Microsoft releases final Windows 7 system requirements

Microsoft releases final Windows 7 system requirements

Summary: When Microsoft released the Beta of Windows 7 in January, it released a set of recommended system requirements for the Beta (which its officials noted were subject to change). On April 30, concurrent with the beginning of the delivery of the Release Candidate, Microsoft released the final system requirements for Windows 7.

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Special Report: Windows 7

When Microsoft released the Beta of Windows 7 in January, it released a set of recommended system requirements for the Beta (which its officials noted were subject to change). On April 30, concurrent with the beginning of the delivery of the Release Candidate, Microsoft released the final system requirements for Windows 7.

Here are the minimum Windows 7 requirements Microsoft offered in January when it released the Beta:

  • 1GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of available disk space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128MB of memory (for the Aero interface)

Here are the minimum Windows 7 system requirements Microsoft released on April 30 when it made available the Release Candidate to MSDN and TechNet testers:

  • 1 GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)
  • 1 GB of RAM (32-bit); 2 GB of RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB of available disk space (32-bit); 20 GB of avaiable disk space (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Note: If you are planning to run Windows XP Mode along with Windows 7, Microsoft is recommending a PC with a minimum of 2GB of memory and 15 GB of additional disk space. "In addition, Windows Virtual PC requires a PC with Intel-VT or AMD-V enabled in the CPU, as it takes advantage of the latest advancements in hardware virtualization," according to company officials.

I asked whether Microsoft had different requirements for the different SKUs of Windows 7 that it is planning to release and was told (via a spokesperson): "The system requirements are final and not SKU-specific."

If you're curious how these final Windows 7 requirements compare to Vista's requirements, they aren't all that different. Here are the final Vista system requirements:

  • 1 GHz processor (32- or 64-bit)
  • 512 MB of RAM (for Home Basic); 1 GB of RAM for all other versions
  • 15 GB of available disk space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory (for Home Basic); 128 MB of graphics memory plus WDDM support for all other versions

Microsoft also announced on April 30 that it is readying a beta of a new Windows Upgrade Advisor (WUA) designed to support Windows 7. A spokesperson provided the following information:

"Windows Upgrade Advisor will check any devices that are connected to the PC (with the appropriate driver installed) at the time of the scan. WUA will identify any known potential compatibility issues and will communicate this in the report. Our beta tester feedback has been critical in ensuring Windows 7 is a quality OS and we hope our testers can continue to partner with us on testing this software to ensure the best end-user experience."

(I've asked Microsoft when it will release the new WUA beta. No word back yet.)

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

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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62 comments
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  • Does this not seem odd?

    That Windows 7 should have the same requirements as Vista, when anyone who has used it knows better either shows a remarkable sense of humor at Microsoft, or a new course taken, called closer to the truth.
    chrome_slinky@...
    • Well, the only thing that wasn't "close to the truth"

      On Vista was the memory requirements! 512MB's of memory? Hell no! It takes at least 2 gigs to have the best performance, I know that from having to upgrade my notebook with 1GB of memory in it to 4gigs and being ASTOUNDED at the difference.

      Like night and day, and it was true for Windows 7 as well.

      Really, if your computer cannot take anymore than 512MB's of memory... time to trash it or recycle it (I do the latter to most people's computers who bring them in for trade-ins) and buy a new one!
      Lerianis
      • Or

        Stick with XP or Linux like most people will do.
        tymiles
        • Or

          Stick with MacBook Pro which runs Windows in a Virtual Environment 3 times faster than a Dell XPS.
          No More Microsoft Software Ever!
      • no need to spend thousands replacing that 'old' laptop

        just replace windows with a decently optimized linux.
        brokndodge@...
      • RE: Microsoft releases final Windows 7 system requirements

        @Lerianis "to have the best performance" has nothing to do with 'minimum requirements'.
        I have a PIII 1.4GHz on a 815E chipset that only takes 512MB SDRAM. I will try W7. If it will install and run, I will add a 8GB flash drive for ReadyBoost and see what happens!
        cheers
        Arnold_Layne
  • RE: Microsoft releases final Windows 7 system requirements

    Windows 7 will NEVER run on a cheap netbook.

    penguin-386
    • What a joke!

      It is ABSURD that you would even think of saying that.

      Evidently you don't know what you don't know.

      Windows 7 DOES run on netbooks.

      I saw it, with amazement, at CES back in January.

      mike@...
      • expect an Window Mobile - Windows 7 Hybrid

        The Windows 7 minimum requirements do seem low to me.

        Personally, I would run Windows 7 on anything less than a 3 Ghz Qaud core AMD or Intel CORE i7, 4 GB RAM DDR3, 64bit system.

        However, regarding the netbooks with Windows 7 issues, remember WinXP is 8 years old and was designed for PII, PIII, P4 systems with much older architectures.

        Even Unbuntu and other fairly new distributions of Linux, that are being re-written with these new architectures in mind.

        With that said, I do expect Windows 7 will need an extensive Service Pack to achieve the seamless fluid performance. Maybe there may even be a Windows 7 - Windows Mobile hybrid.
        daniel.pereznet
        • expect an Window Mobile - Windows 7 Hybrid


          The Windows 7 minimum requirements do seem low to me.

          Personally, I would NOT run Windows 7 on anything less than a 3 Ghz Qaud core AMD or Intel CORE i7, 4 GB RAM DDR3, 64bit system.

          However, regarding the netbooks with Windows 7 issues, remember WinXP is 8 years old and was designed for PII, PIII, P4 systems with much older architectures.

          Even Unbuntu and other fairly new distributions of Linux, that are being re-written with these new architectures in mind.

          With that said, I do expect Windows 7 will need an extensive Service Pack to achieve the seamless fluid performance. Maybe there may even be a Windows 7 - Windows Mobile hybrid.
          daniel.pereznet
  • RE: Microsoft releases final Windows 7 system requirements

    Windows 7 will never run on cheap netbook computers.
    penguin-386
    • Win 7 on netbooks

      Hi. You are wrong. Microsoft has demonstrated Windows 7 (not just Starter Edition, but even Ultimate) running on netbooks. The question re: Win 7 and netbooks is how much of a hit MS is willing to take to maintain netbook share. They will need to offer Win 7 at a serious cut rate to netbook makers to get them to load it. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
    • Sure it will

      Performance tests have shown that Win7 performs equal or better than XP SP3. You may need a netbook with 1GB of Ram to make it really fly but I am sure Basic Edition with no Areo will work just fine.
      bobiroc
      • No. At least 2GB required to run Win7. Let's get real here. (NT)

        NT
        No More Microsoft Software Ever!
        • Just like Vista, which more recent reviews suggest 4GB is its sweet spot...

          Vista, on its own, eats 1.8GB of RAM. On a 2GB machine, that's 90%. On a 4GB machine, 44%... 8GB machine, 23%... Microsoft has said "unused RAM is wasted RAM" to help justify Vista's RAM usage claims. Reality has proven, that is a lie.

          There is no differentiation between what's used by programs and what's used by cache/superfetch. Now add in why 4 or 8GB machines, after a boot with no apps launched, have 2 or 6GB available and NEVER GET USED, it's pretty obvious that the phrase "unused RAM is wasted RAM" was just a pathetic, pallid, paltry, putrid, portly excuse to cover up for more lies and obfuscations.

          Linux may be free, but it's not compatible with a lot of hardware. Even my old Epson 4180 scanner isn't Linux-compatible. It's recognized and works on my Macs...

          HypnoToad72
          • Most UNIX systems cache information in RAM.

            UNIX has been doing this for years. So why is it "pathetic, pallid, paltry, putrid, portly excuse to cover up for more lies and obfuscations" when Microsoft does it?

            The only difference between UNIX and Vista is that UNIX reactively (i.e. keeps information in memory after it's been used) whereas Vista is proactive (i.e. puts information into memory before it is used as well as keeps it in memory after it's been used).
            ye
    • Yes, it will run on them!!!

      The problem is, will it run anywhere near fast enough?

      It'd be better to pork in Windows Mobile, and then watch as it becomes bloat beyond recognition too. WinCE (pronounced "wince") is Microsoft's last great achievement. Odd it's an altered Win98, but whatever... it has worked stable for me and I love the flexibility, but I fear they're going to ruin it too.
      HypnoToad72
      • runs FINE on my eeepc 901

        With a 16 SSD. It is much faster than either Vista or XP. I ran them all to see which one was faster and decided on 7 (even though it is stil RC). Oh, and for optimal performance I would not use less than 2 gigs of ram on any netbook, including XP! And to upgrade costs about 20 bucks -- so who cares.
        tora201
  • The big difference

    A machine with 1GB of memory isn't going to run like a dog with no legs. The problem with Windows Vista was bloat - it is still an issue in Windows 7 but there have been improvements. Its time Microsoft yanked out the old crap, threw it into virtualisation and be done with it.
    Kaiwai
  • RE: Microsoft releases final Windows 7 system requirements

    16 GIGABYTES OF HARD DRIVE SPACE???
    AND 1 GB MEMORY ???
    (FOR THE 32 BIT VERSION)

    ... FOR AN OPERATING SYSTEM???

    ARE THEY OUT OF THEIR FUGGIN' MINDS ????
    Regats