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What is Device Management in Operating System - Device driver

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What is Device Management in Operating System? Device driver What is Device Management in Operating System? Device driver What is Device Management in Operating System? Device driver

What is Device management?

What is Device Management in Operating System

To perform useful functions, processes need access to the peripherals connected to the computer, which are controlled by the kernel through device drivers. A device driver is a computer program that enables the operating system to interact with a hardware device. 

It provides the operating system with information about how to control and communicate with a certain piece of hardware. The driver is an important and vital piece to a program application. 

The design goal of a driver is an abstraction; the function of the driver is to translate the OS-mandated function calls (programming calls) into device-specific calls. 

In theory, the device should work correctly with a suitable driver. Device drivers are used for such things as video cards, sound cards, printers, scanners, modems, and LAN cards.

On the hardware side
  • Interfacing directly.
  • Using a high-level interface (Video BIOS).
  • Using a lower-level device driver (file drivers using disk drivers).
  • Simulating work with hardware, while doing something entirely different.

On the software side
  • Allowing the operating system direct access to hardware resources.
  • Implementing only primitives.
  • Implementing an interface for non-driver software (Example: TWAIN).
  • Implementing a language, sometimes high-level (Example PostScript).


For example, to show the user something on the screen, an application would make a request to the kernel, which would forward the request to its display driver, which is then responsible for actually plotting the character/pixel

A kernel must maintain a list of available devices. This list may be known in advance (e.g. on an embedded system where the kernel will be rewritten if the available hardware changes), configured by the user (typical on older PCs and on systems that are not designed for personal use) or detected by the operating system at run time (normally called plug and play). 

In a plug and play system, a device manager first performs a scan on different hardware buses, such as Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) or Universal Serial Bus (USB), to detect installed devices, then searches for the appropriate drivers.

As device management is a very OS-specific topic, these drivers are handled differently by each kind of kernel design, but in every case, the kernel has to provide the I/O to allow drivers to physically access their devices through some port or memory location. 

Very important decisions have to be made when designing the device management system, as in some designs accesses may involve context switches, making the operation very CPU-intensive and easily causing a significant performance overhead.

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What is Device Management in Operating System - Device driver
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