DirectX is a collection of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for enhancing multimedia. In the beginning, there were several multimedia APIs released by Microsoft in the name of Direct including Direct 2D, Direct 3D, DirectSound, DirectWrite, DXGI, DirectInput, DirectPlay, DirectMusic and so on. Later on, Microsoft released all these APIs collections in just one package called DirectX.
Interestingly, the name Xbox also comes from DirectX as Xbox uses the technologies introduced in DirectX. However, DirectX is installed and included in all versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10. The default version of DirectX is different in every version of Windows.
DirectX Versions and Operating Systems
Here’s the Windows version and its default DirectX installed version:
DirectX 2.0a (ver. 4.03) –> Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0
DirectX 5.2 (ver. 4.05) –> Windows 98, Windows CE
DirectX 6.1a (ver. 4.06.03) –> Windows 98 exclusive
DirectX 7 (ver. 4.07.00) –> Windows 2000
Direct 7.1 (ver. 4.07.01) –> Windows ME
DirectX 8.1 (ver. 4.08) –> Windows XP and Windows Server 2003
DirectX 9.0c (ver. 4.09) –> Windows XP SP2 and SP3, Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows Server 2003 R2
DirectX 10.1 (ver. 6.00) –> Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008
DirectX 11 –> Windows 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2
DirectX 11.1 –> Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Server 2012
DirectX 11.2 –> Windows 8.1, Windows RT, Windows Server 2012 R2
DirectX 11.3 and DirectX 12 –> Windows 10
These are only the major updates that I have listed. There were quite a few other updates and versions which were either minor or Operating System specific. If you want to know more about all the versions of DirectX, you may visit this Wikipedia page.
If you are a hardcore gamer or a multimedia enthusiast, then you will love every bit of the new versions of DirectX. If you are still using Windows XP, just update its DirectX to the latest version and see the difference yourself. The same thing applies to Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
What version of DirectX do I have on my system?
If you want to know the version of DirectX installed on your computer, follow the steps below:
- Go to Run –> dxdiag
- The new window will show you details about installed DirectX components in your computer.
The above screenshot shows that DirectX 11 is installed on a Windows 8.1 system.
How to enable DirectX features?
While DirectX takes care of both display and audio, there are three major features of DirectX that you may enable or disable as per your requirement.
- DirectDraw acceleration
- Direct3D acceleration
- AGP Texture acceleration
For optimum performance, all three of these features should be enabled. To enable or disable these features, follow the steps below:
- Go to Run –> dxdiag
- Select the Display tab
- Under DirectX features, there will be an option to enable or disable each of the features given above.
Please note that if you have multiple graphics cards installed in your PC, there will be multiple display tabs for each graphics card. You can enable or disable DirectX features for each graphics card separately.
From Windows 8 onwards, Microsoft is not distributing DirectX separately. If you want to update DirectX, you will need to enable Windows Updates.
For Windows 10 (DirectX 12)
DirectX 12 does not have a manual standalone setup which can be downloaded separately. It comes directly from Microsoft Update. If you want to keep your DirectX version updated, you should enable automatic Windows Updates if disabled earlier. This will ensure that your DirectX 12 on Windows 10 is up to date. Tip: You can enable or disable Windows Update using the command line.
The same procedure applies for Windows 8 (DirectX 11.1) and Windows 8.1 (DirectX 11.2)
For Windows 7 (DirectX 11)
If you are using Windows 7, you can download the DirectX 11 update for Windows 7 from here:
For Windows Vista (DirectX 10)
I have not been able to find the direct download link for DirectX 10 but there are forks of DirectX 10 available for download. You can download these to upgrade your Windows XP to DirectX 10 but these are not recommended. That’s why I’m only listing their names and not the download links. You can search Google for the actual download files:
- DirectX 10 For XP By LWGame
- DirectX 10 For XP By KM-Software
For Windows XP (DirectX 9)
If you are using earlier versions of Windows like Windows Vista and Windows XP, you may download some DirectX versions given below (Offline installers):
The web installer will automatically download the right and the latest version of DirectX for your Windows computer. It can also be useful in case you are having problems with the DirectX installation like missing DLLs etc. You can just download and install the setup on top of existing installation and everything will be ok.