From the moment I heard Microsoft would be licensing Windows 7 to netbook manufacturers, I questioned just how paltry of a hardware setup the OS would run on. Granted, netbooks are nifty devices which have their niche. But between Intel’s Atom CPU and the lack of graphics processing power, the pint-sized package isn’t what I’d imagine to be ideal for Windows 7. As it turns out, my curiosity is far from unique.
Impressively, a member of the Windows Club forum who goes by the handle of “hackerman1” has gotten Windows 7 to boot on some pretty ancient machines. At the top of the configurations, he installed it on a system packing a 266MHz Pentium II, 128MB of RAM and a 4MB graphics card. After succeeding, he decreased the RAM capacity to 96MB, which also handled 7. His experiment came to a temporary halt after dropping the RAM to 64MB. Hackerman’s fun won’t end there, though. He plans to try and get Windows 7 up and running on a 166MHz Pentium I and 1MB graphics card next.
There is no mention of install or boot times for the Pentium II system, but other forum members have provided the information for a Pentium III PC. They say it took the antique system 17 hours to install Microsoft’s latest OS, and a patience-shattering 17 minutes to boot.