HCK refers to the Hardware Certification Kit developed by Windows. Also called as the Window Logo Kit, HCK is an auto-test framework that enables certification of devices that are supposedly created for the Windows environment. Whenever devices pass the tests and work efficiently with the Windows platform, these devices are then given the HCK or hardware certification kit. For hardware manufacturers and vendors who wish to get the “Designed for Windows” logo, their devices must pass the Windows HCK. This also explains why HCK is also referred as the logo kit because it simply allows vendors to use Microsoft’s logo on their devices once they pass the stringent tests under the Windows HCK as developed by Microsoft Corporation.
HCK started off as HCT or Hardware Compatibility Test. This certification framework was the standard testing platform for the Windows 2000, 2003, and XP environments. By the time Windows Vista was released, HCT was replaced with DTM or Driver Test Manager. The basic concept remained the same wherein the timing and running of the driver tests of vendor devices was automated. DTM was then part of the Windows Driver Kit or windows Logo Kit and by the time Windows 8 OS was released, HCT was used as the new term for the framework used by Microsoft in certifying various devices.
The latest version of HCK under Windows 8 is considered a big improvement to previous versions. The 2.0 version for example is said to produce noticeable and important improvements from the previous 1.6 Logo Kit. Improvements included a new taxonomy in terms of features organization and updating of certification requirements. Policies and guidelines are also updated and renewed under the new HCK version 2.0. Another great improvement for the latest HCK version is the easier and more comprehensible way of feature detection. With this improvement, one device’s feature that works well with the Windows environment are detected easily and therefore scheduled for testing more efficiently. Various testing tools are also integrated in the new HCK version along with overall improvements of the framework.