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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While perhaps not very practical, hackerman1's quest/obsession with putting Microsoft's newest on some rather outdated hardware provides a nice illustration of the new OS's smaller footprint.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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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
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).

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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