Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Running Windows 7 on a (Really) Old PC

Since Windows 7 has been released, and while it was still in Beta, I tried installing it on almost every single computer I could get my hands on.  Hey, installing Windows is like Christmas for me, really.  In fact, I’ve installed Windows 7 (since beta) probably more than 100 times.  So, it was no surprise that I decided to install it on a couple of older PCs.  Not too much to my surprise, but to others, Windows 7 ran just fine on these PCs, albeit, you weren’t going to do any video editing or play intense video games.  With that said, let’s take a look at three of these systems.

The Computers – A Quick Look

I installed Windows 7 on three different older computers, one circa 2002 and the others circa 2004.

Dell Dimension 8200.  This computer offers a whopping Pentium 4 processor running at 2.4GHz.  An amazing 512MB of RAM and an 80GB Hard Drive.  Let’s just say my mouth was watering just hearing those specs…back in, you know, 2002.  At any rate, this was the first computer that I installed Windows 7 on.  With its powerful 128MB ATI graphics card it can run Aero without a hitch.

Dell Inspiron 600m.  This laptop has a Celeron M (a cheaper version of Pentium M).  It also has 512MB of RAM and has an ATI Radeon 7500 graphics card.  This computer runs/ran Windows 7 fairly well, though it did have some display issues.  There was no Aero Glass support at all.

Compaq Evo n620c.  This laptop has a Pentium M processor, 512MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive.  It also has the ATI Radeon 7500 graphics card; however, although it doesn’t offer Aero Glass support, it did not have the same display issues that the Inspiron had.

Each system could play a flash video decently, i.e. without constant hiccupping.  However, I wouldn’t recommend video editing on any of them.  I personally probably wouldn’t use any of these computers as my primary system.  Although the Dimension 8200 does operate quite well as an Media Center PC.  The other two are good enough for simple web browsing and Word processing.  Startup times are nothing too big to complain about either.  Nether system took more than a little over a minute to start up and be ready to use.
Drivers were plentiful, the XP driver for the ATI Radeon 7500 is even compatible with Windows 7, albeit, with a bit of finagling.

Additional Thoughts

This experiment proved very successful and shows how far Microsoft has progressed since Windows Vista.  (I tried installing Vista on the Dimension a while back and had somewhat unsuccessful dealings with it.)
Keep in mind, I don’t recommend you go out and upgrade your 5+ year old computer to Windows 7, but instead hope to show how slim and lightweight Windows 7 really is, especially compared to Windows Vista.
As always you can follow or contact me on Twitter @jctierney.  Or you can leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you soon. Tags: ,,,,,,,


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