As the October 17 release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update nears, Windows users around the world are asking themselves the same question: Can my machine actually run the update?
The Fall Creators Update represents a massive change to the Windows 10 user experience and design, along with some new functionality. Upcoming features like OneDrive Files On-Demand, MyPeople, and delivery optimization will improve workflows, collaboration, communication, and more.
SEE: 15 essential support sites for Windows admins (Tech Pro Research)
According to Microsoft, the requirements for running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update are the exact same as the requirements for the standard version of Windows 10. "As long as the device meets the compatibility requirements for Windows 10 there are no additional requirements," a Microsoft spokesperson said. According to Microsoft, those system requirements are as follows:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
- RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
- Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS
- Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Display: 800x600
Additional requirements may be needed to utilize certain features; those can be found on Microsoft's original Windows 10 system requirements page. A Lenovo spokesperson also recommended the same requirements outlined by Microsoft.
Additionally, if a user wants to take advantage of one of the new Windows Mixed Reality headsets, they'll need a Windows Mixed Reality-ready PC. Available models can be found here, or users can download a compatibility checker to see if their current machine is up to the task.
"Users who are interested in experimenting with some of the new 3D or Mixed Reality support will greatly benefit from having better than average graphics in their systems, but overall this is a relatively straightforward update," Gartner vice president Steve Kleynhans said.
So, is that all there is? Are the requirements really just the same as Windows 10? Not necessarily.
According to Microsoft expert and ZDNet columnist Ed Bott, the official hardware requirements "are far too minimal." Here are Bott's recommendations:
I recommend a modern CPU, anything that was introduced in the past four years (Intel Core 4th Generation or later). If you're trying to stretch the life of an older PC, fine, but a modern CPU is essential for real productivity.
RAM: 4GB is certainly enough for light use. Windows 10 does a good job of managing memory and keeping things moving if you don't put heavy demands on it. For people who like to open multiple apps and dozens of browser tabs, consider 8GB a minimum requirement. You'll need 16GB or more if you regularly run virtual machines or perform memory-intensive operations such as video rendering.
Disk space: If you start with a 64GB hard disk, you'll need to monitor disk space usage carefully. A system disk of 128 GB or more gives you much more breathing room. And I strongly recommend a solid state drive, which is the single most important component when it comes to perceived performance.
GPU: Built-in graphics on a modern CPU are adequate for most productivity scenarios. The two exceptions where you absolutely must have a dedicated graphics processing unit are heavy photo and video editing tasks and gaming.
Answering the question of whether or not your machine will run the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update depends on who you ask. Either way it will prove a major change for the Windows ecosystem.
With the Fall Creators Update, Kleynhans said that Microsoft is addressing some of the "rough edges" with Windows 10.
"Undoubtedly some users are likely to find a few issues—there always is when software is updated," Kleynhans said. "But, overall, it seems like Microsoft is getting the OS updates into a groove and starting to deliver a little pop to the user experience, without being disruptive."
Don't want to wait for the official release? Find out how to get the update early here.
- Windows 10 Creators Update: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Windows Subsystem for Linux graduates in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (ZDNet)
- How to get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update early (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft releases new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update preview build for mobile (ZDNet)
- How to delay upgrading to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.