Windows 7 - a friend to elderly and infirm computers

Some people have waaaaaaaay too much time on their hands. Like Vince for example, who'll disappear from the BW office every lunchtime to measure his fibre intake through stool analysis. Or there's this guy - Michael Scalisi - who spends his days retro-fitting new operating systems into old computers, just for the sheer unadulterated hell of it.

He's discovered something rather cool/interesting/not at all interesting regarding Microsoft's spanky new Windows 7 OS that's currently available for pre-release download; you don't need a spanky new PC to use it. In fact Scalisi installed Windows 7 on a machine dating back to 2001, with an Intel P3 933 MHz processor, 768 MB of RAM, and an 80GB hard disk. Aside from some technical issues regarding the install, the nine year-old PC wasn't too grouchy towards its friend from the future:

Watching videos on YouTube was as choppy as you'd expect, but the rest of my Web browsing experience was decent. I opened up five tabs in Chrome and one in Internet Explorer 8. I launched Windows Media Player and played a song. I switched between applications and found that, although switching from one window to the next took a couple seconds, it didn’t leave me gnashing me teeth. Opening the task manager, I could see that Windows 7 was only using about 600MB of the 768MB I had installed. It was playing nicely and being respectful of the memory it had available.

It was perfectly usable as long as your expectations are appropriately low.

The point Scalisi makes is that this is a far better situation than you'd find yourself in with Apple; the new Snow Leopard OSX will only be supported on Intel CPUs, so Apple machines older than four years won't entertain it. With some technical know-how and the right drivers, then it's possible to salvage life from elderly PCs put out to pasture years ago.

That said, when Scalisi talks about having low expectations, they really are:

The time between pressing the power button and having a desktop was a respectable 110 seconds.

Nearly two minutes? That's not respectable, that's glacial. Buy a Mac, for crying out loud.

[PC World]


  • Frugal
    Why would someone buy a Apple computer, with it's grotesque profit margins, identical hardware available from others at sometimes half the price. Buy a Mac in a recession, yes wise words from a site called bitterwallet.
  • Francis R.
    I started writing this comment on my PC, then after the BSOD, the 34 windows updates were installed, Norton wanted to scan for viruses and £10 for updates, warned my of low virtual memory, lack of hardiskspace and that most of my files were corrupt, I decided to re-write it on my Mac.
  • Steve W.
    I bought my first iMac in November and I now have a Macbook and Macbook air. Yes they are costly, but they are so stable and as opposed to having to do weekly virus scans I can just switch it on and it boots quickly, battery life is far better than any windows machine I know of nad they are faster. So to sum it all up, they costs more because they are functional and they work, the only people that bitch are the people that can't afford them. Now, I'm off to play with my iPhone
  • Name (.
    And they say that irony is lost on some people.
  • Steve W.
    And please forgive my typos, I had my lunch in my hand.....
  • acecatcher3
    scalisi is clearly a virgin.
  • Paul S.
    Brilliant, Frugal. You read the whole piece, yet assume the throwaway comment in the last seven words was the entire point of it. Congratulations.
  • acecatcher3
    awesome paul but was scalisi a virgin?, and more importantly is vince a virgin??..because with a surname like that he shud be having lots of kids to carry on that surname, please pass on my thoughts to him
  • Francis R.
    ace, you got those shots of your mum and gran in the suna pants for me yet?
  • Tom P.
  • Craig
    Bring back DOS
  • Mick T.
    "768 MB of RAM, and an 80GB Hard drive" pah, that's plenty of ram and hard drive space. I'd like to see him get it working on something really old like a Pentium 75 with 128mb of ram and a 8GB HDD, then i'd be impressed. Oh and Apple macs fanboys can KMA, they're as slow and as unstable as any windows system ;)
  • Gus
    Apple Whore is off to try his new iphone app. The i-vibrator
  • me
    i never have to manually scan my windows netbook for viruses, if ones found, my free virus protecter destroys it. Those with Macs always play the virus card, yet even if you bought norton each year for 10 years on an equivalent laptop it would still be cheaper than a macbook!!
  • Giles
    Why would you buy a mac when you can get a faster computer for less? A well built PC is not unstable and it is very fast (with support for a much larger range of hardware) Premium for a white box? I think Apple products are pretty but I don't buy computers to look at them...
  • veedubjai
    "Pentium 75 with 128mb of ram and a 8GB HDD" Haha, my first clocking lesson was with a Pentium 75 clocked to P90. Those were the days. Think it was Escom that I bought it from late 1990's.

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