Microsoft gives in; adds some DirectX 11.1 features to Windows 7

A few days ago, we reported that Microsoft had apparently decided to keep all of the features in its new DirectX 11.1 3D graphics API as an exclusive for Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Server 2012. A Microsoft employee said in an official company forum that Microsoft had no plans to add DirectX 11.1 for Windows 7, and would let users of that OS stick with the older DirectX 11.

Now it looks like Microsoft has had a change of heart, at least in part. In a post on the Games for Windows and the DirectX SDK blog today, the company reveal that it quietly released a way for Windows 7 to get some of the features of DirectX 11.1 as part of Tuesday's preview version of Internet Explorer 10.

The blog states that the update adds these particular DirectX 11.1 features to Windows 7, along with Windows Server 2008 R2:

ID3D11Device1, ID2D1Factory1, IDWriteFactory1, IDXGIFactory2, IWICImagingFactory2, ID3DUserDefinedAnnotation and related APIs are available
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.  

The blog points out that these new features are limited to the WDDM 1.1 drivers on Windows 7. Also, quite a few DirectX 11.1 features will continue to be exclusive to Windows 8, including:

Feature Level 11.1 hardware
All D3D11_FEATURE_DATA_D3D11_OPTIONS features for Feature Level 10.x/11.0 devices
16bpp format support (DXGI_FORMAT_B5G6R5_UNORM, DXGI_FORMAT_B5G5R5A1_UNORM, DXGI_FORMAT_B4G4R4A4_UNORM)
Tile-based Deferred Renderer optimizations (D3D11_FEATURE_DATA_ARCHITECTURE_INFO)
HLSL minimum precision shader optimizations (D3D11_FEATURE_SHADER_MIN_PRECISION_SUPPORT)
DXGI 1.2 features for Stereo, Occlusion status notifications, Desktop Duplication, and NT Handle shared resources
Windows Store app ICoreWindow features of DXGI 1.2
WARP support for Feature Levels 11.0 and 11.1
Direct3D hardware support in Session 0
The DirectComposition API

Thanks to DX11.1 for the tip!

Source: Microsoft Games for Windows and the DirectX SDK blog

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38 Comments

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So, Vista is getting the shaft?

Great, even more reason to force Vista users into buying 7 (or 8, if you're insane).

Why don't I have 7 you ask? Because the unneeded UI changes wreck the usability, efficiency and comfort of using the OS for me. (If anyone wants to recommend me a UI mod, I would appreciate it.)

Ha ROFL good one MS so let me get this straight in order to gain some DX11.1 features I don't need to install win8 anymore just IE10 ....So either way I still have to install something I don't wish to use yup good one there guys just give me a redist please without IE10

Lol, this was obviously planned for a long time as they're just backporting features needed by IE10. In fact the reason IE10 for Windows 7 was delayed in the first place was probably having to wait for these features to be backported. It is in no way “giving in”.

BTW guys, I don't know why you people freak out whatsoever. It's the same as Vista: it included some Direct X 11 features with the 2010 update. Not everything, but some goodies.

It's the same with 7...

Jose_49 said,
BTW guys, I don't know why you people freak out whatsoever. It's the same as Vista: it included some Direct X 11 features with the 2010 update. Not everything, but some goodies.

It's the same with 7...

Yes but that was "10" to "11". Not "11" to "11.1".

Auch said,

read 11.1 as 12. There are SIGNIFICANT improvements. Like D2D & DWrite integration w D3D (Did u ever try to render text with Dx11?), natural stereo vision support, performance.

Right, well then it should have been made as DX12 tbh.

Can someone tell me if this goes for Win 8 as well? Because even though Win 8 has newer components, I need to install the June 2010 direct X to take advantage of some Direct X features.

Jose_49 said,
Can someone tell me if this goes for Win 8 as well? Because even though Win 8 has newer components, I need to install the June 2010 direct X to take advantage of some Direct X features.

If you mean one of the DX redistributables that some game needs then those are specific to the game. The nature of DX lets you run the different versions next to each other.

They should not have made it a ".1" revision if they simply wanted to force it for Windows 8 only. A ".1" would be very easily backported to 7 tbh.

Why they can't do a SP2 with some more things such as full dx 11.1 is beyond me. (Other than trying to force the upgrade) Despite Microsoft actually saying they were always intending for dual ecosystem of 7 and 8.

The blog points out that these new features are limited to the WDDM 1.1 drivers on Windows 7

And this is what tech people like myself have been SCREAMING, yet nobody seems to freaking listen.

It is all about the technology available from the OS, not only in the WDM/WDDM 1.2, but also in how other things like the software rendering and CPU usage and other features that DO NOT exist on Windows 7.

The silly thing is that 99% of gamers will be running Windows 8 before we see the first DX11.1 title. (Windows 8 is faster for gamer, even with the early drivers we have today, faster FPS, faster loadtime, smoother gameplay, etc.) So if you are a gamer and are holding on to Windows 7, you are cheating yourself.

thenetavenger said,

So if you are a gamer and are holding on to Windows 7, you are cheating yourself.

Nope. Until drivers are polished enough, there won't be any noticeable performance boosts. Hell, I've seen many benchmarks in which 8 falters behind than 7 with updated drivers.

Jose_49 said,

Nope. Until drivers are polished enough, there won't be any noticeable performance boosts. Hell, I've seen many benchmarks in which 8 falters behind than 7 with updated drivers.

Pretty much the same thing happened with 7. Just give it time.
Either way, anyone bringing that up as a knock against 8 (not you, you've pointed out the fact that in time, the drivers will be better) is a fool to say the least.

thenetavenger said,

It is all about the technology available from the OS, not only in the WDM/WDDM 1.2, but also in how other things like the software rendering and CPU usage and other features that DO NOT exist on Windows 7.

The only reason those things 'may not exist' in 7 is simply because microsoft wants to force their new os with the incredibly half-assed and poorly designed ui onto everyone. If MS didn't make windows 8, dx11.1 would work on a properly designed desktop os(7) like it should.

Blackhearted said,

The only reason those things 'may not exist' in 7 is simply because microsoft wants to force their new os with the incredibly half-assed and poorly designed ui onto everyone. If MS didn't make windows 8, dx11.1 would work on a properly designed desktop os(7) like it should.

If that was the case, then they wouldn't have done even this.

Blackhearted said,

The only reason those things 'may not exist' in 7 is simply because microsoft wants to force their new os with the incredibly half-assed and poorly designed ui onto everyone. If MS didn't make windows 8, dx11.1 would work on a properly designed desktop os(7) like it should.


So then why ever sell a new software upgrade? I mean according to your logic everything can just be done with patches so we should still be running win 2000 just with a 1000 patches and some major code re-writes.

Blackhearted said,

The only reason those things 'may not exist' in 7 is simply because microsoft wants to force their new os with the incredibly half-assed and poorly designed ui onto everyone. If MS didn't make windows 8, dx11.1 would work on a properly designed desktop os(7) like it should.


You are obviously not a developer. You cannot just update driver models in Windows 7, because they needs to be compatible with the kernel. And you do NOT just replace the kernel in a established OS.

And your hypothetical scenario where they did not release Windows 8 would not happen, because new releases is when they actually do the kernel upgrades like adding support for new driver models.

Good.
M$ needs to remember that windows 7 customers ARE customers.
They should make every effort to keep win7 users happy, it in their best interest.
People are taking things too far with the whole taking sides thing especially the fanboys.
I just read some comments on a windows 8 torrent where some guy was bashing windows 7 and saying it was a slow piece of garbage compared to win8 (i'm not quoting the guy it was way more rude and offensive)
When the reality of it is Windows 7 is perfectly and probably about as fast aside from a microscopic difference in boot time. Which if your Win7 machine boots slow there is probably a reason for that lol ..mine boots damn fast that 1 time every month or 2 i reboot.
For me the issue is i know for a fact that as soon as I see the screen on a first boot with windows 8 i will have to go on a crusade to slash and burn millions of stupid little features and service etc so i can *tolerate using it and I just don't think its worth all the work combined with having to compromise the look and feel of the GUI and be forced to use or customize a brutally ugly Fischer Price GUI.
Since windows 8 went RTM i have not seen ONE single comment about the services and i know for a fact that every release including SP's they add more and more so the first thing I'll be doing is a comparison to see what is new etc. seems all the experts around here have no concern for that with says what ? Performance ?
Jeez there is soooooo many things i change on a fresh windows 7 install like i have done on every other version of windows previously. I cringe at the thought of having to hack the piece of crap win8 so it vaguely resembles win7.
If you all like taking and using whatever is handed to you fine..
But bear in mind some of us want things our way and we WILL have it our way..
Change is irrelevant.. there is change in every version of windows and i always have and always will customize whatever version i am using to suit my needs and sorry but windows 8 just makes it that much harder .... and uglier !
If you went to the store to buy a shirt and pants and they only sold fat people clothes because most of America are bloated overweight whales wouldn't you be ticked off ?
Windows is a product that is SUPPOSE to be designed and targeted for the masses.
NOT for the lowest common denominator.
Windows 8 is an insult to me as a life long customer And i feel left out on purpose.
Popular ? So is Facebook and gradually everyone i know has been turned into Facebook haters and i have never tried to sway them in any way.. Soon enough we will see Win 8 bashing on tv shows like "The Big Bang Theory" just like Vista was after it was released.

I am Not PCyr said,
windows 8 bashing comment disguised as legitimate thought

saying m$ like its 1996,and reading windows 8 comments on a torrent site? so you pirate windows software and you then expect to be treated extra special?

we should be worried of windows 8 bashing on the big bang theory? hahahahaha

I am Not PCyr said,

Snip

M$ ? You must be one of the cool kids...

"Windows 7 is perfectly and probably about as fast aside from a microscopic difference in boot time" - Not everyone has a SSD drive or powerful CPUs in their computers. On regular computers there is a noticeable difference.

"But bear in mind some of us want things our way" - Go to Linux then

"Windows is a product that is SUPPOSE to be designed and targeted for the masses.
NOT for the lowest common denominator." - Lol what?? Guess what, the masses are not techy persons.

And this is a DirectX 11.1 post, if you wan't to complain about Windows 8 there are plenty of posts on the forums for that. Carry on.

Edited by oliver182, Nov 15 2012, 12:23am :

I tried Windows 8...used classic shell, by-passed metro on startup. Like a lot of things about 8. Problem - I run Flight Simulator X (also beta test 3rd party FSX products).
FSX was completely unstable under 8 - clean install of OS and FSX. CTD's occurred regularly. This was the deal killer for 8 at least on my primary machine. Which is too bad since I was starting to get used to it - rarely if ever accessed metro.

I really don't understand why they can't just release it for Win7 (it doesn't require anything that's not present in Win7)

Rudy said,
I really don't understand why they can't just release it for Win7 (it doesn't require anything that's not present in Win7)

How about WDM 1.2?

I don't understand how people make such judgements. How do you *know* it doesn't require any of the other work put into Windows 8?

Rudy said,
I really don't understand why they can't just release it for Win7 (it doesn't require anything that's not present in Win7)

WDM 1.2
Software Assisted Rendering
Newer DWM

...but ya other than those 100s of thousands of lines of code, it should work.

Geesh

Rudy said,
I really don't understand why they can't just release it for Win7 (it doesn't require anything that's not present in Win7)

How do you know? Do you have Windows 8 source code or something?

Please enlightened us..

Smart move! I for one along with thousands refuse to use "Windows 7(8)with a half assed tablet interface bandaid on". People will say, "but it's so much faster", blah blah blah. My monster that I built last month boots up Windows 7 as fast as I need it too and I normally keep it on. No point in upgrading to Windows 8. If you are buying a new computer from a brick&mortar then you have no choice. For the majority of folks, Windows 7 is Microsofts best OS today!

This might explain the nvidia driver update that popped up earlier in windows update. Usually I don't get those, and if I do they would be listed under optional rather than important.

shinji257 said,
It is only a matter of time. Someone will figure out how to get the whole 11.1 pack on Windows 7.

Right because that's happened the previus times....

shinji257 said,
It is only a matter of time. Someone will figure out how to get the whole 11.1 pack on Windows 7.

Good luck getting a driver model that the NT kernel doesn't understand running on Windows 7.

They may get the DX11.1 framework to 'kind of' run, but to actually work, Nope.

shinji257 said,
It is only a matter of time. Someone will figure out how to get the whole 11.1 pack on Windows 7.

It's happened before, someone created a wrapper to get DX10, I think, to run on WinXP.

Asrokhel said,

It's happened before, someone created a wrapper to get DX10, I think, to run on WinXP.

It didn't work properly and they gave up. It went nowhere.