That’s right… 0!!!
That’s right! Windows Vista can run using a total of zero system memory. Well, bear with me, it will all make sense in the end. When it first introduced Windows Vista, Microsoft faced criticism because of the system requirements associated with the new platform. And the truth of the matter is that Vista is nothing short of a resource hog. The latest operating system from the Redmond company will eat right through CPU cycles, and will swallow every last bit of Random Access Memory you can throw at it. Vista will hesitate little to consume all the resources at its disposal in order to deliver the high-end performance level and user experience synonymous with the Wow.
The system requirements for Vista are divided according to SKU. There are the recommended minimum hardware requirements valid for Windows Vista Home Basic and Starter editions, and then the standard is raised when it comes to the Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate SKUs. According to Microsoft, Vista can go as low as an 800-MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor and 512 MB of RAM. But this does not mean that users cannot feed some 3.5 GB of RAM into 32-bit editions of Vista and up to 128 GB in the 64-bit versions.
But as you can see from the screenshot included at the bottom of this article, Vista can function with zero RAM. I know, it does sound illogical, but then again… And no, it is not an example of my Photoshop skills at work, it is a genuine screenshot from Vista. It has become a sort of a reflex for me to go for either Ctrl + Alt + Delete or for Ctrl + Shift + Esc, when Windows freezes. And this is exactly what happened. With the small mention that Windows Task Manager had a small surprise for me. Windows Vista was apparently using no RAM and no CPU. No handles, no threads, processes, up time or page file. No kernel memory, paged or not paged. And a total of zero RAM both cached and free, out of my 2 GB of physical system memory. Now I know that asking Vista to run on zero RAM is a tad too much from Microsoft, but they could have lowered the bar to something more acceptable than a minimum of 2 GB. Because if you think Vista will run smooth with 512 MB of system memory or 1 GB under all scenarios, and whatever workload you throw at it, you are sadly mistaken.