SuperSpeed USB 3.0 can be used with current Windows systems, but the next generation system will have the support baked into the core. Microsoft has rewritten the software completely for the new standard where Windows 8 gets its own code for USB 3.0.
Microsoft has used the same base code for the USB interface since Windows 95 OSR2 that rolled out 15 years ago. The USB protocol and drivers have been updated since then, but with SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Microsoft realized it was time to start things over from scratch.
The evolved USB code will still be there in Windows 8, but only for backwards compatibility with USB and USB 2.0 units. For the new USB 3.0 interface Microsoft has gone back to the drawing board and built new code that really reflects the development that has happened over the last decade.
Microsoft’s work started already before the first USB 3.0 units were on the market and have taken years to realize. With the launch of Windows 8 there will be new and fresh support baked into the operating system. This means that current USB 3.0 controller are represented in the drivers, and that performance and energy saving functions have been improved from the implementation of today.
Microsoft has published a detailed blog entry on its work with USB 3.0 in Windows 8, which can be found at blogs.msdn.com.