Skip to main content

Design hardware for Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 builds on the fast, fluid, touch-first experience we started with Windows 8. With support for the latest hardware, Windows 8.1 lets you design and develop a wide range of devices—from small tablets to high-powered desktop PCs—that deliver the latest advances in displays, battery life, and performance.

Graphics and video

Increase display resolution, across all form factors and sizes, with high PPI. Provide better multi-monitor capabilities for more apps per display and support for Miracast wireless display.

Wireless technologies

Expand mobile broadband features and functionality. Provide higher bandwidth for more robust Wi-Fi experiences and improved support for Bluetooth and NFC.

Input devices

Maximize the touch experience in Windows 8.1 by using the included human interface device (HID) driver. You no longer need to create a touch driver in order to design a great, responsive touch experience across all form factors and sizes.


Improve camera features for higher quality photos from pre- to post-picture capture. Provide front and back microphones, improved echo cancellation, and new audio capture and effects for a real-time communication experience.

Security and identity

Increase security using the built-in biometric framework, easy authentication, and improved BitLocker recovery. Provide automated device encryption and improved support for Virtual Smart Cards.


Add solid-state hybrid drive support. Give customers faster boot, resume, and app launch times, plus higher performance and increased storage capacity at a reduced cost.

Basic principles of Windows design

Pride in craftsmanship

It’s about engineering experiences that are complete and polished at every stage. It’s devoting time and energy to small things that make a big difference — where you place a camera, how you round the corners on a laptop, or the ingenuity it took to build a device app that really lights up a PC.

More with less

This means focusing on only what is needed —making every element have a clear and useful purpose. No more, no less. The goal is to deliver a product that helps customers do brilliant things every day, on any device and from anywhere, by helping them focus on the task and not the tools or technology.

Fast and fluid

Products should be designed to feel immersive and responsive. Configuring components to keep systems as efficient as possible and updating and optimizing drivers help bring the interface to life.


It’s about designing for the form factor, be it hardware or software, and delivering interfaces free from unnecessary ornamentation. In hardware, that means being honest about materials and interaction. If a button looks like metal, it should be metal.

Win as one

Microsoft design principles are about much more than visual style — they're about a series of consistent experiences. Even subtle capabilities such as swiping, gesturing, and searching deliver that consistency.

Get started

For more information about designing systems for Windows, see Design Hardware for Windows. Read more about modern design at Microsoft.