A description of the device driver .inf file decoration requirements for Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition


Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 editions and Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition require that OEM device driver .inf files specify a TargetOsVersion entry in the [Manufacturer] section and in the [Models] section for the following 64-bit computer platforms:
  • Intel Itanium
  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) AMD64 processors and Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T)
If the TargetOsVersion entry is specified with a suffix for a particular platform and operating system, the .inf file is considered to be decorated. Decoration is designed to prevent users from trying to install .inf-based device driver packages on a platform that is not correct. For example, with Windows Server 2003-based and earlier operating systems, Plug and Play tries to install a 32-bit x86 device driver that has an undecorated .inf file on an Itanium-based platform. When a platform mismatch is detected, the device installation is not completed successfully. Typically, if the device installation is not completed successfully, limited information is returned to the user. This may make troubleshooting device installation problems difficult.

More Information

The following sample .inf file excerpt shows the [Manufacturer] and the [Models] sections with a TargetOSVersion decoration that specifies the 64-bit-based platform.

Note The .NTamd64 decoration in the following .inf file excerpt is used for all AMD64 or EM64T platforms. Conversely, the .NTia64 decoration is used for Intel Itanium platforms.


%mycompany% = MyCompanyModels, NTamd64


%MyDev% = mydevInstall, mydevHwid

Decorations and installation behavior

The following table describes the Microsoft Windows operating system installation behaviors for decorated and undecorated .inf files:
UndecoratedDecorated for x86Decorated for ItaniumDecorated for x64
Microsoft Windows 2000 x86-basedINIn/an/a
Microsoft Windows XP x86-basedIINIn/a
Windows Server 2003 SP1 x86-basedIININI
Windows Server 2003 SP1 Itanium-based
Windows Server 2003 SP1 x64-basedNININII

Decorations and installation behavior notes

(I) Device models that are within the corresponding .inf file are found, and are matched for potential installation.

(NI) Device models that are within the corresponding .inf file are not found, and installation does not occur.

(*) Undecorated .inf files for Itanium-based platforms are allowed for packages with a DriverVer date that is before the date that is defined in Windows Server 2003 x64 editions. This is to avoid problems that may be caused by device driver packages that are developed before the date that is defined in Windows Server 2003 x64 editions.

Device driver .inf files that are used for multiple platforms

Device driver .inf files support the following multiple platform configurations:
  • Decorated sections for x64 and Itanium-based platforms.
  • Undecorated or decorated sections for x86-based platforms.
Important You cannot install device driver packages with decorated .inf files on Windows 2000-based computers. Only Windows Server 2003 x64 editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition support .inf file decoration.

The following two methods are supported with device driver packages for multiple platforms:
  • Method 1: Provide an individual .inf file for each operating system.
  • Method 2: Provide a single multiple-platform .inf file for all supported platforms.
Note Method 1 is the preferred method because it requires only a single declaration in the [Models] section of the .inf file.

The following example shows a multiple platform .inf file:


%mycompany% = MyCompanyModels, NTx86, NTia64


%MyDev% = mydevInstallx86, mydevHwid


%MyDev% = mydevInstallia64, mydevHwid
For more information about how to create .inf files for multiple platforms, see the "Creating INF Files for Multiple Platforms and Operating Systems" topic in the Windows Driver Development Kit documentation.

Backward compatibility with Windows Server 2003 for Itanium-based platforms

Windows compares the DriverVer date of an .inf file to determine whether a decorated [Models] section is required. For backward compatibility purposes with Itanium-based platforms, Windows Server 2003 x64 editions do not enforce .inf decorations for device drivers if the DriverVer date is earlier than the date that is defined in Windows Server 2003 x64 editions.

The enforcement date is maintained in the following registry subkey:
0-4Day. The day of the month, 1-31.
5-8Month. 1 represents January, 2 represents February, and so on.
9-15Year. The year is offset from 1980. Add 1980 to obtain the current year.
For more information about device driver .inf file decoration, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

Technical support for x64-based versions of Microsoft Windows

If your hardware came with a Microsoft Windows x64 edition already installed, your hardware manufacturer provides technical support and assistance for the Windows x64 edition. In this case, your hardware manufacturer provides support because a Windows x64 edition was included with your hardware. Your hardware manufacturer might have customized the Windows x64 edition installation by using unique components. Unique components might include specific device drivers or might include optional settings to maximize the performance of the hardware. Microsoft will provide reasonable-effort assistance if you must have technical help with a Windows x64 edition. However, you might have to contact your manufacturer directly. Your manufacturer is best qualified to support the software that your manufacturer installed on the hardware. If you purchased a Windows x64 edition such as a Windows Server 2003 x64 edition separately, contact Microsoft for technical support.

For product information about Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, visit the following Microsoft Web site: For product information about x64-based versions of Windows Server 2003, visit the following Microsoft Web site: