Update: Computer Software Tips - Features of Windows Vista - Part 4


Desktop Window Manager (DWM)

The Desktop Window Manager is the new windowing system which handles the drawing of all content to the screen. Instead of windows drawing directly to the video card's memory buffers, contents are instead rendered to back-buffers (technically Direct3D surfaces), which are then arranged in the appropriate Z-order, then displayed to the user. This drawing method uses significantly more video memory than the traditional window-drawing method used in previous versions of Windows, which only required enough memory to contain the composite of all currently visible windows at any given time. With the entire contents of windows being stored in video memory, a user can move windows around the screen smoothly, without having "tearing" artifacts be visible while the operating system asks applications to redraw the newly visible parts of their windows. Other features new to Windows Vista such as live thumbnail window previews and Flip 3D are implemented through the DWM.


Windows Vista includes a new version of Direct3D, called Direct3D 10. It adds scheduling and memory virtualization capabilities to the graphics subsystem and foregoes the current DirectX practice of using "capability bits" to indicate which features are active on the current hardware. Instead, Direct3D 10 defines a minimum standard of hardware capabilities which must be supported for a display system to be "Direct3D 10 compatible".

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