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“Best Practices” for Systems and Devices

This section summarizes design and driver quality practices that Microsoft recommends to ensure reliable, quality experiences for end users.

Implement “Ease of Use” Recommendations from PC 2001

Chapter 2, “Easy PC Initiative,” in PC 2001 System Design Guide, includes specific guidelines for making PCs easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to maintain. Designers should give high priority to implementing these recommendations in order to improve the end user experience and reduce support calls after sales.

Follow the “Designing for Success” Tips in Appendix C

Appendix C of this document provides a series of guidelines to help ensure that system and device manufacturers can create new design that are compatible with Microsoft operating systems.

Microsoft recommends that you follow these guidelines as part of the design process, to ensure that you receive news and feedback from Microsoft that can help ensure the success of new designs.

Ensure that Soft Devices Meet Resource Usage Guidelines

Several types of devices can be designed to migrate functions from peripheral hardware to Windows drivers, saving bill-of-materials costs at the expense of CPU resources. Examples of such devices include soft audio, soft Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) modems (V.34, V.90)and soft asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) modems (G.992.2). There are several risks:

  • Any soft device may undermine the system, depending on how it uses CPU and system resources.

  • Any soft device may be vulnerable to failures or performance issues created by other parts of the system, depending on how other device drivers compete with it for CPU and system resources.

  • A combination of soft devices may be much less stable than either device alone.

Requirements for soft modems are in development. These requirements will reference absolute CPU consumption rather than percentages of the available CPU.

Design Guidelines:
Guidelines for WDM-based Software Modems at Management Instrumentation: International Support Overview at

Ensure that Pre-installed Software Meets Guidelines for Globalization

These guidelines include the following:

  • Use Unicode as the character encoding to represent text.

  • Consider using a multilingual user interface: launch the application in the default user interface language, and offer the option to change to other languages.

  • Use the Win32 application programming interface (API) National Language Support functions to handle locale-sensitive data.

  • Watch for Windows messages that indicate changes in the input language, and use that information for the spell checker, selecting fonts, and so on.

  • Use the Script APIs (Uniscribe) to lay out formatted text on a page, to allow display of multilingual text and complex scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Tamil, and Thai.

  • Test applications in multiple configurations, mixing the system locale, user locale, input locale, and user interface (UI) language.

Design Guidelines:
Developing International Software for Windows 95 and Windows NT
, by Nadine Kano, available online at

Preinstall Only Applications that Conform to "Designed for Windows XP Application Specification"

If any additional stand-alone software is bundled with a device that was not tested with the device submission (for example, a printer that ships with a paint program), that software should pass the requirements for either the “Designed for Windows” Application Logo, as defined at or the “Certified for Windows” logo at if the product packaging is to display the “Designed for Windows” logo.

In the future, this will be a Logo Program requirement.

Implement Best Practices in Consumer Desktop PC Design Checklist for Windows XP

“Consumer Desktop PC Design Checklist for Windows XP” is provided on the web at This checklist provides manufacturers with a list of capabilities and components that deliver the best performance and reliability and that deliver the exciting new end-to-end personal computing experiences that characterize a consumer desktop PC optimized for Windows XP.

Best practices in from the PC Design Checklist include the following:

General Component Guidelines

  • System does not statically lock UMA memory at boot

  • All application software components included with the PC system meet the requirements for the “Designed for Windows XP” logo for software
Startup and Power Guidelines

  • System BIOS and hardware meet Fast Boot/Fast Resume requirements

  • Power switch implementation ensures ease of use
General Device Guidelines

  • Control devices are HID compliant
Device Connectivity Guidelines
Graphics Adapter Guidelines

  • Graphics adapter supports Direct3D 8.0 features

  • Graphics subsystem performance meets PC Design Checklist

  • Graphics subsystem provides a DVI connector
Display Guidelines

  • External monitor provides native sRGB support, enabled by default

  • Monitor supports minimum resolution

  • Monitor is a flat-panel display

  • Monitor integrates auxiliary components and controls
Networking and Communications Guidelines

  • System includes Logo-compliant Ethernet adapter
Storage Guidelines

  • Hard disk is preformatted with NTFS

  • System includes Logo-compliant CD RW and DVD devices

  • Hard disk capacity and performance meet PC Design Checklist guidelines
Physical Design Guidelines

  • System is designed for the consumer’s ease of use

  • System meets PC Design Checklist guidelines for quiet operation

  • System design features ultra small enclosure
Windows Desktop Guidelines

  • Do not place icons on the Windows desktop

  • Do not run applications at Windows startup

  • Do not display application icons in the Notification area of the Taskbar

  • Do not add multiple items to the All Programs list

  • Add links using the OEM button and Most Frequently Used list

  • Do not place multiple files in the root of the hard disk

  • Ensure that file associations are appropriate

  • Help information uses Windows XP Help and Support Services architecture

  • System includes OEM-specific OOBE for Windows Setup, user registration, and Internet access
Digital Imaging Checklist

  • System and components support digital imaging experiences

  • Digital media components use built-in Windows XP support

  • Color-capable devices provide native sRGB support, enabled by default

  • System includes the largest-capacity hard disk available

  • System without a camera includes device support for portable media

  • System includes a USB flatbed color scanner

  • System includes a photo-realistic USB printer

  • System includes a powered USB hub

  • System includes a USB or IEEE 1394 webcam
Audio Guidelines

  • System includes Logo-compliant audio with support for DirectSound, DirectSound3D, and DLS acceleration

  • Audio speaker system includes two speakers and a subwoofer

  • System supports AC-3 out and mini-disk players
TV and Video Technologies

  • Broadcast and video components use built-in Windows XP support

  • System includes HDTV tuner card

  • Graphics subsystem includes TV-out capabilities
Real-Time Communications Checklist

  • System includes microphone or headset for voice input

  • System with voice input capabilities supports AEC reference inputs

  • System includes a USB or IEEE 1394 webcam

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