I'm considering buying Aspire with 1 GB RAM which runs Windows 7 Home. This site told me I could install Windows 10 on the stated model. Because of that, I almost bought the Aspire. Will 1 GB RAM be sufficient to install Windows 10?

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    The only caveat here is - if you have 1GB RAM, probably your CPU is old and it doesn't support PAE,NX,SSE2, especially NX. So make sure your CPU supports them before buying that computer or Windows 10. Checking is easy, google "Intel ARK your_cpu_model_eg_i3-3220" and find there Instruction Set Extensions for SSE, and Execute Disable Bit for NX support.
    – Jet
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:45
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    Out of interest, what is this device that has only 1GB of RAM - is it a phone, or a decade or so old, or are there actually "PC class" devices being sold with such specs?
    – Nye
    Aug 13, 2015 at 23:33
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    Why would you ask the same question twice? Aug 15, 2015 at 17:34
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    Personal advice: New devices with 2 GB RAM are currently available for $150, new devices with 1 GB RAM start at $70. Laptops with 4GB RAM start at $200. They come with Windows 8 or 10, and a year of free Office 365/Onedrive/Skype. Unless the device is less than $50 and you actually like installing a new OS, I'd personally recommend against purchasing an ancient 1 GB machine.
    – Peter
    Aug 15, 2015 at 18:45
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    If you've read first 2 comments, don't get ready to buy it. I highly recomend you to buy a better computer with at least 2GB RAM and 2GHz (dual-core at minimum). If you are running out of money, and you can't find/get a better one then don't forget to add another 5-10$ to add RAM. Otherwise forget about high-performance programs, usual gaming and so on, it will be useful only for home/office usage.
    – Jet
    Aug 16, 2015 at 19:52

8 Answers 8


It is enough for Windows 10 32-bit. You will need at least 2GB for Windows 10 64-bit though.

enter image description here

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-10-specifications#sysreqs

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    While it does meet the minimum requirements, I would strongly urge anyone I liked to consider much more than 1 GB of RAM. Aug 13, 2015 at 17:14
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    Anecdotal evidence. I've updated a 1GB HP Stream 7 tablet from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Runs fine for something that only cost £75 including Office 365. Aug 13, 2015 at 17:25
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    I am running Windows 10 32-bit on a netbook with 1 GB of RAM and it works fine. Yes, it's slow, but hardly any more so than it was with Windows 8 and Windows 7 starter before that. Aug 13, 2015 at 21:45
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    @Jet It used WIMBoot in Windows 8 which runs off a compressed image. Aug 13, 2015 at 21:55
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    Find out if your video driver has it's own ram. Some machines are set to use 256mb of system ram which leaves Windows 10 with 768mb, which is far too little. Video ram can sometimes be adjusted and lowered in the bios. Aug 13, 2015 at 23:16

Windows 10 is designed to cope with low-memory devices.

  • 1 GB of memory is sufficient to run Windows 10. In fact, it will likely perform better than Windows 7 because it is tuned to perform well on devices with very limited hardware such as low-cost tablets.

Adding more memory is ideal. Otherwise, use ReadyBoost.

  • However, there's no getting around the fact that 1 GB of RAM is very low by today's standards. Even smartphones are available with 2 GB of memory or more. To make the most of your system, and assuming that adding more memory is not possible (not unlikely with cheap netbooks of this sort), you should consider using ReadyBoost to maximize performance.

  • ReadyBoost uses flash memory devices such as USB flash drives or memory cards, taking advantage of their high random I/O performance, to speed up disk accesses for data that would otherwise be cached in memory on a machine with more RAM. If you have an unused media reader, get a high-speed SD card at least 4 GB in size, format it as exFAT, and use it to augment the system's low memory.

  • Can someone explain the downvote here?
    – bwDraco
    Aug 13, 2015 at 23:58
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    @IsmaelMiguel only if you try to use an unsuitable one. If you buy an SD card, flash drive or ssd that is certified for readyboost and are using it on a built-in card reader or usb3 then it will work well.
    – JamesRyan
    Aug 14, 2015 at 11:26
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    Readyboost isn't there to deal with low ram, it is there to deal with slow HDD speeds. Flash is substantially faster. How are you even testing with 128MB RAM, can you get modules that small on remotely modern hardware? If it is some sort of virtual environment then it won't have direct access to the USB and introducing overheads that a real system doesn't have.
    – JamesRyan
    Aug 14, 2015 at 12:03
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    @Mehrdad: How? ReadyBoost is designed precisely to improve performance on PCs with low memory. Normally, data from disk is cached in RAM. On a low-memory machine, there is less space to maintain this cache, so programs tend to open much slower, even if the system isn't paging to disk. ReadyBoost helps by using high-speed flash memory for disk caching.
    – bwDraco
    Aug 16, 2015 at 2:39
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    @DragonLord: Yes but consider that it wouldn't make any difference if the pagefile was already on an SSD. It simply doesn't alleviate the low RAM problem. It just alleviates the low hard disk speed problem. If your program requires more RAM than is in your system, ReadyBoost won't help one bit either. It simply has nothing to do with RAM, even though as a side effect it happens to be occasionally helpful if you have low RAM.
    – user541686
    Aug 16, 2015 at 3:02

While technically it may be possible, your computer will run slower than a snail because 1GB RAM is technically nothing in this age for a PC. Even a Pentium 4 machine 10 years ago could have more RAM than that. Because of the lack of RAM, the page file will have to be constantly used, which is very slow. Even 2GB won't be enough.

Nowadays, with modern operating systems, you are strongly recommended to get a machine with at least 4GB of RAM.

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    Even if the OS will fit, it won't leave much RAM for multiple, concurrent apps, background programs, or programs that are memory hogs. There are featherweight Linux distros that will run in practically no RAM, but 1GB isn't enough to accomplish much.
    – fixer1234
    Aug 13, 2015 at 19:39
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    I disagree with the “Pentium 4 machine 10 years ago” thing. I had precisely that, a Pentium 4 machine bought before 2006, a relatively standard computer, and came with 768 MB of RAM. Aug 13, 2015 at 19:42
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    Of course it can't be the same for everyone, just like right now there are i5 machines with 4GB of RAM and there are those with 16GB of RAM. What I mean to say is that even 10 years ago, a machine with > 1GB of RAM is not that uncommon.
    – Chin
    Aug 13, 2015 at 19:44
  • It doesn't help that ntoskrnl.exe likes to be memory-hungry in Windows 10, sometimes using up to 1 GB of RAM.
    – Luna
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:48
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    @nyuszika7h: ntoskrnl.exe can include third-party kernel-mode drivers.
    – bwDraco
    Aug 13, 2015 at 22:02

tl;dr: It will run, and performance can be acceptable. With default settings, performance will not be acceptable.

I'm actually running Windows 10 on a 1 GB RAM device (small tablet). It came with Windows 8.1 and was eligible for the free upgrade. Whenever the device runs out of RAM, the device becomes unresponsive for 30-300 seconds.

This happened often if I had Windows Update, Windows Defender, and any browser running at the same time. To avoid RAM from becoming a constant issue, all I had to do was disable Windows Defender, which is the biggest memory hog on a 1 GB machine, using 0.2-0.3 GB. On the basic Windows 10 version, the only way to do that is with a registry entry:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender
DisableAntiSpyware DWORD
0 = On
1 = Off

On the Pro and Enterprise versions it can be disabled with a group policy. See here: http://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/5918-windows-defender-turn-off-windows-10-a.html#option2

With Windows Defender disabled my 1 GB device doesn't have any issues running light tasks like webbrowsing with ~10 open tabs, with IE, or Edge, or Mozilla, or Chrome. I tested some other antivirus software and they trigger the same issue. If you are not comfortable running without antivirus, I'd advise to buy a 2-4 GB RAM machine instead.

Also keep in mind 2GB RAM does not mean there's twice the amount of RAM available for your applications. Various services on the device will already use up to around 500 MB of your RAM, so on a 1 GB device your applications can only really use about 500 MB. With a 2 GB machine, your applications can use 1.5 GB. These are not hard numbers. Some services such as Windows Update won't run all the time, other services may only be introduced with an update in a year from now, others might be removed a year from now, and others again are linked to the audio drivers of your device.

Since this may be relevant to some readers: The OS uses almost exactly 10 GB as of August 2015, and is expected to grow. This is after using Disk Cleanup to delete the recovery partition and remove the backup of Windows 8.1, which is created when installing Windows 10.


It will run, but performance will be terrible.

It so happens that I have a VMWare image I used for testing the early access versions that's now updated to the release version, so I throttled it back to 1GB of RAM to see what that looks like:

Memory usage after startup

Note that it's already swapping.

(Update: performance is so bad that just navigating to the shutdown menu was painful.)


If you are using a mechanical hard drive, then 1GB will appear to be slow. It'll run, and if you run only one or two low-end apps at once, you'll be fine, but try to open a lot of tabs in a browser window or look at huge documents and spreadsheets and you may be frustrated by lagging.

If the computer is using an SSD, though, then the low memory will be mitigated by fast swap space on the solid state hard drive, and you will have much more headroom to run memory intensive apps.

Ready boost may be a decent work around if you have a mechanical hard drive and 1GB RAM. Insert a low profile but fast flash drive into a USB port, tell windows to use readyboost on it, and you may be happy with the performance.


It's important to stress that the 32bit Versions of OSes are significantly different from the 64 bit versions because their binaries are significantly smaller both in size and actual execution footprint. Therefore if you use a 32bit version of Windows 10, you will have much better chances on an older PC with low memory that can barely run the 64bit version. It's significant to point out that this is not because of the current third party application you will be running but predominately because the whole-OS binaries collection will need lower resources usage, including drive reading usage.

PS. Linux has a special kernel version that runs on 64bit instructions but the entire rest of the OS is on 32bit binaries. That is a good middle ground. Of course it will always be a niche because most people will either have a fast-enough machine for 64bit OSes or one that will not get significant gains compared to purely 32bit.


It's technically possible, but experience has told me that 1 GB of memory is insufficient for present proposes, only using a web browser with applications like Facebook, Google Docs, YouTube, etc. can gather all the memory, making the system slow.

  • It's technically possible to run Firefox with your applications with 1GB RAM. But I don't want to talk about Chrome...
    – Jet
    Aug 13, 2015 at 21:33
  • I mean to say that you'll probably use a web browser and others. And probably it consume all the resources Aug 14, 2015 at 16:16
  • @Jet I tried. Surprisingly, there's no problem whatsoever.
    – Peter
    Aug 15, 2015 at 18:30
  • I have a netbook with 1GB RAM and it cannot run Google Docs on Chrome without lag Aug 15, 2015 at 21:45
  • @Nerol Right now I'm writing from Firefox with ~20 open tabs + QT Creator; still runs smoothly (on 1GB RAM, Windows 7). But I agree it may be impossible to do the same with Chrome (especially with newer versions).
    – Jet
    Aug 16, 2015 at 19:25

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