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How to use floating-point or MMX™ instructions in Ring 0 or a VxD under Windows® 95

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The current release of Windows® 95 4.00 does not allow floating-point or MMX™ instructions within VxD's, which run in ring 0. Floating point and MMX™ instructions in applications and DLL's are not restricted The reason for the restriction is because Windows® 95 does not allow floating-point exceptions when they are originated from ring 0.

Implication:

Systems using Intel processors with MMX™ technology, including OverDrive®processors with MMX™ technology will display a blue screen exception error message when attempting to run software which executes MMX™ instructions at the ring 0 level, under early versions of Windows® 95 (pre-OSR2 releases)

The solution:

The solution is incorporated in the version 4.02 of VMCPD VxD. The revised VxD is included in the new OEM version of Windows® 95 called OSR2 (see MS web page).

Distribution of the solution:

  • OSR2 will be distributed on new machines after release.
  • DirectX Beta 3 installs the new VMCPD VxD. Refer to MS documentation.

What should ISV do:

Within Windows® 95 OSR2, support for FP/MMX™ instructions in ring 0 is implemented in VMCPD.VxD version 4.02.

Ring 0 FPU/MMX instruction dependent software should detect the existence of VMCPD.VxD version 4.02, at installation time and at run time by checking the version number of the VMCPD. If an early VMCPD VxD version is deteced, then Direct X applications should intall the new version of Direct X (Beta 3 and above) to update the VMCPD VxD.

The following API will report the version of the VMCPD VxD:

VxDCall VMCPD_Get_Version

Version 4.02 or above will allow FP/MMX™ instruction usage within ring 0

How should you use floating-point or MMX™ instructions within your VxD?

There are two major cases where the VxD is called:

  1. If the VxD is being called from an application using DevIOCcontrol then it runs on the same context of the calling thread. It uses the state and cleans it when it returns. The caller thread does not assume that the state is preserved.
  2. If the VxD is being invoked by other means then:
CurrentThread = Get_Cur_Thread
VMCPD_GET_THREAD (CurrentThread, MyVxD_Buff)
MMX
MMX
...
VMCPD_SET_THREAD (CurrentThread, MyVxD_Buff)
RET
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