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Buffer Descriptions for I/O Control Codes

I/O control codes are contained in IRP_MJ_DEVICE_CONTROL and IRP_MJ_INTERNAL_DEVICE_CONTROL requests. The I/O manager creates these requests as a result of calls to DeviceIoControl (described in the Microsoft Windows SDK documentation) and IoBuildDeviceIoControlRequest.

Because DeviceIoControl and IoBuildDeviceIoControlRequest accept both an input buffer and an output buffer as arguments, all IRP_MJ_DEVICE_CONTROL and IRP_MJ_INTERNAL_DEVICE_CONTROL requests supply both an input buffer and an output buffer. The way the system describes these buffers is dependent on the data transfer type. The transfer type is specified by the TransferType value in the CTL_CODE macro that creates IOCTL code values.

The system describes buffers for each TransferType value as follows:

METHOD_BUFFERED

For this transfer type, IRPs supply a pointer to a buffer at Irp->AssociatedIrp.SystemBuffer. This buffer represents both the input buffer and the output buffer that are specified in calls to DeviceIoControl and IoBuildDeviceIoControlRequest. The driver transfers data out of, and then into, this buffer.

For input data, the buffer size is specified by Parameters.DeviceIoControl.InputBufferLength in the driver's IO_STACK_LOCATION structure. For output data, the buffer size is specified by Parameters.DeviceIoControl.OutputBufferLength in the driver's IO_STACK_LOCATION structure.

The size of the space that the system allocates for the single input/output buffer is the larger of the two length values.

METHOD_IN_DIRECT or METHOD_OUT_DIRECT

For these transfer types, IRPs supply a pointer to a buffer at Irp->AssociatedIrp.SystemBuffer. This represents the input buffer that is specified in calls to DeviceIoControl and IoBuildDeviceIoControlRequest. The buffer size is specified by Parameters.DeviceIoControl.InputBufferLength in the driver's IO_STACK_LOCATION structure.

For these transfer types, IRPs also supply a pointer to an MDL at Irp->MdlAddress. This represents the output buffer that is specified in calls to DeviceIoControl and IoBuildDeviceIoControlRequest. However, this buffer can actually be used as either an input buffer or an output buffer, as follows:

  • METHOD_IN_DIRECT is specified if the driver that handles the IRP receives data in the buffer when it is called. The MDL describes an input buffer, and specifying METHOD_IN_DIRECT ensures that the executing thread has read-access to the buffer.

  • METHOD_OUT_DIRECT is specified if the driver that handles the IRP will write data into the buffer before completing the IRP. The MDL describes an output buffer, and specifying METHOD_OUT_DIRECT ensures that the executing thread has write-access to the buffer.

For both of these transfer types, Parameters.DeviceIoControl.OutputBufferLength specifies the size of the buffer that is described by the MDL.

METHOD_NEITHER

The I/O manager does not provide any system buffers or MDLs. The IRP supplies the user-mode virtual addresses of the input and output buffers that were specified to DeviceIoControl or IoBuildDeviceIoControlRequest, without validating or mapping them.

The input buffer's address is supplied by Parameters.DeviceIoControl.Type3InputBuffer in the driver's IO_STACK_LOCATION structure, and the output buffer's address is specified by Irp->UserBuffer.

Buffer sizes are supplied by Parameters.DeviceIoControl.InputBufferLength and Parameters.DeviceIoControl.OutputBufferLength in the driver's IO_STACK_LOCATION structure.

For more information about the CTL_CODE macro and the transfer types listed above, see Defining I/O Control Codes.

 

 

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