DirectX 12 comes to select Windows 7 games

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 13, 2019
Windows, Windows 7

Microsoft revealed on the official DirectX blog that Blizzard's World of Warcraft game is the first game to support DirectX 12 on Windows 7.

DirectX, a set of multimedia APIs used especially in PC games, is included natively in Windows. Microsoft releases new versions of DirectX regularly that introduce new features and improvements.

The company announced DirectX 12 in 2014 and launched it officially in Windows 10 in 2015. Microsoft decided to make DirectX 12 Windows 10 exclusive which meant that customers who ran Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 were limited to DirectX 11. This was not the first time that Microsoft decided to limit DirectX though.

When it released Windows Vista in 2006, it made DirectX 10 a Vista exclusive. The exclusivity backfired back then as the majority of game developers ignored DirectX 10 and focused on DirectX 9.0 instead which Windows XP supported as well.

According to Microsoft's blog post, it was Blizzard and other game companies that wanted to bring DirectX 12 support to their games on Windows 7. DirectX 12 offers advantages, such as low-level programing APIs or multi-GPU support, over previous versions of DirectX.

directx 12 windows 7

Microsoft ported the user mode Direct3D 12 runtime to Windows 7 in response so the request so that select games can use DirectX 12 on the operating system.

Today, with game patch 8.1.5 for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, Blizzard becomes the first game developer to use DirectX 12 for Windows 7! Now, Windows 7 WoW gamers can run the game using DirectX 12 and enjoy a framerate boost [..]

Microsoft is "working with a few other game developers" currently according to the blog post. DirectX 12 won't become available universally on Windows 7, but only for select games according to Microsoft.

It is unclear if the games will use DirectX 12 on Windows 7 only, or if the games will also use it on Windows 8.1. The newer operating system, supported until 2023, is not mentioned once by Microsoft.

The announcement comes as a surprise for a number of reasons; probably the biggest is timing.

Windows 7 has a remaining lifetime of just 9 months before Microsoft ends support. Microsoft did not reveal why it caved in and ported DirectX 12 to Windows 7 for select games. Maybe because it was not all that much of an effort to do so, or because it expects that many customers will keep on running Windows 7 for some time after support ends.

A look back at the end of support for Windows XP suggests that history could repeat itself. It took years after support end before Windows XP usage numbers dropped significantly.

The move would make sense if Windows 8.1 gamers would benefit from DirectX 12 support as well but that is unclear at this point.

Another reason why the decision is surprising is that Microsoft does not back port features to older versions of Windows once it made the decision to limit them artificially to new versions of Windows.

The change may be beneficial to game developers who have a large enough base of users on Windows 7 as they may focus on the DirectX 12 version of the game and introduce performance improvements at the same time.

Now You: What is your take on this?

DirectX 12 comes to select Windows 7 games
Article Name
DirectX 12 comes to select Windows 7 games
Microsoft revealed on the official DirectX blog that Blizzard's World of Warcraft game is the first game to support DirectX 12 on Windows 7.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Mustafa B said on March 16, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    where link dx win7 ?

  2. Anonymous said on March 14, 2019 at 5:13 am

    The wow dx12 on a 1080 ti runs worse then the new dx11 (dx11 legacy runs about the same as dx12) on WoW.

  3. spacedrone808 said on March 13, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Last benefit of Win 10 over Win 7 is a history)

  4. Paul(us) said on March 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    From people who I know who are still working with Windows 7, they are working with Windows 7 till the end of support next year and then going over on Linux.
    Also, most of them work with a 6 GB workspace.

    Does anybody knows or the selected games for Windows 7 on Directx-12 will work smoothly with 6 GB of workspace combined, with a not top of the market ( Not brand new and economic model) machine?

  5. Marti Martz said on March 13, 2019 at 11:49 am

    I remember the days when there wasn’t unnecessary OS abstraction in games and they were a heck of a lot faster than they are today (with a lot more challenging development and creativity I might add).

    This is why an “appliance” (gaming system) is preferred as a result now instead of a real computer imho.

  6. AnorKnee Merce said on March 13, 2019 at 11:00 am

    This new “carrot” policy is likely because M$/Nadella are scared that some Win 7 gamers will jump ship to Steam Linux after EOL in Jan 2020, instead of jumping onto Win 10.

    The forced twice-per-year upgrade schedule in Win 10 is bound to make some old and existing games become incompatible with the newest Version of Win 10. Hence, some gamers stick with Win 7/8.1. Similarly for programs(eg AV) and hardware, eg some 5 year or older Win 10 computers can no longer be upgraded = bait-n-switch.?
    ……. Software/game developers and OEMs may need to force themselves to follow M$’s/Nadella’s forced twice-per-year upgrade schedule, ie also upgrade their software/games twice-per-year. Many do not follow.

  7. Weilan said on March 13, 2019 at 9:56 am

    In other news they are announcing they will start delivering notifications to Windows 7 users about impending end of support.

    Which begs the question:

    What’s the point of introducing DX12 to Windows 7 if they will start pestering users to update at the same time?

    1. Nebulus said on March 13, 2019 at 1:01 pm

      Actually it is a win-win situation for Microsoft. They try to convince the users to pay for an upgrade to Win10 with the messages on one hand, and they get money from game developers to backport DX12 to Win7 on the other hand.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.