USB Compatibility With Windows RT

By · Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

USB Ports Are A Big Selling Point for Microsoft Surface Tablet
With Windows RT shipping out soon as the OS for Microsoft Surface – the MS answer to the iPad, consumers are eager to know which one of their USB flash drives and other devices will still be compatible with the new RT. In answer to this consumer demand, Microsoft made a website that list the USB compatibility of Windows RT with other electronic USB devices. The results lean on decent with a few more things to improve on.


The good news about Windows RT regarding USB gadget support is that the most important devices should have no trouble at all working with Surface. Devices that are to have reliable Windows RT compatibility include flash drives, hard drives, mice, keyboards, headsets, and a few other types of simple USB devices. The devices listed will be recognized by RT through the long familiarized plug and play feature. How exactly will Microsoft go about that? The company will be utilizing class drivers, or generic drivers supporting chunks of device classes. Windows RT will roll out with these class drivers already installed to minimize any compatibility problems.

There are, however, a few rather glaring compatibility issues. For one, Windows RT will recognize USB optical drives, but the OS won’t be able to support any playback or disc burning. Sounds weird? A concern for the gamers out there; if you want your controllers to work, you need to make sure that they’re the XNA-compatible type. There will also be no support for webcams and scanners for the soon-to-be-shipped RT, an issue that may or may not be too problematic depending on how consumers end up using the Surface. Additionally, the Windows RT shipping out with the Surface works with only a select number or USB printers.

There’s no reason to completely despair. A majority of the compatibility issues will eventually sort themselves out, most likely as soon as the release of the Surface Pro. Moreover, most of the compatibility issues being brought up now have a lot to do with devices that are either too complex or make use of uncommon protocols in order to work. And there’s a great chance that third-party drivers will start appearing to circumvent the issues related to Windows RT.

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