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Hypothetically, could you start with a computer running Windows 95, upgrade this to Windows 98, then upgrade this to Windows XP, then upgrade this to Vista, then to 7 and finally to 8 (consumer preview)?

What state would the OS be in after so many upgrades? Would any of the native Windows 95 apps still be sticking around in Windows 8?

Has anybody done anything like this before?

I don't need to do this, I am just asking out of curiosity!


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8 it's not windows 8, but.. – Raystafarian Mar 26 '12 at 17:12
Somebody else has been as bored as I am right now! +1 – JMK Mar 26 '12 at 17:13
I don't really understand the question; if the computer hardware meets the system requirements than any OS would run, regardless of the previously installed OS – Nate Koppenhaver Mar 26 '12 at 17:14
@JMK the upgrade process would probably work, but the original system would have to be upgraded so much that when you eventually arrived at Windows8, it would basically be a completely different computer – Nate Koppenhaver Mar 26 '12 at 19:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I see no reason why it wouldn't be possible.

However, the original hardware would need to be upgraded so much to get the newer OSs to run that in the end you'd basically have a completely different computer.

Also, regarding your question about the native Win95 apps: Newer versions of Windows (I'm not sure about Windows8 though) are backwards compatible with applications written for an older version of Windows, with a few exceptions: I haven't been able to find a way to get WinVista to run 16-bit DOS apps, and if a program is incompatible with WindowsNT it won't run on NT and above

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I see, would there be any middle ground here? As in, would there be any 32 bit high end servers/gaming machines floating around from the 90's that could run Windows 95 and also just about manage Windows 7? – JMK Mar 26 '12 at 20:12
@JMK not really. the Cray T3E (a high-end supercomputer from the late 90s) would not be able to run Windows 7. Also, around the Windows95 era, a gaming computer was one with 32 megs of ram and a 200mhz processor – Nate Koppenhaver Mar 26 '12 at 21:10
That's fascinating! Could I ask why not? The 675 MHz processor is a bit below the 1GHz required but I've seen videos before where Windows 7 has run on similar (especially with 40 cores) and you can get 512MB ram in there, and a 1TB hard drive! You could probably use this for Facebook, if you used Chrome and were willing to forego antivirus? Or is it not x86? – JMK Mar 26 '12 at 21:20
Also I don't think the Cray T3E could handle Aero, you would be stuck with Windows Basic =( – JMK Mar 26 '12 at 21:21
That's like that old philosophical question. If you have an axe, and you replace the handle, and then some time later you replace the head, is it still the same axe? – dangph Feb 26 '13 at 22:49

Technically, yes.

Of course, the upgrade to Windows 2000 (between 98 and XP) would be followed by converting the FAT16 partition to an NTFS partition. Then Windows 2000 can be upgraded to XP.

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But, if the Windows 95 system isn't ACPI, then no. – LawrenceC Mar 26 '12 at 17:31

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