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One screenshot is worth a thousand words, in this case.  (Source: The Windows Club forums)
Hacker is eager to push the new OS onto a Pentium system next

Microsoft recently released a tool that suggests to users whether or not to upgrade to Windows 7, Microsoft's hot new OS.  However, it appears that the actual hardware requirements may be much lower than Microsoft's suggestions if you have enough determination.

A user on The Windows Club's forum has cooked up the ultimate low-end Windows 7 setup.  The user who goes by "hackerman1" has managed to squeeze a working, bootable Windows 7 install onto a machine with a blazing fast 266 MHz Pentium II processor, a whopping 96 MB of SDRAM memory, and a high-tech 4 MB video card. 

The enthusiast first used 128 MB of RAM, then pushed the total down to 96 MB.  A subsequent push for 64 MB proved too much -- Windows 7 needs at least 96 MB to function properly.

Not to be content, the user is now working on a new setup, trying to install Windows 7 on a Pentium I machine featuring a 166 MHz CPU paired with a 1 MB graphics card.  He's also considered trying to make the new fancy graphics wrapping -- Aero -- work on the Pentium II setup. 

Don't expect a quick install, though -- a Pentium III-based system install took 17 continuous hours, and the Pentium II install likely took much, much more.  The Pentium III based system boots in a mere 17 minutes.

While perhaps not very practical, hackerman1's quest/obsession with putting Microsoft's newest on some rather outdated hardware provides a nice illustration of the new OS's smaller footprint.  The new OS is reported to have consolidated processes, lowered memory requirements, and reduced install size from Windows Vista, allowing it to be installed on netbooks and other non-Vista-ready machines.


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Article has a misleading title
By mikefarinha on 6/23/2009 11:56:16 AM , Rating: 5
It should read:

Masochist Squeezes Windows 7 Onto Pentium II System
Looks to Further inflict Even More Self-Pain on Pentium System




RE: Article has a misleading title
By TSS on 6/23/2009 12:29:06 PM , Rating: 4
i agree. this news isn't really special. i'll bet i can squeeze vista on any 40486 SX with enough HDD space. it'll just take a decade or 4 to boot up.

but it'll still "work".


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Jackattak on 6/23/2009 12:32:20 PM , Rating: 2
You couldn't put an HD on a 40486SX with enough space to on it to install Vista. I think the biggest HDD you'd be able to get the board to recognize would be like 400MB.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By nidomus on 6/23/2009 1:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
I had a 486DX2 66mhz. It came with an 852mb hard drive, which I upgraded to a 4gb a couple years later, no problems.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By omnicronx on 6/23/2009 1:25:03 PM , Rating: 2
Hes somewhat right.. Older machines had a limit of 528M, but that was a bios limitation, not a CPU limitation. You had a DX which was the fastest and last 486 model, but I had one of the original 486's and it did have the hard limit, not that it mattered to me, my HD was only 100M =D.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Proxes on 6/23/2009 1:40:35 PM , Rating: 3
You might want to check your 486 history.

All 486's are either SX or DX from the 25 on up to the 100.

The DX4s were the "fastest and last" as you put it. The DX2/66 was one of the first realesed by Intel. Only 486 I had was the DX/33 which I bought in '92.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By dondino on 6/23/2009 10:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Intel stopped with 486's at 100mhz. The fastest 486DX was by AMD @ 133Mhz. Arguably between the speed of an Intel Pentium 66 and 75.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Ammohunt on 6/24/2009 2:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
Thats only half correct AMD put out a 486DX-80 which ran at multiples of 40mhz which at the time the intels only ran at 33 mhz i.e. 486DX-66; 33mhzx2 Those particular AMD 486's were the faster.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By dondino on 6/25/2009 12:17:36 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure where I've stated any false info. True, the DX2 maximum with AMD was a DX2-80. However, they made DX4 variants to 120Mhz, the Am486. Their Am5x86 (also pin compatible with Intel 486 processors) was made at a max of 133mhz, making it the fastest commercially available 486 ever, on par with a Pentium 75.


By winterspan on 6/28/2009 10:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
486? How OLD are you guys?? :)


RE: Article has a misleading title
By omnicronx on 6/23/2009 1:31:27 PM , Rating: 2
P.S Unless you had a later version of Windows 95 , you also were not using a 4GB drive as FAT32 did not come along until the second service release of Windows 95 and the update only came as an OEM release, so you would have had to buy a new 486 machine in 1996 =P. Not saying it didnt happen, but I just really doubt it..


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Motley on 6/23/2009 3:17:33 PM , Rating: 2
He said "a couple of years later". Also, you can use FAT16 on a 4GB drive by having two partitions and a really large cluster size, four partitions and a reasonable cluster size, or using an advanced driver like stacker at the time (Which did compression, but ALSO used very large cluster sizes, and could mark clusters as being partially full as well negating most of the drawbacks from the large cluster size).


By killerb255 on 6/24/2009 12:42:43 PM , Rating: 2
In my case, our old family computer that was bought in 1994 had the following:
AST Advantage (I wonder what ever happened to that company?)
486 DX/2 50 MHz
4 MB RAM (fast-page, if I remember correctly)
14.4 modem
480 MB hard drive
Windows 3.1

In the end, it was upgraded to:

486 DX/4 100 MHz
32 MB RAM
56 K v90 modem
6.4 GB hard drive (my first lesson in FAT32)
Windows 98 and...
...a 2x2x16 Memorex CD burner!!!! Woot!!! w. NTI CD burning software!!!

So yes, a board/BIOS capable of running a 486 can use larger hard drives (I'm sure it wouldn't know what to do with the 32 GB cap, though...).

Retired it in 1999 (too long, of course) and built a machine with a Celeron 333 MHz w. 128 MB of RAM (everything else above the same).


By FITCamaro on 6/23/2009 1:52:20 PM , Rating: 2
Had a Packard Bell with the same CPU. 8MB RAM, 1MB video memory, 700 something MB hard drive. Ran Windows 3.11 and later Windows 95 on it.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Samus on 6/24/2009 8:09:58 AM , Rating: 2
40486SX? it's 80486 if you want to be technical.

and if i remember correctly (and i have a bomb ass memory) ATA-1 IDE (before EIDE) was capable of addressing 137GB, but common BIOS limitations only allowed for 8.5GB which could be fixed by simply putting in a decent controller. this is where promise and siig made their names, while adaptec mostly stuck to SCSI controllers.

so far, all microsoft OS's can be installed within an 8.5GB space.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By omglol on 6/24/2009 10:08:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
(and i have a bomb ass memory)


Also known as wikipedia.org

fyi: everyone here can internets


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Motley on 6/23/2009 3:11:43 PM , Rating: 3
That was only a limitation of IDE drives. SCSI drives didn't have that problem (since the SCSI cards came with their own BIOS).


By MrPoletski on 6/24/2009 3:57:47 AM , Rating: 2
It'll recognise a HDD controller AIB and you should be able to get a 486 on a PCI mobo, therefore you could have huge disk sizes.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By omnicronx on 6/23/2009 1:15:53 PM , Rating: 5
I think the point of the article is that 7 is much lighter than Vista. Windows 7 works perfectly fine on two of my old P3's with only 256M of RAM, meanwhile doing that with Vista would only happen in my dreams.

I think it is pretty special when a new OS that is 15 years older than the hardware being used works at all. Heck Windows 2000 required at least 64M of RAM, so getting 7 to work with only 96 is huge.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By thornburg on 6/23/2009 1:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Heck Windows 2000 required at least 64M of RAM, so getting 7 to work with only 96 is huge.


Win2K will boot with 32MB. I've done it. It's slower than molasses, but it will boot.

Actually, even MS says 32MB is enough:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/304297


By threepac3 on 6/23/2009 3:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
You can run XP with 32MB of RAM as well.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Ammohunt on 6/24/2009 2:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
I sucessfully got Win95 to run on a AMD 386DX-40 with 32MB of RAM. It was interesting you could watch the system draw the dialog boxes on screen.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By marvdmartian on 6/23/2009 4:22:14 PM , Rating: 3
While your point is valid, I think the true question to be asked isn't "can it be done", but rather, "should it be done"??
quote:
The Pentium III based system boots in a mere 17 minutes.


It's like saying you can download an HD movie with AOL dial up service. Sure, it can be done, but doing it with cable, dsl or FiOS will do it so much better, right?

It does make me wonder what the boot time for this system was, though!


By MonkeyPaw on 6/23/2009 5:50:54 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, it didn't take anywhere near 17 hours to install 7 or Vista on my old P3 machine with 512mb of RAM. I'd say it took somewhere between 1-2 hours. I didn't think to time it!

quote:
I think it is pretty special when a new OS that is 15 years older than the hardware being used works at all. Heck Windows 2000 required at least 64M of RAM, so getting 7 to work with only 96 is huge.


Yeah, yet MS gets so much trouble when something old can't work anymore on MS's new OS. It looks like Pentium II has outlived PowerPC!


RE: Article has a misleading title
By AntiM on 6/23/09, Rating: 0
By invidious on 6/23/2009 1:11:58 PM , Rating: 5
The only time he would have to spend would be trimming the OS, then you set it and forget it.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Donkeyshins on 6/23/2009 1:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
How about a Corvette LS1 into a BMW E30 (325)?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DbI3m6vs4Q


RE: Article has a misleading title
By FITCamaro on 6/23/2009 1:54:38 PM , Rating: 2
LS series engines fit in a lot of things. Saw a dynograph of a LS7 in a RX7 putting out just shy of 500 rwhp with just headers and a tune. Ridiculous power to weight ratio.

Think some people actually put LS motors in Ford Probes too.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By Spuke on 6/23/2009 2:26:52 PM , Rating: 3
Mallet put a twin-turbo LS7 in a Solstice. He he. Video's on Youtube somewhere.


By RubberJohnny on 6/23/2009 10:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ok for a drag car but it would handle like crap. RX-7s are designed with a perfect 50-50 weight balance when the original wankel is fitted, imagine what a LS would do to that!


RE: Article has a misleading title
By mmntech on 6/23/2009 2:35:10 PM , Rating: 1
Jet engine in a Beetle? Sorry, couldn't resist.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xo5GY4kDXg


By MrBungle123 on 6/23/2009 4:23:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Squeezing a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 Corvette engine into a 1974 Chevy Vega.


you can fit anything into anything as long as you have enough cubic dollars.


RE: Article has a misleading title
By greylica on 6/23/2009 6:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
7 , deserves 7 :)


RE: Article has a misleading title
By kwicken on 6/23/2009 11:05:23 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if it were installed on one of these high speed SSDs or Flash Drives/Memory Cards and the computer booted off of that, would it work just fine until you tried to do any thing with it? Maybe by then it's user beware. Then again you might void the warranty on the Pentium I/II system.

The ultimate abuse would be to shoehorn it into an 80386/80486 or may even an 80286 based system.


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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