Updated feature score directive in Windows 8

The updated feature score directive is a general installation setting that's required for all Windows 8 drivers that follow the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM).

This table shows the values that apply for Windows 8. Key changes are italicized.

Feature scores for WDDM versions

Driver model Feature score
Windows 8 WHQL E0
Windows 8 Pre-Release Driver E3
Windows 7 WHQL E6
Windows 7 inbox EC
Windows Vista WHQL F6
Windows Vista inbox F8
Microsoft Basic Display Driver FB
XDDM third-party FC (Not used in Windows 8)
XDDM inbox in Windows Vista FD (Not used in Windows 8)
VGA FE (Not used in Windows 8)
Default or No Score FF
Unsigned drivers No feature score = FF

Each operating system release introduces a new feature score value. For Windows 8 this is E3 for in-box and pre-release drivers, and E0 for WHQL drivers. The feature score is used by Windows to determine which driver to install when multiple possible drivers exist. A driver with a higher ranked feature score is selected.

All Windows 8 in-box driver devices have a higher ranked feature score than all existing Windows 7 drivers because the in-box drivers are tested on Windows 8, and existing Windows 7Windows 7 drivers have not been. This results in the in-box Windows 8 driver replacing existing Windows 7 drivers. An independent hardware vendor (IHV) can use the E0 feature score with a Windows 7 driver if the following is true:

  • The driver has been tested for Windows 8.
  • The driver has fixes that make it better than the in-box driver.
  • The driver is intended to be retained on upgrade to Windows 8.

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