After the package has been assembled and a signed catalog file has been created, the package is ready to distribute. Package distribution can be done in several ways:
Test versions of the driver package can be transferred to a test computer by any convenient means.
The samples discussed in this chapter were all transferred to the test computer by using a USB storage drive.
Released versions of the driver package are typically placed on CD or DVD media and included with the associated device.
Driver packages can also be made available for download from a Web site. This approach is especially useful for distributing updates.
Drivers that have passed Windows Logo Program testing can be placed on Windows Update.
The critical factor for end-user success when you provide drivers through Windows Update is to ensure that every hardware product variation has a unique identifier.
Microsoft strongly recommends that you deliver driver updates to end users through Windows Update. Windows Error Reporting data shows that distributing drivers through Windows Update significantly reduces the number of system crashes and hardware failures caused by drivers. See "Winqual and Distribution Services" on the WHDC Web site for information-online at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=79362.
Chapter 21, "Tools for Testing WDF Drivers," provides details about driver maintenance.