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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While perhaps not very practical, hackerman1's quest/obsession with putting Microsoft's newest on some rather outdated hardware provides a nice illustration of the new OS's smaller footprint.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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Kind Of Senseless
By mindless1 on 6/23/2009 4:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
People have done this for years, I recall putting Win98 Lite on a 486 with either 4 or 8MB of memory, and as noted with the Win7 and PII combo, it was not a system useful for anything.

On the other hand, contrasting it with Vista pretty much misses the point, because XP exists! XP will run with less than half that much memory, and not take over a dozen minutes to boot.

The ideal netbook is inexpensive and durable, will be expected to be fit with a high performance (with next-gen SSD controllers) but limited capacity (to keep price low) SSD soon enough.

Whether Vista can run within the amount of DRAM main system memory in a netbook is not the problem since DRAM memory is so inexpensive. The problem is the continual I/O to the *disk* subsystem and the larger installed footprint on a limited capacity SSD.

On the topic of pushing limits and shrinking things, I have managed to fit an XP w/SP3 and lite Office 2K3 install plus other basic things like Firefox and other small footprint apps onto a 2GB flash card, with plenty of room to spare. Come to think of it IIRC the install was under 1GB total besides a pagefile.

While it's not such a big deal for the OS to take up 3 or more times the space on a larger mechanical HDD, it will be on a low cost limited capacity SSD.

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