Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 client and server compatibility

This section describes changes in the operating system that you should pay special attention to due to the potential impacts on existing apps and how new apps should be designed on clients, on servers, or on both clients and servers. Following is the list of topics covered in this section, grouped by feature area:


  • Security app detection rules update
  • Determining shim status
  • Server apps must be able to run without the Server Graphical Shell
  • RDS server components are removed from Windows 8
  • File type and protocol associations model
  • Desktop Activity Moderator
  • .NET Framework 4.5 is default and .NET Framework 3.5 is optional
  • Desktop apps may not be visible after launching the default web browser
  • High-contrast mode
  • App (executable) manifest
  • Queued present model is being deprecated
  • Program Compatibility Assistant scenarios for Windows 8
  • Desktop gadgets removed

Storage and File System

  • Advanced format (4K) disk compatibility update
  • Thin provisioning of logical units
  • Enhanced storage is now optional for Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) and server SKU
  • Virtual Disk Service is transitioning to the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)-based Windows Storage Management API
  • Previous versions UI removed for local volumes
  • StorAHCI replaces MSAHCI
  • Windows 7 backup and restore deprecated
  • Offloaded data transfers


  • Desktop Window Manager is always on
  • Direct2D does not support rendering to "rich" metafiles in Internet Explorer 9
  • Changes in DX9 legacy hardware support
  • MSAA is not available to Windows Store apps
  • Port 3 is deprecated for NDIS 6.30 drivers