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It's funny.  Laugh. Operating Systems Software Windows Hardware

XP On 8-MHz Pentium With 20 MB RAM 410

swehack writes "The guys over at managed to get their Windows XP Professional running on a very minimal box: an Intel Pentium clocked down to 8 MHz with 20 MB of RAM. (The installer won't work with less than 64 MB, but after installing you can remove memory.) The link has plenty of pictures of their progress in achieving this dubious milestone. They deserve a Golden Hourglass award for 'extreme waste of time.' What obscure hardware configurations have you managed to get Windows running on?"
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XP On 8-MHz Pentium With 20 MB RAM

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  • by aneeshm ( 862723 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @01:57AM (#18140540)
    ....a Beowulf cluster of these!

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
  • My Hardware (Score:5, Funny)

    by abscissa ( 136568 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @01:58AM (#18140542)
    What obscure hardware configurations have you managed to get Windows running on?

    AMD Athlon 3000+ with 1 GB of RAM. A miracle... I know... and STILL I have to reinstall it every couple of months!!
    • What obscure hardware configurations have you managed to get Windows running on?

      AMD Athlon 3000+ with 1 GB of RAM. A miracle... I know... and STILL I have to reinstall it every couple of months!!

      Dammit *I* was going to make that joke. How dare you? , you .... insensitive sod!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I haven't reinstalled Windows XP in 4 years since I replaced a faulty hard drive in it. After changing the HD, it was an AMD 1700 with 256 MB RAM and a single 80 GB HD. Now its an AMD64 3700+ with 2 GB RAM and 2 80 GB HDs, and the only thing I had to do was run the installer over top of the existing install to get the motherboard upgrade to be recognized properly. I've had to reactivate it 3 times as well of course.

      I've changed RAM, sound cards, several video cards, monitors, power supplies, countless perip
    • Re:My Hardware (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fwarren ( 579763 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @03:32PM (#18144992) Homepage
      Since this seems to be a story about the bare essentials. Once, back in 96 to impress a friend and and show him what this internet thing is about. I went over to his place with a bunch of floppies.

      I had a local dialup account. He had some old computer parts:

      1. Low end VGA monitor
      2. VGA card capable of 16 colors at 640x480
      3. 2 Megs of Ram
      4. 20 Meg Hard Drive
      5. 1200 baud modem
      6. 1.2m floppy dirve
      7. A 386-SX motherboard with a lowend 16hmz CPU

      On this sweet box, I was able to install a striped down DOS 6.22, a bare install of Windows 3.11, trumpet winsock (1.x series I belive), and the Opera Web Browser (3.x) series.

      I had to practically perform a seance to get MEMMAKER to give the MGA adapter memory over for use to bump the DOS 640k limit.

      It was painful, but I was able to get a graphic dial up connection at 1200 baud, 16 color 640x480 resolution and show my friend this brave new world of the internet.

      Of course this system operated with the rock soild reliability we have all come to know and trust from Mircosoft.

      The sad thing is. It probably took less time to build this box AND install all the software than it takes to do a VISTA install nowdays.
  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @01:59AM (#18140554)
  • Not too long ago... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CrkHead ( 27176 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @01:59AM (#18140556)
    When Windows 98 came out the installer also checked the memory. I was doing break/fix in a shop and someone insisted we could "upgrade" their OS without them purchasing RAM. I popped in test RAM, did the install, pulled the RAM and sent it home.

    Don't think we ever heard back from them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:01AM (#18140574)
    Or rather, the time I started compiling Gentoo on a 286. It was 2004, and it's still going. I think KDE will be done by 2008.
  • Cruel. (Score:4, Funny)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:04AM (#18140586)
    Isn't this against the Geneva conventions?
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:08AM (#18140640)
    How about installing Windows 3.11 on a 64-bit system?
    • That'd probably work- by accident. About like a Windows 1.0 system would. There's enough backwards
      compatibility there to support those the way they expect to enough to sort of run.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tverbeek ( 457094 ) *
        Back in the mid-90s I tried installing Windows 1.0 on a Pentium, with little luck. The setup program would run but the system crashed when I tried to launch Windows from the DOS prompt. Probably due to incompatibility between the EGA video driver I selected and the onboard VGA of the machine; it might have worked if I'd had an actual EGA card to install. Modern CPUs and even the motherboard chipsets might be adequately backward compatible with XT-era hardware, but you'll have difficulty finding video har
    • by compwizrd ( 166184 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @03:00AM (#18140958)
      I found out the hard way that Windows 95 wouldn't run on a p4 2.0, even in safe mode.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      A MAJOR accounting firm, 300,000 accountants world wide, that I support their Frame-Relay connectivity, until today, 25th of February, Sunday, 2007, still using windows 3.11 for their computers.

      They constantly upgrade their hardware (as soon as warrenty expires on the hardeware, they start selling it, auction style, for the book value of $1.00). Yet they still run windows 3.11. Eventhough that Microsoft told them that they will no longer support it. They simply think that it works fine for filling spreadshe
      • I'm calling bullshit on this. A major accounting firm that has no interest in the concept of "business continuity"? Of using unsupported software because it's what their tech support "understands"? What happens as their tech support leaves for other jobs? How many people here can remember the right lines to put into config.sys for configuring memory usage?

        And I'm curious as to which Windows 3.11 system it is that can run Oracle? Or do they run a newer version of Windows (or heaven forbid, gasp, Unix) for it? In which case, what happened to all that "glitz and glam" that they so vehemently shunned?

        I'm not buying it.

    • I have made a 3.5" floppy with DOS 5.0 and Win 3.0. (Most of it anyway; some extras like paint etc wouldn't fit.) There was even enough room left on the floppy for the sysinternals NTFS driver for DOS! I can boot off this floppy and access the HD.

      I've originally planned to use it as a recovery disk for systems that won't boot. But I've since found a much better use for it: pranks. There's nothing like watching someone jump when Windows 3 boots on their brand new Dell.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dosius ( 230542 )
        Minimal Windows directory []

        Some of these files, can't remember which, I think they came from the win98 installer, making them smaller. It can't run DOS apps, unfortunately.

        If anyone can make Windows 3.1 *with* DOS support fit onto a 1.44 MB floppy, I'd like to see it.

    • dosbox does that (Score:4, Interesting)

      by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @11:11AM (#18143028) Homepage Journal

      You can run win 3.1 on dosbox. I imagine there's a 64 bit port in Debian and elsewhere. With a fast enough machine, it should be about as quick as it ever was. It's kind of slow on a 1GHz class 32bit cpu.

  • Even though it is a little dated, I had windows95 running on a 386 DX 20 with 8mb of ram. It took half an hour to bootup.
  • by Devil's BSD ( 562630 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:09AM (#18140648) Homepage
    You're using a 286? Don't make me laugh. Your Windows boots up in what, a day and a half?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by reezle ( 239894 )
      "My new computer's got the clocks; it rocks, but it was obsolete before I opened the box"
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      "If I ever meet you, I'll CTRL-ALT-DELETE you!!!!"
    • You're using a 286? Don't make me laugh. Your Windows boots up in what, a day and a half?

      LOL. Only a complete moron would do that. Anybody who knows anything would have used a 486.

      Speaking of which ...

      There's an underlying irony to the goofy exercise described in the article. Once upon a time, the business world ran just fine on DOS and 3/486 machines. I remember one of my first real jobs was working as a lowly wordprocessor in an international law firm. Working up a 500 page prospectus was something I
  • I once tried to install Novell Linux Desktop on a 128 MB P6 Celeron and the installer refused to do it. It asked for 256 MB RAM.
    • by jd ( 1658 )
      Ah, well if we're including Linux, then I had SLS Linux running on a Viglen 386SX-16 with 5 megabytes of RAM (5? Yes, well, Viglen was always known for being a little odd. You had the 4 MB of extended memory, but it then let you use the original 1 MB of RAM as well.)

      Actually, it worked pretty well. I had X and OpenLook running and was able to run a Netrek server with 19 robot players and myself on a regular Netrek client. That's not bad going, given that Netrek was not the most elegant of programs. (Hell,

  • So..... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chas ( 5144 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:15AM (#18140686) Homepage Journal
    It's roughly the speed of Vista on a Quad-Core C2 with 4GB of RAM and a 15K rpm RAID-0 array then?

  • by saturndude ( 609090 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:16AM (#18140692) Homepage
    20 Megs of RAM? I thought 640K was supposed to be enough for anyone!!!
  • Mac? (Score:5, Funny)

    by duncanbojangles ( 787775 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:17AM (#18140698)
    What obscure hardware configurations have you managed to get Windows running on?

    iMac with an Intel Core Duo 2?
    • No no, not Core Duo 2, Core 2 Duo! I already look ridiculous enough installing Windows on my new iMac so I can play Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines because I never got to play it in 2005 when I had a Powerbook G4... don't make me look worse... MAN, this Tremere is kick-ASS!!
    • by basic0 ( 182925 )
      Look, if you're not going to take Mac ownership seriously, I'll be happy to give it a good home...
  • They deserve a Golden Hourglass award for 'extreme waste of time.'

    Not that I ever expect much of anything from the Slashdot editors, but having this comment is just stupid. If someone were to get some Linux distro working on a much weaker box than we're used to seeing it on, it wouldn't be labeled an "extreme waste of time." When a Linux distro is compacted enough to conveniently fit on a flash drive, it's not an extreme waste of time (though yes I get how something like this is definitely more useful). But this, because it's Windows, has to be an extreme waste of tim

    • RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tharkban ( 877186 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:42AM (#18140840) Homepage Journal
      That comment was in the article. It was simply included in the summary, not added by /.

      > But until this [sic] the record of the lamest XP PC goes from Berlin (Germany) to Vienna (Austria).
      > {Image} The golden Sandclock Award
      > {Image} For extreme waste of time.
    • It's a pretty big achievement, I think, to get WinXP to run on such a crappy setup, even more so because it IS Windows, which we're used to seeing require much more in terms of resources than a comparable Linux package.

      No, it's not. All they did was plug in old hardware and try to install it. No limitation of size, no optimization of anything. Just simple testing of "how slow can you go?"

      The Linux comparison would be picking up Linux at the store, and seeing how low a system you could put it on.

      (The MS c
  • Heh... Not bad... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Svartalf ( 2997 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:29AM (#18140752) Homepage
    It's comparable to the time I wanted to see just how brutal an environment Windows 95 would install
    and still "run". I had this old narfy 386sx-16 "laptop" with 16Mb of RAM and 120Mb of HD. I installed
    it with compression out of the gate and the thing just went in there. It wasn't happy with me, but
    it was usable for very small values of "usable" and it ran stuff like Delphi if you were patient for
    very large values of "patient" as it swap-thrashed itself to death doing what I asked of it.

    It still worked. I was impressed. Wasn't USEFUL, mind.

    This falls under the same category.
    • I once saw Win95a running in only 8 MB of RAM. Launching Netscape 4 would take about 2 minutes, but it worked.
    • Back in the 1995-96 timeframe, notebook computers with only 8MB of RAM were quite normal and generally came preloaded with Win 95. I agree performance was not stellar, but much depended on what you tried to run. I bought a high-end notebook early 1996 with 32MB of RAM and used to run Windows NT 4 Server as well as Window 95 on it. I continued to use the machine periodically until 2002.
  • P120 Laptop (Score:4, Informative)

    by Digital Pizza ( 855175 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:31AM (#18140772)
    I installed XP Pro on an old Toshiba Tecra 500CDT with a 120Mhz Pentium, memory maxed out at 144MB (actually a decent amount for that generation of hardware), drive upgraded to 6GB. The machine originally ran Windows 3.11, had a 500MB drive, and 16MB RAM.

    Microsoft dropped support for the Tecra's Chips&Technologies video chipset, so I used the driver from Win2K; also didn't support acceleration at 24-bit (worked but with pretty slow screen drawing) so set it to 16-bit color, worked great.

    Machine has a CDROM but BIOS won't boot from it so I had to boot the WinXP install floppies which you have to download from Microsoft; different set of disks for XP Pro and XP Home.

    Not going to win any speed records, but quite useable.
    • I knew a guy who had a 200MHz laptop with Windows XP. He was using a WindowsBlinds style (which I have found to be slightly slower than VisualStyles, and this is on a computer fast enough to handle themes normally). It was the slowest computer I had seen in a long time. Hell, I got annoyed with it easily before 5 minutes. God knows how long he'd had it. I bet he might still be using it too.
    • That system must have cost a fortune originally! I remember, cause I wanted one. I had a similar model with a Pentium 90 and 8MB RAM and a much smaller hard drive and the thought of 16MB memory and half a gig of storage was drool-worthy. Good thing it's still being used for something. ;P
  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KKlaus ( 1012919 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:33AM (#18140788)
    So they win an award for biggest waste of time... and somehow I read about it on the front page of Slashdot. Methinks the award was right.

    • And yet, many of us read every word of it, including the benchmarks.

      I read it out of morbid curiousity because I can't stand running Windows XP on even a Pentium 4; too long from POST to being able to actually open an application.
  • Think again (Score:5, Funny)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:45AM (#18140862)
    "They deserve a Golden Hourglass award for 'extreme waste of time.'"

    Uh... I don't think they'd appreciate that - they probably see plenty of hourglasses already.
  • Har. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @02:55AM (#18140912)
    Windows 3.1 in a window on top of DesqView/X

    In 8MB.

    It worked...

  • Back in the day, I was strapped for cash and hardware, but I wanted some server action. So I installed Win2000 Advanced Server on a P1-200mhz with 32MB (if I recall right, might have been 64 or whatever was the min required to install). EDO ram. Most services running (WINS, DNS, file sharing, 2 NICs to serve as a gateway and firewall, print servers, etc).
    It was Ok for the first little bit. After a month or so though, it started to go downhill. At one point, I restarted it when I woke up in the morning, and
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hob42 ( 41735 )
      Reminds me of when I got ahold of a late beta of Win2k Server, and tried it out on my home Win95 system. It was a P200 with 64MB RAM, which seemed fine and dandy... but my fatal error was giving it the spare 1GB partition (which I used to experiment with Linux distros) of my 5GB drive, so I wouldn't have to touch the FAT32 partition at all. Hey, it met all the system requirements, so why not?

      It installed, but left less than 100MB left on the partition. After the final reboot, it sucked up the last bit of di
  • by MooseMuffin ( 799896 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @03:19AM (#18141074)
    As soon as a new Windows comes out, the old one is suddenly hailed as everything you would ever need, and a marvel of efficient resource usage.
  • Or, it may have been given to me as part of some other deal. Kinad hazy on the whole thing now... I canabalized it for parts (case, CD-ROM, hard drive, etc. were all still worth something) but before I did that, I tried installing Windows 95 just for the heck of it, and it worked. That box had 4 megs of ram I think, I might have had to add some. I don't remember how big the hard drive was. I understand it might not have worked if I hadn't had a later model 386, something to do with the co-processor IIRC

  • by Tawnos ( 1030370 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @03:29AM (#18141132)
    When I worked at a computer repair shop, a woman brought in her system and said it was running slowly. I start the system up and expect there to be a bunch of virii. What I saw next shocked me.

    After 30 minutes I'm looking at the default windows XP desktop. Immediately I know this is an illegal install, as the system had no sticker on it, and it looked too old to have had WinXP reasonably on it. I decide to see what service pack she's running, so I right click on my computer, click properties...and almost crap my pants. The system was running on a Cyrix M5 with 48MB of RAM. There were no service packs installed. She had about 30 worms installed and running on her system.

    Sometimes, late at night, I wake up in a cold sweat thinking about the horror of such a system.
    • Cyrix M5 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bxbaser ( 252102 )
      Proud to say never owned a cyrix processor.

      Kids today have it easy, back in my day you just might have had to get a cyrix.
  • Heh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by rob1980 ( 941751 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @03:43AM (#18141198)
    [an error occurred while processing this directive] The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    They weren't by any chance hosting their website on that box too were they?
  • They deserve a Golden Hourglass award for 'extreme waste of time.' What obscure hardware configurations have you managed to get Windows running on?"

    They do? In fact this is still slightly more intellectually stimulating than reading and posting on ./.. or any weblog.
  • by hxnwix ( 652290 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @04:11AM (#18141350) Journal
    It's also their webserver...
  • n00bs (Score:3, Funny)

    by alphamugwump ( 918799 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @04:38AM (#18141464)
    All these n00bs talking about installing something on 64 megs crack me up. When I was a boy, I ran windows 3.1 on my TI-83 -- and was grateful, too!
    • No joke

      my first job was as an operator on big iron, not IBM

      To start the machine from cold involved :-

      Power on CPU, Card reader, Tape drives, Floppy drives, Disk Drives, Network interface and Line printers
      Load 1st card deck to load floppy firmware
      Load 2nd card deck to load tape firmware
      Load Disk firmware from floppy
      Load NIC firmware from tape
  • Pffft (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @04:51AM (#18141526)
    I got Linux running on a motorized abacus powered by squirrels.

    Then I got Windows CE running on an ancient Mayan claendar.

    Then, utilizing quantum states, I got Mac OS 9 running on a single electron.

    I rule! Bow to me! Argh!

  • Seems like (Score:5, Funny)

    by saibot834 ( 1061528 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @05:34AM (#18141746)
    Seems like they are using it as their server...
  • by johu ( 55313 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @06:00AM (#18141850)
    D-Link DFL-700 router runs WinXP quite well. It has 266 MHz AMD Geode (486 class CPU) and 64MB RAM. Just connect keyboard and VGA to debug connectors onboard (get pinout from Lanier website - they're actual board manufacturer) and plugin laptop HDD instead of non-standard flash-drive they ship with.
  • Mgz don't matter. (Score:4, Informative)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Sunday February 25, 2007 @08:33AM (#18142344)
    The tough part is getting XP to run on the RAM not the MHZ the lower Mhz just make it slow. If you could go down to 1 Hertz XP should still work. Just be about a billion times slower then it is now.
  • by TheThiefMaster ( 992038 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @11:19AM (#18143058)
    I've run Windows Server 2003 on a pc with two different speed cpus.

    You read that right.

    One of the Athlon MP 2400s in my box died, and I didn't have a spare. I did have a spare Athlon XP-m 2400, so I decided to try it. Unfortunately mobile cpus boot at their lowest speed, so my server had one 2GHz cpu and one 600MHz cpu in MP...

    It worked perfectly, except for programs that tried to use cpu cycle counters to measure time. Eg. I started my Counter-Strike server and it was confused as to whether it had been on for 1 minute or 2 hours.
  • by Inode Jones ( 1598 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @01:20PM (#18143986) Homepage
    Windows can do the funnniest things...

    Rewind to 1990. Install Windows 3.0 on your Banyan VINES file server. Then prepare a boot floppy with DOS, the Banyan drivers and nothing else. Remove the hard drive from a 386SX with 4MB RAM, boot said machine with the floppy and start Windows from the file server.

    In this configuration, Windows will happily page to the floppy, that being the only local storage available. :-)
  • by adrianmonk ( 890071 ) on Sunday February 25, 2007 @01:22PM (#18144008)

    These people are way behind the curve. The Mac community did this years ago [], running OS X 10.3 on an old 25 MHz Mac.

    Because of the software emulation required to run the PowerPC code on a 68k machine, the person who did the experiment estimated that booting up should take about 7 days. :-)

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.