A: Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 offer Server Message Block protocol (SMB) 3.0 (previously known as SMB 2.2 during the beta), which adds many new features. Because of the scale of change, the SMB 3.0 update will not be available for earlier versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

When an earlier client such as Windows 7 tries to connect to a Windows Server 2012 file server, a negotiation takes place, and the highest common SMB protocol level will be used. In the case of Windows 7, that would be SMB 2.1.