What Are Windows 10 Requirements?

Learn what it takes to make the upgrade successful

Windows 10 desktop screenshot

Windows 10 is the latest operating system Microsoft offers, meaning it also has the strictest system requirements. The Windows 10 minimum requirements aren't much more stringent than Windows 7, but there are some aspects which have been modernized to the point of needing a little more hardware grunt.

Windows 10 Home and Pro Requirements (32-bit)

  • CPU: 1 gigahertz (1GHZ) or faster processor or system on a chip (SoC)
  • Memory: 1GB or more
  • Storage space: 16GB
  • Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible GPU with support for Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or later.
  • Display resolution: 800 x 600 or greater.
  • Internet connection: Any speed connection is required for authentication and initial device setup. Also useful for applying updates.

Windows 10 Home and Pro Requirements (64-bit)

  • CPU: 1 gigahertz (1GHZ) or faster processor or system on a chip (SoC)
  • Memory: 2GB or more
  • Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible GPU with support for Windows Display Driver Model 1.0 or later.
  • Storage space: 32GB
  • Display resolution: 800 x 600 or greater.
  • Internet connection: Any speed connection is required for authentication and initial device setup. Also useful for applying updates.

Windows 10 Hardware Requirements Explained

Although the above lists can give you a firm set of guidelines on what hardware you need to run Windows 10, they’re the bare minimum. If you have faster or better hardware, your experience will likely improve.

A convertible laptop
Max Pixel

Let's go over each of the sections to discuss what they are and what you might be able to do to improve your Windows 10 system to meet or surpass the requirements.

Windows 10 CPU Requirements

The central processor, or CPU, is the main processing brain of your system and helps perform the majority of calculations Windows 10 requires in order to operate. As much as making sure you have a CPU that runs at 1GHz or higher is a good start, such a CPU would run Windows 10 very slowly.

In reality, you want a CPU that not only has a faster frequency (that's the GHz bit) but has multiple cores, too, so it can do more things at once. Most modern CPUs are dual-core or better, so two cores is a good place to start, but if you're a heavy user, you'll still find a benefit to using a quad-core, or even a hexa-core CPU.

Another important factor is the age of the CPU. You'll find 1GHz processors that are two decades old and are slower than modern day CPUs. For a good rule of thumb, you want a CPU from no earlier than 2010. If you have a chip that's younger than that, has at least two cores, and runs at 2GHz or above, you’ll enjoy a faster Windows 10 experience.

Windows 10 Memory Requirements

Memory, or RAM, as it's sometimes termed, acts as short-term-memory for your system, holding information your CPU will need to access quickly. If you have too little of it, it can really slow your system down.

Memory requirements in Windows 10 are one of the few factors differentiating the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system. While 1GB or 2GB is enough to simply run those respective versions of the operating system, you’ll certainly run into bottlenecks if you perform even basic web browsing with a few tabs at a time.

If you're running or looking to run Windows 10 32-bit, the most RAM you can really take advantage of (due to operating system limitations) is 4GB. We'd suggest 2GB as a minimum, but if you can stretch to 4GB, you should notice the difference.

If you're running or looking to run Windows 10 64-bit, you can have as much memory as you like. Over 100GB if you so desire! For the average user, though, 8GB is more than enough.

Windows 10 Storage Space Requirements

If you don't have enough storage space you aren't going to be able to install Windows 10. It needs at least 16GB for the 32-bit version and as much as 32GB for the 64-bit version. That's not a lot by 2019 standards, with many smartphones having more space than that, but some low-end and especially older devices might be limited to 32GB or less.

If you're looking to run Windows 10 on a desktop PC or laptop, it’s recommended you do so on a solid-state drive or SSD. They’re far more affordable than they used to be and can have the biggest impact in speeding up your Windows 10 experience.

However, should they be outside your budget, a standard hard drive is perfectly adequate. We would just recommend you make sure to have at least double the storage Microsoft recommends for Windows 10. There's no use in being able to run an operating system if you don't have any space to install anything else. Games, videos, and certain applications can require several gigabytes by themselves. Having a spare 10-30GB of space will go a long way to ensuring you have plenty of room to work and play with.

The more the merrier, though, so don’t feel remotely restricted by these recommendations. Have hundreds or gigabytes or terabytes of space if you feel you’ll need it. It’s not very expensive these days.

Windows 10 Graphics Requirements

You don't need to worry too much about graphics if you have a CPU from the past decade. Although it's worth double-checking, most modern CPUs are equipped with a compatible graphics core that will be more than enough to handle Windows 10. You could also use an add-in graphics card if you want more power for gaming.

The graphics requirements for Windows 10 are much the same as they were when Windows Vista released in 2006.

Windows 10 Display Resolution Requirements

Screen resolution requirements for Windows 10 aren't stringent, as even PCs and monitors of the early '00s were able to handle 800 x 600. With that in mind, this is a very low barrier to entry, so if you can, it’s recommended you run a system with a greater display resolution. Videos, websites, and games will look far better and you'll have a lot more screen space to enjoy your Windows 10 experience.

Windows 10 Internet Connection Requirements

If you've managed to read this article without an internet connection you've impressed us. Do let us know how you did it.

Getting online today is easier than ever before and even if you don't have the fastest connection in the world, sizable download limits mean setting up Windows 10 and downloading its most important security updates shouldn't be too difficult.

If your internet access is still in the dark ages, we'd recommend taking your system to somewhere with public Wi-Fi to perform activations and registrations. Make sure it’s password protected.