Understand Hardware Requirements for Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

If you want to upgrade to Windows 10 from your current operating system, your computer probably won’t complain. Windows 10 should run without problem on any PC currently running Windows 7, 8, or 8.1. (In fact, the upgrade is free.)

If your PC runs Windows Vista or Windows XP, it may still run Windows 10, but not very well and upgrading is not recommended.

If you have a technogeek in your family, have him or her translate the following table, which shows the Windows 10 hardware requirements you can find written in the fine‐print for new computers.

The Windows 10 Hardware Requirements
Architecture x86 (32-bit) x86 (64-bit)
Processor 1 GHz or faster
Memory (RAM) At least 1GB At least 2GB
Graphics Card DirectX 9 graphics device with Windows Display Driver Model
(WDDM) driver
HDD free space 16GB
Firmware Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) 2.3.1 with secure
boot enabled

In common language, the table simply says that nearly any computer sold in the past five years can be upgraded to Windows 10 with little problem.

Windows 10 runs nearly any program that runs on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. It even runs some Windows XP programs as well. Some older programs, however, won’t work, including most security‐based programs, such as antivirus, firewall, and security suites. You’ll need to contact the program’s manufacturer for an upgraded version.

Don’t know what version of Windows runs on your current PC? If clicking the Start button brings a Start menu, right‐click the menu’s Computer entry, and choose Properties. The screen that appears lists your Windows version.

If there’s no Start button, you’re running Windows 8. And if clicking your Start button fills the screen with a bunch of colorful tiles, you’re running Windows 8.1.