Posts

Exploring Windows virtual memory management

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In a previous post, we discussed the IA-32e 64-bit paging structures, and how they can be used to turn virtual addresses into physical addresses. They're a simple but elegant way to manage virtual address mappings as well as page permissions with varying granularity of page sizes. All of which is provided by the architecture. But as one might expect, once you add an operating system like Windows into the mix, things get a little more interesting.

The problem of per-process memory In Windows, a process is nothing more than a simple container of threads and metadata that represents a user-mode application. It has its own memory so that it can manage the different pieces of data and code that make the process do something useful. Let's consider, then, two processes that both try to read and write from the memory located at the virtual address 0x00000000`11223344. Based on what we know about paging, we expect that the virtual address is going to end up translating into the same p…

Breaking backwards compatibility: a 5 year old bug deep within Windows

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Microsoft has a great track record of maintaining support for legacy software running under Windows. There is an entire compatibility layer baked into the OS that is dedicated to fixing issues with decades old software running on modern iterations of Windows. To learn more about this application compatibility infrastructure, I'd recommend swinging over to Alex Ionescu's blog. He has a great set of posts describing the technical details on how user (even kernel) mode shimming is implemented.

With all of that said, it's an understatement to say that Microsoft takes backwards compatibility seriously. Occasionally, the humans at Microsoft make mistakes. Usually, though, they're very quick to address these problems.

This blog post will go over an unnoticed bug that was introduced in Windows 8 with a documented Win32 API. At the time of this post, this bug is still present in Windows 10 (Creator's Update) and has been around for over 5 years.
Forgotten Win32 APIs There i…