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what they are, how they work and what are they for

The importance they have with respect to games and some multimedia content means that we are facing something of practically vital importance for many of what we do on our computer.

What are DirectX?

DirectX are a series of resources and application programming interfaces, that is, APIs, that have been developed by Microsoft with the aim of helping the development of everything that has to do with multimedia and games for the Windows operating system.

So that we all understand each other, what DirectX does is achieve the best optimization of video games in Windows, since being a series of definitions and protocols that mainly help the development of this type of software, everything is easier and functions better on the computer.

Microsoft DirectX

If you have noticed, many video games when they are in the installation process one of the things that they check is the version of the DirectX that we have and they urge the user to update them if they do not have the latest version available, something that denotes the vital importance they have for the good development of this type of software.

The arrival of DirectX was a before and after in the operation of games on the PC that went from having a rather heavy operation, where you had to be patient to play, to having a much more dynamic and direct operation, since the developers could already access computer hardware in a much faster way.

DirectX versions

Since 1995, different versions of DiretcX have been appearing that have improved what the previous one offered.

  • DirectX 1.0: Released September 30, 1995.
  • DirectX 2.0: its launch was in 1996.
  • DirectX 2.0a– It came with Windows 95 OSR2 and NT 4.0 in June 1996.
  • DirectX 3.0a: Windows NT 4.0 SP3 in December 1996.
  • DirectX 3.0b: it also came out in December 1996.
  • DirectX 5.2: Windows 95 and Windows 98. May 1998.
  • DirectX 6.0: Windows CE para Dreamcast.
  • DirectX 8.0a: Latest version for Windows 95, November 2000.
  • DirectX 8.1: for Windows XP in November 2001.
  • DirectX 9.0: Windows Server 2003 for December 2002.
  • DirectX 9.0a: came out in March 2003.
  • DirectX 9.0b: It was released on August 13, 2003.
  • DirectX 9.0c: Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Xbox 360. It is the latest version for 32 bits.
  • DirectX 10: Windows Vista and Windows 7.
  • DirectX 10.1: Service Pack 1/2 para Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 y Windows 7
  • includes Direct3D 10.1.
  • DirectX 11: Windows 7 and 7 SP1, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server R2 and R2 SP1, Windows Vista SP2. Released between 2009 and 2012.
  • DirectX 11.1: Windows 8, Windows RT y Windows Server 2012, Windows 7 SP1 y Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.
  • DirectX 11.2: Windows 8.1, Windows RT y Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • DirectX 11.3: Xbox One, Windows 10 y Windows Server 2016.
  • DirectX 12: Current version for Windows 10, released in 2015 and with updates in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

APIs de DirectX

The DirectX APIs and how important we have told you they are are the following:

  • Direct3D– Used for 3D graphics programming and processing.
  • Direct Graphics– Used to draw primarily two-dimensional images, although it can also render three-dimensional images.
  • DirectInput: in this case it can be used to process data from the mouse, joystick or any other type of system to control games.
  • DirectPlay: it is used for the communications that occur in network.
  • DirectSound: oriented to the sound of waves, to reproduce and record them.
  • DirectMusic: for playing music tracks from DirectMusic Producer.
  • DirectShow: audio and video that is transferred over the network.
  • DirectSetup– Used to install DirectX components.
  • DirectCompute– Takes care of processing threads, especially multi-core processors.
  • DirectML: used for artificial intelligence, something so relevant today.
  • DirectX Raytracing (DXR): implements ray tracing for video graphing. It is only capable of working with some graphics cards.

How to know which version of DirectX we have

To find out what version of DirectX we have, we just have to open the diagnostic tool that is already installed by default in our Windows operating system. To use it you have to follow these simple steps:

  • We open the start menu and in the search box on the taskbar we write dxdiag.
  • At that moment we will see how it shows us, in the upper section of the window, access to said tool, so we must press it to open it.


  • Now we will see a good number of data such as the date, the name of the computer, the version of the operating system, the language, the version of the BIOS, the processor, the memory and almost at the bottom we will see Version de DirectX and then the version we have.


How to update DirectX

If we want to update DirectX to the latest from Microsoft, we only have to download the DirectX End User Runtime Web Installer. To achieve this we must go to the web where the Installer is.

Now we go down the web a bit and we realize that a box appears where we can download the Installer. We have to choose the language to which we want the program to be, leaving Spanish by default.

At that moment we click on Descargar and it will save a file called dxwebsetup.exe, which we must execute once the download has finished.

DirectX installer

After asking us for permission to execute, the program opens and shows us the DirectX license with two options to check, from which we must choose I accept the contract to then click on Next.

DirectX installer

Now we will see how it gives us the option to install the Bing bar in the browser, something that everyone will choose what to do, although in our case we are going to uncheck that option. We click again on Next.

At this time the program will check the version of DirectX that we have on the computer and if necessary update them. If we have the most recent version, it will not install anything, as is normal.

DirectX installer

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