Assessing Your Computer for Windows 7 Requirements

What you should know before installing Windows 7

Windows 7 logo

If you want to upgrade from Vista or XP to Windows 7, first make sure you have sufficient hardware, capability, and capacity.

To install Windows 7 on your computer, it should meet these requirements for a good computing experience:

  • A Dual Processor (AMD or Intel)—you can use a lower Celeron or Pentium Processor, but you will regret it.
  • 2 GB RAM (operating memory)—you can use less, but you will regret it.
  • 16 GB available disk space and another 20 to 30 GB if you plan on running applications.
  • A Vista-compatible graphics card (DirectX 9 graphics process with WDDM 1.0 or higher).
  • A Vista-compatible sound card.
  • Vista drivers for any other unique hardware you have on or connected to your computer

You should also download, install, and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. The information this tool creates can help you avoid other problems. Notice that Microsoft recommends these minimums requirements for Windows 7:

  • 1 GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) / 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Microsoft's recommended requirements are insufficient. These are minimums, which means your experience will be minimal. If you load Windows 7 on a PC that doesn't have enough processing power, operating memory, or hard drive space—and it doesn't have the right combination of video and sound cards—Windows 7 will operate, but at a much lower capability than its optimum performance.