DirectX SDK Tools Catalog

In the same vein as my post on where you can find many of the samples from the legacy DirectX SDK, where you can find all the various replacements for D3DX, and the status of various DirectX components; this post is a catalog of where you can find the latest version of various tools that shipped with the legacy DirectX SDK. Lacking that, it at least provides a status or alternative for the tool.

DirectX Capabilities Viewer (DxCapsViewer.exe)
DirectX Control Panel (DxCpl.exe)
Game Definition File Editor (GDFMaker.exe)
HLSL Compiler (fxc.exe)

Windows 8.1 SDK / Visual Studio 2013

DirectX Error Lookup Tool (DXErr.exe)

The Visual Studio Error Lookup (under Tools) should help with many HRESULT values, particularly for development on Windows 8.x or later.

For notes on the DxErr library that the DXErr.exe tool used, see this post.

Game Definition File Validator (gdftrace.exe)

MSDN Code Gallery

Texture Conversion Tool (Texconv.exe)




See also the Samples Content Exporter.

DirectX Texture Editor (DxTex.exe)

This legacy DirectX SDK tool does not support DDS files with the ‘DX10’ header extension.

VS 2012 and VS 2013 can view all DDS files supported by DirectXTex.


Windows 8.1 WIC supports DDS format files for BC1-BC3/DXT1-5 so these show up as thumbnails and can be opened with Photo Viewer.


XACT is deprecated and is only available in the legacy DirectX SDK.

The xwbtool in DirectX Tool Kit can build XACT3-style .xwb wave banks for bulk loading of .wav files using DirectX Tool Kit for Audio.


xWMA compression is supported by XAudio 2.7 and the Xbox One version of XAudio, but not by XAudio 2.8 in Windows 8.x.

Therefore this tool only ships in the legacy DirectX SDK and in the Xbox One XDK.

Microsoft XNA Test Case Tool

The latest version of this tool is on Microsoft Downloads. For the latest game-specific best practices for Windows, see this post.

Certification for Windows logo usage for Win32 desktop application is managed through Windows App Certification Kit (WACK)..

PIX for Windows

PIX for Windows is not compatible with the DirectX 11.1 or later runtime on Windows 8.x or Windows 7 SP1 with KB2670838. See this post for details.

Visual Studio Graphics Diagnostics in VS 2012 Pro+, VS 2013 Express for Windows, VS 2013 Pro+, or VS 2013 Community.

Graphics vendor tools from Intel (GPA), AMD (GPU PerfStudio), or NVidia (Nsight).

Comments (2)

  1. Dev says:

    Hi, thanks for posting. I couldn't find XNA 5 in this list. Is it going to be a separate post (managed DirectX)?

    Did you know that XNA vNext is a top request on UserVoice at 19'000+ votes? The next top request is bringing C# to XBox One – 14'000+ votes. This is what matters to people.…/3725445-xna-5…/4233646-allow-net-games-on-xbox-one

  2. @Dev – everything I have to say about use of DirectX from managed code is currently addressed by the post DirectX and .NET. As no version of XNA Game Studio or the XNA Framework Assemblies ever shipped in the DirectX SDK, discussion of XNA Game Studio was I thought out of scope for a post about DirectX SDK content. I have added a link to the post that covers status of DirectX components including Managed DirectX 1.1 but it essentially just links to the DirectX and .NET post.

    I do make a few references to "XNA" in these DirectX SDK posts, but that brand was originally intended to mean something beyond just XNA Game Studio: XNAMath (now called DirectXMath) which is a C++ SIMD Math library, and the Games for Windows branding test tool which was called the "XNA Test Case Tool". Neither have any relationship at all with XNA Game Studio, the XNA Framework Assemblies, managed languages or C#. In the end, the brand "XNA" in users' and developers' minds never meant anything but "C# game coding", so this attempt to broaden the meaning of XNA was largely a case of branding fail. Sorry for any confusion here.

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