Windows 7 running on very old hardware

Technology site ComputerWorld has a great article that discusses the benefits of running Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system Windows 7 on systems as far back as 2003. I am also running Windows 7 on a system that is outside of Microsoft’s recommended minimum system requirements and I must say I am impressed by it! Here is what ComputerWorld had to say about others doing the same:

But just how low can you go with Windows 7? Do you really need a computer with the minimum specs as outlined by Microsoft?

Like lo-fi DJs and classic car enthusiasts, a subculture of Windows fans has sprung up trying to take Windows 7 far lower than Microsoft says it can go. At Windows fan site, testers have claimed success with a 700MHz Pentium III ThinkPad with 256MB of RAM and a 600MHz Pentium III desktop with 512MB of RAM.

At another site, The Windows Club, someone claims to have run Windows 7 on a circa-1997, 266MHz Pentium II with 96MB RAM and a 4MB video card.

Read the entire article here

I have been running Windows 7 on a system I built back in February 2006 with what some today would call ‘low end specs’ and I am definitely impressed by how well Windows 7 performs on it. Below I am using the profile format from the ComputerWorld article:

Specs (Asrock): 1.6 GHz AMD Sempron, 512 MBs RAM, 25 GB hard drive nVidia Geforce 5200 128 MB AGP, DVD/CD-RW.

Windows Experience Index (Asus): 2.0

[Note: The Windows Experience Index is a set of 5 scores on a scale of 1.0 (lowest) to 7.9 (highest) that are generated by Windows 7 based on your PC’s hardware specs (not how it actually runs). Microsoft bases the overall rating on your hardware’s lowest individual score.]

Performance: I have Microsoft Office 2003 Professional and Windows Live Essentials installed on it running the Ultimate Edition 32-bit. Prior to this, I tried running Windows Vista Business 32 bit before, but the performance was not as acceptable as I would like, it was usable, but quite groggy. For Web surfing, common office task and email, its an extremely usable machine. The boot time from BIOS to desktop is about 45 seconds which is quite good and I have a lot of files backed up to it. To further boost performance, I have disabled some of the Windows 7 features like DVD Maker, Tablet PC Components, XPS Viewer, using the improved Turn Windows Features on or off applet in Control Panel since I am not using them.

Would you recommend Windows 7? Most definitely, Windows 7 gives back so much to systems as far back as 2004. I am also running it on my desktop system, a Dell Dimension 8300 purchased back in March 2004. Although I have added a few memory upgrades since then, Windows 7 performs so much faster. Not to mention the user experience it provides when navigating the interface, working with applications, Windows 7 is definite recommendation on most systems.

Tip: For most older systems, I recommend the 32 bit edition of Windows 7. Although my Sempron is 64 bit capable, its not something I need considering the amount of memory I have installed 512.

So what about you? Do you have any similar experiences running Windows 7 on ‘low end’ specs? If so, share it with us! 🙂


Lessons learned from installing Windows 7, over 16 times
A Quick Look: Customizing your Windows 7 Installation


Filed under 7 Journal

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