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Installing Windows  «Prev  Next»
Lesson 3Confirming the hardware
ObjectiveHardware requirements for installing Windows Professional/Server.

Confirming hardware for Windows

Define hardware requirements for installing Windows Professional and/or Server.
Before moving on to more complicated facets of installing Windows, we should define the hardware requirements for installation and ensure that your network can accommodate them.
Windows has some very exacting hardware requirements and is much more demanding of processor cycles and the memory subsystem than Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 95 and 98.
This is especially important for machines that you plan to use as domain controllers.
Roll your cursor over the following MouseOver to see pop-up explanations of the hardware requirements for Windows Professional and Windows Server.

Windows 10: Installation Preparation

For IT pros, the most important part of the job is figuring out how to balance two occasionally conflicting concerns:
  1. the legitimate needs of users for a customized and comfortable experience,
  2. the organization's needs for security and manageability on the other.

The hardware requirements for Windows 10 are identical to those of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, so any device that can run either of those operating systems should be capable of running the Windows 10 Technical Preview. In addition, most desktop applications that run on Windows 7 should also run on Windows 10. Windows 8.1 is the best choice for existing touchscreen-equipped devices. It offers a straightforward upgrade path to Windows 10.
For conventional (non-touch) desktop PCs and laptops running Windows 7, there’s an equally straightforward path to Windows 10. In fact, the current Windows 10 Technical Preview is available as an upgrade to Windows 7 for anyone who enrolls in the Windows Insider program and opts in for Windows 10 to be delivered through Windows Update.
For Windows 7 PCs, the most important additional step is upgrading to Internet Explorer 11 before January 12, 2016, when support for earlier versions of Internet Explorer officially ends. Beginning on that date, only the most current version of Internet Explorer available for a supported operating system will receive technical support and security updates.

To install Windows 10, you need sufficient free storage space (at least 16 GB for 32-bit versions and 20 GB for 64-bit) and sufficient installed RAM (a minimum of 1 GB for 32-bit, 2 GB for 64-bit), or the installation will be blocked.
The processor must support Physical Address Extensions (PAE); Data Execution Protection, via the No-eXecute (NX) page-protection feature or the eXecute Disable (XD) bit feature; and Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2). A small number of older PCs might be blocked from 64-bit installations because their processors don’t support specific instructions like these: CMPXCHG16b, PrefetchW, and LAHF/SAHF.
The next version of System Center Configuration Manager will include full support for deployment, upgrade, and management of Windows 10 desktop operating systems and associated updates. Microsoft also says it has plans to provide an update for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager to support Windows 10 deployment, upgrade, and management. The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) also will be updated with support for Windows 10.

Confirming Minimum Hardware Requirements
Windows Professional will install with only 32MB of RAM, but this is not recommended for performance reasons.


Before you install Windows, verify that your hardware is on the Windows HCL.
Because Microsoft(r) provides tested drivers for only those devices that are listed on the Windows HCL, using hardware that is not listed on the HCL may cause problems during and after installation.

Hardware Compatibility List (HCL):

A list of hardware components that have been tested by Microsoft for compatibility with Windows.
The HCL is available on Microsofts website.
Microsoft supports only those devices that are listed on the HCL.
If you have hardware that is not on this list, contact the hardware manufacturer to determine if there is a Windows-compliant, manufacturer-supported driver for the component.
In the next lesson, disk partition options decision making will be discussed.