Getting those blue USB ports on your motherboard to work should be much simpler next year. According to the Building Windows 8 blog on MSDN, Microsoft will offer native USB 3.0 support in its next PC operating system. The implementation will involve a new software stack, which will co-exist with the existing Windows USB stack we all know and love.
As Windows chief Steven Sinofsky points out in the post, starting over with a clean slate and re-architecting Windows’ USB support from the ground up wasn’t an option. "Countless devices and their drivers rely on the behavior of our existing software," he says. Rather, Windows 8 will have a special software stack for USB 3.0 controllers, and previous-gen USB controllers will continue to rely on the legacy stack. Microsoft is also conducting extensive testing—using "roughly 1000 unique devices" representative of most USB hardware out there—to make sure everything works as expected.
As a teaser, the blog post includes a demo video of SuperSpeed file transfers happening in Windows 8. (Sinofsky adds as a side note, "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.")
Windows 8 getting native USB 3.0 support seems like one of those "well, duh" announcements. Still, it’s nice to see Microsoft come through, especially considering some companies out there—*cough* Apple—are snubbing SuperSpeed USB altogether.