Microsoft’s Dennis Flanagan, the director of program management for its Devices and Networking group, explained the engineering work Microsoft is undertaking to support USB 3.0 on the company’s blog. The USB standard is more than 10 times as fast as its predecessor, USB 2.0. Its competitor, Apple, has opted for the faster Thunderbolt standard.
“The decision to invest in USB 3.0 was an easy one to make, but doing so without compromising the existing USB ecosystem was a big challenge to overcome,” Flanagan said in a blog post. “Our design had to follow the revised 3.0 specification precisely in order to enable emerging USB 3.0 hardware. There are also billions of older USB devices that Windows must remain compatible with.”
To make USB 3.0 work with the next generation of Windows, Flanagan says that Microsoft started working with hardware manufacturers early to “meticulously design a new USB software stack for the new controller while maintaining existing interfaces and behaviors, ensuring every device and driver will work.” To do this, they refined a software model checking tool called “Zing” to test every aspect of its software model.
Other work done to prepare for USB 3.0 included extensive hardware testing and creating a custom tool called MUTT (USB Test Tool) “to simulate a full range of device behaviors that we’d observed over the years.” Essentially, it allowed Microsoft to test 1,000 different USB devices with a single USB thumb drive.
To better explain its work with USB 3.0, Microsoft released a video demonstrating the capabilities of Windows 8 when using the new USB standard. Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments:-[via Ben Parr, Winrumors]