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Microsoft DirectStorage is coming to Windows 11 and Windows 10

Windows 11 Install
Windows 11 Install (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • DirectStorage was announced as exclusive to Windows 11.
  • It's now confirmed to be coming to Windows 10 as well.
  • This means W10 users can benefit from faster game load times.

Windows 10, version 1909 and up, will be compatible with the DirectStorage API. However, you won't get the full DirectStorage experience unless you're on Microsoft's latest and greatest OS, Windows 11.

Here's what Microsoft's developer blog (opens in new tab) has to say about the API's features and what you can look forward to with it:

  • The new DirectStorage API programming model that provides a DX12-style batched submission/completion calling pattern, relieving apps from the need to individually manage thousands of IO requests/completion notifications per second
  • GPU decompression providing super-fast asset decompression for load time and streaming scenarios (coming in a later preview)
  • Storage stack optimizations: On Windows 11, this consists of an upgraded OS storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage, and on Windows 10, games will still benefit from the more efficient use of the legacy OS storage stack

That last bullet point is the key one to note here. While the blog illustrates that users across both operating systems should receive faster load times as a result of playing games "built against the DirectStorage SDK," Windows 11 users are going to get the most optimized, speediest experience.

It's not just legacy and modern software that DirectStorage won't discriminate against, but hardware as well. SSDs and HDDs alike will receive the API without issue. So even if you're rocking one of the best internal hard drives, have no fear, you won't be left out in the cold. The same goes for Windows 10 stalwarts who aren't quite ready to grab a preview build and dive into the future of windows.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

3 Comments
  • Good the backtracking has begun!
  • Nothing that is going to bother me, I play a few games, but I am in not so much of a rush that I can not wait a few seconds for them to load the next level.
  • This is more than load times. It provides a free fps boost as direct storage is effectively using a standard PCI-E 3.0 feature.