A young boy tried to figure out how much RAM is needed to start Windows 10 and tried several experiments. Here's the result
Sakura NØri, also known as 0xN0ri, Nori and NoriTech is a 16-year-old American young man who has a lot of fun with computer science. He's a Linux expert, but he also likes Microsoft and Apple operating systems. Basically he's a geek and, like many geeks, he managed to do something no one had done before: find the minimum limit of RAM needed to start Windows 10.
Officially Microsoft says that to start Windows 10, at least the 32-bit version, you need 1 GB of RAM but Nori managed to do it with much, much less memory: just 192 MB. Nori's was a real experiment: he tried to start Windows 10, Pro 1909 version, with a gradually lower amount of RAM until he reached the minimum limit under which Windows doesn't start or freezes during startup. Nori, in fact, also made boot attempts with even lower amounts of RAM but the Windows 10 boot was not finished.
Sakura NØri's experiment
All boot attempts were made on a Dell Inspiron 3670 PC, a desktop with Intel Core i5-8400 CPU on which Nori installed Arch Linux. Then he launched a virtual machine on VirtualBox, to which he assigned 512 MB of RAM and started testing Windows 10 booting. After booting, without any major problems, with 512 MB of RAM he started to go down more and more with the memory assigned to the virtual machine: 256 MB, 192 MB, 140 MB and 128 MB. Up to 192 MB of RAM Windows started correctly, with 140 MB it failed to load the GUI, with 128 MB the blue screen appeared. All attempts were made without disabling any Windows services and leaving the operating system to manage virtual memory.
How does Windows 10 run with 192 MB of RAM?
But how does Windows 10 run with such a low amount of RAM? Badly, of course: booting the operating system takes over 3 minutes, due to the continuous use of virtual memory that has touched 2.8 GB in size. The memory available for applications, then, is very little: just 6.5 MB. In practice, Nori was only able to start the Task Manager, the Command Prompt and the File Explorer. It's clear, then, that it's not possible to work with Windows 10 with such a low amount of memory, so much so that, on Twitter, a user asked Nori: "My question is: but how bored were you when you had an idea like this?".