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How To: Upgrade Windows Vista To DirectX 11

How To: Upgrade Windows Vista To DirectX 11
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Introduction

DirectX is the most important interface between the graphics card and a computer game. It is this API that allows game developers to write their code without having to worry too much about the hardware in the gamers’ computers.

DirectX 11 is the newest version of the API and it offers the greatest range of features. If you’re already running Windows 7, you’re all set, since it’s included with Microsoft's latest operating system. But what about the thousands upon thousands of gaming PCs still running Windows Vista? After all, having taken a fair bit of criticism for the way it handled DirectX 10, Microsoft says it has learned from its past mistakes and promises to do better this time around.

The message is clear: Windows Vista will be able to upgrade from DirectX 10 to version 11. Windows XP, on the other hand, is stuck with DirectX 9. End of story.

Microsoft’s plan is that DirectX 11 will become available to the general public with the release of Windows 7 in a few weeks. Windows Vista, on the other hand, won’t see the upgraded API until later as part of Vista’s Service Pack 3. While that may make sense from a marketing perspective (pushing the new OS based on a feature advantage) there is no real technological reason for this delayed approach.

The final version of DirectX 11 has been available since the end of August 2009. The trick is knowing how to get it installed on Vista. If you dig deep enough and go through the MS Knowledge Base, various blog entries, and the Developer Network, you can actually find an answer. However, it appears that Microsoft is determined to make upgrading Vista to DirectX 11 as difficult as possible.

On the following pages, Tom’s Hardware offers a step-by-step guide demonstrating how to activate the download of DirectX 11 (RTM) through Microsoft’s Windows Update by using two simple registry entries. The remainder of the installation completes automatically.

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  • 0 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 22, 2009 6:48 AM
    Nice tip. But I don't think many people with Vista will stay. Most people I know either plan on or already run Windows 7. I do myself and wont go back.

    Still a good tip for some of the straglers.

    Another thing I heard was that if your GPU had support for certain features that are in DX11, like say a HD4800 series, that it could run them without full DX11 support. I know that all HD2K+ series ATI GPUS can do tesselation so i hope what I have heard is true....
  • 0 Hide
    CoryInJapan , October 22, 2009 6:56 AM
    jimmysmittyNice tip. But I don't think many people with Vista will stay. Most people I know either plan on or already run Windows 7. I do myself and wont go back.Still a good tip for some of the straglers.Another thing I heard was that if your GPU had support for certain features that are in DX11, like say a HD4800 series, that it could run them without full DX11 support. I know that all HD2K+ series ATI GPUS can do tesselation so i hope what I have heard is true....

    im pretty sure I read that here on toms hardware on one of the DX11 articles.
  • 1 Hide
    kirvinb , October 22, 2009 7:10 AM
    Everytime Toms remove the drop box, they get flamed. You would think they would listen. Please bring the drop box back. Clicking threw pics just isnt cuttin it..
  • 8 Hide
    V3ctor , October 22, 2009 7:35 AM
    Thanks Toms :D  Now all I need is a DX11 game :) 
  • 0 Hide
    curnel_D , October 22, 2009 11:19 AM
    CoryInJapanim pretty sure I read that here on toms hardware on one of the DX11 articles.

    Simple things like threaded DX support will work this way. Not some of the more advanced DX11 shaders and such. So DX11 games will undoubtedly run faster under DX11 software models. But it wont look as good if not paired with DX11 hardware.
  • -4 Hide
    San Pedro , October 22, 2009 1:04 PM
    Um, don't think this is big deal as there isn't any real DX11 games out there.
  • 0 Hide
    theubersmurf , October 22, 2009 1:54 PM
    the download link just redirects to the tomshardware.com/de site, I get no download when I hit the download link.
  • 1 Hide
    nukemaster , October 22, 2009 2:07 PM
    You have to click the Download-Server Nr.1 before it redirects you.

    This is a great trick you guys found.

    Good work!
  • 1 Hide
    masterasia , October 22, 2009 2:46 PM
    I'm waiting on nVidia DX 11 cards.
  • -1 Hide
    HolyCrusader , October 22, 2009 4:14 PM
    My first reaction is to say, "What's the point?", but after doing a little more reading, there might be some benefit for this - it's very likely we'll see DX11 games show up much sooner than DX10 games did, and that some of the benefits from DX11 don't require a new DX11 graphics card.

    Although for me there's little point to it, since I'm running Win7RC, and will be getting full Win7 when I can afford it.
  • 2 Hide
    spanspace , October 22, 2009 5:28 PM
    jimmysmittyNice tip. But I don't think many people with Vista will stay. Most people I know either plan on or already run Windows 7. I do myself and wont go back.Still a good tip for some of the straglers.Another thing I heard was that if your GPU had support for certain features that are in DX11, like say a HD4800 series, that it could run them without full DX11 support. I know that all HD2K+ series ATI GPUS can do tesselation so i hope what I have heard is true....


    Sadly I will be with Vista for awhile. Windows 7 cost too much for Ultimate which is what I need to do an upgrade.
  • 0 Hide
    coolronz , October 22, 2009 5:40 PM
    I too like the ubersmurf just got redirected.... oh well I should have Win 7 on its way today anyways.. but as far as DX10 being a mistake..? wasnt it sposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, but just too difficult to program for..? DX11 is sposed to be much easier to program.. But we'll have to really see if Microsoft is just puffing smoke.. We all need new hardware to run this new software... Or we for the most part buy into this. Thats what keeps the economy going. The only killer game for DX10 was and is CRYSIS, c'mon, one game..? And its an old game now... lol Is DX11 just gonna be a repeat? Guess we'll have to see..
  • 0 Hide
    CircusMusic , October 22, 2009 6:00 PM
    If all this is just a script why not post the code instead of a link?
    Some of us prefer CLI than running some script we have to open and look at anyway... *Shrug*
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , October 22, 2009 6:28 PM
    Quote:
    If all this is just a script why not post the code instead of a link?
    Some of us prefer CLI than running some script we have to open and look at anyway... *Shrug*

    Here

    Nothing much to see

    1. @echo off
    2.  
    3. reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Win7IP /v Beta1 /t REG_SZ /d 870b5ec7-d7d9-4e12-adfb-17b770359b51 /f
    4. reg add HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Win7IP /v Beta1 /t REG_SZ /d 870b5ec7-d7d9-4e12-adfb-17b770359b51 /f
    5.  
    6. IF NOT %errorlevel% == 0 ( goto ERROR)
    7.  
    8. :SUCCESS
    9. @echo.
    10. echo ===========================================================
    11. echo Platform Update for Windows Vista registry key has been
    12. echo set successfully.
    13. echo Please check for updates in Windows Update.
    14. echo presented by www.tomshardware.com/de/.
    15. echo ===========================================================
    16. @echo.
    17. goto END
    18.  
    19. :ERROR
    20. @echo.
    21. echo ===========================================================
    22. echo FAILED to set Platform Update for Windows Vista registry keys.
    23. echo Please run this script by right clicking and selecting
    24. echo "Run as Administrator".
    25. echo presented by www.tomshardware.com/de/.
    26. echo ===========================================================
    27. @echo.
    28. goto END
    29.  
    30. :END
    31. pause
  • 5 Hide
    Dave_69 , October 22, 2009 7:24 PM
    I don't get all the Vista hating. It works fine for me. Granted it took a few hours to tweak to my liking, but now that it's up and running (been running it since February), I really like it.

    Thanks for the article, Toms! I was having issues with playing some DX11 game demos, and now I can finally get to it.
  • 0 Hide
    IzzyCraft , October 22, 2009 9:41 PM
    masterasiaI'm waiting on nVidia DX 11 cards.

    Same i hope it's great if not the 5770 isn't going anywhere only possible diff is a lower price.
  • -1 Hide
    tallguy1618 , October 23, 2009 12:23 AM
    i bet nvidia has been holding off until now to finally start using more advanced than GDDR3 memory. Isnt it already true that with Nvidia cards the actual memory performance is double the clock speed right? If so than would that mean that with GDDR5 it would be like having 4x the memory speed? I could be completely wrong
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 23, 2009 12:57 AM
    Yawn..

    Gosh.. another bungle ohh yea I forgot.. I use Ubuntu GL pawns dx
    Another story of people struggling with a crap O/S .. Convert to Ubuntu all your MS problems will go away.. and crash.. After Upgrading to Ubuntu.. that does not exist anymore.. Such a nice thing.

  • 1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , October 23, 2009 4:52 AM
    core i7 ownageNvidia won't get DX11 since they are made by Microsoft AND ATI/AMD. So they won't just give a source to Nvidia.


    Whoa so wrong. DX11 is made by MS. ATI just had support first, much like ATI had the first true DX10 cards.

    nVidia will have them with their G300 series GPUs but not for a bit longer. Right now ATI is the only DX11 GPU maker.
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