We all know that Microsoft has decided to make the latest version of DirectX available on Windows Vista only. This has most likely been done to drive sales of the new operating systems. Some independent developers have decided to create a working version of DirectX 10 for Windows XP with the goal to run any application that requires DirectX 10 also on that operating system.
The current release is a alpha release and probably only interesting for developers or coders. The plan is however to support the two games that have been released for Vista only. Halo 2 and Shadowrun are the two games that can only be installed and played using Windows Vista at the moment as they both require DirectX 10 on the system they are installed and run on.
It is however likely that additional games will come out eventually that are Vista-only. I would not advise anyone to install the preview yet but bookmark the page and be the first when a first official version will be released that supports the games. You can download the preview from the Falling Leaf website and keep yourself informed at the official Alky Project blog.
Update: The latest version of DirectX 10 for Windows XP has been released on Monday, April 25, 2011. The latest version can be downloaded from the developer website. Please make sure you backup your system before you start to install Directx10 on Windows XP.
An alternative has been posted on the Softpedia download portal. DirectX 10 for Windows XP RC2 is available for direct download at the site. It is not clear how both versions differ. The Softpedia version has last been updated in January 2010. This may indicate that newer games may not be compatible with those versions of DirectX.
Update 2: No further releases have been published as of March 2013. This is a strong indicator that the project is dead. What's interesting though is that game developers and publishers never really jumped on the DirectX 10 only bandwagon. Games that were released in past years almost always included a version that would run on Windows XP without issues.
There is virtually no need to upgrade if you are a gamer, as the vast majority of games for Windows support the latest version of DirectX 9 as well. It is likely that this will change once Windows XP reaches its end of support date in 2014.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.