Microsoft revealed on Monday that it plans to fully support USB 3.0 in Windows 8.
The software maker revealed the support in the third instalment of the building Windows 8 engineering blog. Windows chief Steven Sinofsky confirmed that Microsoft has written a new software stack for USB 3.0. Discussing how the company had to chose between a rewrite or simply an update, Sinofsky says: “Don’t jump in. Instead, meticulously design a new USB software stack for the new controller while maintaining existing interfaces and behaviors, ensuring every device and driver will work. For older controllers, we retained our existing software stack.”
Microsoft also built a custom test tool to simulate a range of different USB devices. The Microsoft USB Test Tool (MUTT) is 1,000 different USB devices on one single USB thumb drive. “Perhaps the most important aspect of USB 3.0 is the expectation that customers have of USB: it’s just USB3 so it should just work, right? Each and every USB device, low, full, high, and SuperSpeed, has to work in Windows 8. That’s our focus while also delivering the most robust and reliable USB stack,” said Sinofsky.
USB 3.0 is the latest standard for USB connectivity. USB 3.0 supports transmission speeds of up to 5Gbit/s, 10x faster than USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/s). A number of laptops now support USB 3.0, including models from Sony, Toshiba and Dell.