2011
11.24

I was out of the office for most of the last 2 weeks.  When I came into the office this morning, I caught up with my boss and he raised an InformationWeek article he’d read.  As he read it, people with old XP PCs would be able to run Windows 8 on them.  Huh!?!?!?

Let’s flash back to when Vista was first released.  Microsoft wanted people to upgrade.  Hardware vendors wanted to clear stocks of older hardware.  So a lot of low end stock was sold with Vista on it.  The result?  Lots of people who had a crappy Vista experience.  The problem was that there was a race to the bottom.  Minimum required hardware should not be what one is aiming for.  That’s the h/w that’ll allow the OS to install and boot, but will struggle when you start watching movies, browsing the web, or using LOB apps.  Instead, look at the recommended spec, and increase it some.  For example, I’d not recommend any business PC these days with less than 4 GB RAM.

Along came Windows 7.  It would run on Vista hardware.  In fact, it would run better on it.  But things had changed by now in terms of hardware.  What was once high spec had become the norm: dual core CPUs, 2GB+ RAM, 7200+ RPM disks, and decent video cards.

Then I read the InformationWeek article.  It references a Microsoft Build blog post (which is innocent enough).  But the offending article starts talking about 1 GhZ CPUs, 16 GB disk,  and how “older computers” will be able to run Windows 8.  There was a time when I considered a 3 year old PC to be old.  But that’s probably a dual core CPU, with 2+ GB RAM.  Upgrade the RAM and it’s still a decent biz machine (still with no h/w support because of the age).  But I’ve been in many a place (and so probably have you) where 5+ year old PCs running XP are the norm.  Loose language articles like this offending one are going to lead people down the garden path.

Yes, you can install Windows 8 on something with 512MB RAM.  But do you really want to?

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8 comments so far

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  1. You should keep in mind that a lot of XP computers have 1 or 2 gb RAM as it was even necessary back in the day. And I consider 4 to 5 -year old hardware to be quite usable under Windows 7, and judging from the youtube vids of running windows 8 on netbooks it looks it might even run faster than Windows XP.

    Of course I would recommend at least a dual core cpu, but that hasn’t changed since vista. I’m telling you: Pc’s that can run Windows Vista or Windows 7 will run Windows 8 quite happily as a lot of bloat seems to have been removed ;)

    Until today (I watched the youtube vid on running windows 8 on a 1001H eee pc netbook with 1gb ram) I considered Windows 8 to be dead on arrival. Yet today I actually believe it will be an improvement. I for once will gladly install the public beta on my dualcore netbook in a few weeks. I’m really curious how performance will turn out in practice ;)

    • I disagree as well. I have tested many older machines at my office as we planned to resurrect many older systems. While it is a bit of a learning curve for people to get around missing Windows 7 features, it is amazing to see Optiplex 170L systems that we planned to recycle capable of speeds as fast as most my current systems. We tested running Office 2010 all programs open and ran a dvd and webpage playing flash content etc. The old Optiplex 170L handled like a champ with no lag and able to swap between programs with ease. Bravo Microsoft!!!

  2. Was searching around to see if other people have put Windows 8 on extremely old hardware. A lot have!

    I put it on a 10 year old Toshiba laptop with a single core Mobile Pentium 4 at 2.4 GHz, 512 MB of ram, 60 GB original hard drive, and no video drivers (Intel didn’t even publish a driver for Vista!). It’s still got the Designed for XP logo on, but Windows 8 runs better than XP! I had 7 running on the Toshiba and that would get lethargic, but 8 is smooth as butter.

    It makes the computer usable again! Now it’s playing music in the house. Huzzah!

    Microsoft did actually make an OS that is very efficient, yet looks good.
    The big problem is I have Consumer Preview installed, because Release Preview (the newest) requires the processor to support NX (which is bit execution or something along those lines). That mobile Pentium 4 doesn’t, so it may not make it to release if Microsoft keeps the NX requirement. But it’s not because it ran poorly!

  3. runnning Windows 8 on a P4 with just 512MB ram and some AGP video card just fine – After 2 or 3 days I wouldn’t go back to the XP unless someone put a gun against my forehead.

    It’s still slow compared to my quad i5, but definately not slower than a fresh install of XP!

  4. I just installed Windows 8 on 2 x Dell Latitude D610s with 75gb disk, 2gb ram and Pentium M 2ghz CPU. Let me tell you, Windows 8 has given these machines a new lease on life. I couldn’t be more impressed…. Waaaay faster than XP. Loads quickly, responsive, smooth. Microsoft killed it with Windows 8. Except for a hassle getting a graphics card-specific driver to work (windows 8 installed a Microsoft generic, slow, but otherwise capable driver), the setup was painless. The setup/upgrade assistant ran a compatability check and I was good to go. If Windows 8 has drivers for your old XP machine, upgrade it! You probably won’t be disappointed.

  5. I have got windows 8 on my 5 year old pc with 1gb ram,3.06gh processor,and no graphic card and still it is working very smoothly .i am amused by windows 8.

  6. Could windows 7 run smoothly on my pc ov 1ghz prcssor en 500mb memory.

    • No.

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