Solved: OS Kernel vs Drivers

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DexterDave

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Hi All

I would just like to know what the difference and relationship is between Device Drivers/BIOS and the Operating system kernel (eg. ntoskrnl, Linux Kernel etc), since both provide the interaction interface between hardware and software...

Thank you
 

Macboatmaster

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In simple terms the computer is powered on and runs the POST - power on self test
The BIOS Basic Input Output System then inititalizes hardware devices and seeks a valid system disc, on what is set as first boot device, be it the HDD, the DVD etc. Then if not found of course it checks all listed boot devices

The POST phase completes and the BIOS then looks for the MBR Master Boot Record on the system disc
When that is Identified, it then hands control to the BootManager and the BootManager/Boot Configuration Data in Windows Vista and 7/8 - boot.ini (XP) then take over and complete the load of the OS and all the kernel and system drivers etc are loaded, as the Windows loading system is completed.


If you want further explanantion just explain which part you wish me to enlarge on

Here is a straightforward easy to undertsand explanantion
http://www.adrc.com/ckr/windows_bootup_process.html


Finally Is the question you ask - related in any way to a PROBLEM you have with the computer - as against just your wish to increase your knowledge. Either way of course we are pleased to help
 

DexterDave

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Thank you Macboatmaster.
I do understand the boot process since I had to know it for my CompTIA A+ exam last year. I am just not sure what the relationship/differences are between the Kernel and the Drivers, since both act as an interface between hardware and software...But not sure. Yeah, this is just for educational purposes...and as you would know, knowledge solves problems!
 

Macboatmaster

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I do not really understand what EXACTLY you are looking for. See my image above the windows kernel is what allows the device drivers either the generic windows drivers or the installed drivers to load.
or indeed on the link I sent you
Ntoskrnl will begin to load the XP kernel, hardware abstraction layer and registry information.
After this is completed, the control is passed over to the DOS based Ntdetect.com program which collects and configures all installed hardware devices such as the video adapters and communication ports.
Ntdetect.com then searches for hardware profiles information and load the essential software drivers to control the hardware devices.
For instance in Safe Mode the graphics driver loaded is the generic windows driver
In low resolution mode OR VGA mode as it was known on XP the driver loaded is the low resolution mode of the installed graphics driver as against the windows generic driver

It is the setting of that in the adavnced boot options that tell the windows kernel which driver to load.

Please let me know in due course if I got a good mark in your exam this year :):):):)

If you want a detailed technical explanation there are a number available on the Microsoft tech Library
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/default.aspx

OR
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architecture_of_Windows_NT#Kernel-mode_drivers
 
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The Kernel is the core of the OS. In terms of programming, think of an endless "while" loop. Things that are done inside that loop include checking the keyboard to see if something was typed. The device driver is code that is specific to the hardware ( like our keyboard ) and enables the kernel to interact with it, and in our keyboard example, we are reading from it.
 

DexterDave

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@Macboatmaster - Thank you! Good explanation. I think I have a better understanding of the role of the kernel now. Thanks for the links
 

DexterDave

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@lunarlander:
we are reading from it.
So what you mean is, that when a key is pressed or mouse button is clicked, the Kernel (which must be loaded in RAM I assume) picks up that a key has been pressed, and consults the devuce driver about which key and what the function is right? Or is it the other way around? How exactly does the CPU know which key has been pressed and which instruction needs to be performed/calculated upon the request?

Thank you
 
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