Microsoft promises and demonstrates USB 3.0 support in Windows 8 [video]

By Tom Warren, on 22nd Aug 11 7:45 pm with 85 Comments

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.

  • Vladan

    Excited!

  • http://twitter.com/s_a_r_k_i_s sarkis chamelian

    I want USB 4.0

    • Aaron

      Good luck on that.  Took 10 years after USB 2.0 and I still have never seen a 3.0 device in the wild.  I do plan though on getting a cheap 8GB 3.0 thumb drive to act as a bootable windows installer.

  • http://www.Nave360.com Sebastian Gorgon

    Great! i just finished my gaming PC today and it has USB 3.0… and it works? so what’s different about this. 

    • Anonymous

      The OS is optimized to use that USB 3.0 you paid for even more

    • Anonymous

      In what way? It’s not faster than SATA which does 6gig. eSATA can handle that, and it’s usable with Windows XP, Vista and 7. Today. What optimization could possibly be needed?

    • Anonymous

      In Win7, the company that made the controller has to implement their own USB3 stack, since there isn’t one built into the OS.  This is the integrated USB3 stack for Win8.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing special about this news, as it would be a gigantic failure if Windows 8 wouldn’t support USB3.

    • http://www.winrumors.com Tom W

      Sure but it’s always nice to hear.

    • Anonymous

      Does Lion support USB 3.0? Do Macs even have USB 3.0?

      Anyways you’lld need an SSD to get the really good speeds from USB 3.0

    • Anonymous

      they dont they have the Thunderbolt instead, which achieves speeds of 10Gbs twice as fast as USb 3 but windows laptop too have that, its called lightpeask becasue apple trademarked the thunderbolt name, the new sony Z has it, on the same port with USB it is used for its external GPU,Bluray, and extrernal ports

    • Anonymous

      The problem is very, very few companies or OEMs will ever use Thunderbolt. USB 3.0 is the industry wide standard.

    • Anonymous

      But are there any thumbdrives for Thunderbolt though?

      At least as of now I don’t think Thundebolt and USB 3.0 is after the same sort of peripherals. What we see for USB 3.0 is mostly “small” external storage like a thumbdrive or a single external harddrive.

      Mice, keyboards and printers doesn’t really need USB 3.0 ports.

      While Thunderbolt is targeted more towards “bigger” peripherals like monitors and raid enclosures.

      Personally I think the PC competitor for the Thunderbolt is going to end up being the new external PCI-E solution with 32Gb/s bandwidth.

    • Anonymous

      But are there any thumbdrives for Thunderbolt though?

      At least as of now I don’t think Thundebolt and USB 3.0 is after the same sort of peripherals. What we see for USB 3.0 is mostly “small” external storage like a thumbdrive or a single external harddrive.

      Mice, keyboards and printers doesn’t really need USB 3.0 ports.

      While Thunderbolt is targeted more towards “bigger” peripherals like monitors and raid enclosures.

      Personally I think the PC competitor for the Thunderbolt is going to end up being the new external PCI-E solution with 32Gb/s bandwidth.

    • Anonymous

      Only Apple and Sony have it as far as I can see. Do you know of others with Light Peak?

    • Anonymous

      No only apple and sony

    • Anonymous

      Too bad. I’m hoping for major adoption of LP.

    • Guest

      My current (almost 3 y.o.) machine has 2 enhanced host controllers (and whole bunch of universal ones). Don’t see any reason for future machines to not include several USB3 host controllers. So from total throughput standpoint it’s an easy match, but if you consider that the only thunderbolt port/controller/bus will be shared with DisplayPort (1920x1600x24 @ 60Hz, anyone) instead of industry standard DVI, I think Mac could easily lose this “war”.

      Add lack of device compatibility (millions of SKU-s – billions of devices for USB) and I have no idea why to care about ThunderBolt at all (aside from lock-in in Apple Reality Distortion Field).

    • Guest

      My current (almost 3 y.o.) machine has 2 enhanced host controllers (and whole bunch of universal ones). Don’t see any reason for future machines to not include several USB3 host controllers. So from total throughput standpoint it’s an easy match, but if you consider that the only thunderbolt port/controller/bus will be shared with DisplayPort (1920x1600x24 @ 60Hz, anyone) instead of industry standard DVI, I think Mac could easily lose this “war”.

      Add lack of device compatibility (millions of SKU-s – billions of devices for USB) and I have no idea why to care about ThunderBolt at all (aside from lock-in in Apple Reality Distortion Field).

    • Guest

      Not directly. But you can get it via USB accessory manufacturers and supposedly Apple is working on adding the drivers to Lion.

  • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

    Does Windows not support USB 3.0 transfer speeds?  I know Win8 may be “optimized” for it but I would assume it’s supported in Windows 7.  They’re starting to advertise it on external drives .

    • Anonymous

      Windows does not natively but with the proper drivers, motherboards and add-in cards can.

    • Anonymous

      Windows does not natively but with the proper drivers, motherboards and add-in cards can.

    • Guest

      So in other words, long before MS provides native support for USB3, Apple will have already done so in Lion.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      So what you want MS to do? To Rush Win8 so they can measure dick-size with Apple?

    • Guest

      No point rushing W8 now. They already lost the tablet market to Apple. Might as well take another couple of years or whatever Microsloth requires to ship something even marginally competitive to iPad v1. But they could have added drivers to W7 via an update, especially since W8 uses the same kernel, device drivers, etc.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Some people are really funny. Same kernel, device drivers? You are probably one of those guys who thinks W8 is just an upgrade from W7. 

      Read more in to the information thats available before talking bullshit. Btw, you cant lose a market to a competitor. There is always room for more. And the iPad will be the least attractive OS when W8 hits the market. Why would you need a mobile OS when you can get the real deal?

    • Guest

      So you’re saying W8 doesn’t use the same kernel and drivers as W7? If so, you’re wrong.

      You can’t lose a market to a competitor? Catch the clue train. MS was the tablet pioneer. In less than a year, Apple wiped out MS’s ten year head start and is now selling so many iPads that PC sales are being hurt. Wtf is that if it’s not losing?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffrey-Syang/507688178 Jeffrey Syang

      You do have a point, but wasn’t that the same with microsoft and apple in the first place? Apple started the personal computer first but microsoft ran them over later. Apple is now at a respectable 25-30% compared to their earlier 10-15%. How do you know that microsoft won’t do the same with win8 in the tablet department?

    • Anonymous

      You’re contradicting yourself now. First its MS has already lost to Apple in tablets…now its Apple is the one that took the tablet crown from MS…you are proving that markets are always susceptible to someone stepping in and taking over…especially when they only have a 18-24 month lead…aparently not even MS’s 10 year lead was enough.

    • Anonymous

      That was because MS ignored that market. They had a product but didn’t really update it. However, has anyone else noticed that Apple’s updates for their products are getting less and less exciting. The competition is catching up fast.

    • Anonymous

      That was because MS ignored that market. They had a product but didn’t really update it. However, has anyone else noticed that Apple’s updates for their products are getting less and less exciting. The competition is catching up fast.

    • Anonymous

      You’re contradicting yourself now. First its MS has already lost to Apple in tablets…now its Apple is the one that took the tablet crown from MS…you are proving that markets are always susceptible to someone stepping in and taking over…especially when they only have a 18-24 month lead…aparently not even MS’s 10 year lead was enough.

    • Anonymous

      MS already lost the tablet market to Apple? LOL…are you being serious? This coming from the same man who makes it seem like anyday now Apple’s OS X will surpass Windows in user base just because its marketshare rises a few points in certain regions. I bet you also said this about Android in the phone space didnt you? iPad is already losing marketshare to Android…what do you think is going to happen once the daddy of OSes enters the room.

      So MS should have just released an upadate to W7 to get what they now have in Win8 huh…it sounds good, but something tells me those tablets would have had a hard time working on ARM chips.

    • Guest

      Apple already has the biggest dick. Bigger by revenue, profit, and market cap. MS is now Apple’s bitch.

    • Anonymous

      Having full control over software and hardware and a smaller worldwide install base at 5%, Apple can afford to roll in “minor” changes faster than MS which has the tough job of trying to please everyone in the world. Their controlling demeanor also pisses users off(see Rosetta and FCX). Stop comparing ipads to pc tablets. Ipads are overgrown smartphones, evolved from smartphones(same os on ipad/iphone and same android) and have nothing to do with the traditional tablets that still sell(as convertibles). Win8 arm edition will be nothing like win phone 7 for example; instead a genuine desktop class os on tablet profile hardware. 

      Troll: At the last fiscal year MS was still more profitable than Apple. The current fiscal year isn’t over but with 1 quarter left it would seem that for the 1st time in our current times Apple will surpass MS in profits. Let’s see 1st and then will measure our appendages :).

    • Anonymous

      stupidity is like the cancer , If you don’t cure it in the first place, you won’t be able to then.
      stupid fanboys aka ( Isheeps , fandroids , ….) make me sick.

    • Anonymous

      No zulbia do not insult him. He came to this site to test his prejudices or doubts. So what if he is a skeptic, you cannot please them all. Let’s hope he’ll give windows products a try, not for the sake of MS but for his sake, to diminish his skepticism.

  • Candid Calum

    Yuck; is that Windows 7′s interface I see with Aero on a Building Windows 8 video? :/ I’m not saying I expect the final version of the old “Desktop mode” to look like that, but I really hope it doesn’t. Also, I hope they include a way for us to manage files via the new Immersive interface; this video indicates they might not :/

    • Anonymous

      No worries, you’ll retain full control over your system, if not via “Touch Mode”, then it’s via “Desktop Mode”. 

      I agree on the interface though, Desktop Mode can really use an upgrade to integrate with the style of Touch Mode.

    • Candid Calum

      I understand, but I’d rather rarely have to use the “Desktop mode” if ever, so I’d like something like copy and paste (of anything including files) to be achievable when using the Immersive interface :) 

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, and piss off hundreds of millions of PC users who are now familiar with Windows desktop.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Why piss off? You can still use Classic UI.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      If you dont expect it to be like that, why do you even comment? Do you think MS would show their new Desktop UI in just a simple video like this?

    • Candid Calum

      I commented because it’s a big possibility they will keep this old interface; they showed it in June, and they’re showing it on this video less than a month before BUILD. As it’s a possibility, it makes sense to comment.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Where does this big possibility come from? From your own fantasy? MS never showes her UI until the pre-release or beta. Just like what they did with W7. Milestones all looked the same as Vista.

      And in the blog they said: ‘If you’re like me when looking at the video, you might think that those file copy progress indicators are looking a bit dated…stay tuned.”

    • Candid Calum

      I didn’t see that quote in the blog post because I watched the video via this article. I deemed it a possibility because of the fact this is an official video about Windows 8, the fact they showed this interface when originally demoing their progress with Windows 8, and the fact that many “average users” don’t like too much change. I was merely speculating due to what could happen, that’s all.

    • Anonymous

      It doesn’t matter, because there’s nothing wrong with the Windows desktop. Anyone expecting Microsoft to radically change the desktop is living in fantasy land.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      I never said the will radically change it, cause that would defeat the purpose of the Classic UI. But it could use a redesign to match it more with the Metro UI.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeffrey-Syang/507688178 Jeffrey Syang

      I personally really like the windows 7 ui. I think that the reason people don’t like the win 7 ui is because they are using frost for the windows color instead of slate. However, I won’t mind them including a metro theme for us to apply.

    • Anonymous

      They are not going to show the new UI in a simple video like this.

    • Candid Calum

      I’m suggesting they may not have designed a new UI for the old Desktop mode. We won’t know until probably BUILD. They might have kept it the same because it’s very familiar to many users, and removing Aero now could be too big of a change for those users. You might think that sounds silly, but we don’t know. I’m airing my concerns because it’s a possibility.

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      It all depends on what you mean by ”manage files”

      The Windows 8 “unveil” video does show sharing files between diffferent “apps” using the touch interface.   I would imagine if it’s not already built in all it would take is someone building an app to do whatever you want to the files on your system

    • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

      It all depends on what you mean by ”manage files”

      The Windows 8 “unveil” video does show sharing files between diffferent “apps” using the touch interface.   I would imagine if it’s not already built in all it would take is someone building an app to do whatever you want to the files on your system

    • Candid Calum

      By “managing files,” I mean copying and pasting them, renaming them, deleting them etc. I’d rather something like that be built into the Immersive interface, as I’d like to rarely have to go into the “Desktop mode” or use a seperate app just to achieve that.

    • Candid Calum

      By “managing files,” I mean copying and pasting them, renaming them, deleting them etc. I’d rather something like that be built into the Immersive interface, as I’d like to rarely have to go into the “Desktop mode” or use a seperate app just to achieve that.

    • Anonymous

      The point is with Windows 8, you no longer have to go through to tedious effort of copying and pasting, deleting, or re-naming them the way you’ve done in the past. With Windows 8, it’s far, far easier. Yes, you can do these things with the new touch Star screen.

    • Candid Calum

      It seems you’re just guessing that as nothing has shown how they will handle copying, pasting, renaming, deleting etc. of files in Windows 8.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Just look up the video of the Metro UI and you will see how easy it is to move and copy stuff.

    • Candid Calum

      Which video? I’ve seen all the videos of the demoing Windows 8, and other videos with Metro software in, and nothing has shown how they will handle copying, pasting, renaming, deleting etc. of files in Windows 8.

    • Anonymous

      Why would you expect a radical change of the Windows desktop UI, and why is it all of a sudden “yuck”?

    • Guest

      Because it doesn’t work well for tablets and that’s where growth and momentum is.

    • Guest

      Because it doesn’t work well for tablets and that’s where growth and momentum is.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Who said the classic ui was meant to be used on a tablet. Did you miss the Metro Interface they showed a few weeks/months ago?

    • Guest

      Because it doesn’t work well for tablets and that’s where growth and momentum is.

    • Candid Calum

      I’d expect a change because Aero looks very out of place compared to the Immersive experience, and it would be a terrible experience for those of us who enjoy consistency. It has always been “yuck.” I’ve hated Aero for ages. I thought it was okay at first, but as I used Windows Vista more, I started to dislike the Aero look and feel; I still dislike it, but I love the Metro design language and what they’ve done with it. If they can redesign the “Desktop mode” in a way that fits in with Metro and the new Immersive experience, I’d love that. Before you suggest I move to Linux or Mac OS X, I’d rather not because I use Windows Phone and Xbox (as I appreciate the integration and Metro looks fantastic), and I love the idea of the new Windows 8 Immersive experience; I’m just hoping they make the “Desktop mode” of Windows fit in with the new experience.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

    ‘If you’re like me when looking at the video, you might think that those file copy progress indicators are looking a bit dated…stay tuned.”
    Nice! I cant wait to see what the new Desktop UI will look like :D

    • Xuxete

      I’m sad about that Adam, that unifying systems thing is ridiculous, it stupid to use a system made for tablets in a PC, that UI made me sick, I can’t still believe… Anyway I think they are not going to change to Desktop UI itself in many aspects, the main look will be 7ish except for that unmatching explorer style, ribbon UI and explorer don’t get along together! #WaitingForWindows9

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KTAHVKS2RNDWTQPHQEJALLRNEQ Adam Paris

      Its not stupid. Its a new way you have to get used to. And nobody is forcing you to use it.

    • Anonymous

      If you still didnt read about the desktop UI, it going to be same as Windows 7 except that it will have ribbon UI as explorer bar just like MS Office 2007/2010…ugly in my opinion…

    • Vladan

      Nope. We already seen some changes in the UI (eg. minimize/maximize/close buttons + the whole window is much more sharper), so I’m definitely sure they changed it completely. I think it will look like new Skydrive Wave 5. With those big thumbnails (ahem, Metro) and stuff…

    • Anonymous

      yes, what you are talking about is the tablet version…if you had seen the first public video that was available roughly 45mins long, clearly shows the desjtop UI…its same as windows 7 with ribbon explorer bar…again ugly…

    • Vladan

      You’re right, but that’s from June. It’s almost September now. I’m sure they revamped it. :)

      We’ll see.

    • Anonymous

      Thanx for the correction, my bad, I do hope so, fingers crossed, and I’m getting ultra-hyper over the UI and want it to be an apple murderer…but this is what is making me so nervous: http://www.winrumors.com/windows-8-microsoft-confirms-ribbon-ui-in-explorer/ [her microsoft CONFIRMS is what is worrying...]

    • Anonymous

      Is eye candy really that important? Does it matter that the UI looks better if it doesn’t help you work better?

    • Johnloce

      Trolling trolling trolling… look at you. You are pathetic! Get a job.

  • Kit Wingate

    how about some Blu Ray support?? Then i’ll be happy

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Marston/542557737 Jonathan Marston

    Hey Tom, you mis-credited the quote in the article. Although it was posted by Sinofsky, those are the words of Dennis Flanagan.

    USB 3 is cool and all, but I’m more interested in what Sinofsky had to say at the top of the article: “If you’re like me when looking at the video, you might think that those file copy progress indicators are looking a bit dated…stay tuned.”

  • Aaron

    Talk about a tease of an article.  I rush to see it in anticipation of seeing Win8 before BUILD.  Guess I just need to be patient to see the good stuff.  BUILD cannot come soon enough.

  • Anonymous

    USB 3.0 isnt yet into the mainstream yet, theres is a faster technology called Lightpeak and apple cals it  thunderbolt, it is faster than USB 3.0 can achieve speeds up to 10.GB while USB 3.0 maximum is 5GB why wouldnt MSFT fully support that also, or does it want to wait for WIndows 9, this SHOULD be supported also, the new apple imacs,airs,display,pros have this and only the new sonny Z has this, which is used for its external Dock not for file use, although there are no devices for the lightpeak  maybe next  year or next 2  we would see storage using lighpeak,its best if support for this is included in windows 8

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11814278 Chris Woelfel

      USB 3.0 is a standard.

    • Guest

      “USB 3.0 isnt yet into the mainstream yet,”

      You’re kidding right? Motherboards have been shipping with USB3 support for some time now.

    • Anonymous

      Am not kidding , most usb devices are usb 2.0 even though the specs was finalized a while ago

    • Guest

      Well okay, the peripherals aren’t mainstream but the motherboard support definitely is.

  • Anonymous

    Wouldn’t it be just as easy to build XP or Vista/7 drivers for USB 3.0? How is this something special to Windows 8?