Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

Summary: Seems like Microsoft's taken those bloatware claims to heart and has actually been working hard to minimize the system requirements footprint of the OS.

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Lots of interesting stuff coming out from Microsoft's BUILD developer conference. One thing that struck me - how much bloat Microsoft has removed from the OS.

According to Microsoft, Windows 8 will be able to run on systems fitted with Atom CPUs and as little as 1GB of RAM. Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's president for the Windows and Windows Live divisions, said that even an ageing Lenovo S10 (a mini-notebook from 2008) would have enough grunt to run Windows 8 and that the new OS would run better than Windows 7 on the system - though that's not saying much.

Also on display were some interesting numbers comparing fresh installs of Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Windows 7 Preview Release

  • RAM usage: 540MB
  • 34 processes

Windows 7 SP1

  • RAM usage - 404MB
  • 32 processes

Windows 8 Preview

  • RAM usage - 281MB
  • 29 processes

Seems like Microsoft's taken those bloatware claims to heart and has actually been working hard to minimize the system requirements footprint of the OS.

Good work!

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Processors, Windows

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  • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

    As I read this, I'm thinking, this IS 2011. And I've been doing this with Linux since, I don't even remember.<br><br>PS. It's like a come soon movie I've seen before.
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • You sound like you missed the point. Maybe AKH did as well.

      The point was relative improvment. Im sure these specs arent either the recommended minimums, which are likely higher, or the absolute minimums, which are likely much lower. I have an old old old toshiba laptop with only 32M of RAM thats running Windows Server. Works fine for me...
      Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

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    • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

      @Return_of_the_jedi

      Glad to know you're now aware of the year we are presently in.

      I'm taking it you develop your own distro of Linux then. I'm not sure what you're doing on a OS level for an entire OS (e.g. Ubuntu) for everyone to benefit from. Microsoft is doing this for their operating system for everyone to benefit.

      If you've been doing things and you don't remember... Did you really do anything in the first place?
      audidiablo
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @audidiablo I'm really not sure what you're on about. Microsoft isn't doing this for their operating system "for everyone to benefit". They're doing this to benefit those who will pay them $150-$250 for it. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy"> <br><br>Windows 8 is shaping up to be a very interesting release - and I say that as someone who abandoned Windows XP for OpenSUSE Linux about 14 months ago. In many ways it seems to be looking at what Linux is offering and duplicating it - Lower system requirements? Check. A single dialog that lets you manage all ongoing copy processes (already present in Linux's KDE desktop)? Check. The ability to mount ISOs without 3rd party tools? Check. The ability to update your programs from one source (what I hope the Win8 "app store" can be used for)? Check. The ability to have a conventional and a touch/tablet interface? (With the change of one menu option in KDE I can switch between a conventional program launcher/task bar interface and a touch-oriented large icon full screen interface with tabs) Check. The use of HTML5 and Javascript (the core behind KDE's "plasma" widgets and an increasing portion of its desktop)? Check. PDF viewing support? Check. The ability to run on ARM? (Some Linux distros, and I'm suspecting OpenSUSE will too before Win8 ships)? Check. Many of the rumored features also mirror what we see in Linux....<br><br>"Your Linux Advocate" may throw a fit at this suggestion, but I think Windows 8 will be giving the major Linux desktops a run for their money. That said, I'm still immensely happy that I'll have all of these features at least two years sooner for free. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy"> I'll evaluate it and decide if I want to switch back or not when it comes out. I suspect it won't have achieved full feature parity (let alone surpassing) yet though - I saw a picture of the new file explorer and my first view of what a "ribbon interface" looks like and seriously thought it was someone's photoshopped joke. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/sad.gif" alt="sad"> When I upgrade in November my file manager is gaining the ability to directly manage the git version control system, and Windows 8's file manager is "gaining" a UI that looks like a rapid application development tool threw up on File Explorer. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/sad.gif" alt="sad"> No sign that even Windows 8's file explorer will be multi-tab or multi-pane yet, either. Microsoft's Linux *killer* may need to wait until Windows 9. <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy">
        jgm@...
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @audidiablo
        Great article. Thanks for the great information about CPUs and RAMS- I will take into consideration for my next purchase.

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    • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

      @Return_of_the_jedi The fact the Microsoft is finally trying to cleanup, streamline and minimize the OS footprint is great to hear. It's been a long time coming, and I'm looking forward to trying out Windows 8 when it becomes available to developers/beta testers.
      Masari.Jones
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @Masari.Jones You are in luck. Windows 8 developer preview is available now.
        gomigomijunk
    • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

      @Return_of_the_jedi

      That's great but in the meantime the rest of the world must get things done and the software businesses, schools, and users need to use to do their jobs does not run on linux. You can make an OS or program run with a small footprint but making it usable to the people and the software they want/need to use is a different story.
      bobiroc
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @bobiroc Actually, the software businesses, schools and users need to use to do their jobs generally does run on Linux - this isn't 1994. As regards making it usable, as I've said before, Windows 8's confirmed and rumored features list (copy dialog, iso mounting, virtual hard disk mounting, touch interface, live USB option, integrated PDF reader, "app store", HTML5 + javascript desktop apps, etc.) reads like a list of all of the features present in Linux for years but not in Windows. I'm excited about Windows 8, but so far it's not offering anything I didn't gain by switching my desktop to openSUSE in 2010.
        jgm@...
      • RE: Actually

        @jgm@...

        Really? I work for a school and when it came to update our Student Management System, Human Resources management system, and business/payroll management systems the choices of linux compatible systems that were approved by the state were non-existent. Not to mention our students need to learn the software they are going to use in college and when they get a job in the real world which includes (but not limited to) Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, and numerous other titles that are not Linux compatible.
        bobiroc
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @bobiroc I don't know what process is used by your state to approve software, but the choices for these types of software certainly isn't nonexistent, including some of the biggest software such as Peoplesoft and SAP HR, with other options being WaypointHR, OrangeHRM, ICeHRM, Open Applicant and LATRIX for HR, FreeSMS "a teacher and student management system providing marketing, registration, course management, attendance and a student evaluation system", ATutor for course management, Koha, an integrated library system in use in over 1000 libraries, etc. Whatever your state's situation, it's not for lack of high quality software being employed by schools and universities worldwide and online (i.e. Moodle, which powers many schools' online course offerings).

        You can't teach students today what they're going to be using in several years' time; the pace of technology doesn't allow that. Any of us who learned Lotus 1-2-3 or Wordperfect (or Wordstar :-) ) will tell you that. Same with programming. You teach the fundamental skills and the reasoning ability that will allow someone to learn any piece of software they need to use or program in any language that becomes popular/useful. That's the whole point behind "teaching languages" like Pascal that were designed specifically to communicate good programming practices and programming concepts.

        I stick with my original conclusion that these are standard tropes that are quite outdated. From Firefox to Chrome to Flash to OpenOffice to C to C++ to C# and .Net (Mono) to R to MySQL to PostgreSQL to SQLite to Firebird to Google Earth to RapidMiner (one of the most widely used data mining applications) to Java to VLC to VirtualBox to DropBox to the GIMP to Octave and Scilab, the most popular and commonly used software today is available for the Linux platform, and students are as likely to encounter (and more likely to afford) programs such as Octave and Maxima and the GIMP and OpenOffice and WEKA as they are MathCad and Photoshop and Microsoft Office and SPSS.

        In 1999 I had this exchange with a Linux advocate after buying, trying and uninstalling Caldera Linux:
        Him: "There's 6000 Linux applications!"
        Me: "Yeah, and 5000 of them are text editors!"

        It's quite a different world today and I was shocked when I began my biannual trying and (up until that point) uninstalling of Linux. The fact alone that I could plug in an MTP music player and sync effortlessly was something I hadn't thought could ever happen. Nowadays Linux gained not only USB3 but even Microsoft Kinnect support in the kernel before Windows or OSX! My "test" of Linux resulted in using the "test" install for more than a year without booting into Windows and I finally formally migrated everything to Linux and removed my NTFS partitions last weekend. If you gave it a serious examination I think you'll be quite surprised and how incredibly rapidly its matured into a modern and capable desktop OS.
        jgm@...
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @bobiroc
        vital financial infrastructure such as stock exchanges and other mission critical infrastructure runs on linux due to its reliability, people who know how to use linux naturally get those jobs.
        qjqqyy
  • Yeah, right.

    I'm sorry, but every claim that Microsoft has ever made about lighter/faster/better has been fantasy. I have a notebook that has 5 times the resources of the one I had 5 years ago, but it takes twice as long to boot Windows 7, open a spreadsheet, or copy files from one place to the other. WHY? Windows.
    terry flores
    • If I would want to make a full reboot now, then my Windows 7 system with ..

      @terry flores: ... 4 GB RAM would take seven minutes to do so. Of course, this is not only Microsoft's fault, but, seriously, I do not not run huge projects or databases in the background and do not have the likes of Crysis-3 game in start-up to make everything soo painfully slow.

      However, there is probability that Windows 8 might be better, since Windows 7 *is* better than Vista. Lets wait and see.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @DeRSSS

        I would look into removing some junk you've installed or have installed. My 2GB PC running Windows 7 x86 full reboots in about a minute and thirty seconds. You must really be doing something wrong or booting it on a Mac.
        audidiablo
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @DeRSSS
        My totally loaded up Windows 7 laptop which came with Vista but which I did an in-place upgrade to 7 on and which has a system tray of full of background programs that start at launch that stretches a third of the way across my full HD screen and which also only has 4 GB of RAM and by the way I have never defragged (etc., etc., etc.) has a total boot time of about a minute, maybe two until it feels fully responsive.

        You're doing something wrong.
        x I'm tc
      • I talked about 'restart' time, not 'boot' time; it takes a lot to finish ..

        @audidiablo: ... the session.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

        @DeRSSS

        My I-5 desktop with a 7200RPM drive takes about 30 seconds to reboot and it is starting two instances of SQL Server.

        Something is terribly wrong with your computer.
        mswift@...
    • RE: Windows 8 will run on old Atom CPUs and 1GB RAM

      @terry flores

      And fantasy is now a reality. Windows 7 is fast as is Office 2010. I can boot my PC and be in an Excel spreadsheet in less than a minute. I know if I tried that 5 years ago I would be looking at about 5 minutes.

      Have you ever taken into consideration the issue may not be your PC but more so what you've done to your PC?

      Lastly I've been running Windows 8 and it is about two to three times faster than Windows 7 on the same machine. I'm looking forward to the developers build tonight which is more complete. Windows 8 is amazing and will be even more so when the public is able to get their hands on it! :D
      audidiablo