VGA-Compatible Video Miniport Drivers (Windows 2000 Model)

On x86-based NT-based operating system platforms, there are two kinds of video miniport drivers: nonVGA-compatible miniport drivers and VGA-compatible miniport drivers.

Most miniport drivers are nonVGA-compatible, and are consequently much simpler to implement. NonVGA-compatible video miniport drivers rely on having the system-supplied VGA miniport driver (vga.sys) or another VGA-compatible SVGA miniport driver loaded concurrently. Such a miniport driver is set up to configure itself in the registry with VgaCompatible set to zero (FALSE) and has the following features:

  • It provides no special support for full-screen MS-DOS applications in x86-based machines. Instead, it is loaded along with a system-supplied VGA (or, possibly, with a VGA-compatible SVGA) miniport driver, which provides this support for full-screen MS-DOS applications.

  • In most cases, it either is written for an adapter that has no VGA compatibility mode or for an accelerator that works independently of the VGA.

A VGA-compatible miniport driver is based on the system-supplied VGA miniport driver, with code modified to support adapter-specific features. The system-supplied VGA display drivers use the support provided by VGA-compatible miniport drivers, so the developer of a new miniport driver for a VGA-compatible adapter need not write a new display driver. It provides support for full-screen MS-DOS applications to do I/O directly to the adapter registers. It also functions as a video validator to prevent such applications from issuing any sequence of instructions that would hang the machine.

Self-declared "VGA-compatible" miniport drivers are set up to configure themselves in the registry with VgaCompatible set to one (TRUE).

VGA-compatible miniport drivers in x86-based machines replace the system-supplied VGA miniport driver. Therefore, VGA-compatible miniport drivers must have a set of SvgaHwIoPortXxx functions to support full-screen MS-DOS applications as the system-supplied VGA miniport driver does.

The designer of a new VGA-compatible SVGA miniport driver should adapt one of the system-supplied SVGA miniport driver's SvgaHwIoPortXxx functions to the adapter's features. Miniport drivers for other types of adapters in x86-based machines can have a set of SvgaHwIoPortXxx routines and provide the same support at the discretion of the miniport driver designer or if the miniport driver cannot be loaded while the system VGA miniport driver is loaded.