Programming security interface - widely used, widely relied on
End-User Runtime Web Installer 9.29.1974
Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows 2003 / Windows XP / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 98
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
The official driver for the Intel WiFi card
Updated files to maximize performance and eliminate some bugs
Provides the user with high def audio on a Vista PC
Tool for video games that lets you capture screens and sequences