We’re not sure if this is a cleverly disguised marketing ploy by Microsoft or just one blogger’s attempt to have some fun, but a recent article on PC World chronicled the efforts to install Windows 8 on a PC that is over 8 years old.
Here’s what the PC looks like. And no, we can’t explain the reasoning behind that ridiculous paint job:
The specs are equally as ugly by today’s standards, although this system undoubtedly packed a punch back in its heyday:
Some of the hardware companies listed, like Abit, aren’t even in business any more. So how would this computer fare when Windows 8 was installed? Let’s find out.
The battle to install Windows 8
Windows 8 doesn’t have steep system requirements. Since it’s designed to run on tablets, which are less powerful than standard computers, Microsoft had to ensure that it worked as smoothly as possible no matter what kind of hardware was installed. As a result, Windows 8 only requires the following hardware settings in order to run properly:
RAM: 1GB for 32-bit Windows 8 and 2GB for the 64-bit version
Hard drive: 16GB to 20GB of storage space, depending on whether the 32-bit or 64-bit version is installed
CPU: 1GHz CPU
Graphics card: Any DirectX9 compatible graphics card with a WDDM 1.0 driver
These are the minimum system settings, and as you can see, the computer listed above meets all of them. However, if you want your computer to run Windows 8 smoothly (and with all the neat visual tricks included) then you’ll want to surpass those requirements.
Happy to find that his 8-year old computer could theoretically run Windows 8, the writer proceeded with his installation process. Unfortunately, after booting into Windows 8 for the first time, the writer immediately encountered an error that forced him to reboot the PC. The same error occurred the second, third, and fourth times the PC was rebooted.
The killing blow: Data Execution Prevention
Appropriately enough, the killing blow to this project was something called Data Execution Prevention – or the lack of it. Windows 8 requires a feature called Data Execution Prevention (DEP) in order to run properly. The BIOS on older motherboards doesn’t always have this setting.
Since Abit, the motherboard manufacturer, was no longer in business, it could not release a BIOS update for its hardware. The writer replaced the existing motherboard with a slightly newer one, after which the Windows 8 installation process went relatively smoothly.
Once Windows 8 was installed, the writer was disappointed to find that none of his programs made the jump to the new OS. Since Windows 8 promises to preserve some programs and applications from previous Windows installations, this was a bit disappointing. Other than that, Windows 8 was working, responsive, and ready to use.
Conclusion – Only install Windows 8 on an 8-year old PC if you’re desperate
Unless you’re looking for an afternoon of tears, disappointment, and frustration, you probably shouldn’t install Windows 8 on an 8-year old computer. With the price of new computers constantly dropping, you can save yourself a lot of headaches by dropping a few hundred dollars on a brand new machine.
But if you really want to experience first-hand what it’s like to install Windows 8 on an ancient PC, read the article here for some pointers.