Late review: Windows XP runs just fine on an Intel 486 PC from 1989 (when it really shouldn't)

Ancient (23-year-old) Windows operating system made to work with a positively archaic (35-year-old) Intel processor. Why? Well, why not, we guess...

1 minute & 24 seconds read time

Ever wanted to run Windows XP on old hardware? Well, you might have done a couple of decades ago, when Windows XP was released - but probably not now, right?

Despite the apparently futility of the exercise, a challenge is a challenge, and getting Windows XP working on an Intel 486 processor from 1989 is certainly that - and it was one undertaken by a modder from Germany.

That modder is Dietmar on the MSFN forums, as Techspot noticed, and they successfully patched Windows XP to work on the 486 chip running at 90MHz (yes, the heady heights of clock frequencies back in the day).

Officially, Microsoft's desktop operating system that was pushed out in 2001 required a Pentium processor (586), and a chip with a clock speed of 233MHz to handle all of its intricacies.

However, Dietmar pulled off some seriously smart tricks using disassembly and debugging tools to modify Windows XP so it could run on the 486 processor.

In short, this is a seriously impressive feat, but at this point, also seriously pointless. Although it's not the first of this kind of achievement in the computing world, of course - the quest to run Doom on, say, a robot lawnmower springs to mind - and doubtless it won't be the last. Not by a long shot...

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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