The patent's inventor is Cobb, Jason T. (
This patent was filed on
From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "A device driver (e.g., driver) is a software component (e.g., program) that permits a computer system to communicate with a particular device. Because the driver handles device specific features, an operating system is freed from the burden of having to understand and support needs of individual hardware devices. However, if a driver is problematic, the particular device controlled by the driver can fail to work properly and can even be completely inoperative. Such problems are especially problematic for key devices such as a video card, hard drive controller or hard drive. Additionally, a problematic driver can often cause an operating system to become unstable, create problems with a whole computer system and may even lead to system operation halting. If properly identified, problematic driver(s) can be replaced with non-faulty driver(s) to mitigate further problems with the device, operating system and/or computer system.
"Computer systems today often employ a significant number of devices and corresponding device drivers. For example, a typical computer system can utilize devices such as sound cards, bus controllers, video capture devices, audio capture devices, universal serial bus devices, firewire controllers and devices, DVD drives, network cards, DSL modems, cable modems, LCD monitors, monitors, laser printers, ink jet printers, fax machines, scanners, digital cameras, digital video cameras and the like. Additionally, a single device can employ more than one device driver. For example, a typical 3-D video card can require numerous device drivers.
"Most drivers are provided by third parties. A driver is added to the system, for example, whenever a user adds a new piece of hardware to their machine. Additionally drivers are frequently updated to fix problems/bugs in the driver, add performance and/or add other features. Most drivers run in the kernel of the operating system; which means if they do anything wrong it can be fatal to the running of the entire computer."
Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of one or more embodiments. This summary is not intended to be an extensive overview or to identify key/critical elements or to delineate the scope of the claimed embodiments. Its purpose is to present some concepts of the claimed embodiments in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.
"Techniques are provided for device driver management/installation systems and methods. The device driver management system can be employed by a user to selectively rollback a currently installed device driver to one of a plurality of previously installed device driver(s), for example, if the user experiences a problem with a newer driver. Additionally, the system can be employed by the user to revert to a pristine state of not having the device driver installed at all, for example, the NULL driver (e.g., in the situation in which the first driver installed on the device causes machine instability).
"In accordance with one or more embodiments, the system includes a rollback component and a rollback information data store. The rollback data information store can store rollback information (e.g., rollback point(s)) associated with device drivers. For example, the rollback point(s) can include information associated with software installed on a device (e.g., driver node) and device instance identifier(s) associated with device(s) that at any given time had the driver installed on them. 'Device instance identifier(s)' refer to a system-supplied device identification string that uniquely identifies an instance of a device in the system.
"The rollback component can receive a request to rollback the currently installed software (e.g., driver node). In response, the rollback component can provide information regarding previously installed software (e.g., driver nodes), if any, available for a user to revert to with respect to the currently installed software (e.g., driver node). Based, at least in part, upon selection of a rollback device driver or a user's desire to revert back to the device's pristine state, the rollback component can facilitate removal of the currently installed software (e.g., driver node) and installation of the selected previously installed software (e.g., driver node).
"Further to some embodiments, techniques are provided for the system to store information associated with rollback point(s) in a data store, for example the system registry. Stored rollback point instance keys can include, for example, an initialization file path (InfPath), a description, a manufacturer, a section name, a hardwareID and an associated device instance identifiers (AssoicatedDeviceInstanceIdentifiers). The InfPath, description, manufacturer, section name, and hardwareId are used to uniquely identify a given driver node (e.g., driver assembly). Therefore these values allow the system to get back to the exact software (e.g., driver node) that was previously installed on the device. The associated device instance identifiers (e.g., AssociatedDeviceInstanceIdentifiers) can be a multi-string value that allows the system to track which device(s) have a particular rollback point as one of their rollback history. Thus, in this example, if multiple devices share the same driver(s) then if driver(s) are rolled back on one device, optionally, they can be rolled back on all device(s) sharing the driver(s) (e.g., if one device has a problem with the driver(s), it is likely that all device could have a problem with the driver(s)).
"In at least some embodiments, techniques are provided for a device driver installation system employed to facilitate driver installation and/or driver update. The system can include a driver installation component that can create a rollback point for a currently installed driver, if any, and install a different driver.
"When a request to install a driver on a device is received by the driver installation component, the driver installation component determines whether an existing driver on the device. If so, the driver installation component creates a rollback point for that driver in the rollback information data store and the system registry. After creating the rollback point (if need), the associated device instance ids value is updated with the device instance Id for the particular device. Further, the driver installation component updates a property of the device that contains a list of previous rollback points, for example, under the restore point instance key. Finally, the new driver is installed on the device by the device installation component.
"In one example, the driver installation component creates the rollback point only if there is a driver currently on the device, and that driver appears to be working properly."
For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Cobb, Jason T.. Device Driver Rollback. U.S. Patent Number 8621452, filed
Keywords for this news article include: Software,
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