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Windows NT/2000 Native API Reference 1st Edition
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The book first explains what native APIs are and what they are good for. Native APIs (which all begin with the "Nt" or "Zw" prefixes) run closer to the operating system (in kernel mode), so they are perfect for those who write device drivers, debuggers, profilers, or other system utilities.
This book lists several hundred native APIs, the C structures they use, and the Win32 calls that invoke them. As a reference, this text is a model of clarity, with each function clearly documented and explained. APIs are grouped by functionality, from finding system information to processes and threads, memory management, file I/O, and other categories. One standout here is the sample code that polls the system for low-level information, which mimics developer utilities that let you view process and thread information. Other short examples include techniques for accessing debugging, profiling, and exception information.
For programmers who write device drivers, this title also includes the plug-and-play and power management APIs used by today's Windows. Interesting appendices include a guide to the way the Win32 NTFS file system organizes data on disks, along with sample code to access--and even decompress--this information.
Whether you want to write device drivers or system utilities, or you just want to learn more about the operating system, this comprehensive guide takes the lid off Windows 2000 and looks inside at its internal functions. --Richard Dragan
Topics covered: Native API overview, native API vs. Win32 API, system information and control, APIs for objects, object directories and symbolic links, virtual memory, sections for memory-mapped files, threads, processes, building ToolHelp utilities with native APIs, Windows 2000 API for jobs, tokens, working with synchronization objects, execution profiling, ports and local procedure calls (LPCs), debugging support with LPCs, opening, reading and writing files, NTFS disk structures, Registry keys, security and auditing, plug-and-play and power management, miscellaneous native APIs, exception and debugging.
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However, keep in mind that it's a REFERENCE in its purest sense. Although there is some interspersed sample code, it's NOT a tutorial. You need to know already what you're doing before you will benefit from this book.
The Native API Reference not only shows you the neat and very useful things that NT can do but does not expose through its Win32 personality; it also tells you which areas are covered by documented Win32 APIs, lessening, one hopes, the gratuitous use of officially undocumented functionality. Right from the start, you will find the NtQuery...() functions fascinating, and if you write kernel-mode code, you will *love* having a complete reference to the Zw...() functions -- no more cursing the horrible DDK documentation.
Intended audience: If you don't know what a handle is, or how Win32 deals with I/O, synchronization, and the like, then this book is not for you; read Richter's _Advanced Windows_ first.
My only wish is for MTP to have chosen a font slightly larger than Flyspeck 3, and maybe less of the black splotches that make the book's pages look like an unbroken string of obituaries.
0. Read the reviews after mine. People are right about what they say.
1. Native API is (or now was) officially unpublished. Microsoft does not want you to know about this API. In fact, the publisher almost did not publish the book for fear of legal issues.
2. Usually, you need to talk to Microsoft to learn of Native API calls. This book is easier than dealing with Microsoft.
3. Native API evolves. Only Microsoft (and those who've obtained the proper source licenses) know of the new API functions that were added after this book went to print.
4. Native API will help you do a lot of black-magic kernel-mode things, without having to hack/patch the OS. (think memory pools, devices, etc.)
5. This book will not teach you how to do program kernel mode modules. Yet, cnsider this book to be an ESSENTIAL supplement for kernel mode things.
It is important to note what this book is not. It is not a beginners reference to win32. It will not teach you the how and why of windows programming, and it is not a good starting point for learning about NT internals (However, it is essential once you have understood the basic material and want to do more).
For developers wanting to learn about basic windows programming I recommend "Win32 System Programming" by Johnson M. Hart (ISBN 0-201-70310-6). For those interested in the how and why of 2000 internals I suggest chapter eleven of "Modern Operating Systems" by Andrew S. Tanenbaum, 2nd ed. (ISBN 0-13-031358-0). Chapter 11, pp. 763-851, is a case study explaining how the concepts of OS theory as described in the rest of the chapters apply to Windows 2000.
If you are looking for a book about NT internals then you need to look for some other books. However, if you are a system engineer who spends most of his time doing kernel debugging using SoftIce or Microsoft Kernel Debugger then this book is definitely for you. If you know how to break at each NT native API using SoftIce (or Microsoft KD) and dump the parameters passed to the function then this book is an invaluable help to you. Otherwise, this book is not for you.
Finally, this is the only available text book to the public that has published the prototype of most of NT native APIs. If you need to know those APIs then this book is for you. However, you need to consider the fact that maybe there are some mistakes so you need to verify each API prototype yourself.
A more complete review of this book appears in the Jan/Feb 2000 edition of The NT Insider.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I needed detailed explanation for some functions that i needed in order to complete a driver i was developing and this book solved my riddles.
It is nice that the author documented this APIs long before MS got around to it, but now they are either documented or deprecated APIs (XP, Vista). Read morePublished on January 11, 2008 by Unhandled Exception
This book is essential material for someone interested in knowing how NT really works. I discovered it a few years ago, and it immediately freed me from having to peer through a... Read morePublished on April 22, 2005 by dave
Ok, usually I do not write reviews on books that I get, because I just don't care to. This time I have to. Not too long ago I received this book, and too my suprise it was TINY. Read morePublished on February 13, 2004 by Amazon Customer
This is an extremely useful and well written reference book. It's not for the faint of heart or the newbie, though. Read morePublished on February 13, 2001 by Tomas Restrepo
I'm so sorry that the previous review didn't appear here before I bought this book. Maybe it's just me, but this book is NOT good. Read morePublished on November 25, 2000