The latest Windows 10 release is on the horizon from Microsoft, but many PC fans are wondering what system requirements are involved. Unlike Apple releases, any Windows operating system is reliant upon the vagaries of individual PCs, as there is no uniform setup across the vast diversity of PC desktop and laptop platforms.
Windows 7 is set to roll out on July 29, meaning that this is the ideal time to begin readying PCs and tablets to upgrade to the last ever version of Windows. Thus, with the release date of Windows 10 a short period of time away, there is now clear information available on the specific hardware requirements for this critical software release.
Of course, it is important to emphasize that there are completely different system requirements depending on the device being utilized. The information here should only be considered relevant to desktop PCs, laptops and tablets. Microsoft has yet to announce any specific information on smartphones, or any other platform that is compatible with Windows 10.
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The first thing to note is that the system requirements for Windows 10 are essentially the same as the previous version of the software. This suggests that Microsoft has done excellent work in ensuring that this software has a relatively small footprint competitively to the rather unwieldy Windows 8. This means that if you can run the current version of the Windows operating system then your existing device should be acceptable for the upcoming Windows 10.
There will unquestionably be some scepticism about this, as companies tend to underestimate the system requirements for particular software. The last thing that they want to do is alienate potential upgraders, but considering that Microsoft is currently engaging in a public relations exercise after Windows 8 received a rather disastrous reception, It would not go down well if they were found to be misleading people. It is thus reasonable to assume that the system requirements are accurate, as Microsoft is offering a wide range of free updates to Windows 10 software.
However, lower spec machines will inevitably run the new Windows 10 release rather slowly, and considering the extent to which Microsoft tends to update the software, over time such systems may become untenable.
So the base requirements for Windows 10 reported by Microsoft are as follows:
Processor: 1 GHz with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2;
RAM: 1 GB for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit;
Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit;
Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver.
These specifications have actually been confirmed by Frank Shaw, currently lead communications for Microsoft, who responded to comments made by the Wall Street Journal. Shaw tweeted the system requirements for Windows 10, confirming that users would not need to upgrade their hardware from the last generation Windows operating system.
In many ways, Windows can be viewed as the ultimate piece of mass market software, considering that it is installed on just under 90 percent of desktop machines worldwide. This has meant that Microsoft has always had to pay heed to the lower end of the computing marketplace, and has ensured that Windows 10 will do an excellent job of running on low-end hardware. It is essential for the company to be consistent with this ethos considering that its own hardware products, such as the upcoming HP Stream laptop, must be compatible with its own software.
However, there are slight differences between the requirements for Windows 10 and Windows 7. This is important to note, as many individuals and organizations alike have refused to upgrade to Windows 8 owing to its inadequate nature. Free upgrades are available from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and many existing Windows 7 users will undoubtedly be taking advantage of this opportunity.
Microsoft has clearly done everything possible to ensure that existing Windows 7 owners can easily upgrade to Windows 10, but there is one key difference between the two operating systems. A Windows 7 machine’s CPU does not need to support PAE, NX, and SSE2 for the OS to operate, whereas this is required for Windows 10, and indeed Windows 8.
Windows 10 compatibility issues
A useful process for all PC users ahead of this Windows 10 release is to establish the details of their particular machines. Although any machine that is running Windows 8 should be compatible with Windows 10, it is nonetheless valuable to find out the specifications of your particular PC.
In order to determine the processor speed and RAM capacity of Windows PC software, simply go to the Control Panel and select ‘System’. To find out how much hard disk space is currently available on a machine, accessing Windows Explorer in Windows 7 or File Explorer in Windows 8 onwards is necessary. Right-clicking the ‘C drive’ and choosing ‘Properties’ will then reveal this information.
Another new aspect of Windows 10 is that it will automatically remove any software from machines that is not compatible with the operating system. Although users will be prompted as to whether they wish to conform with this process, it is still useful for existing Windows 8 and Windows 7 users to check compatibility of the existing software ahead of the release of Windows 10.
This can be checked by existing PC owners by accessing the ‘Get Windows 10‘ app running in your tray bar next to the clock. Users can then perform an automatic compatibility check on your PC system, and will inform of any compatibility issues. Over time, publishers will undoubtedly upgrade existing software to ensure that it is compatible with Windows 10, but it could be considered advisable to uninstall any incompatible software for the time being. Either that, or consider whether it is wise to upgrade to Windows 10 at this time.
Microsoft will be hoping that this latest Windows 10 release is a massive success to counteract some of the negative sentiments experienced with Windows 8. We only have a couple of weeks to wait now to find out what precisely Windows 10 can do for PC users worldwide.