Windows 7 runs on 600MHz UMPCs

For retronauts who wants a modern OS on decidedly sub-modern CPUs but don’t want to go the Linux route, Windows 7 is looking to be a juicy plum. It seems to be excellent at scaling… far better than Vista was.

That makes sense, of course: when Vista was being developed, no one at Microsoft had even thought that a big part of the future of computing might not be in beefier hardware, but cheaper and lower-power architecture like the Atom. But that rationalization doesn’t change anything: Vista honks choad on anything below a gig of RAM and a couple of gigahertz.

Not so Windows 7. They’ve made some great optimizations to the point that it can run on a 600MHz A100 processor via the Amtek U560 UMPC. I really need to give loading the Windows 7 beta on a netbook a try.

[via Slashgear]

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7 Responses to Windows 7 runs on 600MHz UMPCs

  1. qurly63 says:

    It runs great on my Acer Aspire One netbook!

  2. Rajio says:

    funny, I ran vista on a couple of UMPCs for months with zero tweaking and it was perfectly fine. I must be doing it wrong.

  3. Reed Savory says:

    Rajio – I’m with you in that I can’t really agree with John’s statement about not wanting to run Vista “…on anything below a gig of RAM and a couple of gigahertz”, that’s certainly not really held-up by actual testing.

    Having done it myself I can agree that if tuned properly you certainly can get Vista running reasonably well on a 1.6Ghz netbook such as your Wind, if used for typical netbook-type functionality (word processing, web browsing, etc). You wouldn’t want to be running Photoshop or trying to edit video, but most folks wouldn’t be doing that on a netbook anyway.

    In terms of the facts presented in the video here (and my own testing on my systems), it certainly does appear though that Microsoft has done a much better job of designing Windows 7 to properly tune itself for whatever hardware it’s running on. The UMPC shown here, at 600Mhz, is well under Microsoft’s system minimum of 1Ghz for Vista, and certainly Vista running on that hardware would be a pretty poor experience.

  4. Zan says:

    I was running Windows 7 on my 4GB Eee and it ran great — at least initially. As soon as I started to install Software the Windows directory ballooned up in size thanks to the “Windows Side by Side” feature. Even though the software was installed on a second hard drive, it appears that Windows 7 installs a second copy in the C:\Windows\Winsxs directory. If you upgrade the software, it archives the old version there as well. If you run Windows Update, that directory increases in size by hundreds of megabites. Within a couple of days, my 2GB windows folder had increased to 3.97GB.

    There is a convoluted process involving NTFS junctions to move the winsxs directory, but it breaks several features including Windows Update.

  5. Rajio says:

    Vista honks choad on anything below a gig of RAM and a couple of gigahertz.

    What?! Vista runs better than XP on the MSI wind with a gig of ram anda 1.6 gigahertz cpu. (with aero and everything) … I’ve also run it just fine on lower spec’ed machines. Yes windows 7 runs well too but why jump on to the vista bashing with untruths?

  6. Reed Savory says:

    I’ve thus far installed the beta Windows 7 32-bit on a 4.5 year-old 2.0Ghz Pentium M desktop PC with 1GB of memory, and a 2.5 year-old Core Duo 1.6Ghz Dell D820 laptop with 2GB of memory, and can confirm that it runs beautifully on both of them – I’ve been hauling my D820 with Windows 7 around with me everywhere I go as my main laptop.

    Yes, Vista could technically be installed on either of these PCs with a good bit of tweaking of the performance settings, but Windows 7 did it all by itself.

    In terms of bashing: I’m a huge fan of Vista, I honestly do love it. But the hardware to make it run well was pretty damn expensive when Vista first came out, since you needed a lot of memory and horsepower (I shelled-out $1800 a month after Vista shipped for a desktop with enough firepower to run it). And let’s be honest that running Vista on any UMPC would be pretty well impossible.

    Windows 7 looks like this time, Microsoft really went to the trouble of designing an OS that’s going to run well on most any hardware.

    John – I’d definitely give Windows 7 a go on a netbook. Worst-case, you’re looking at hardware that’s pretty similar performance-wise to that seven-year-old Pentium M of mine, and I can tell you that it runs great.

  7. Reed Savory says:

    Zan – I haven’t tried any in-place updates of Windows 7 myself, I’ve done complete reinstalls on the four I’ve tried so far. I haven’t got the other machines with me at present, but I can say that on the PC that’s in-front of me at right now the Windows directory is currently 7.36GB in size, although I hadn’t noticed what it was previously so I can’t say if it’s grown significantly or not.

    Only issue I’ve seen so far has been needing to set compatibility mode for some installers (HP network printer driver installer, etc.), which refused to run initially because they didn’t recognize the Windows version. Once I set compatibility mode for “Windows Vista”, they ran fine.

    The only thing I couldn’t get to install at all setting the compatibility mode was Alex Feinman’s well-known ISO Recorder tool, but he’s now got a version 3.1 that runs under Windows 7.

    I’m also glad to say (because it makes my wife happy she can play it) that American McGee’s Alice works fine, once you set compatibility mode for Windows 2000, and disable visual themes, desktop composition, and display scaling.

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