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Windows Internals: A Deep Dive into Windows 10 and Windows Server Architecture and Implementation



Microsoft Windows Internals PDF 21: A Comprehensive Guide




If you are a computing professional who wants to understand how Windows core components behave under the hood, you might be interested in reading Windows Internals books. These books provide a detailed and authoritative description of the architecture and implementation of Windows operating systems, from processes and threads to memory management and security.




microsoft windows internals pdf 21



In this article, we will give you an overview of the latest edition of Windows Internals books, which cover Windows 10 and Windows Server versions up to May 2021. We will also show you how to use the book tools and resources to explore Windows internals on your own. By reading this article, you will learn:



  • What is Windows Internals and why is it important to learn about it?



  • What are the main topics covered in Windows Internals books?



  • What are the new features and changes in Windows 10 and Windows Server versions covered by the books?



  • Where can you buy the books and get discounts?



  • What are some other resources to learn more about Windows internals?



What is Windows Internals?




Windows Internals is a series of books that explain the inner workings of Windows operating systems. The first book was originally called Inside Windows NT and was written by Helen Custer in 1992, prior to the release of Microsoft Windows NT 3.1. Since then, the book has been updated and expanded by several authors, including David Solomon, Mark Russinovich, Alex Ionescu, Pavel Yosifovich, and Andrea Allievi.


The current edition of Windows Internals is divided into two parts: Part 1 covers the architecture and core internals of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, while Part 2 covers additional topics such as boot process, storage technologies, system and management mechanisms. The books are based on extensive research and analysis of Windows source code, documentation, debugging tools, kernel dumps, and reverse engineering techniques.


Windows Internals books are not intended for beginners or casual users of Windows. They are designed for advanced computing professionals who need to understand how Windows works at a low level, such as developers, administrators, security researchers, forensic analysts, performance engineers, testers, etc. By reading these books, you can gain insights into how Windows operates behind the scenes, how to troubleshoot complex problems, how to optimize performance and reliability, how to harden security and mitigate threats, how to develop more powerful and scalable software, etc.


What are the main topics covered in Windows Internals books?




Windows Internals books cover a wide range of topics related to the architecture and implementation of Windows operating systems. Some of these topics include:



  • System architecture: The overall structure and components of Windows systems, such as kernel mode vs user mode, system services vs applications, executive vs subsystems, etc.



  • Processes and jobs: The creation, management, and termination of processes and jobs, which are the basic units of execution and isolation in Windows.



  • Threads: The scheduling, synchronization, and termination of threads, which are the basic units of concurrency and CPU utilization in Windows.



  • Memory management: The allocation, protection, and sharing of virtual and physical memory, which are the basic resources for storing and executing code and data in Windows.



  • I/O system: The management of physical devices and device drivers, which are the basic interfaces for communicating with external hardware and software in Windows.



  • Security: The enforcement of access control, authentication, authorization, auditing, encryption, integrity, and isolation mechanisms, which are the basic safeguards for protecting data and resources in Windows.



  • Hyper-V: The implementation of virtualization technology, which allows running multiple operating systems on the same physical machine in Windows.



  • Boot process: The sequence of steps and components involved in starting up a Windows system, from power on to user logon.



  • Storage technologies: The support for various types of storage devices and file systems in Windows, such as hard disks, solid state drives, USB drives, optical media, network shares, NTFS, ReFS, FAT, etc.



  • System and management mechanisms: The features and tools for monitoring, configuring, updating, and maintaining a Windows system, such as registry, event logs, performance counters, WMI, PowerShell, Group Policy, Windows Update, etc.



Each topic is explained in detail with diagrams, tables, code snippets, examples, exercises, and references. The books also provide tips and tricks for using various tools and resources to explore Windows internals on your own. Some of these tools and resources include:



  • Windows Sysinternals: A suite of utilities for troubleshooting and analyzing Windows systems. Some of the most popular tools are Process Explorer, Process Monitor, Autoruns, PsTools, DebugView, etc.



  • Windows Debugger (WinDbg): A powerful debugger for debugging kernel mode and user mode code on Windows systems. It can be used to examine memory dumps, trace execution flow, set breakpoints, modify registers and variables, etc.



  • Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT): A set of tools for measuring and improving performance on Windows systems. Some of the main tools are Windows Performance Recorder (WPR), Windows Performance Analyzer (WPA), xperfview.exe (deprecated), etc.



  • Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK): A collection of tools for deploying and customizing Windows systems. Some of the relevant tools are Image File Execution Options (IFEO), Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), Application Verifier (AppVerifier), etc.



  • Windows Software Development Kit (SDK): A set of libraries and tools for developing applications for Windows platforms. Some of the useful tools are Kernel-Mode Driver Framework (KMDF), User-Mode Driver Framework (UMDF), Driver Verifier (DV), etc.



What are the new features and changes in Windows 10 and Windows Server versions covered by the books?




The latest edition of Windows Internals books covers Windows 10 and Windows Server versions up to May 2021. These include:



  • Windows 10 version 21H1 (also known as May 2021 Update or 2104)



  • Windows Server 2022



  • Windows Server 2019



  • Windows Server 2016



Some of the new features and changes in these versions that are discussed in the books are:



  • The introduction of Control Flow Guard (CFG) as a security mitigation against code injection attacks.



  • The introduction of Virtual Secure Mode (VSM) as a security feature that isolates sensitive data and processes from the rest of the system using Hyper-V.



  • The introduction of Credential Guard as a security feature that protects credentials from theft using VSM.



  • The introduction of Device Guard as a security feature that enforces code integrity policies using VSM.



  • The introduction of Virtualization-Based Security (VBS) as a general term for security features that use VSM.



  • The introduction of User-Mode Scheduling (UMS) as a feature that allows user-mode code to manage its own threads without involving the kernel scheduler.



  • The introduction of User-Mode Driver Framework version 2.0 (UMDF 2.0) as a framework that allows developing user-mode drivers with improved performance and reliability.



  • The introduction of ReFS version 3.0 as a file system that supports deduplication and compression features.



Windows Internals 7th edition (Part 1)




Windows Internals 7th edition (Part 1) was published in 2017 and covers the architecture and core internals of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. This book helps you:



  • Understand the Windows system architecture and its general components.



  • Explore internal data structures using tools like the kernel debugger.



  • Understand how Windows uses processes for management and isolation.



  • Understand and view thread scheduling and how CPU resources are managed.



  • Dig into the Windows security model including recent advances in security mitigations.



  • Understand how Windows manages virtual and physical memory.



  • Understand how the I/O system manages physical devices and device drivers.



The book consists of seven chapters, each covering a major topic in Windows internals. The chapters are:



  • Concepts and Tools: This chapter introduces the basic concepts and terminology of Windows internals, such as kernel mode vs user mode, system services vs applications, executive vs subsystems, etc. It also describes the main tools and resources for exploring Windows internals, such as Windows Sysinternals, WinDbg, WPT, ADK, SDK, etc.



  • System Architecture: This chapter explains the overall structure and components of Windows systems, such as the boot process, the system startup sequence, the system service dispatching mechanism, the system call interface, the exception handling mechanism, etc.



  • Processes and Jobs: This chapter describes the creation, management, and termination of processes and jobs in Windows. It covers topics such as process attributes, process states, process tokens, process handles, process quotas, process groups, process termination reasons, job objects, job limits, job notifications, etc.



critical sections, etc.), thread termination reasons, etc.


  • Memory Management: This chapter explains the allocation, protection, and sharing of virtual and physical memory in Windows. It covers topics such as memory management architecture, memory management data structures, memory allocation mechanisms (heaps, pools, stacks, etc.), memory protection mechanisms (page tables, page faults, access violations, etc.), memory sharing mechanisms (copy-on-write, shared memory, memory mapped files, etc.), memory compression and deduplication features, etc.



  • I/O System: This chapter describes the management of physical devices and device drivers in Windows. It covers topics such as I/O system architecture, I/O system data structures, I/O request packets (IRPs), I/O stack locations, I/O completion ports, I/O cancellation and timeout mechanisms, I/O prioritization and throttling mechanisms, I/O power management features, I/O security features (access control lists, integrity levels, etc.), Windows Driver Model (WDM), User-Mode Driver Framework (UMDF), Kernel-Mode Driver Framework (KMDF), etc.



Device Guard, etc.), etc.


The book is available for purchase on the Microsoft Press site ( 7th edition Part 1 ).


Windows Internals 7th edition (Part 2)




Windows Internals 7th edition (Part 2) was published in 2021 and covers additional topics such as boot process, storage technologies, system and management mechanisms. This book helps you:



  • Understand the new features and changes in Windows 10 (21H1/2104) and Windows Server (2022, 2019, and 2016).



  • Explore internal data structures using tools like the kernel debugger.



  • Understand how Windows implements virtualization technology using Hyper-V.



  • Understand how Windows supports various types of storage devices and file systems.



  • Understand how Windows provides features and tools for monitoring, configuring, updating, and maintaining the system.



The book consists of six chapters, each covering a major topic in Windows internals. The chapters are:



  • Hyper-V: This chapter explains the implementation of virtualization technology in Windows using Hyper-V. It covers topics such as Hyper-V architecture, Hyper-V data structures, Hyper-V components (hypervisor, virtual machine monitor, virtual machine worker process, etc.), Hyper-V operations (virtual machine creation, configuration, startup, shutdown, etc.), Hyper-V features (live migration, dynamic memory, checkpoints, etc.), Hyper-V security features (Virtualization-Based Security (VBS), Secure Boot, etc.), etc.



postboot phase, etc.), boot process options and settings (boot configuration data (BCD), boot menu, boot options, etc.), boot process troubleshooting and recovery tools (Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), Startup Repair, etc.), etc.


  • Storage Technologies: This chapter discusses the support for various types of storage devices and file systems in Windows. It covers topics such as storage architecture, storage data structures, storage components (storage stack, storage class drivers, storage port drivers, storage miniport drivers, etc.), storage operations (storage enumeration, identification, configuration, management, etc.), storage features (Storage Spaces Direct (S2D), Storage Replica, Storage Quality of Service (QoS), etc.), file system architecture, file system data structures, file system components (file system drivers, file system filters, file system minifilters, etc.), file system operations (file creation, deletion, read, write, etc.), file system features (NTFS, ReFS, FAT, exFAT, etc.), etc.



event logging operations (event logging, querying, filtering, forwarding, etc.), event logging features (event sources, event channels, event levels and keywords, event templates and manifests, etc.), performance monitoring architecture, performance monitoring data structures, performance monitoring operations (performance counter collection, reporting, analysis, etc.), performance monitoring features (performance objects and counters, performance libraries and providers, performance registry keys and values, etc.), etc.


PowerShell operations (PowerShell commands and cmdlets, PowerShell scripting and programming interfaces, PowerShell providers and modules, etc.), PowerShell features (PowerShell language and syntax, PowerShell variables and objects, PowerShell pipelines and operators, PowerShell security and auditing, PowerShell remoting and jobs, etc.), Windows Update architecture, Windows Update data structures, Windows Update operations (Windows Update scanning, downloading, installing, etc.), Windows Update features (Windows Update components and services, Windows Update policies and settings, Windows Update security and auditing, Windows Update history and logs, etc.), etc.


  • Appendixes: This section contains additional information and resources for exploring Windows internals. It includes appendixes on kernel debugging fundamentals, kernel debugging reference, image file execution options (IFEO), application compatibility toolkit (ACT), application verifier (AppVerifier), driver verifier (DV), etc.



The book is available for purchase on the Microsoft Press site ( 7th edition Part 2 ).


Conclusion




In this article, we have given you an overview of the latest edition of Windows Internals books, which cover Windows 10 and Windows Server versions up to May 2021. We have also shown you how to use the book tools and resources to explore Windows internals on your own.


By reading these books, you can learn a lot about how Windows core components behave under the hood, how to troubleshoot complex problems, how to optimize performance and reliability, how to harden security and mitigate threats, how to develop more powerful and scalable software, etc.


If you are interested in buying the books, you can visit the Microsoft Press site and use the discount code PART2 during checkout to save 40% on your book or e-book purchase. The offer expires on October 31, 2021.


If you want to learn more about Windows internals, you can also check out some other resources such as:



  • The official Windows documentation, which contains technical articles and reference materials on various aspects of Windows.



  • The Windows Internals forum, which is a place where you can ask questions and share knowledge with other Windows internals enthusiasts.



  • The Windows Internals courses on Pluralsight, which are video-based tutorials that teach you various topics in Windows internals.



which is a series of videos that demonstrate how to use various tools and techniques to debug Windows systems.


  • The Windows Sysinternals site, which contains blog posts, webcasts, and books by Mark Russinovich and other Windows internals experts.



We hope you have enjoyed this article and learned something new about Windows internals. If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about Windows internals and the books:



  • What is the difference between Windows internals and Windows architecture?



Windows internals refers to the implementation details of Windows operating systems, such as data structures, algorithms, code snippets, etc. Windows architecture refers to the design principles and concepts of Windows operating systems, such as components, interfaces, models, etc.


  • What is the difference between Windows Internals 7th edition (Part 1) and Part 2?



Windows Internals 7th edition (Part 1) covers the architecture and core internals of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. Windows Internals 7th edition (Part 2) covers additional topics such as boot process, storage technologies, system and management mechanisms. Part 2 also covers the new features and changes in Windows 10 (21H1/2104) and Windows Server (2022, 2019, and 2016).


  • Do I need to read Windows Internals books in order?



No, you do not need to read Windows Internals books in order. You can start with any book or chapter that interests you. However, some chapters may assume some prior knowledge of other chapters or topics. For example, the chapter on security may assume some knowledge of processes and threads.


  • Do I need to have access to Windows source code to read Windows Internals books?



No, you do not need to have access to Windows source code to read Windows Internals books. The books are based on extensive research and analysis of Windows source code, but they do not reveal any confidential or proprietary information. The books also provide tips and tricks for using various tools and resources to explore Windows internals without source code access.


  • Do I need to have a specific version of Windows to read Windows Internals books?



Windows NT 3.1 to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2022. However, some features and changes may be specific to certain versions or editions of Windows. The books indicate the version or edition of Windows where a feature or change applies.


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