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How to Configure Visual Studio 2008 for Compiling Drivers

, 18 Dec 2008 CPOL
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How to configure Visual Studio 2008 for compiling drivers without using DDK's console tools.


As it is known, Microsoft officially doesn't support integration of DDK with Visual Studio (any version). So we can use the Visual Studio editor (or any other text editor) for developing the source codes of a driver, but for compiling we should use the DDK build utility. Of course it is not very convenient because we must always switch between editor and console window, but the worst thing is that the developer must spend a lot of time to find lines with errors in the editor.


There are several ways to compile drivers with Visual Studio. You can find most of them in the nice Mark Roddy article, Windows Driver Build Methods and Tools.

Mark offers some third party utilities. That's good, but I will show a more handy way (IMHO): how to configure and use Visual Studio for compiling drivers. 

Have Fun

  1. Setup Visual Studio 2008.

  2. Setup DDK (WDK).

  3. Add to VS paths DDK include files, libs and bins.

  4. Create new empty "Win32 project" and add source file (i.e. HelloWorld.c).

  5. Configure project properties (All Configurations):

    1. C\C++ - General - Debug Information Format = Program Database (/Zi)
    2. C\C++ - Preprocessor - Preprocessor Definitions = _X86_ [add also DBG for Debug config]
    3. C\C++ - Code Generation - Enable C++ Exceptions = No
    4. C\C++ - Code Generation - Basic Runtime Checks = Default
    5. C\C++ - Code Generation - Buffer Security Check = No (/GS-)
    6. C\C++ - Advanced - Calling Convention = __stdcall (/Gz)
    7. C\C++ - Advanced - Compile As = Compile as C Code (/TC) [if you are going to use plain C]
    8. Linker - General - Output File = $(OutDir)\$(ProjectName).sys
    9. Linker - General - Enable Incremental Linking = Default
    10. Linker - Input - Additional Dependencies = ntoskrnl.lib hal.lib $(NOINHERIT) [add needed libs here e.g. ntoskrnl.lib hal.lib]
    11. Linker - Input - Ignore All Default Libraries = Yes (/NODEFAULTLIB)
    12. Linker - Manifest File - Generate Manifest = No
    13. Linker - System - SubSystem = Native (/SUBSYSTEM:NATIVE)
    14. Linker - System - Driver = Driver (/DRIVER)
    15. Linker - Advanced - Entry Point = DriverEntry
    16. Linker - Advanced - Base Address = 0x10000
    17. Linker - Advanced - Randomized Base Address = Disable (/DYNAMICBASE:NO)
    18. Linker - Advanced - Data Execution Prevention (DEP) = Disable (/NXCOMPAT:NO)
  6. OK. Done. Now you can test it with simple code, e.g.:

    #include "ntddk.h"

Points of Interest 

Visual Studio + DDK - it's cool! Smile | :)  


  • 18th December, 2008: First post 


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Andrey Sergienko
President anseko
Ukraine Ukraine
Born 7 Apr 1980 in Bulgan (Mongolia).
2004 - Master of Computer Sciences, Kharkiv National University of Radioelectronics.
Now live in Poltava (Ukraine).
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Comments and Discussions

Bug[My vote of 1] My Vote of 1 PinmemberMember 963207716-Jul-13 10:13 
GeneralRe: [My vote of 1] My Vote of 1 PinmemberMember 102420899-Oct-13 6:43 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmembergndnet22-Oct-12 2:20 
Question5 Pinmemberkostay_scr16-Aug-12 5:17 
QuestionDDKWizard vs. VisualDDK PinmemberWill217-May-12 7:47 
GeneralOr you use DDKWizard? ... PinmemberAssarbad26-Feb-09 13:35 
GeneralRe: Or you use DDKWizard? ... PinmemberAndrey Sergienko14-Mar-10 4:57 
GeneralBe carefully Pinmemberalexd77776-Jan-09 4:09 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pinmemberbrucelee23-Dec-08 4:31 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 PinmemberAndrey Sergienko14-Mar-10 4:56 
GeneralMy vote of 1 PinmemberJack Knife23-Dec-08 2:02 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pinmemberbodewig24-Mar-10 4:10 
GeneralHi PinmemberAndrey Sergienko18-Dec-08 22:55 
GeneralDelete this !, this is a 1 Pinmember_elli_18-Dec-08 21:09 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pinmember_elli_18-Dec-08 21:03 
GeneralMy vote of 2 PinmemberJosh_Jackson18-Dec-08 15:58 
GeneralMy vote of 1 Pinmemberpoltrone18-Dec-08 8:16 
GeneralRe: My vote of 1 Pinmemberyafan18-Dec-08 8:23 
QuestionMakefile project? PinmemberAlex Fr18-Dec-08 4:24 
Good investigation, which allows to understand how drivers are compiled. But I still beleive that it is better to use VS Makefile project which calls DDK build. What about these features:
- Win32/64,
- Target Platform,

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