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Quick Links: Home | Free Utilities
 

Introduction
busTRACE Technologies has developed a simple utility that allows you to view which filter drivers are specified for the Disk and CD/DVD devices on your computer. This applet shows you those filter drivers that are specified in your registry. They may, or may not, be actually running. That is dependent on the driver itself.

This is a useful diagnostic applet for those users who have a need to determine which Disk/CD/DVD filter drivers various 3rd party applications, or Microsoft itself, have installed on your system. You can download this utility for free.

What operating systems are supported?
The software only supports Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista. The software is also compatible with the x64 versions of Windows.

What does the software look like?
Here is a simple screen shot where we've selected a SanDisk Cruzer Micro drive as our device to query. In this example, IRPs (I/O Request Packets) generated by the operating system (or other applications) first go through the upper filter driver partmgr.sys. Then, the I/O is sent to the actual disk device object (function driver) to process. The IRP typically continues down the chain and is sent to the lower filter drivers (in our sample, no lower filter drivers are specified). From there, the IRP is sent to the port/miniport driver (i.e. bus driver).

Screenshot

What is a Filter Driver?
Windows 2000/XP/Vista provides a layered approach to device drivers. That is, a device driver developer can write a filter driver that sits above or below a function driver. In our case, we are checking for filter drivers above and below any Disk Drives and CD/DVD devices detected on your system.

A developer can install their filter driver to filter I/O activity for all Disk/CD/DVD devices (e.g. class filter), or on a per device basis (e.g. device filter). The driver can be specified as a lower filter or upper filter. IRPs (I/O Request Packets) are sent down the I/O stack, and processed by these filter drivers, in the following order:

  • Upper class filters
  • Upper device filters
  • Function driver
  • Lower class filters
  • Lower device filters
  • Bus driver/filters

Filter drivers are often used to extend or alter the normal capabilities of Microsoft's CD/DVD device driver (function driver). For further information on this topic, we recommend you research Microsoft's Windows Driver Model (WDM). Check out our links page for additional reference material.

Copying to the Clipboard
Our latest update to this utility allows you to copy the results of a selected device to the clipboard. For example, here is the output generated by selecting a Plextor DVD recorder under Windows XP:

----------------------------------------------------
Filter Driver Load Order     http://www.bustrace.com
----------------------------------------------------

Upper Device Filter:  redbook
Device Object:        PLEXTOR DVDR PX-716A
Lower Device Filter:  imapi

Driver Name:          redbook.sys
File Location:        c:\windows\system32\drivers
File Description:     Redbook Audio Filter Driver
File Version:         5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158) [5.1.2600.2180]
Product Name:         Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
Product Version:      5.1.2600.2180 [5.1.2600.2180]
Company Name:         Microsoft Corporation

Driver Name:          imapi.sys
File Location:        c:\windows\system32\drivers
File Description:     IMAPI Kernel Driver
File Version:         5.1.2600.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158) [5.1.2600.2180]
Product Name:         Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
Product Version:      5.1.2600.2180 [5.1.2600.2180]
Company Name:         Microsoft Corporation