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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Replacement of Inbox Driver with Third Party Driver", for Approval

February 20, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Computer Weekly News -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Wang, Chun-Yi (Taipei City, TW); Moore, Terrill M. (Trumansburg, NY), filed on July 27, 2012, was made available online on February 6, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates generally to drivers of computer operating systems and, more specifically, to replacement of an inbox driver of an operating system with a third party driver.

"An external device may be connected to a computer via a port, such as an input/output (I/O) port of a host controller and, in response, one or more drivers, i.e., software programs or processes executing on the computer, may be provided to allow the device to interact with other processes executing on the computer. Examples of a driver may include a bus driver, a function driver and, optionally, a bus filter driver. Broadly stated, the bus driver may be provided to control operation of (i.e., 'service') a bus, such as the host controller, as well as to detect and report characteristics of the external device connected to the port of the controller. The function driver may be provided to service the external device, whereas the bus filter driver may be provided to support the external device through enhanced features or functionality.

"In addition, the driver may be an inbox driver that is embedded, i.e., previously installed, within an operating system of the computer. An example of an inbox driver may be an inbox class function driver that is provided to service a certain class of devices, e.g., a mass storage class that includes external storage devices, such as thumb drives and/or hard disk drives. Often, there may be a need to replace the inbox (class) function driver with a third party function driver that, e.g., may have higher performance than the inbox driver.

"However, many operating systems currently do not have a mechanism or procedure that is permanent and safe to perform such driver replacement. Typically when an attempt is made to replace an inbox function driver with a third party function driver, the operating system may issue a warning that the attempted driver replacement may not be optimally or even suitably compatible with the external device and/or operating system because, e.g., the replacement driver does not have a preferred matching or ranking compared to that of the inbox driver. Thus, there is a need to ensure device and/or operating system compatibility and performance with a replacement driver of a computer."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "One or more embodiments described herein efficiently replaces an inbox driver of a computer with a third party driver. Illustratively, the inbox and third party drivers are function drivers configured to service an external device connected to the computer. A first bus filter driver, i.e., a Function Loader driver, is installed within an operating system of the computer to enhance functionality of the system. The Function Loader driver illustratively enhances the functionality to enable replacement of the inbox function driver with the third party function driver based on a highest ranking of matching criteria. To that end, the Function Loader driver cooperates with a second bus filter driver, i.e., a Function Loader Child driver, which is configured to support the external device by intercepting and examining a packet exchange that pertains to the external device so as to determine whether specified rules for replacement are satisfied. If so, the Function Loader Child driver modifies content of the packet exchange to uniquely identify the third party function driver as having the highest ranking of matching criteria. Accordingly, the operating system recognizes the third party function driver, rather than the inbox driver, as a preferred driver for servicing the external device and thus installs the third party driver.

"Advantageously, installation of the Function Loader driver prior to the packet exchange pertaining to the external device enables the Function Loader Child driver to modify the content of the packet exchange so as to uniquely identify the third party function driver as the preferred function driver. This, in turn, enables the operating system to securely and seamlessly authenticate and load the third party function driver, instead of the inbox driver, to service the device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The above and further advantages of the embodiments herein may be better understood by referring to the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals indicate identically or functionally similar elements, of which:

"FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram of a computer;

"FIG. 2 is a schematic block diagram of an integrated driver/device stack arrangement; and

"FIG. 3 illustrates a simplified procedure for replacing an inbox driver of a computer with a third party driver."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Wang, Chun-Yi; Moore, Terrill M. Replacement of Inbox Driver with Third Party Driver. Filed July 27, 2012 and posted February 6, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=154&p=4&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140130.PD.&OS=PD/20140130&RS=PD/20140130

Keywords for this news article include: Patents.

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Source: Computer Weekly News


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