Windows 10 minimum system hardware and additional requirements

Windows 10 will require low profile hardware, but not to take advantage of all the features.

Windows 10 demo at BUILD 2015

Microsoft recently confirmed that Windows 10 will finally be available to users on July 29, as a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users. Now, it’s known that virtually every device running one of the eligible version of the operating system will be compatible with Windows 10, but to make everything more clear the software maker is detailing what’s the minimum hardware requirements to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

The Windows 10 hardware requirements are quite similar, if not identical, to previous versions of the operating system.

Minimum system requirements

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 1024×600

Additional 

You can see that the basic requirements are very low, but Microsoft explains that in order to take full advantage of the features Windows 10 has to offer, more advanced and new type of hardware would be best. In addition, the company says that some features, such as Cortana, will be limited to certain markets, but eventually they will expand to all regions where Windows 10 is available. Check out all the details below:

  • Cortana is only currently available on Windows 10 for the United States, United Kingdom, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
  • Speech recognition will vary by device microphone. For better speech experience you will need a:
    • High fidelity microphone array
    • Hardware driver with Microphone array geometry exposed
  • Windows Hello requires specialized illuminated infrared camera for facial recognition or iris detection or a finger print reader which supports the Windows Biometric Framework.
  • Continuum is available on all Windows 10 editions by manually turning “tablet mode” on and off through the Action Center. Tablets and 2-in-1’s with GPIO indicators or those that have a laptop and slate indicator will be able to be configured to enter “tablet mode” automatically.
  • Music and Video stream through the Xbox Music or Xbox video available in certain regions.
  • Two factor authentication requires the use of a PIN, Biometric (finger print reader or illuminated infrared camera), or a phone with WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities.
  • Device Guard requires:
    • UEFI Secure Boot with 3rd party UEFI CA removed from the UEFI database
    • TPM 2.0
    • Virtualization Support configured on by default in the System Firmware (BIOS)
      • Virtualization extensions (e.g. Intel VT-x, AMD RVI)
      • Second Level Address Translation (e.g. Intel EPT, AMD RVI)
      • IOMMU (e.g. Intel VT-d, AMD-Vi)
    • UEFI BIOS configured to prevent unauthorized user from disabling Device Guard hardware security features
    • Kernel mode drivers need to be Microsoft signed and compatible with hypervisor enforced code integrity
    • Only available on Windows 10 Enterprise
  • The number of applications that can be snapped will depend upon the minimum resolution for the application.
  • To use touch, you need a tablet or a monitor that supports multi-touch
  • Microsoft account required for some features
  • Secure boot requires firmware that supports UEFI v2.3.1 Errata B and has the Microsoft Windows Certification Authority in the UEFI signature database
  • Some IT administrators may enable Secure Logon (Ctrl + Alt + Del) before bringing you to the log in screen. On tablets without a keyboard, a tablet with the Windows button maybe required as the key combination on a tablet is Windows button + Power button.
  • Some games and programs might require a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 or higher for optimal performance
  • BitLocker To Go requires a USB flash drive (Windows 10 Pro only)
  • BitLocker requires either Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 1.2, TPM 2.0 or a USB flash drive (Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise only)
  • Client Hyper-V requires a 64-bit system with second level address translation (SLAT) capabilities and additional 2 GB of RAM (Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise only)
  • Miracast requires a display adapter which supports Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1.3, and a Wi-Fi adapter that supports Wi-Fi Direct
  • Wi-Fi Direct Printing requires a Wi-Fi adapter that supports Wi-Fi Direct and a device that supports Wi-Fi Direct Printing
  • To install a 64-bit OS on a 64-bit PC, your processor needs to support CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW, and LAHF/SAHF
  • InstantGo works only with computers designed for Connected Standby
  • Device encryption requires a PC with InstantGo and TPM 2.0.

Microsoft also warns that running Windows 7 and Windows 8 isn’t enough to upgrade, you must update the operating systems to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8 should be updated to Windows 8.1 Update to upgrade to Windows 10.

If your PC and tablet qualifies to upgrade for free, check my previous write-up to see which edition of Windows 10 you will be getting for free depending on your current version.

The software maker also recommends that the day the upgrade is available, you make sure to plan ahead, as the installation could take up to an hour to complete. However, the upgrade process could take longer depending on your hardware.

Are you ready for Windows 10? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source Microsoft

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.