Summary of INF Sections
The following summarizes the system-defined sections that can be used in INF files. System-defined section names are case-insensitive. For example, version, VERSION, and Version are equally valid section-names within an INF file.
This section describes the INF file sections in the same order that they generally appear in most device INF files. However, these sections actually can be specified in any arbitrary order. Windows finds all sections within each INF file by section name, not by sequential order, whether system-defined or INF-writer-defined.
This is a required section for every INF file. For installation on Windows 2000 and later versions of Windows, this section must have a valid Signature entry.
This section of the INF defines a set of files to be embedded-signed as part of Hardware Certification. These additional signatures are required for devices with certain special needs. Examples are Protected Environment media playback, Early Launch Antimalware, and third party HAL extensions.
This section is required if the INF file has a corresponding SourceDisksFiles section.
This section identifies the locations of files to be installed from the distribution media to the destinations on the target computer. An INF file that has this section must also have a SourceDisksNames section.
INF files have a DestinationDirs section to specify destination directories for any files that the INF references with a CopyFiles directive. This section is required if the INF uses CopyFiles.
Generally, most INF files for device drivers and for the system class installers have this section so they can exclude, via the ExcludeFromSelect directive, at least a subset of Models entries from the list of manually installable devices to be displayed to end-users. INF files that only install PnP devices suppress the display of all model-specific information.
This section is required in INF files for devices and their drivers.
The Manufacturer section of an INF file is sometimes called a "Table of Contents," because each of its entries references an INF-writer-defined Models section, which, in turn, references additional INF-writer-defined sections, such as a per-models-entry DDInstall section, DDInstall.Services section, and so forth.
Models Section (per Manufacturer entry)
This section is required to identify the devices for which the INF file installs drivers. It specifies a set of mappings between the generic name (string) for a device, the device ID, and the name of the DDInstall section, elsewhere in the INF file that contains the installation instructions for the device.
An INF file that installs one or more devices and drivers for a single provider would have only one Models section, but system INF files for device classes can have many INF-writer-defined Models sections.
DDInstall Section (per Models entry)
This section is required to actually install any devices that are listed in a Models section in the INF file, along with the drivers for each such device. A DDInstall section can be shared by more than one Models section.
This section is required if the INF file needs to create any services on the system as part of installing a device. This section controls how and when the services being created are started, its dependencies (if any) on other services, and so forth. This section also sets up event-logging services by a device driver if it supports event logging.
This optional section adds device-specific (and typically, driver-independent) information to the registry.
This optional section allows the INF to registry ETW providers and create AutoLogger registrations.
This optional section allows for one or more AddComponent directives to be specified to create child component devices.
This optional section allows for one or more AddSoftware directives to be specified to install standalone software.
If a driver exports the functionality of a device interface class, therefore creating a new instance of the interface class, such as kernel-streaming still-image capture or data decompression, its INF file can have this section. This section can be used to pre-create the device interface as a disabled interface with some initial state provided by the INF file.
If a to-be-installed component, such as a new class driver, provides one or more new device interface classes to higher-level components, its INF file can have this section. This can be used to pre-create the device interface class before any interfaces are registered in that class. Pre-creation of the class is not required for an interface to be registered in the class, but having this section in the INF allows the INF to associate some state with the device interface class.
This section should be included in the INF file of any manually installed non-PnP device. It specifies the factory default hardware configuration settings, such as the bus-relative I/O ports, IRQ (if any), and so forth, for the card.
This section is used to create an override configuration, which overrides the hardware resource requirements that a Plug and Play device's bus driver reports.
An INF file's DefaultInstall section will be accessed if a user selects the "Install" menu item after selecting and holding (or right-clicking) on the INF file name.
This section is required in every INF file to define each %strkey% token specified in the INF. By convention, the Strings section (or sections if the INF provides a set of locale-specific Strings sections) appears last in all system-supplied INF files for ease of maintenance and localization.
Some sections listed here, especially those with Install in their names, can contain directives that reference additional INF-writer-defined sections. Each directive causes particular operations to be performed on the items listed under the appropriate type of INF-writer-defined section during the installation process.
The set of valid entries and directives for any particular section in the previous list is section-specific and shown in the formal syntax of the reference for each of these sections. Additionally, see Summary of INF Directives for a summary of the most commonly used directives.