PC enthusiasts have been inspired by the de-bloated Windows 11 22H2 build, tiny11, and its relatively meager hardware demands. On Friday we reported on tiny11’s developer NTDev, who distilled Microsoft’s cumbersome OS into a sub-8GB wonder, claiming the slimmed-down system ran “great” with 2GB of RAM. Today, NTDev followed up with a boast that his creation was “running on just 384MB of RAM.” Typically, pride comes before a fall, and it wasn’t long before another tiny11 user shared a screenshot proving they had managed to boot up tiny11 in under 200MB of RAM.
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According to HP’s (opens in new tab) PC timeline (because my memory isn’t what it used to be) it has been two decades since PCs shipped with circa 256MB of system RAM as standard. Those were the days of the Pentium 4 (desktop), Pentium M (laptop) and Windows XP SP2. This puts the achievement of running Windows 11 on less than 200MB of RAM into some perspective.
NTDev’s setup using tiny11 with 384MB of RAM was admittedly “terribly slow, but it works.” In the screenshot provided as evidence, the tiny11 dev’s system looked like it was under strain from multiple issues; low memory, heavy disk use, and CPU usage at 100% for the duration of the session. Though the system ‘ran’ Windows, any user in the real world would probably appreciate some OS breathing room, and a bit of RAM for running applications.
It wasn’t long before Windows Insider Xeno chirped up with a claim (and screenshots) that they had booted tiny11 with just 200MB of RAM available. Again, the user was open about the endeavor being totally impractical. Xeno said that when booting with 200MB they had to suffer four BSODs before getting to the desktop. Later they managed to get tiny11 to start with 196MB of RAM allocated to the virtual machine (VM). However, the 4MB RAM reduction resulted in a boot process that presented the user with “around 30 minutes of BSODs.”
It is undoubtedly fun to shoehorn the newest Windows OS to run within these tight storage / RAM confines. However, there is a serious side, as many PC users have working older systems which could get another lease of life with a less demanding but up-to-date OS. Thus, tiny11 or something like it could be a useful choice alongside the various compact Linux builds or even Chrome OS Flex.