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Windows 7 Will Run On A Prehistoric Pentium II 266 MHz With 96 MB RAM!

Updated on June 24, 2009

 Vista did not earn its horrible reputation primarily due to the lack of support of an astounding number of drivers; the hair raising User Account Control; too many overpriced versions; or the utterly pointless Aero graphical interface... no... the main reason most computer users got nauseous at the sight of Vista was that unless you were running an IBM Blue Gene/P Solution Supercomputer, Vista would turn the majority of previously snappy computers under Windows XP into slugs trying to crawl up a steep Mount Everest incline covered in molasses.

My main system is just about as state of the art as you can get. An Intel Core i7 920 at Turbo, booting off a VelociRaptor, with a RAID1 1TB mirrored drive setup for data, and having access to a full 12 GB of DDR3 RAM. If all those specs don't mean much to you, just think of it this way. This PC is the equivalent of a Ferrari Enzo. There are a few cars out there that are faster, but dang, not many. And it will run rings around the average commuter's automobile.

This PC was originally set up with Windows Home Premium 64 bit edition as out of all the varied and myriad versions of Vista, this one was the least expensive one that provided the functionality I required. From the start it was one fast system but I had absolutely no idea just how fast until I installed Windows 7 RC1 on it as a test.

Absolutely every aspect of the system's performance increased dramatically. Bootup was considerably shorter to the desktop, applications launched much faster, data copying just zoomed, and everything on the desktop and off felt much snappier. Note that this is with not the slightest modification to the hardware configuration, but just replacing Windows Vista home Premium 64 bit edition with Windows 7 RC1 64 bit edition.

It seems that Microsoft has received the message loud and clear that computer users are not going to put up with gargantuan monolithic operating systems, and thus Windows 7 is truly a breath of fresh air! It is finally the modern operating system that I would be able to install on virtually any netbook without a moment's hesitation.

Just how much more efficient Windows 7 is over its Vista predecessor was made amply clear by an experiment by a member of The Windows Club Forum. He was able to get a working installation of Windows 7 on a Pentium II 266 MHz with 96 MB of RAM and a 4 MB video card.

Again for the technically challenged, let me put this into perspective: This individual did the equivalent of getting a Blu-Ray movie to play on a stone tablet with a flint acting as the blue laser beam. Getting a prehistoric dinosaur such as that computer which would be adequate only for running Windows 95 to boot the very latest 2009 version of Microsoft's newest operating system is nothing short of a miracle, and one that Vista with its overwhelming minimum hardware specifications could not begin to achieve.

Not that I endorse digging out your twelve year old computers out of the basement to start installing Windows 7 as that's not the point. Windows 7 will install on just about any modern computer (no matter how haughty or basic its specifications) and provide great performance on all of them. Hopefully it will serve to take the bad Vista taste out of the mouths of millions of computer users who were disappointed and disgusted with that operating system's massive flaws.

With Windows 7, Microsoft finally got the operating system right... to the point that it can be considered, hands down, the best operating system Microsoft has ever issued, and considerably better than all of the competition, including Linux and Snow Leopard!


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      james braselton 7 years ago

      hi there thats what nintendo 3ds is useing but add anouther 266 mhz or 532 mhz cpus 2 266 mhz cpus 133 mhz gpu 96 mb ram and 1.5 gb internal flash memory

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Alexander Mark and comp3820: You might want to jump on the limited time preorder offer Microsoft has on W7. Half price for the next two weeks only. That brings the upgrade on Home Premium to under fifty bucks. Grab it now!

    • comp3820 profile image

      comp3820 8 years ago from Michigan

      Hey good news. I'm glad Microsoft got the job done right this time. And running on 96mb of RAM.... I've tried several OSs on computers faster than that, and none are even worth using, they're so awful!

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I have heard some grumblings about 7, but it sounds like it has better performance than Linux - which I have had no success with trying to dual boot on my Compaq laptop with Vista. Looking forward to 7 to replace everything.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      Thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, any OS, including XP, Vista, and Windows 7 must be run in a 64 bit version in order to access more than 3 GB of RAM. All 32 bit OSs have a built in memory accessing limitation that is far smaller than the 64 bit OSs.

    • pwjm profile image

      pwjm 8 years ago

      its confirmed, windows 7 is equally as quick as winXP but the 64bit version will allow you to make use of more than 3gb's of ram. It's also a lot more stable AND comes with many drivers pre-installed and ready to rock. I didn't need my printer drivers, Mobo Sound/Lan, AND my wireless card drivers. I needed my Vid card drivers for games though.

    • Hal Licino profile image

      Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto

      eovery, on those laptops, Windows 7 will scream! It will be a perfect match!

      Misha, sounds like you have the 32 bit OS. By all means go 64 bit with the Windows 7. I can certainly assure you that it's flawless. I tested the RC1 build, but I'm stuck on Vista until RTM in a couple of months. Then watch out! I'm going Windows 7 at warp nine!

      ocbill, Windows 7 RC1 already has received not just massive positive reviews but raves. Just google its reviews by leading bloggers and it will prove that whatever tech you're talking to doesn't have a clue. I don't understand what you mean by the whole skin though. Thanks!

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      sounds good,.However, I heard the opposite from technicians atc omputer shops I know of. All I need are some positive reviews and I will gladly replace Vista with Windows 7. I already use some of windows 7 in my XP laptop.

      like the sounds so far. there are some places online where you can get the whole skin

    • Misha profile image

      Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

      I still keep XP on my dual Xeon 5410 setup, even though I use only 3G out of 8G available memory :)

      But I am waiting for official release of W7 :)

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 8 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Thanks for the info. I have two old laptops, 700 and 1g hz speed.

      Keep on Hubbing!