Download (direct link):
On a related note, all the drivers supplied by Microsoft are in the file DRIVER.CAB in C:\WINDOWS\DRIVER CACHE\I386. Every file in this cabinet archive has a Microsoft digital signature. Having all the drivers already on the hard disk is handy because you don't have to go scurrying for the Windows XP setup CD every time you need to install a new device.
In the 'olden days' of the ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) bus, sharing interrupts (IRQs) was verboten. The PCI bus, however, permits multiple devices to share the same interrupt without any major problems. Generally, Windows XP configures such interrupt sharing behind the scenes. In fact, on an ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) machine, you can't modify interrupt sharing by using Device Manager. However, you can have a performance problem if two very busy, high-bandwidth devices share the same IRQ. You may need to use setup software from the device manufacturer to manually assign an unused IRQ when Windows wants to assign a shared IRQ.
A mouse tip
Mice generally don't appear on the exam, except in really grungy test facilities (joke), but you may see a question pertaining to the 'Snap To Default' feature. Set this via a check box on the Pointer Options tab of the Mouse control panel; it moves the mouse cursor to the default button of (most) dialog boxes, saving wrist wear and tear. The behavior is odd at first but you may grow to like it (I do). Too bad it doesn't work in all dialog boxes.
Smart cards are authentication devices that can provide a higher degree of authentication security than simple username and password schemes. You must have the card (suitably 'enrolled' by a system administrator with a public key pair and certificate) and your personal identification number (PIN) to authenticate yourself to the network. The reader devices typically connect via the PC Card bus (what we used to call PCMCIA) or a serial port.
Microsoft makes the following recommendations about smart card readers:
* If they're not Plug and Play compatible, don't use 'em.
* If they don't carry the Windows Hardware Quality Labs logo, don't use 'em.
* Let Windows XP autodetect the reader at startup; supply any third-party device drivers at that time if necessary.
A few notes are in order here about multimedia hardware, specifically, the Windows Driver Model, DVD, and the Scanners and Cameras control panel. (See 'DirectX marks the spot' earlier in this chapter for display-related multimedia issues.)
Windows Driver Model
Windows Driver Model (WDM) is a 32-bit driver model in which Windows XP, NT, and 2000 drivers work with Windows 98 and vice versa. It is supported for USB and FireWire devices, but not all other types of hardware. The idea of WDM is to make life a bit easier on device manufacturers by not making them write a separate device driver for each Windows version.
Multimedia devices in Windows XP Professional typically use the WDM streaming class driver for audio and video. This driver permits more than one application to play sound at the same time, and it allows sound output to travel to any relevant device on any system bus. It also lets the operating system handle audio mixing instead of hardware, which is why you now sometimes hear a beep five seconds after you see its related dialog box, for example.
Warning You should generally not expect Windows NT 4.0 drivers to work under Windows XP. The only ones in my experience that do seem to work are the SCSI miniport drivers and a few printer drivers. Display drivers, network card drivers, mouse drivers, and so forth seem to require specific Windows XP support to work properly with the new operating system.
DVD (short for Digital Video Disc or Digital Versatile Disc) devices now receive Windows support in the form of a DVD-ROM driver and a DVD-Video player. DVDs can hold video, audio, and computer data content on the same disc, and their capacity can go as high as 17GB. Windows XP supports writeable DVD using the FAT32 file format.
Instant Answer Read-only DVD devices typically use the Universal Disk Format (UDF) file system. A UDF disk can be a boot device. UDF also supports Unicode filenames and file-and-folder level access control, much as NTFS does.
DVD drives use the streaming class WDM driver (see previous section), which supports both of the compression types found on DVD disks, MPEG-2 and AC-3 (Dolby Digital). In addition to the WDM driver, you typically need a minidriver from the manufacturer to support features specific to the drive make and model.
Scanners and cameras
Windows XP Professional sports a control panel specifically for Scanners and Cameras. The new acronym here is WIA, for Windows Image Acquisition, describing both a device driver interface and an application programming interface for imaging devices that use USB, SCSI, FireWire, or COM hardware ports.
* Double-click this control panel's Add Device icon to install drivers for a camera or scanner that Plug and Play doesn't find on its own. You may need to specify the port (serial, infrared, and so on) that the device uses.