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Frequently Asked Questions for Intel® Graphics and Windows Vista*


Last Reviewed: 28-Dec-2016
Article ID: 000005550

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What is WDDM?

WDDM is an acronym for the Windows* Display Driver Model.

The Windows Vista* operating system supports two driver models:

  • WDDM: Drivers based on WDDM provide the 3D graphical Windows Aero* user interface experience.
  • XP Display Driver Model (XPDM or XDDM): XPDM drivers supply a user interface that visually resembles the Windows XP*/2000* user interface. They don't support the Windows Aero* desktop theme or user interface.
How do I get Intel® Graphics Drivers for Windows Vista* that support WDDM?

Starting with the Intel® 945 Express Chipset Families, graphics drivers are available for Windows Vista* and support WDDM.

The best resource for the latest graphics driver is your computer or motherboard manufacturer. Generic versions of Intel® Graphics Drivers are available. Computer or motherboard manufacturers may have altered the features, incorporated customizations, or made other changes to the graphics driver software or software packaging. We recommend downloading the latest driver from your computer or motherboard manufacturer to avoid potential problems. Some computer manufacturers offer the latest graphics drivers through Microsoft's Windows* Update.

If you choose not to use your computer manufacturer's validated driver and want to try the generic Intel® Graphics Driver, use the Intel® Driver Update Utility to find the latest driver available. If available, the utility offers a download link to install the new driver. If the utility detects a customized computer or motherboard manufacturer graphics driver, see how to resolve the error.

If you experience an issue while using the generic driver, Intel recommends uninstalling the generic driver and reinstalling the validated driver from your computer or motherboard manufacturer.

If you have the older Intel® 810, 815, 845, 852, 855, or 865 Chipset or Intel® 910 or 915 Express Chipset, your integrated graphics controller may support Windows Vista* with XPDM drivers. See frequently asked questions about older Intel® Graphics Controllers and Windows Vista*.

Does Intel offer the WDDM graphics driver for the Intel® 910 and 915 Express Chipset Families?

The graphics architecture and design of Intel® 910 and 915 Express Chipset Families with the Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 900 or Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 900 (Intel® GMA 900) graphics engine was finalized before Microsoft released the WDDM specifications. The hardware limitations in the Intel® GMA 900 architecture constrained graphics performance and memory capabilities when attempting to run WDDM on Windows Vista*.

Hardware limitations of Intel® GMA 900 include the lack of a large enough memory table to support a Windows Aero* user interface. The interface is a key feature that is part of WDDM driver support. The result is the graphics memory usage is not optimized for Windows Aero performance. The lack of native hardware support in the Intel® GMA 900 for Windows Vista* dynamic memory management results in slower graphics performance and a suboptimal user experience with Windows Aero.

With the identified limitations, Intel® GMA 900-based graphics systems do not meet the performance requirements for Windows Aero user interface of Windows Vista. We addressed the hardware limitations with the Desktop and Mobile Intel® 945 Express Chipset Families.

Starting with the Intel 945 Express Chipset Families (Intel GMA 950), Intel Graphics Drivers for Windows Vista fully support WDDM and the Windows Aero user interface.

Why is Windows Aero* not working?

For troubleshooting help, see frequently asked questions about Windows Aero*.

What does “Windows Vista Capable PC” mean?

Microsoft defines a Windows Vista* Capable PC as:
“A new PC that carries the Windows Vista Capable PC logo can run Windows Vista. Some features available in the premium editions of Windows Vista—like the new Windows Aero user experience—may require advanced or added hardware.”

For information on the Windows Vista Capable PC program, contact Microsoft or visit the Microsoft News Center.

Which Intel® integrated graphics support Windows Vista Capable PCs?

Microsoft lists the following three criteria for the Windows Vista Capable PC program:

  • System must use a "modern CPU" with a footnote: “Processor speed is specified as the nominal operational processor frequency for the device. Some processors have power management that allows the processor to run at a lower rate to save power.”
  • 512 MB of system memory.
  • The graphics processing unit (GPU) supporting Microsoft DirectX* 9.

Following the criteria below, computers, running the following Intel integrated graphics and at least 512 MB of system memory, meet the requirements for the Windows Vista Capable PC program:

  • Intel® 915G Express Chipset
  • Mobile Intel® 915GM Express Chipset
  • Intel® 945 Express Chipset
  • Mobile Intel® 945 Express Chipset
  • Intel® 946GZ Express Chipsets
  • Intel® 965 Express Chipset
  • Mobile Intel® 965 Express Chipset
  • Intel® G31, G33, G35, Q33, and Q35 Express Chipsets
  • Intel® G41, G43, G45, Q43, and Q45 Express Chipsets
  • Mobile Intel® 4 Series Express Chipset
  • Intel® HD Graphics
What does “Windows Vista Premium Ready PC” mean?

For information on the Windows Vista Premium Ready PC program, contact Microsoft or visit the Microsoft News Center.

Which Intel® integrated graphics support Windows Vista Premium Ready PCs?

Microsoft lists the following criteria must be met for the Windows Vista Premium Ready PC program:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor (processor speed is specified as the nominal operational processor frequency for the device. Some processors have power management which allows the processor to run at lower rate to save power).
  • 1 GB of system memory.
  • Support for DirectX* 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, minimum 128 MB of graphics memory (if the GPU uses shared memory, then no additional graphics memory is required beyond the 1 GB system memory requirement), Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel.
  • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
  • DVD-ROM Drive (DVD-ROM may be external).
  • Audio output capability.
  • Internet access capability.

Following the criteria below, computers that use the following Intel integrated graphics, when configured with memory devices of adequate amount and speed, meet the graphics requirements for the Windows Vista Premium Ready PC program:

  • Intel® 945 Express Chipset Family
  • Mobile Intel® 945 Express Chipset Family
  • Intel® 946GZ Express Chipsets
  • Intel® 965 Express Chipset Family
  • Mobile Intel® 965 Express Chipset Family
  • Intel® G31, G33, G35, Q33, and Q35 Express Chipsets
  • Intel® G41, G43, G45, Q43, and Q45 Express Chipsets
  • Mobile Intel® 4 Series Express Chipset Family
  • Intel® HD Graphics
 
Related topics
Information: Windows* Display Driver Model
Frequently asked questions about Windows Aero*
How to identify your Intel® Graphics Controller

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