Microsoft reveals upcoming hardware requirements for Windows 8 PCs

Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston was a good excuse for the company to reveal a ton of news about its products and services via its keynotes and press releases. However, some other interesting information was revealed to people who attended one of the panels held during WPC 2013.

The panel was called "How To Talk To Customers About Windows Devices." As ZDNet.com reports, the session offered up some of the new hardware requirements for Windows 8.1 PCs. For example, Microsoft told the attendees all GPUs will be required to have the WDDM 1.3 driver installed to run Windows 8.1. Support for SATA Hybrid hard drives is also being added to the OS.

If a new PC has Windows 8.1 installed and also has NFC hardware, they must use the NCI protocol, according to the new requirements. Inbox support for fingerprint readers is being added to Windows 8.1. As we reported earlier, Microsoft and Intel are also working on a better trackpad technology that will launch later this year. Windows 8.1 running on ARM PCs will require the use of the upcoming Precision Touchpads technology, but it will remain an option for x86 PCs.

Microsoft is also looking towards the near and far future for upcoming Windows hardware requirements. In January 2014, all new Windows PCs will have to support Bluetooth wireless technology if the PC supports WiFi. All new PCs that have integrated cameras will also need to support 720p video resolution by that same date, along with better audio fidelity for any speakers and microphones.

Microsoft is even telling partners about its Windows requirements for January 2015, by which time we might have Windows 8.2 or possibly Windows 9. By that date, all new Windows PCs will have to support the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0 cryptoprocessor specs.

Source: ZDNet.com | Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft sues US Customs for letting in banned Motorola phones

Next Story

Steve Ballmer talks new changes at Microsoft but not wearable devices

26 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Why they require such a high level of GFX capabilities if they only draw color rectangles? S3 Trio 64 can handle Windows 8 kind of UI easily.

Well lets face it, if the hardware sales are down everyone blames windows. If they make you to upgrade a few components or entire PCs you then cry. My sister got her laptop preloaded with Vista, it still works and runs windows 8.1 like a charm.

On every new version Microsoft always need more spaces, for windows and office. Look at the tablet specification. many brand still using 32GB. and from that space, how many used by windows and office ? and after used for few time, chack how many space left ?

meh they are most likely just requirements microsoft want OEM's to meet. Perhaps they are fedup of crappy overpriced PC's and laptops coming out and trashing the Microsoft name.

If i am wrong, there will be enough outrage that something will be done to lower the requirements.

I won't be though Microsoft want to sell windows to whoever it can so will and list the lowest possible (even if its so damn unstable on lowest) just to get some cash from the licences.

The idea is business is to make money i highly doubt that the share holders would even allow Microsoft to attempt to lockout so many users of the next gen OS.

If Microsoft do try i would like to know why an old system wont work. Because current hardware even from 4 years back should be capable of running a new OS. Operating systems have evolved to be faster and less of a resource hog than in the past. There would be no way an older system would not be able to run say windows 8.1 or windows 9 not unless Microsoft intentionally did something to hog system resources or lockout some hardware (this i expect would be illegal anyway)

MS could be dropping legacy support instead of forcefully locking out old hardware.
Windows is bloated cause of its legacy support and backwards compatibility. Really doubt they will drop this with 8.1. They build up this legacy support for more then 2 decades now.
Probably just OEM requirements like before but stricter. To try and give everyone a basic experience on Win8.1 systems.

I'm not sure how MS asking oems to build to better standards on new hardware would keep you from using windows again.

I think some people are missing the point here. Every new windows release comes with a set of minimum requirements for oems that use windows. That doesn't mean windows 8,9, whatever won't work on older hardware that don't have those features. For us consumers, MS will still have options to upgrade existing pcs as they always have.

The reason they want oems to include certain things is so that customers get a certain level of experience. If MS is going to build in new features, they need oems to make sure the hardware can make use of those new features.

It may not be our last one, but Windows-7 is going to be used for several more years. We can't afford to scrap perfectly good hardware and train highly transient users just to get the dubious Windows-8 UI. On or before the end of7 Windows-7 support, either there will be a suitable Windows-7 successor for businesses, or another viable OS will be available.

Well honestly I think 8.1 will go a long way to fix the issues you have with it. You will be able to disable many of the metro features while on the desktop and you can boot directly to the desktop. In a business environment, I think 8.1 will require little if any retraining if the user is experienced with Windows 7. The addition of the start button and the option to change the start screen to an 'all apps' list make it much easier to get use to that change.

The start screen stuff may not matter anyway if you are use to pinning your business apps to the taskbar. I know it didn't affect me since I had already moved to pinning my apps and not using the start menu in 7 at work and home.

I'm just saying I wouldn't ignore the changes being made.

Does mean if your current computer has a older version of TPM or missing the TPM feature entirely you will not be able to install Windows 8.2 or 9 at all?

If that's the case then that really sucks as I was planning on waiting for Windows 9 and I am not 100% sure if my Acer notebook even has TPM let alone 2.0.

gate1975mlm said,
Does mean if your current computer has a older version of TPM or missing the TPM feature entirely you will not be able to install Windows 8.2 or 9 at all?

If that's the case then that really sucks as I was planning on waiting for Windows 9 and I am not 100% sure if my Acer notebook even has TPM let alone 2.0.

This is for new OEM hardware to qualify for certification, not existing upgrades.

"By that date, all new Windows PCs will have to support the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0 cryptoprocessor specs."
Hah they're forcing that on people, oh dear.

Microsoft are becoming more and more like Apple as each day passes... Microsoft have no choice.

The genius of Steve Jobs still lives on...

How does this relate to the article? Apple already have a minimum spec for Mac hardware requirements ("they don't ship junk"), including Bluetooth and precise multi-point track-pads on their MacBook range.

Apple invented -> Microsoft copied.

68k said,
Microsoft are becoming more and more like Apple as each day passes... Microsoft have no choice.

The genius of Steve Jobs still lives on...

How does this relate to the article? Apple already have a minimum spec for Mac hardware requirements ("they don't ship junk"), including Bluetooth and precise multi-point track-pads on their MacBook range.

Apple invented -> Microsoft copied.


Microsoft has had a minimum spec for Windows for a really long time already, they're just making it stricter and expanding the requirement to more parts of the device now.

68k said,
Microsoft are becoming more and more like Apple as each day passes... Microsoft have no choice.

The genius of Steve Jobs still lives on...

How does this relate to the article? Apple already have a minimum spec for Mac hardware requirements ("they don't ship junk"), including Bluetooth and precise multi-point track-pads on their MacBook range.

Apple invented -> Microsoft copied.

Apple invented hardware restriction? Come on. It's nothing new for Windows and a new UI requires new restriction.

Actually Apple does not have restrictions on their hardware. They produce the product. That would be much like saying that Chevy has a restriction on the Volt.

You cannot load OSX on hardware that is not produced by Apple per the licenseing agreement.

Now if Microsoft decides to Create their own entire line of PC's, then you can say the copied Apple.

In January 2014, all new Windows PCs will have to support Bluetooth wireless technology if the PC supports WiFi.

About time! you'd think Bluetooth would be as standard as USB ports in laptops by now. Many models have it but not all. I'm happy with the stance Microsoft has been taking as of late (since Win 7) with hardware OEM's. XP Media Center and to much extent Vista suffered because of crappy hardware, lack of innovation from OEM's and buggy drivers. Look at how Acer has turned around. Acer! This is good going forward and hopefully as modern apps mature hopefully in the near future we will finally be free of new systems with crappy utilities and toolbars on startup.

Acer? My Acer AiO already somehow managed to make the Windows 8 install unbootable twice (with only official Acer drivers and zero third-party software) and even killed an USB pendrive between standbys, also the touchscreen still stops working between reboots. Amazing.

No clue. I wish they'd strike a revenue sharing deal - add no bloat, and we'll give you a commission based on all sales to our marketplace from that computer...

Yes - existing hardware is supported using the WDDM 1.2 specification; the WDDM 1.1 specification has been deprecated. However, there is still a lot of even EOL hardware that supports WDDM 1.2 - examples of which are the nV GT/GTS/GTX 500 series and AMD Radeon HD5xxx series; note that even this hardware has been EOL for at least two years. (It what makes my micro-upgrade - from AMD HD5450 to nV GTX 550 Ti - all the more hilarious; the WDDM spec didn't change a bit. Even more hilarious is that drivers can support hardware covering multiple WDDM specs - the current WHQL drivers from both AMD and nVidia covers WDDM 1.2 and WDDM 1.3 hardware from each company - the days of specification-specific drivers are officially dead.)

PGHammer said,
Yes - existing hardware is supported using the WDDM 1.2 specification; the WDDM 1.1 specification has been deprecated. However, there is still a lot of even EOL hardware that supports WDDM 1.2 - examples of which are the nV GT/GTS/GTX 500 series and AMD Radeon HD5xxx series; note that even this hardware has been EOL for at least two years. (It what makes my micro-upgrade - from AMD HD5450 to nV GTX 550 Ti - all the more hilarious; the WDDM spec didn't change a bit. Even more hilarious is that drivers can support hardware covering multiple WDDM specs - the current WHQL drivers from both AMD and nVidia covers WDDM 1.2 and WDDM 1.3 hardware from each company - the days of specification-specific drivers are officially dead.)

yep, this - If you install the current WHQL drivers from AMD and Nvidia on Windows 8, you will notice that it doesn't require you to reboot the PC. Install the same driver on Windows 7 and you will need to reboot. That's one of the many differences between WDDM 1.1 and 1.2

FalseAgent said,

yep, this - If you install the current WHQL drivers from AMD and Nvidia on Windows 8, you will notice that it doesn't require you to reboot the PC. Install the same driver on Windows 7 and you will need to reboot. That's one of the many differences between WDDM 1.1 and 1.2

For installing AMD drivers in Windows 7 it never required a reboot except for the beta drivers in the preview days.
Nvidia took a few months until they finally had drivers that could be installed without a reboot.
Would be silly if they now require a reboot again. Cause for Win7 nothing has changed.
Anywho, Windows 7 already allowed installing/changing video drivers without a reboot.

PGHammer said,
Yes - existing hardware is supported using the WDDM 1.2 specification; the WDDM 1.1 specification has been deprecated. However, there is still a lot of even EOL hardware that supports WDDM 1.2 - examples of which are the nV GT/GTS/GTX 500 series and AMD Radeon HD5xxx series; note that even this hardware has been EOL for at least two years. (It what makes my micro-upgrade - from AMD HD5450 to nV GTX 550 Ti - all the more hilarious; the WDDM spec didn't change a bit. Even more hilarious is that drivers can support hardware covering multiple WDDM specs - the current WHQL drivers from both AMD and nVidia covers WDDM 1.2 and WDDM 1.3 hardware from each company - the days of specification-specific drivers are officially dead.)

Was asking because I was curious whether my Geforce GTX 660 would get a 1.3 driver or not...since it's not even a yr old yet.