Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL)
Definition - What does Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) mean?
Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) is a Microsoft quality test of the hardware for assurance if the components and plug-ins are compatible with the Microsoft operating systems. Microsoft offers free testing kits to developers and manufacturers in order to examine their products according to the standards set by Microsoft. Products that pass the compatibility test are given official Microsoft logo and are added to Microsoft's Hardware Compatibility List (HCL).
Techopedia explains Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL)
Windows Hardware Quality Labs perform standardization tests on hardware and software of third-party developers. The intention is to unify the standard for Microsoft operating systems all across the globe. The testers apply the quality assurance test on their products and log is sent to Microsoft for review. In some cases, Microsoft runs its own set of examinations on various devices and peripherals to give them compatibility promise and certification. In some cases like headsets, Microsoft does not specify a standard and any device can be used. The platform is wide for a headsets and Microsoft drivers are not specifically for any of them.