Tiny11 is the talk of the computer town again, with this seriously stripped-down version of Windows 11 running on a literally tiny amount of system RAM.
If you missed the launch of the release version of Tiny11, it’s a Windows install (which still requires a valid license) with a whole load of bloat removed, with much lower hardware requirements than the full (official) version of Windows 11.
Now the specifications for Tiny11 call for 2 GB of system RAM (instead of 4 GB for the full version), but like Neowin (opens in new tab) emphasized, the operating system can actually run with much less memory than that – just 196 MB (which is one-fifth of a gigabyte, or even slightly less).
A regular leaker on Twitter, @XenoPanther, who often shares bits and pieces of Windows, has accomplished this feat, but with serious caveats.
All it took was 30 minutes of BSODs and another 15 minutes to open the Task Manager. I’m impressed it’s even possible to boot Windows 11 (full desktop) at 196MB pic.twitter.com/hCGnaVPeNTFebruary 6, 2023
Yes, with that amount of memory, Tiny11 didn’t boot easily and experienced about 30 minutes of crashing before reaching the desktop. And then, once on the desktop, opening the Task Manager took 15 minutes, which is clearly ridiculous.
Analysis: A hugely impressive achievement, but proceed with equally great caution
However, the point here is that even loading Windows 11 on such a pitiful amount of RAM shows that Tiny11 really does lighten the footprint of the operating system immensely.
It will certainly work well on 2 GB, and no doubt it will do with even less, although of course you don’t want to use it with, say, 200 MB. Not unless you enjoy waiting half an hour for something to happen (and no doubt crash if you try to do anything more than just open a simple panel like the Task Manager).
However, Tiny11 has its own caveats, as we discussed earlier. Namely that this is a custom ISO for Windows 11, and we’re not exactly sure what’s in that installation package. Not that anything is likely to be unreliable – we hope – but we can’t be sure. And we should also consider that the ISO also removes some of the security measures for Windows 11 (for starters, ditching that TPM system requirement, opening up the OS to many more PCs and older systems).
So there are risks involved in using this alternative take on Windows 11, and keep that in mind if you decide to take the plunge. A further limitation is that you will also no longer be able to get Windows 11 updates – except for security patches, so that means no new features coming into your OS install.