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  Although Microsoft is recommending that computers be pretty modern to fully run the next version of Windows, Longhorn will probably also run on a good number of older machines.

The difference wud be the look and run wud be quite different on those older systems! Computers with a 3GHz processor and 512MB of memory, for example, will get all of the bells and whistles including fancy graphics and the ability to handle multiple video streams. According to its early testing, Microsoft says that older PCs--probably those with as little as 128MB of memory--will be able to run Longhorn, but the OS may not look like it does on a newer, more powerful machine.

Many of these older machines that run Longhorn will have experiences that are "quite XP-like," said Richard Russell, a developer in Microsoft's Windows core operating system division.

There are at least four different levels of graphics for the new Windows. Two of them--Aero and Aero Glass--will have new composited graphics, with the high-end Glass shell adding more three-dimensional effects and transitions. Another view, dubbed "To Go" is designed for laptops and other new consumer machines and has many of the same color schemes as Aero, but not the fancy graphics tricks. Finally, a classic mode will look much like XP or even Windows 2000.

But there are performance differences as well, with more-capable systems able to do more things in the new OS.

That represents a big philosophical shift for Microsoft. With past versions of Windows, including Windows XP, the operating system typically either ran on a machine in all its glory or didn't run at all.

"XP is XP is XP," Russell said. "Longhorn is much different. It will really scale."

Such variability poses a couple of challenges for the software giant. First, it has to educate businesses and consumers that being able to run Longhorn does not equate to being fully able to take advantage of all of its features. To that end, Microsoft is planning a new logo program for PCs that will separately identify machines that are optimized for Longhorn as opposed to those that are merely capable of loading the OS. The company also is working on a program that lets computer makers designate a PC as "Longhorn-ready."

A second challenge, which Microsoft said it is already planning to address, is putting the burden on the software to figure out what settings are most appropriate to the type of machine one has.

Russell said Microsoft will ensure that when people upgrade to Longhorn, settings are optimized for their machines, though users will still have the ability to change those settings.

"We don't want users to have to hunt and peck to find out if they can run (Aero) Glass," he said. Similarly, computer makers are encouraged to set defaults relative to the capabilities of their machines, though again, consumers can change those settings.

Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2005 8:04 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Longhorn will run on some older PCs too...

# re: Longhorn will run on some older PCs too...
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Are you sure about the 512 MB thing? My current XP system has 3 GB RAM and it uses 512 MB (or around that number) even before I start moving the mouse. While that may seem a bit peculiar today, I guess it'll be commonplace in 1 and a half to two years time... so I guess 512 MB won't buy you the bells and whistles at that point.
Left by Oliver Sturm on Apr 29, 2005 1:03 AM

# re: Longhorn will run on some older PCs too...
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Windows runs a lot of services and programs on the background thats why we use virtual memory to satisfy its needs and so wud longhorn too, 512 MB Ram is minimum requirement, its always a good thing to hav more ram improves ur system perfomance! commin to ur system 512 MB utilisation comparted to 3GB ram, ur system wud rock on longhorn :) lol

tip:since ur system has 3gb ram u can happily disable the virtual memory! and save valuable disk space.

enjoy ur day,
Left by umesh on Apr 29, 2005 11:55 AM

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