What Is Windows Driver Kit and How to Install It on Windows 10 [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is Windows Driver Kit

What is Windows Driver Kit? It is a fully integrated driver development system, which includes a Windows Driver Device Kit, used to test the reliability and stability of Windows drivers. If you want to get more information about Windows, you can go to the MiniTool official website.

History of Windows Driver Kit

Previously, the Windows Driver Kit was called the Windows Driver Development Kit and supported the development of the Windows Driver Model.

When Microsoft released Windows Vista and added the following previously separated tools to the toolkit, it had the current name: Installable File System Toolkit (IFS Toolkit), Driver Test Manager (DTM), although DTM subsequently Was renamed and removed from the WDK again.

Windows 2000 and earlier versions of the DDK do not include a compiler; instead, you need to install Visual C++ separately to compile the driver. Starting from the Windows XP version, the DDK and later versions of the Windows Driver Kit include a command-line compiler for compiling drivers.

One of the reasons given by Microsoft to include the compiler is that if you use the same compiler version as Windows itself to compile, and Visual C++ is aimed at application development and has a different product cycle, you can improve the quality of the driver.

Change more frequently. Windows Driver Kit 8.x and later versions go back to requiring the installation of a matching version of Visual Studio respectively, but this time the integration is more complete, and you can directly edit/build/debug the driver in Visual Studio.

System Requirements of Windows Driver Kit

You can run the Windows 10, version 2004 WDK on Windows 7 and later, and use it to develop drivers for these operating systems:

Client OS

  • Windows 10     
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8       
  • Windows 7

Server OS

  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
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How to Download & Install Windows Driver Kit

Now, let’s see how to download & install Windows Driver Kit on Windows 10.

Step 1: Install Visual Studio 2019

Windows Driver Kit requires Visual Studio. When installing Visual Studio 2019, choose desktop development with a C++ workload. The Windows 10 Software Development Kit (SDK) will be automatically included and displayed in the Summary pane on the right.

Please note that the SDK that is compatible with the Windows 10 WDK may not be the default SDK. To choose the correct SDK, do the following:

On the Single Component tab of Visual Studio Installer, search for Windows 10 SDK (10.0.19041.0), select this version and continue the installation. Please note that Visual Studio will automatically install the Windows 10 SDK (10.0.19041.1) on your computer.

If you have already installed Visual Studio 2019, you can use the Modify button in the Visual Studio installation to install the Windows 10 SDK (10.0.19041.1).

The WDK has the Spectre mitigation feature enabled by default, but the Spectre mitigation library needs to be installed for each architecture to be developed for Visual Studio. In addition, developing drivers for ARM/ARM64 also requires that the build tools for these architectures can also be installed with Visual Studio. To find these items, you will need to know the latest version of MSVC installed on your system.

To find the latest version of MSVC installed on your system, go to the workload page in the Visual Studio installer, in the right pane under the installation details, expand Desktop Development with C++ and find MSVC v142-VS 2019 C++ x64/x86 build tools (V14.xx)-Please note that xx should be the highest version available.

With this information (v14.xx), go to the various parts and search for v14.xx. This will return the toolset for all architectures, including the Spectre mitigation library. Select the driver architecture to be developed.

Step 2: Install the updated Windows SDK for Windows 10

Step 3: Install Refreshed WDK for Windows 10

Final Words

To sum up, here is all the information on Windows Driver Kit. You can know what it is and the Windows Driver Kit download. Besides, you can find the steps of installing it on Windows 10.

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