Windows 8 will be bringing with it native support for USB 3.0 controllers, writes Microsoft's Dennis Flanagan, Director of Program Management for the Devices and Networking Group. This is in contrast to previous versions of Windows, which continue to require separate drivers for USB 3.0 controllers.

This news shouldn't be surprising - many mid and high-end laptops, desktops, and motherboards support USB 3.0 today, and both AMD and Intel are or will soon be integrating USB 3.0 support into their chipsets (AMD's A75 chipset, used with Socket F1 Llano CPUs, includes it already, and Intel's Ivy Bridge will include it next year). USB 3.0 storage devices in particular are becoming increasingly available and affordable, so it only makes sense that Microsoft would want to make support for USB 3.0 controllers as seamless as support for 1.1 and 2.0 controllers is now.

What's more interesting is how Microsoft is implementing USB 3.0 in Windows 8 - rather than adding the support on top of the current 1.1 and 2.0 software stack (which, as Flanagan notes, has its roots in Windows 95), Microsoft's engineers have chosen to write an entirely new software stack for USB 3.0, retaining the older stack for 1.1 and 2.0 devices separately.

For an in-depth look at some of Microsoft's thought processes and testing procedures, read the full post on the Building Windows 8 blog.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Golgatha - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    Seriously, how about some actual features? I'll install the chipset drivers anyway for USB 3.0.
  • yelped - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    And that's the best comment you could come up with?!
  • GTVic - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    He started his comment with "seriously" so I stopped reading right there. The only thing worse was a post I saw yesterday: "OMG LOL Is this guy for real?". If they don't have anything to say, why do they click "Post Comment".
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, August 24, 2011 - link

    Native USB 3 support will be a fantastic bonus for people that install from usb devices as you currently need a driver if you wish to install from a USB 3 port.
  • Belard - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    Good... and obvious. Windows 7 sp2 should also include native USB 3 support.
  • Spivonious - Tuesday, August 23, 2011 - link

    But then why would you upgrade to Win8? I doubt we'll see any new features in Win7 SP2.
  • Mumrik - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    It bloody better.
  • erawsd - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    I wonder if we'll see native support for thunderbolt.
  • snakeInTheGrass - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    That was my first thought - this fantastic news made me want to express my excitement that Windows 8 will - when released next year! - natively support a slower interconnect than my new MacBook Air. Wow, I'm getting in line for my copy now! :)
  • coolhardware - Monday, August 22, 2011 - link

    I guess you have a lot of Thunderbolt peripherals you're using huh? Too bad none are available for USB 3.0


Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now