The REAL System Requirements for Windows 10

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After releasing Windows 10 version 1903, Microsoft has updated the official system requirements for it. Users whose PCs have bare minimal hardware required for installing Windows 10 may have already noticed that the OS is literally unusable because it runs extremely slow. Technically, it will run on minimal requirements but the experience will be bad. Here are the real recommended hardware requirements your device should meet to have an impressive user experience with the latest OS version from Redmond.

Officially, Windows 10 version 1903 will require a PC which fits the following specifications:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 32 GB for both 64-bit and 32-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later
  • Display resolution: 800 x 600, a minimum diagonal display size for the primary display of 7-inches or larger.

Anyone who tries to use Windows 10 on such hardware can confirm that these system requirements are far optimistic. 2GB of RAM is nothing for the OS, and hard disk kills its performance.

Another official document, first spotted by Vadim Sterkin,  sheds some light on what hardware Microsoft themselves consider suitable for their product.

As is evident from the document, you must have 8 GB of RAM, or better 16 GB, and SSD/NVMe plays an important role for the device configuration.

I have a laptop here with an Intel Core i7 Mobile CPU and 16GB Ram with a 20H1 build installed on a classic HDD. It has very poor performance, so the SSD requirement makes sense.

The document mentions these requirements from the point of security. "If you are a decision maker purchasing new devices and you want to enable the best possible security configuration, your device should meet or exceed these standards.", it says.

Other notable hardware requirements include Intel 8th generation processors (Intel i3/i5/i7/i9-7x), Core M3-7xxx , Xeon E3-xxxx, and Xeon E5-xxxx processors, AMD 8th generation processors (A Series Ax-9xxx, E-Series Ex-9xxx, FX-9xxx) or ARM64 processors (Snapdragon SDM850 or later).

So, the optimal hardware configuration for Windows 10 looks at least as follows:

  • Processor: Intel 8th generation processors (Intel i3/i5/i7/i9-7x), Core M3-7xxx , Xeon E3-xxxx, and Xeon E5-xxxx processors, AMD 8th generation processors (A Series Ax-9xxx, E-Series Ex-9xxx, FX-9xxx) or ARM64 processors (Snapdragon SDM850 or later)
  • RAM: 4 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 16 GB for 64-bit
  • SSD/NVMe: at least 128 GB for both 64-bit and 32-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later
  • Display resolution: 800 x 600, a minimum diagonal display size for the primary display of 7-inches or larger.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

31 thoughts on “The REAL System Requirements for Windows 10”

    1. Did you even read the article? “Works” is meaningless at that configuration. Maybe you have been using a super slow computer all your life so you never knew what fast means?

      1. Not sure about 1903 onwards, but I installed LTSC 2019 (1809) on someone’s laptop for them which had 2GB RAM and after about an hour of using to test it, it performed surprisingly well. Perhaps LTSC is the reason, though something in me doubts that.

    2. Todas as versões do windows 10 funcionam no meu computador de boa.

      MEU PC

      Processador: intel celeron dual core e3200 com base em 64x
      Ram: 2gb
      Placa de vídeo: Nvidia GeForce 7100 / nForce 630i
      Disco Rígido: 297gb // Original: 320gb
      DirectX: 11
      WDDM: 1.0
      Fabricante: Semp Toshiba Informatica LTDA
      Bios: Phoenix – AwardBIOS v6.00PG

      1. My aged i5 Socket-1155 machines lost the ability to run recent builds of Windows 10. It just doesn’t work there.
        Your hardware is much newer, so it should not have issues with Windows 10.

  1. What new features make new builds so slow? Also, can Author suggest best Windows 10 build for extremely old PC (Maybe second version counting from OEM release of Windows 10?)

    1. The reason that MS makes new OS builds so slow with nosense “features” is that it is a money maker machine for them and the hardware business.

      Disable all nonsense “features” and most of the so called Patriot Act “security” features with winaero tools and you will get a fast and usable computer.

  2. not really. I am running version 1903 and it works flawlessly.
    If you are writing this article for clickbaits, it’s not a good way to do it.

    1. Well, I didn’t write the article ‘for clickbaits’. It reflects my personal experience and the actual situation. I am happy to know that you are satisfied with 1903/Windows 10/your hardware. I wish I could be too.

      1. :D
        I don’t think the person that posted that comment even knows what a “click bait” is.
        Thanks, it had the info I was looking for, and not once did I need to click to see more info,
        just a good informative on one page.

  3. i have a really shitty intel i5 processor with 2gb of ram on a hdd 500gb drive and windows 10 has never run fast on it since i had the bloody thing but since upgrading to 1903 its had a new lease of life runs well for what it is now
    go and figure that one :D

  4. yes he is right windows 10 is shit on old hardware and am done with it
    now am on windows embedded industry pro that can even run on old Atom CPU Best decision ever!!

      1. Use Firefox, Chrome will just blow up your PC.
        I use it on a Pentium Dual T3400 with 2 gigs of DDR2 RAM on a Windows 7 Enterprise x86 laptop which got upgraded from Windows Vista Basic x86 and I’m planning to upgrade it to Windows 10 through a clean install, since I can’t upgrade from Windows 7 Enterprise to Windows 10 without having some volume key or something like that which you can only get on a business or that’s what I understood.

  5. This isn’t really a good representation of the specs that would run Windows smoothly performance-wise. The specs listed are purely from a security standpoint because of Meltdown/Spectre. From this standpoint, a AMD A4-9120C is the minimum-spec x64 processor that would still run Windows 10 securely. AMD A4-9120 probably provides a smoother experience though. A Core 2 Quad Q6600 would still run Windows fine, it would just be less secure.

    Caveat – Windows 10 runs significantly better on a SSD because of SuperFetch and other specific design considerations that benefits a SSD. Also 4GB of RAM runs fine on x64 (web browsing, Spotify or YouTube, Word and Excel, all at the same time) in my experience, although I don’t know if Windows 10 is optimized in a way such that it runs additional security programs if more RAM is available.

  6. My PC has an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550, 8GB DDR2, a Radeon HD 5700, a 240GB SSD and I don’t have any performance issues. It will not be a PC Gamer but for emulation and Internet browsing it is more than enough.
    Windows 10 x64 works very well. I can not complain.

  7. I just updated to latest Windows 2004 from 1909 64 bit, Its same good performance with dual core 2.6Ghz processor with 8GB ddr2 ram and old 250GB HDD. I always open many almost 8 tabs on 2 browser and still performed satisfied. I had also more than 10 external extensions on any browsers.
    Last year, I had tested clean installed 1903 32 bit on my netbook with dual core 1Ghz, 2GB ram and another 240GB HDD, the speed is also acceptable when I use to open 1 browser with a few tabs only. I had installed some minor software which will run on the background. However, I found the Windows 10 was still a little slower than my original bloated Windows 7 on this same netbook. So i reverted back to Windows 7 HDD because I need some of the old external hardware drivers that Windows 10 did not support anymore.
    I have many old laptops and old desktops from 15 years ago that tested with Windows 10 are all still good performing. How fast do you want? Lighting speed? I also just bought a new laptop with i5-10210, nvme ssd 4GB ddr4 ram and it start up in 11 seconds on Windows 1909 64 bit with all updated and also less than 10 external software!

  8. Nice guide, but I don’t think the CPU or RAM requirements are very accurate. I’m running Windows 10 x64 2004 on a first-gen Core i5 and 4GB of RAM, and it runs very well. Even if I have many tabs open on Firefox, it’s really smooth. Then again, I use about 40%-60% memory while idle, so 8GB is probably better for x64.

  9. It’s not really Windows that has become slow on these low RAM PCs. It’s the applications that you run on them. I have a PC with 4GB ram that originally came Windows 10 and it’s still as fast as 10240. However after opening apps like Edge and Chrome it really gets sluggish since browsers these days use a lot of RAM. But other than that I never really saw a perfomance drop after updating to new version of Windows 10. Infact 2004 is much faster than 10240 in some cases because of the optimizations that they have done.

  10. i am running windows 10 home n on a 1.8 Ghz CPU (intel core 2 duo) with 2G RAM and 80G HDD, but this old laptop is only for testing a few stuff. windows is working fine atm

  11. You have to take the massive performance slowdowns into account too due to Spectre and Meltdown and other CPU vulnerability fixes which on older generation CPUs are in double digits. Considering them, this article is spot on. Unless you have a fairly recent CPU, Windows 10 won’t fly on it, it will run but there will be a slowdown. If you run a modern browser with dozens of tabs open and multiple processes, you need at least 16 GB RAM (all the notebooks today also come with 16 GB RAM precisely for that – the web browser has started taking up huge amounts of memory).

  12. Actually, the official Microsoft Windows 10 system requirements are supposed to be the minimum specs needed to run Windows 10 and only Windows 10. If you install any third party apps and games that have higher requirements than the OS, then that becomes the actual system requirements for your device.

  13. Personally, I think Microsoft did a terrible disservice to its customers by allowing notebooks with minimal spec’s to even be manufactured. They went as far as offering PC makers a inexpensive Windows 10 S mode to enhanced this low end market of cheap notebooks or as some say were Chromebook killers. But Chrome OS is a much lighter OS even compared to Win 10 S mode and can run on minimal specs like a Celeron CPU. Windows 10 not only requires a faster CPU and graphics, but bigger storage and more RAM. Even for the basic tasks like web browsing and office productions your probably going to want a Core i3 and 8Gb RAM and at least 256Gb storage just as reasonable minimums.

  14. Thanks, exactly what i searched. The Official Specs do only cover the “Idle usage”. This page helped me alot to give customers an expectation of what is needed for 2021 normal PC Usage, although i don’t agree with 16GB. 8GB is fairly okay.
    Nowadays i wouldn’t recommend less, although those systems are “working well”.
    In a normal office situation you have following programs running: Office + Browser + AntiVirus
    Just add some reserved Cache for performance and you’ll hit around 6GB RAM usage.

    Sorry for bad english, I am a german IT guy.


    1. Well… if you mean just “Windows 10 booting” then yes, you might be OK with an i3 / i5 and 4 GB of RAM.
      But the real thing is: everybody uses PCs not just to see Windows booting….. but to do something with it, am I right?

      Users usually have some kind of programs running, i.e. Outlook, Word/Excel, and also need to access the web more or less regularly, with Edge or Chrome and other software eating large amounts of resources. Any webpage today is quite complex, sometimes -let me use this word- ridiculously complex, beyond any reasonable need. This is due to the presence of ads, and a lot of active code.

      All this without even talking about gamers or serious professional CAD/CAM users, as well as users of graphics and video editing tools.

      Also, by installing any kind of software, you will soon see a sensible degradation of the performances, particularly on low-and hardware, as new fonts, DLLs, services are added to the basic OS configuration.

      Other guys correctly mentioned the “Spectre/Meltdown” issue, that has somehow been addressed with rather complex and CPU-draining workarounds. Although not all details are known, what everybody experienced is that recent releases of all OS -W10, iOS and Linux appear slower than it used to be just a couple of years ago.

      So, in a typical “real world” situation, anything below an i5 with 8 GB of RAM and an SSD drive is going to represent a quite sluggish solution.

      If you plan to use a low-end PC with Windows 10, then you may survive by just not overloading it and by running not more than one-two applications concurrently, and other conservative approaches.

      Otherwise, if you like to comfortably work with many open apps, and to have your computer responsive under all conditions, you definitely need an i7/8th Gen equipped PC, 16 or more GB of RAM, a good SSD and decent graphics hardware.

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