SKETCH OF HOW RESEARCH MIGHT CONTINUE AND RESULTS BE PRESENTED

NtManagePartition

This function performs a variety of operations on one or two memory partitions.

Declaration

NTSTATUS 
NtManagePartition (
    HANDLE TargetHandle, 
    HANDLE SourceHandle, 
    MEMORY_PARTITION_INFORMATION_CLASS PartitionInformationClass, 
    PVOID PartitionInformation, 
    ULONG PartitionInformationLength);

Parameters

The SourceHandle and TargetHandle arguments specify which partitions to operate on, as source and target. All operations require a target. Some, presently just one, require a source. For others, supplying a source is an error.

The operation is selected by the PartitionInformationClass argument. There are presently five supported values.

The PartitionInformation and PartitionInformationLength arguments are respectively the address and size (in bytes) of a buffer that either provides information or receives it. What the function interprets of the buffer or puts into it depends on the information class.

Return Value

The function returns STATUS_SUCCESS if successful, else a negative error code.

Availability

The NtManagePartition function and its alias ZwManagePartition are exported by name from NTDLL in version 10.0 and higher. In kernel mode, where ZwManagePartition is a stub and NtManagePartition is the implementation, neither is exported.

For all practical effect, the functions are available only in 64-bit Windows. As exports from the 32-bit NTDLL, they do exist, but only to return STATUS_NOT_SUPPORTED.

Documentation Status

Neither NtManagePartition nor its alias is documented. As ZwManagePartition, it is declared in the ZWAPI.H file in the Windows Driver Kit (WDK) for Windows 10.

Behaviour

The following implementation notes are from inspection of the kernel from the original release of Windows 10.

User-Mode Defences

If executing for a user-mode request, the function has some general defensiveness about addresses passed as arguments. Failure at any of these defences is failure for the function, typically showing as a return of STATUS_DATATYPE_MISALIGNMENT or STATUS_ACCESS_VIOLATION.

If an information buffer is given, meaning here that PartitionInformationLength is non-zero, then its address PartitionInformation must have 8-byte alignment and the whole buffer must be in user-mode address space.

Invalid Information Classes

The PartitionInformationClass is the primary determinant of what the function is to do. A table below lists the valid information classes. For all others, the function can do nothing buf fail. The error code is STATUS_INVALID_INFO_CLASS.

Privilege

The information classes SystemMemoryPartitionMoveMemory (0x01) and SystemMemoryPartitionInitialAddMemory (0x04) require SeLockMemoryPrivilege. If the caller does not have this privilege, the function fails, returning STATUS_PRIVILEGE_NOT_HELD.

Information Buffer

Each information class has a corresponding fixed-size structure for its input or output, shown in the table below. If the PartitionInformationLength is not exactly the size of this corresponding structure, the function fails, returning STATUS_INFO_LENGTH_MISMATCH.

Information Class Structure Input or Output
SystemMemoryPartitionInformation (0x00) MEMORY_PARTITION_CONFIGURATION_INFORMATION output
SystemMemoryPartitionMoveMemory (0x01) MEMORY_PARTITION_TRANSFER_INFORMATION simple input
SystemMemoryPartitionAddPagefile (0x02) MEMORY_PARTITION_PAGEFILE_INFORMATION complex input
SystemMemoryPartitionCombineMemory (0x03) MEMORY_PARTITION_PAGE_COMBINE_INFORMATION simple input;
output
SystemMemoryPartitionInitialAddMemory (0x04) MEMORY_PARTITION_INITIAL_ADD_INFORMATION simple input;
output

For those information classes that expect input that contains no pointers, designated simple input above, the function captures the input immediately. If executing for a user-mode request, occurrence of an exception while capturing the input is fatal to the function, which returns the exception code as its own result.

Target Partition

All information classes require a target partition to operate on. The given TargetHandle must resolve to a partition object. For most information classes, the handle must allow MEMORY_PARTITION_MODIFY_ACCESS (0x02). For SystemMemoryPartitionInformation, the required permission is MEMORY_PARTITION_QUERY_ACCESS (0x01). Failure to reference the target partition is failure for the function.

Source Partition

For most information classes, the selected operation works on only one partition. Supplying a SourceHandle is an error, specifically STATUS_INVALID_PARAMETER_2.

A source partition is required for SystemMemoryPartitionMoveMemory. The SourceHandle must resolve to a partition object and allow MEMORY_PARTITION_MODIFY_ACCESS. Failure to reference the source partition is failure for the function.

Valid Information Classes

All remaining behaviour is highly particular to the information class.

SystemMemoryPartitionInformation

The whole point to SystemMemoryPartitionInformation is to fill the information buffer with a MEMORY_PARTITION_CONFIGURATION_INFORMATION, thus giving the caller some description of the target partition.

If executing for a user-mode request, occurrence of an exception while writing to the buffer is fatal for the function, which returns the exception code as its own result. If executing for a kernel-mode request (not that this seems possible at present), an unhandled exception during this write is left unhandled, which will typically be fatal to Windows.

SystemMemoryPartitionMoveMemory

The operation selected by SystemMemoryPartitionMoveMemory is the moving of pages from a Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA) node at the source partition to the target partition. The information buffer supplies a MEMORY_PARTITION_TRANSFER_INFORMATION structure which specifies the number of pages and the node.

Success is trivial if the NumberOfPages is zero. If the NumaNode is invalid or if the Flags are not zero, the function fails, returning STATUS_INVALID_PARAMETER. Note, however, that NumaNode can be 0xFFFFFFFF to mean the node for the current thread’s ideal processor.

SystemMemoryPartitionAddPagefile

When given SystemMemoryPartitionAddPagefile as the information class, the function is to create a paging file for the target partition. It becomes essentially the NtCreatePagingFile function but without being tied to the system partition. What would be individual arguments for NtCreatePagingFile are instead supplied to NtManagePartition as a MEMORY_PARTITION_PAGEFILE_INFORMATION structure in the information buffer.

SystemMemoryPartitionCombineMemory

For SystemMemoryPartitionCombineMemory the function is to combine identical pages on the target partition. The information buffer supplies a MEMORY_PARTITION_PAGE_COMBINE_INFORMATION structure for both input and output.

As input, the structure provides the function with a StopHandle and Flags. Among the flags, only 0x01 is presently valid. If any other is set or if the 0x01 flag is set but the target partition is not the system partition, the function fails, returning STATUS_INVALID_PARAMETER.

As output, the structure’s TotalNumberOfPages receives the number of pages that have been combined as identical.

SystemMemoryPartitionInitialAddMemory

The information class SystemMemoryPartitionInitialAddMemory directs the function to assign one block of physically contiguous pages to the target partition. The information buffer supplies a MEMORY_PARTITION_INITIAL_ADD_INFORMATION structure for both input and output.

As input, the structure provides the function with the page number of the block’s first page and with the number of pages. If this NumberOfPages is zero or if the Flags are not zero, the function fails, returning STATUS_INVALID_PARAMETER.