacy Windows NT device drivers that control a device directly or can be a plug and play PnP hardware bus.

The interface between user mode applications and operating system kernel functions is called an “environment subsystem. This mechanism was designed to support applications written for many different types of operating systems. None of the environment subsystems can directly access hardware; access to hardware functions is done by calling into kernel mode routines.

The Win32 environment subsystem can run bit Windows applications. It contains the console as well as text window support, shutdown and hard-error handling for all other environment subsystems. Win16 programs, however, run in a Win16 VDM. Each program, by default, runs in the same process, thus using the same address space, and the Win16 VDM gives each program its own thread on which to run.

The Win32 environment subsystem process csrss. It handles input events such as from the keyboard and mouse , then passes messages to the applications that need to receive this input.

Each application is responsible for drawing or refreshing its own windows and menus, in response to these messages. The security subsystem deals with security tokens, grants or denies access to user accounts based on resource permissions, handles login requests and initiates login authentication, and determines which system resources need to be audited by Windows NT.

Windows NT kernel mode has full access to the hardware and system resources of the computer and runs code in a protected memory area. The kernel mode stops user mode services and applications from accessing critical areas of the operating system that they should not have access to; user mode processes must ask the kernel mode to perform such operations on their behalf.

While the x86 architecture supports four different privilege levels numbered 0 to 3 , only the two extreme privilege levels are used. These two levels are often referred to as “ring 3” and “ring 0”, respectively. Code running in kernel mode includes: the executive, which is itself made up of many modules that do specific tasks; the kernel , which provides low-level services used by the Executive; the Hardware Abstraction Layer HAL ; and kernel drivers.

Grouped together, the components can be called Executive services internal name Ex. System Services internal name Nt , i. The term “service” in this context generally refers to a callable routine, or set of callable routines.

This is distinct from the concept of a “service process”, which is a user mode component somewhat analogous to a daemon in Unix-like operating systems. The kernel sits between the HAL and the Executive and provides multiprocessor synchronization, thread and interrupt scheduling and dispatching, and trap handling and exception dispatching; it is also responsible for initializing device drivers at bootup that are necessary to get the operating system up and running.

That is, the kernel performs almost all the tasks of a traditional microkernel ; the strict distinction between Executive and Kernel is the most prominent remnant of the original microkernel design, and historical design documentation consistently refers to the kernel component as “the microkernel”.

The kernel often interfaces with the process manager. The Windows NT design includes many of the same objectives as Mach , the archetypal microkernel system, one of the most important being its structure as a collection of modules that communicate via well-known interfaces, with a small microkernel limited to core functions such as first-level interrupt handling, thread scheduling and synchronization primitives.

This allows for the possibility of using either direct procedure calls or interprocess communication IPC to communicate between modules, and hence for the potential location of modules in different address spaces for example in either kernel space or server processes. Other design goals shared with Mach included support for diverse architectures, a kernel with abstractions general enough to allow multiple operating system personalities to be implemented on top of it and an object-oriented organisation.

On versions of NT prior to 4. For performance reasons, however, in version 4. Applications that run on NT are written to one of the OS personalities usually the Windows API , and not to the native NT API for which documentation is not publicly available with the exception of routines used in device driver development. An OS personality is implemented via a set of user-mode DLLs see Dynamic-link library , which are mapped into application processes’ address spaces as required, together with an emulation subsystem server process as described previously.

Applications access system services by calling into the OS personality DLLs mapped into their address spaces, which in turn call into the NT run-time library ntdll.

The NT run-time library services these requests by trapping into kernel mode to either call kernel-mode Executive routines or make Local Procedure Calls LPCs to the appropriate user-mode subsystem server processes, which in turn use the NT API to communicate with application processes, the kernel-mode subsystems and each other. Windows NT uses kernel-mode device drivers to enable it to interact with hardware devices. Each of the drivers has well defined system routines and internal routines that it exports to the rest of the operating system.

Kernel mode drivers exist in three levels: highest level drivers, intermediate drivers and low level drivers. Intermediate drivers consist of function drivers—or main driver for a device—that are optionally sandwiched between lower and higher level filter drivers.

The function driver then relies on a bus driver—or a driver that services a bus controller, adapter, or bridge—which can have an optional bus filter driver that sits between itself and the function driver. Intermediate drivers rely on the lowest level drivers to function. The lowest level drivers are either legacy Windows NT device drivers that control a device directly or can be a PnP hardware bus. These lower level drivers directly control hardware and do not rely on any other drivers.

The Windows NT hardware abstraction layer HAL is a layer between the physical hardware of the computer and the rest of the operating system. It was designed to hide differences in hardware and provide a consistent platform on which the kernel is run. However, despite its purpose and designated place within the architecture, the HAL isn’t a layer that sits entirely below the kernel, the way the kernel sits below the Executive: All known HAL implementations depend in some measure on the kernel, or even the Executive.

In practice, this means that kernel and HAL variants come in matching sets that are specifically constructed to work together. In particular hardware abstraction does not involve abstracting the instruction set, which generally falls under the wider concept of portability.

Abstracting the instruction set, when necessary such as for handling the several revisions to the x86 instruction set, or emulating a missing math coprocessor , is performed by the kernel, or via hardware virtualization. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Windows NT kernel. For the Windows NT kernel image, see ntoskrnl. For the Windows 9x kernel, see Architecture of Windows 9x. Overview of the architecture of the Microsoft Windows NT line of operating systems.

Microsoft Windows Professional Resource Kit. Retrieved O’Reilly and Associates, Inc. ISBN Windows NT Workstation documentation. Microsoft TechNet. Archived from the original on 15 December Archived from the original on 10 February Russinovich; David A.

Solomon; Alex Ionescu. Windows Internals, Fifth Edition. Microsoft Press. Archived from the original on 13 January Microsoft Corporation. Finnel, Lynn Russinovich, Mark October Windows IT Pro. Solomon, David ; Russinovich, Mark E. Inside Microsoft Windows Third ed. Archived from the original on Russinovich, Mark ; Solomon, David Microsoft Windows Internals 4th ed. Schreiber, Sven B. Undocumented Windows Secrets. Addison-Wesley Longman.

Siyan, Kanajit S. Windows Professional Reference. New Riders. Microsoft Windows components. Solitaire Collection Surf. Mahjong Minesweeper.

Category List. Hidden categories: Articles with short description Short description with empty Wikidata description All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from August Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history.


Windows server 2003 standard r2 32 bit iso free. Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition with Service Pack 2


Originally developed in for use on floppy disks , it was adapted for use on hard disks and other devices. It is often supported for compatibility reasons by current operating systems for personal computers and many mobile devices and embedded systems , allowing interchange of data between disparate systems.

The FAT standard has also been expanded in other ways while generally preserving backward compatibility with existing software. FAT is no longer the default file system for Microsoft Windows computers. FAT file systems are still commonly found on floppy disks, flash and other solid-state memory cards and modules including USB flash drives , as well as many portable and embedded devices. The file system uses an index table stored on the device to identify chains of data storage areas associated with a file, the File Allocation Table FAT.

The FAT is statically allocated at the time of formatting. The table is a linked list of entries for each cluster , a contiguous area of disk storage. Each entry contains either the number of the next cluster in the file, or else a marker indicating the end of the file, unused disk space, or special reserved areas of the disk. The root directory of the disk contains the number of the first cluster of each file in that directory.

The operating system can then traverse the FAT, looking up the cluster number of each successive part of the disk file as a cluster chain until the end of the file is reached. Sub-directories are implemented as special files containing the directory entries of their respective files. Each entry in the FAT linked list is a fixed number of bits: 12, 16 or The maximum size of a file or a disk drive that can be accessed is the product of the largest number that can be stored in the entries less a few values reserved to indicate unallocated space or the end of a list and the size of the disk cluster.

Even if only one byte of storage is needed to extend a file, an entire cluster must be allocated to it, so large clusters waste much disk space if there are large numbers of small files.

Originally designed as an 8-bit file system, the maximum number of clusters must increase as disk drive capacity increases, and so the number of bits used to identify each cluster has grown.

The FAT file system has been used since for computers, and it is still frequently used in embedded systems. Compatible file systems make it easier to exchange data between, for example, desktop computers and portable devices.

FAT file systems are the default for removable media such as floppy disks , super-floppies , memory and flash memory cards or USB flash drives. FAT is supported by portable devices such as PDAs , digital cameras , camcorders , media players , and mobile phones. FAT is still used in hard drives expected to be used by multiple operating systems, such as in shared Windows, Linux and DOS environments.

Microsoft Windows additionally comes with a pre-installed tool to convert a FAT file system into NTFS directly without the need to rewrite all files, though this can not be reversed directly.

Many operating systems provide support for FAT-formatted media through built-in or third-party file system handlers. The DCF file system adopted by almost all digital cameras since defines a logical file system with 8. Operating system utilities may not identify which version will be used to format a device. Values stored in the disk parameter block can be used to identify the file structure. Specific threshold values for the number of clusters, stored in the disk parameter block, define which FAT type is used.

Paterson also increased the nine-character 6. FAT12 used bit entries for the cluster addresses; some values were reserved to mark the end of a chain of clusters, to mark unusable areas of the disk, or for other purposes, so the maximum number of clusters was limited to This was sufficient for the original floppy disk drives, and small hard disk up to 32 megabytes.

All the control structures fit inside the first track, to avoid head movement during read and write operations. Any bad sector in the control structures area would make the disk unusable. The DOS formatting tool rejected such disks completely. Bad sectors were allowed only in the file data area. While DOS supported three disk formats PC DOS 2. PC DOS 1. At this time, DOS did not support sub-directories, but typically there were only a few dozen files on a diskette.

The fixed assumption of 8 sectors per clusters on hard disks practically limited the maximum partition size to 16 MB for byte sectors and 4 KB clusters. MS-DOS 3. FAT12 remains in use on all common floppy disks , including 1. Cluster addresses were increased to bit, allowing for up to 65, clusters per volume. However, the maximum possible number of sectors and the maximum partition size of 32 MB did not change. Although cluster addresses were 16 bits, this format was not what today is commonly understood as FAT A partition type 0x04 indicates this form of FAT16 with less than 65, sectors less than 32 MB for sector size The benefit of FAT16 was the use of smaller clusters, making disk usage more efficient, particularly for large numbers of files only a few hundred bytes in size.

Other vendors worked around the volume size limits imposed by the bit sector entries by increasing the apparent size of the sectors the file system operated on. These logical sectors were larger up to bytes than the physical sector size still bytes on the disk. These changes were transparent to the file system implementation in the DOS kernel. The underlying DOS-BIOS translated these logical sectors into physical sectors according to partitioning information and the drive’s physical geometry.

The drawback of this approach was increased memory used for sector buffering and deblocking. While non-standard and sub-optimal, these FAT variants are perfectly valid according to the specifications of the file system itself. The MBR of a hard disk can either define up to four primary partitions, or an extended partition in addition to up to three primary partitions. Although the on-disk changes were minor, the entire DOS disk driver had to be converted to use bit sector numbers, a task complicated by the fact that it was written in bit assembly language.

The result was initially called the DOS 3. Technically, it is known as FAT16B. Since older versions of DOS were not designed to cope with more than 65, sectors, it was necessary to introduce a new partition type for this format in order to hide it from pre The original form of FAT16 with less than 65, sectors had a partition type 0x To deal with disks larger than this, type 0x06 was introduced to indicate 65, or more sectors.

In addition to this, the disk driver was expanded to cope with more than 65, sectors as well. Therefore, newer operating systems supporting the FAT16B format can cope also with the original FAT16 format without any necessary changes. If partitions to be used by pre-DOS 3.

In practice however, type 0x01 and 0x04 primary partitions should not be physically located outside the first 32 MB of the disk, due to other restrictions in MS-DOS 2. The limit on partition size was dictated by the 8-bit signed count of sectors per cluster, which originally had a maximum power-of-two value of With the standard hard disk sector size of bytes, this gives a maximum of 32 KB cluster size, thereby fixing the “definitive” limit for the FAT16 partition size at 2 GB for sector size On magneto-optical media, which can have 1 or 2 KB sectors instead of 0.

Much later, Windows NT increased the maximum cluster size to 64 KB, by considering the sectors-per-cluster count as unsigned.

However, the resulting format was not compatible with any other FAT implementation of the time, and it generated greater internal fragmentation. Windows 98 , SE and ME also supported reading and writing this variant, but its disk utilities did not work with it and some FCB services are not available for such volumes. This contributes to a confusing compatibility situation. Partitions partially or fully located beyond the CHS barrier therefore had to be hidden from non-LBA-enabled operating systems by using the new partition type 0x0E in the partition table instead.

The number of root directory entries available for FAT12 and FAT16 is determined when the volume is formatted, and is stored in a bit field.

Some third-party tools, like mkdosfs, allow the user to set this parameter. In order to overcome the volume size limit of FAT16, while at the same time allowing DOS real-mode code to handle the format, Microsoft designed a new version of the file system, FAT32 , which supported an increased number of possible clusters, but could reuse most of the existing code, so that the conventional memory footprint was increased by less than 5 KB under DOS.

The FAT32 boot sector uses a bit field for the sector count, limiting the maximal FAT32 volume size to 2 terabytes with a sector size of bytes. This limit is a consequence of the 4-byte file length entry in the directory table and would also affect relatively huge FAT16 partitions enabled by a sufficient sector size.

The acquisition of the driver from official sources is no longer possible. This file is indexed by two previously reserved bytes in the file’s or directory’s directory entry at offset 0x IFS version 0. The driver also utilizes the byte at offset 0x0C in directory entries to store a special mark byte indicating the presence of extended attributes to help speed up things. It does not support the FAT One of the user experience goals for the designers of Windows 95 was the ability to use long filenames LFNs—up to UTF code units long , [nb 1] in addition to classic 8.

For backward and forward compatibility LFNs were implemented as an optional extension on top of the existing FAT file system structures using a workaround in the way directory entries are laid out. Non VFAT-enabled operating systems can still access the files under their short file name alias without restrictions; however, the associated long file names may be lost when files with long filenames are copied under non VFAT-aware operating systems.

Human68K supported up to If enabled, the virtual filenames VFN are available under separate logical drive letters, whereas the real filenames RFN remain available under the original drive letters.

The FAT file system itself is not designed for supporting alternate data streams ADS , but some operating systems that heavily depend on them have devised various methods for handling them on FAT volumes. FRK “, in every directory where they are used.

From PC Exchange 2. For larger files it utilized a performance feature named Turbo FAT. FATX is a family of file systems designed for Microsoft ‘s Xbox video game console hard disk drives and memory cards , [57] [58] introduced in Directory entries are 64 bytes in size instead of the normal 32 bytes. Files can have filenames up to 42 characters long using the OEM character set and be up to 4 GB minus 1 byte in size.

On the Xbox , the epoch is It is loosely based on the File Allocation Table architecture, but incompatible, proprietary and protected by patents.

Vendors usually pre-format SDXC cards with it. Microsoft applied for, and was granted, a series of patents for key parts of the FAT file system in the mids. However, in , the USPTO ruled that features of Microsoft’s implementation of the FAT system were “novel and non-obvious”, reversing both earlier decisions and leaving the patents valid. In February , Microsoft filed a patent infringement lawsuit against TomTom alleging that the device maker’s products infringe on patents related to VFAT long filenames.


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