DirectX 12

This popular graphics engine has been used in many video games since the the 1990s

  • Category:

    Necessary Components

  • Version:


  • Works under:

    Windows Vista / Windows XP / Windows 2003 / Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 / Windows 98 SE / Windows ME / Windows 98 / Windows 10

  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free
  • Vote:
    6.6 (3282)
DirectX 12
DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer 9.0c

DirectX is a collection of free API software that works on multiple platforms, and the latest version of the software is DirectX 11. The tool became commonplace during the late 90s, and it was employed by a number of popular games. The engine is even used in more modern games, and it continues to be a valid piece of software for programming graphic interfaces and games.

Most versions of the software employed now are between DirectX 7 and DirectX 11, and each has a different set of compatible devices, games, and peripherals. Most games that require a graphics engine of this strength will work better with DirectX than any other type of graphics platform.

Since DirectX is really nothing more than a series of APIs for graphics, many game players won't realize the software is active since it operates entirely in the background. The only time a player would realize the software is active is in the event that an error occurs and the software pushes an error notification to the user.

Thankfully, DirectX itself doesn't often crash or produce errors of any sort, but it is possible for programming modules that it has been linked with to crash or produce errors that would bring DirectX down at the same time.

One of the drawbacks of the software suite, like many in this advanced category, is that the learning curve is a bit steep for the system. Unless you have a fair amount of experience in dealing with graphical APIs, it will take some time for you to feel proficient in the software. However, all graphics engines tend to have this issue since their inherent task is highly complex. If anything, DirectX is easier to learn since it's so popular and there is so much documentation for it online.

Most users of this software are never aware that they are using it. The software will download and install itself as part of the game software, and it will always run itself in the background of the full game software. You might have some games that will give the option to select which graphics engine you want to use, so you could select another engine like OpenGL. However, if you hope to use the software on rare or old devices, DirectX is the answer due to its high compatibility. OpenGL is an excellent graphics engine, but it works better on systems with the most advanced hardware. It can be difficult to enjoy OpenGL on a system that is slow or old. If given the option, DirectX is possibly the safest and most reliable choice. The tool and all subsequent pieces of software that go with it were developed by Microsoft, and you can learn a great deal more about it on their website. You'll find detailed guides, hints, and tips.


  • Works Quietly In Background
  • Multiple Versions


  • Works Slow w/ Various Games
  • Problems w/ Overlapping Versions

DirectX is a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) used to handle multimedia. Programmers can use these APIs as a base to write multimedia-intensive programs, particularly games. Although known mostly for graphics, DirectX is also used for handling audio, fonts, GPU-based computing and as a mediator between the system and multimedia codecs.

An API acts as an intermediary between software and hardware. In effect, a software developer writes code that sends commands to the API, while hardware manufacturers write drivers that can interpret instructions from the API. Before DirectX was common, programmers would have to write optimized for several pieces of hardware. Now, they only need to write API-compatible code, which can run on any computer with enough processing power to meet the software's demands.

This compatibility has spread outside the PC as well. The same technology used in DirectX formed the basis of Microsoft's first console design, hence the name "Xbox." Since its introduction, development of DirectX and the Xbox consoles have been linked together, making it easy to convert games from the Xbox to the PC and vice versa. Sony's new PS4 has also adopted a modified version of DirectX, further bridging the gap between console and PC gaming. Microsoft has also worked to make it easy for programmers to port from OpenGL, an alternative commonly used with OS X and Linux.

Video and sound card manufacturers often promote their devices based on what version of DirectX they support. However, this does not mean that the advertised version is the only one that can be installed: The card simply will be unable to support features added to the latest version.

Support for Windows XP was dropped in DirectX 10, while versions after DirectX 11 6.00.6002.18107 can only be installed through Windows Update Manager, requiring Windows 7 or later. DirectX 11.2, the version used on the XBox One and PS4, is only supported on Windows 8.1 and later. A change in how drivers are handled starting with Windows Vista means that version 10 and later are not backward compatible with drivers for previous versions. Although it is possible to use hardware compatible with later versions of DirectX with an older operating system, features will be limited to the most modern supported version.


Has become the standard for handling multimedia over several other platforms

Simplifies programming, which in turn improves compatibility between software and hardware

Upgrading to the latest version ensures the best multimedia performance from your PC


Not available for Mac OS X or Linux

Version 10 and later is not backward-compatible with earlier versions of DirectX

Hardware functionality is limited by the newest version the operating system will support

The latest versions cannot be installed directly to the system

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