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Developer(s) Microsoft
Development status Active
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Device driver

WinUSB is a generic USB driver provided by Microsoft, for their operating systems starting with Windows Vista but which is also available for Windows XP. It is aimed at simple devices that are accessed by only one application at a time (for example instruments like weather stations, devices that only need a diagnostic connection or for firmware upgrades). It enables the application to directly access the device through a simple software library. The library provides access to the pipes of the device. WinUSB exposes a client API that enables developers to work with USB devices from user-mode. Starting with Windows 7, USB MTP devices use WinUSB instead of the kernel mode filter driver.

Advantages and disadvantages[edit]


  • Doesn't require the knowledge to write driver
  • Speeds up development


  • Only one application can access the device at a time
  • Doesn't support isochronous transfers (isochronous transfer mode will be made available with Windows 8.1)
  • On other operating systems, the device still needs a custom driver

Other solutions[edit]

One solution is the use of a predefined USB device class. Operating systems provide built-in drivers for some of them. The most widely used device class for embedded devices is the USB communications device class (CDC). A CDC device can appear as a virtual serial port to simplify the use of a new device for older applications.

If the previous solutions are inappropriate, one can write a custom driver. For newer versions of Microsoft Windows, it can be done using the Windows Driver Foundation.


"How to Use WinUSB to Communicate with a USB Device". Microsoft. 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 

"WinUSB". Microsoft Developer Network. Retrieved 2010-07-07. 

"USB 2.0 Specification". USB Implementers Forum, Inc. 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2007-03-27. [dead link] The newest version can be found at