Although I have had a copy of the Windows 7 beta for quite some time now, the system requirements seemed to have fallen through the cracks somehow, I was told simply that if a machine could run Windows Vista, it could run Windows 7 too.
At the time, I just went out and bought a machine that I could use for the sole purpose of tinkering with Windows 7. As luck would have it though, I ended up needing another computer for one of the labs in a book that I am writing. I ended up having to blow Windows 7 off of the computer and load Windows Vista.
When Microsoft released the public beta of Windows 7, they actually posted the system requirements. The minimum posted requirements are:
- Processor: 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
- Memory: 1 GB of system memory
- Hard drive: 16 GB of available disk space
- Video card: Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128MB memory (in order to enable Aero theme)
- Drive: DVD-R/W drive
- Internet connection (to download the Beta and get updates)
Since I now knew the stated minimums, I decided to install Virtual PC 2007 onto the machine that I had intended to use for Windows 7 and install Windows 7 in a virtual environment. I am happy to say that it works fine. There are a couple of things to keep in mind though.
First, even if you are running a 64-bit host operating system and a 64-bit copy of Virtual PC, you can only install the 32-bit version of Windows 7, because Virtual PC does not allow 64-bit guest operating systems.
Second, even though 1 GB of RAM is the stated minimum, I had to allocate 2 GB to Windows 7 before it would perform adequately.
Third, The virtual machine additions make a huge difference in the virtual machine’s performance, so make sure that you install them.