Force Pending I/O Requests

The Force Pending I/O Requests option randomly returns STATUS_PENDING in response to a driver's calls to IoCallDriver. This option tests the driver's logic for responding to STATUS_PENDING return values from IoCallDriver.

This option is supported only on Windows Vista and later versions of the Windows operating system.

Caution   Do not use this option on a driver unless you have detailed knowledge of the operation of the driver and have verified that the driver is designed to handle STATUS_PENDING return values from all of its calls to IoCallDriver. Running this option on a driver that is not designed to handle STATUS_PENDING from all calls can result in crashes, memory corruptions, and unusual system behavior that can be difficult to debug or correct.

Why Use Force Pending I/O Requests?

Higher-level drivers in a driver stack call IoCallDriver to pass an IRP down to lower-level drivers in the driver stack. The driver dispatch routine in the lower-level driver that receives the IRP can either complete the IRP immediately or return STATUS_PENDING and complete the IRP at a later time.

Typically, the caller must be prepared to handle either outcome. However, because most dispatch routines handle the IRP immediately, the STATUS_PENDING logic in the caller is not often exercised and serious logic errors might not be detected. The Force Pending I/O Requests option intercepts calls to IoCallDriver and returns STATUS_PENDING to test the calling driver's infrequently used logic.

When do you use Force Pending I/O Requests?

Before running this test, review the driver design and source code and confirm that the driver is intended to handle STATUS_PENDING from all of its IoCallDriver calls.

Many drivers are not designed to handle STATUS_PENDING on all calls to IoCallDriver. They might be sending the IRP to a particular well-known driver that is guaranteed to complete the IRP immediately. Sending STATUS_PENDING to a driver that does not handle it can cause driver and system crashes and memory corruption.

How should drivers handle STATUS_PENDING?

The higher-level driver that calls IoCallDriver must handle a STATUS_PENDING return value as follows:

  • Before calling IoCallDriver, the driver must call IoBuildSynchronousFsdRequest to arrange for synchronous processing of the IRP.

  • If IoCallDriver returns STATUS_PENDING, the driver must wait for the completion of the IRP by calling KeWaitForSingleObject on the specified event.

  • The driver must anticipate that the IRP might be freed before the I/O Manager signals the event.

  • After calling IoCallDriver, the caller cannot reference the IRP.

Which Errors Does Force Pending I/O Request Detect?

The Force Pending I/O Request option detects the following errors in the driver that calls IoCallDriver and receives a STATUS_PENDING return value:

  • The driver does not call IoBuildSynchronousFsdRequest to arrange for synchronous processing.

  • The driver does not call KeWaitForSingleObject.

  • The driver references a value in the IRP structure after calling IoCallDriver. After calling IoCallDriver, the higher-level driver cannot access the IRP unless it has set a completion routine and then, only when all lower-level drivers have completed the IRP. If the IRP is freed, the driver will crash.

  • The driver calls a related function incorrectly. For example, the driver calls KeWaitForSingleObject and passes a handle to the event (as the Object parameter), instead of passing a pointer to an event object.

  • The driver waits for the wrong event. For example, the driver calls IoSetCompletionRoutine, but waits for an internal event that is signaled by its own completion routine, instead of waiting for the IRP event that is signaled by the I/O Manager when the IRP is complete.

Force Pending I/O Requests Changes Introduced in Windows 7

Starting in Windows 7, the Force Pending I/O Requests option is more effective at forcing the exercising of the STATUS_PENDING code paths in verified drivers. In earlier Windows versions, Driver Verifier forced an IRP completion to be delayed only when the first IoCompleteRequest for that IRP executes. This means that the effectiveness of verifying Driver1 can be reduced by the behavior of Driver2 from the same device stack. Driver2 might wait synchronously for the completion before it returns from its dispatch routine to Driver1. The forced delay of the IRP completion occurs precisely before the I/O request unwinds back into the verified driver on the completion path. This means that the STATUS_PENDING code path of the verified driver is really exercised and the verified driver perceives a delay in the completion.

Activating This Option

To activate Force Pending I/O Requests, you must also activate I/O Verification. You can activate the Force Pending I/O Requests option for one or more drivers by using Driver Verifier Manager or the Verifier.exe command line. For details, see Selecting Driver Verifier Options.

The Force Pending I/O Requests option is supported only on Windows Vista and later versions of Windows.

  • At the command line

    To activate Force Pending I/O Requests, use a flag value of 0x210 or add 0x210 to the flag value. This value activates I/O Verification (0x10), and Force Pending I/O Requests (0x200).

    For example:

    
    verifier /flags 0x210 /driver MyDriver.sys
    
    

    The option will be active after the next boot.

    If you try to activate only Force Pending I/O Requests (verifier /flags 0x200), Driver Verifier automatically enables both Force Pending I/O Requests (0x200) and I/O Verification.

    You can also activate and deactivate Force Pending I/O Requests without rebooting the computer by adding the /volatile parameter to the command. For example:

    
    verifier /volatile /flags 0x210 /adddriver MyDriver.sys
    
    

    This setting is effective immediately, but is lost when you shut down or reboot the computer. For details, see Using Volatile Settings.

  • Using Driver Verifier Manager
    1. Start Driver Verifier Manager. Type Verifier in a Command Prompt window.
    2. Select Create custom settings (for code developers), and then click Next.
    3. Select Select individual settings from a full list.
    4. Select I/O Verification and Force Pending I/O Requests.

    If you select only Force Pending I/O Requests, Driver Verifier Manager reminds you that I/O Verification is required and offers to enable it for you.

Viewing the Results

To view the results of the Force Pending I/O Requests test, use the !verifier debugger extension with a flag value of 0x40.

For information about !verifier, see the !verifier topic in the Debugging Tools for Windows documentation.

If the test machine crashes as a result of the Force Pending I/O Requests test, you can use the !verifier 40 command to find the cause. In a current stack trace, find the address of the IRP that was recently used by your driver. For example, if you use the kP command, which displays the stack frame for a thread, you can find the IRP address among the function parameters of the current stack trace. Then, run !verifier 40 and look for the address of the IRP. The most recent force pending stack traces appear at the top of the display.

For example, the following stack trace of Pci.sys shows its response to Force Pending I/O Requests. The test does not reveal any errors in the Pci.sys logic.


kd> !verifier 40
Size of the log is is 0x40
========================================================
IRP: 8f84ef00 - forced pending from stack trace:

     817b21e4 nt!IovpLocalCompletionRoutine+0xb2
     81422478 nt!IopfCompleteRequest+0x15c
     817b2838 nt!IovCompleteRequest+0x9c
     84d747df acpi!ACPIBusIrpDeviceUsageNotification+0xf5
     84d2d36c acpi!ACPIDispatchIrp+0xe8
     817b258f nt!IovCallDriver+0x19d
     8142218e nt!IofCallDriver+0x1c
     817c6a9d nt!ViFilterDispatchPnp+0xe9
     817b258f nt!IovCallDriver+0x19d
     8142218e nt!IofCallDriver+0x1c
     84fed489 pci!PciCallDownIrpStack+0xbf
     84fde1cb pci!PciDispatchPnpPower+0xdf
     817b258f nt!IovCallDriver+0x19d
     8142218e nt!IofCallDriver+0x1c
     817c6a9d nt!ViFilterDispatchPnp+0xe9
     817b258f nt!IovCallDriver+0x19d
     8142218e nt!IofCallDriver+0x1c
     84ff2ff5 pci!PciSendPnpIrp+0xbd
 84fec820 pci!PciDevice_DeviceUsageNotification+0x6e
     84fde1f8 pci!PciDispatchPnpPower+0x10c
 817b258f nt!IovCallDriver+0x19d
     8142218e nt!IofCallDriver+0x1c
     84d76ce2 acpi!ACPIFilterIrpDeviceUsageNotification+0x96
     84d2d36c acpi!ACPIDispatchIrp+0xe8
     817b258f nt!IovCallDriver+0x19d
     8142218e nt!IofCallDriver+0x1c
     84f7f16c PCIIDEX!PortWdmForwardIrpSynchronous+0x8e
     84f7b2b3 PCIIDEX!GenPnpFdoUsageNotification+0xcb
     84f7d301 PCIIDEX!PciIdeDispatchPnp+0x45
     817b258f nt!IovCallDriver+0x19d
     8142218e nt!IofCallDriver+0x1c

The stack trace shows that Acpi.sys was trying to complete IRP 8f84ef00. Driver Verifier forced a deferred completion, so Acpi.sys returned STATUS_PENDING to pci!PciCallDownIrpStack. If this call had caused a crash, the driver owner would need to review the source code for pci!PciCallDownIrpStack and revise it to handle the STATUS_PENDING properly.

 

 

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