New computers that were purchased with Windows 7 on it will meet the requirements for Windows 8.  If you’ve wondered whether or not the next version of Windows will force a whole new line of computer to be purchased you can safely bet that the answer will be no.  Even though the “Minimum Requirements” will allow Windows to run, you generally don’t want to run the minimum requirements because there usually is a “recommended” configuration that will run better than the minimums.  You can generally double the RAM and hard drive space requirements and be perfectly set.  That same guideline should apply for Windows 8 except for the additional features of the new OS like touch-screen, microphones for voice recognition, and smart card readers for alternate authentication methods.  This is of course if you want to use those features.

Tami Reller, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows division, revealed the tidbit to attendees at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2011, which took place yesterday in Los Angeles, California. She said any PC capable of running Windows 7 today would be capable of running Windows 8 when it is released.

“The breadth of hardware choice is unique to Windows and is central to how we see Windows evolving. In both of our Windows 8 previews, we talked about continuing on with the important trend that we started with Windows 7, keeping system requirements either flat or reducing them over time,” Reller said. “Windows 8 will be able to run on a wide range of machines because it will have the same requirements or lower. And, we’ve also built intelligence into Windows 8 so that it can adapt to the user experience based on the hardware of the user. So, whether you’re upgrading an existing PC, or buying a new one, Windows will adapt to make the most of that hardware.”

Here are Windows 7’s system requirements:

  • 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) 1.0 or higher driver

Microsoft announced earlier this year that Windows 8 will support Intel, AMD, and ARM architectures. The company gave its first preview of Windows 8 earlier this month, showing off a new touch-oriented UI: icons are replaced by big tiles that can be customized to show live information or launch applications.

Windows 8 could hit the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone as soon as April 2012. Although a rumor suggests that Windows 8 will arrive on January 7, 2013, we expect that the operating system will ship in time for the 2012 holiday season. In fact, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said Windows 8 is coming in 2012, but Microsoft quickly claimed this was a misstatement.