Old Tricks: Microsoft locks DirectX 11.1 to Windows 8

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 15, 2012
Updated • Mar 11, 2013

Many PC gamers want the latest and greatest when it comes to game technology on their systems. This includes faster better hardware to improve visual elements of the game and frame rates, but also software improvements in the form of drivers and components such as DirectX.

Remember the release of Windows Vista? Back when it was released Microsoft made DirectX 10 a Vista exclusive, leaving Windows XP users standing in the dust. While there were not that many games out there that made use of DirectX 10 features, it was something that many gamers did not take lightly. One of the main reasons why DirectX 10 exclusive features were not implemented into a lot of games at that time was that the majority of gamers, who were still using Windows XP at that time, did not benefit from them. Instead of optimizing the games using the latest technologies, many game companies instead decided to use DirectX 9 technologies exclusively for their games.

DirectX 11 was unveiled in 2008 by Microsoft and implemented natively into the company's Windows 7 operating system. A version for Windows Vista was made available as well so that both Vista and windows 7 users were able to benefit from the improvements made. Windows XP users on the other hand were still stuck with DirectX 9.0c, the latest version released for the operating system.

DirectX 11.1 shipped with the Windows 8 operating system in October 2012 but not for previous versions of Windows. Some components of DirectX 11.1 are made available to Windows 7 as part of the Internet Explorer 10 Preview release for the operating system, or a standalone update package.

Here is a quick summary of what KB 2670838 adds to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 / Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1:

ID3D11Device1, ID2D1Factory1, IDWriteFactory1, IDXGIFactory2, IWICImagingFactory2, ID3DUserDefinedAnnotation and related APIs are available. Methods that depend on WDDM 1.2 drivers or new Windows Store app APIs are not supported.
Improved Direct3D 11 device interoperability via ID3DDeviceContextState, including the improved interop with Direct2D/DirectWrite
D3D11_FEATURE_DATA_D3D9_OPTIONS feature detection
In addition to the new Windows 8 WIC features, this update also fixes decoding of 96bpp floating-point TIFF images.

All other features of DirectX 11.1 are Windows 8 / Windows Server 2012 only.

Even though some features are being made available on Windows 7, it effectively means that Microsoft has made DirectX 11.1 a Windows 8 exclusive. It is not clear how things will progress from here. There is still a possibility that Windows 7 will receive the DirectX 11.1 update eventually, or the next big version update whenever it is released.

It could on the other hand also mean that Windows 7 won't receive any more DirectX updates in the future. Windows 7 users are then facing the same situation that Windows XP users faced back then, with the difference that their operating system has just been out for a little bit over three years.


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  1. webfork said on November 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    There is an open DirectX competitor that doesn’t have a forced-upgrade strategy like Microsoft: OpenGL. Slashdot has covered this on and off may times over the years, but one article in particular


    Hopefully this will be a helpful reminder that OpenGL has advantages Microsoft doesn’t want to have and will never match.

  2. Mystique said on November 16, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Yes it is dead, it is no longer a thriving platform as it once was, brimming with creativity and enthusiasm. Blizzard is actually a different issue all together as they are a subscription based game. I’d also like to mention that their subscription numbers are starting to dwindle.
    Many retailers refuse to stock PC games whilst many others simply carry a small selection only.
    Once upon a time people really got behind a game and enjoyed it to the extreme, we had developers and community members form groups and develop decent mods for their favourite game extending the life and breathing new life in titles with a renewed sense of the enthusiasm now we just have rubbish recycled games such as COD which is nothing more than a locked down console port that essentially is just a mod by lazy money hungry developers cashing in on the hype and ignorance.

    DRM has also gone a long way to damaging PC gaming… anyone want to call in ubisoft for a comment?

    Rock star games hardly win the argument with their silly titles such as GTA all of which can be purchased for a console.

    I’m referring to pure PC born and bred games. Hardly any of them make an impact anymore.

    There is money to be mad from pc gaming but the quality and dedication is simply not there anymore, there are a few exceptions to the rule but only a small hand full.

  3. Shashank Bhattarai said on November 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    thanx for the information but it didnt fix my anything my PC has following requirements:

    1GB AMD Mobility radeon Graphics.
    4GB ram
    processor icore5 2nd generation

    When ever i tried to play games like NFS shift it always displaying the game is not responding..if any one knows the fix??

  4. Mystique said on November 16, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Halo is a sloppy first person shooter anyway any self respecting pc gamer knows this, any first person shooter that was created with a console in mind primarily is garbage that includes the all time scrub favourite COD.

    PC gaming has been dead for a long time now and microsoft isn’t helping much but then again they don’t give a damn about desktop computing anymore let alone gaming so this all comes as no surprise.

    Maybe its time for nix to stand up and be counted as a gamers OS too, perhaps gabe can get the ball rolling but I doubt it as I am sure counterstrike will fail to live up to expectations and pander to the slobs of gaming (console gamers).

    1. Morely Dotes said on November 16, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      PC gaming has been dead? Whoa. Someone should tell Blizzard/Activision, SOE, EA, Valve, Bethesda, Rock Star Games, Dust Bunny Games, and a few hundred smaller studios who didn’t get the word. Poor Blizzard. They’re only making about $180,000,000 gross monthly from PC games, how will they live?

  5. Gonzo said on November 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I will laugh hard if Halo 4 is released for PC and is DX 11.1 only.

    1. David said on November 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      I’ll dance Gangam style in public if that ever happens.

  6. Roman ShaRP said on November 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Many years I tend to use free software, and for some years I enjoy free games too.

    Oh, they may be not as polished and 3D-fancy as all that last empty-your-pockets-for-eye-candy titles, but they are enough for me and save me money on hardware and OS upgrades :)

    So… as bundling DirectX 10 to Vista didn’t make me buy Vista, as bundling DirectX 11 to Win 8 won’t make me buy Win 8.

  7. Morely Dotes said on November 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Windows 8 will be as necessary for gamers as scuba gears is necessary for fish. The vast majority of developers are going to ignore DX11.1 because it’s expensive to develop a game, and to do it for a tiny percentage of users in simply stupid.

    Windows 8 may be the latest, but it is DEFINITELY not the greatest. Gamers don’t need it. Only Microsoft sycophants and fools will use Windows 8 on desktop machines.

    1. Tim said on November 16, 2012 at 12:39 am

      Well, you’re not the first to dis a new Windows Operating System, and I doubt you will be the last. Taken from Usenet 12 years ago:

      Should I upgrade to Windows 2000???
      No no no. If you are primarily a gamer, you want Win98. Win2000 is for business, security etc. It will not improve your gaming, just make it more difficult to install and run.

      Try reading the Soldier of Fortune board; http://
      for all the Win2000 problems it is having. Though some may be game specific, there are problems consistent with any game, such as copy protection, authentication checking etc. Unless you have security needs or are doing serious business work at home, you would be a fool to go to Win2000.

  8. David said on November 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    First, no SP2 for Win7. Now this. But I’m still loyal to Win7. For now.

  9. Otp said on November 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I’m seriously considering shifting from MS altogether – or at least clinging onto Win7 for as long as possible. I can’t imagine any Win8 killer-feature that would tempt me to install that c##p – save the ability for a full and complete tile-UI bypass. I never thought I’d ever move to Apple, but OS X looks more appealing every day.

    1. Zlip said on November 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Same idea as yours, I don’t game much but I think Valve was right that Windows 8 is a joke and Microsoft retardness of ignoring their crucial drive userbase which can erdicate XP usage ‘Windows 7’ is abondaned in front of their half baked Windows 8.
      Apple OS X is now more appealing to me, true desktop platform rather touch optimized OS over non touch monitors.

      1. pgg said on November 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm

        You’re stubborn.

  10. Radu said on November 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Well, I’m sure Martin has something up his sleeve with regards to the design :)

  11. Yoav said on November 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    The internet is suffering from way too much terrible designs as it is.

  12. Radu said on November 15, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I always read your articles but can’t stop but to wonder – how much more with this old design? :)

    1. Tim said on November 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      You’re more than welcome to create your own website, then you can make it look exactly how you want. For me though, I like this sites design, so I’ll keep coming here, especially as I’m more interested in the content rather than the latest gimmicky new menu design.

      1. Radu said on November 15, 2012 at 4:56 pm


        It was only a friendly suggestion, no need to react like that, guys. Really. :|

    2. J said on November 15, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Personally, this design works fine for me. Easy to read and clutter-free. Most of the time I’m reading through google reader anyway.

      1. The Light Dawns said on November 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm

        You must be an MBA. Lots of catch phrases that results in more work for others with no value added at the end. Innovate this phrase please.

      2. Radu said on November 15, 2012 at 11:45 am

        Me too, but you can always keep the clutter-free design (which is great) idea but to innovate. Just trying to provide some feedback for Martin

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