How to Download and Install DirectX

Instructions on updating to the latest version of DirectX

Microsoft DirectX 12 Logo
© Microsoft

All modern Windows operating systems include DirectX by default, so you shouldn't ever need to "install" DirectX as a software program, per se.

However, Microsoft has been known to release updated versions of DirectX, and installing the latest updates might be the fix to a DirectX problem you're having or may give performance increases in your games and graphics programs.

Follow the easy steps below to update DirectX in any version of Windows:

How to Download & Install DirectX

Time Required: Installing DirectX usually takes less than 15 minutes, probably much less than even that.

  1. Visit the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer Download Page on Microsoft's site.
  2. Click the red Download button and then the blue Next button to save the setup file to your computer.

    Note: Microsoft will recommend a couple of their other products after clicking the Download link, but you can uncheck those boxes if you'd rather not download them. If you skip downloading those, the Next button will be renamed to No thanks and continue.
  3. Complete the DirectX installation by following any directions from Microsoft's website or from the DirectX installation program.

    Note: This DirectX download will install on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP. Don't worry that it says it's only supported through a different version of Windows! Whatever DirectX files are missing will be replaced as necessary.

    Important: See the section at the bottom of the page for more information about DirectX in specific versions of Windows, including more on how DirectX works in Windows 10 and Windows 8, which is a little different than in previous versions of Windows.
  1. Restart your computer, even if you're not prompted to do so.
  2. After restarting your computer, test to see if updating to the latest version of DirectX corrected the problem you were having.

Tip: You can check which version of DirectX is installed on your computer through the DirectX Diagnostic Tool. To get there, open the Run dialog box (Windows Key + R) and then enter the command dxdiag.

Look for the DirectX version number in the System tab.

DirectX & Windows Versions: DirectX 12, 11, 10, & 9

  • DirectX 12 is included with Windows 10 and is only supported in that version of Windows. Updates to DirectX 12 related files are only available via Windows Update.

    Note: No standalone version of DirectX 12 is available. It's unclear at this point if DirectX 12 will also be made available for previous versions of Windows, like Windows 8, 7, or Vista.
  • DirectX 11.4 & 11.3 are only supported in Windows 10. Like with DirectX 12.0, updates are only provided via Windows Update.
  • DirectX 11.2 is supported in Windows 10 and Windows 8 (8.1+) only. Any updates to DirectX 11.2 related files are made available in Windows Update in those versions of Windows. There is no standalone download available for DirectX 11.2.
  • DirectX 11.1 is supported in Windows 10 and Windows 8. Windows 7 (SP1) is supported as well but only after installing the Platform Update for Windows 7.
  • DirectX 11.0 is supported in Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7. Support for Windows Vista is available but only after a platform update. Get the 32-bit version here or the 64-bit one here.
  • DirectX 10 is supported in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.
  • DirectX 9 is supported in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. If you have a program that calls for a DirectX 9 file in Windows 10 or Windows 8, installing the downloadable version (the process above) is the way to solve that problem - it will not "downgrade" your DirectX 10/11/12 install! This is also the latest version of DirectX that's compatible with Windows XP.

You can find a bit more information on DirectX on Microsoft's site.

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