There’s been much discussion about a Microsoft mandate for its new Windows 8 operating system, which requires that devices with ARM processors carry a controversial feature known as Secure Boot. This feature will limit the range of operating systems that can be used on the device. The information was discovered in an update to the ‘Windows 8 Hardware Certification Requirements’ documentation, published back in December.

Minimum system spec

As with any new Windows OS, Microsoft has established a basic set of hardware requirements on which the operating system is designed to run. For touch-enabled tablet devices and convertible PCs, Microsoft has established the following requirements (these are obviously subject to change before Windows 8 ships):

–  Storage: 10GB of free space following initial OS installation
–  Firmware: UEFI
–  Networking: WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + LE (low energy)
–  Graphics: Direct 3D 10 required with WDDM 1.2 driver
–  Resolution: 1366x768px
–  Touch: At least five touch points
–  Camera: 720p
–  Ambient light sensor: 1-30k lux capable, with dynamic range of 5-60k
–  Magnetometer
–  Accelerometer
–  Gyroscope
–  USB 2.0: At least one controller and one exposed port
–  Speakers


With near field communications (NFC) gradually proliferating across the technology landscape, Microsoft requires that NFC touch points must be highlighted on each device. Presumably to prevent bewildered users from bashing their tablets and notebooks against each other at random in a desperate bid to find the NFC sweet spots, “touch marks” are required to make this process simpler.

Hardware buttons

As with Windows Phone, Microsoft has established a set of hardware buttons that must be present on each Windows 8 device:

–  Windows Key
–  Power
–  Rotation lock
–  Volume up
–  Volume down

Presumably, manufacturers may add further buttons to this list if desired, but they must include those five at minimum. The Windows Key may come in various shapes – rectangle, square, circular, even a squircle – but it must have a minimum diagonal width of 10.5mm.


Continue reading (source: