The system requirements or software requirements is a listing of what software programs or hardware devices are required to operate the program or game properly. System requirements are printed on their packaging as shown in the image of the Windows 7 system requirements or found on the Internet.
Windows 7 system requirements
Below is an example of the Windows 7 system requirements with sections of the system requirements linked to the related definitions.
- 1 GHz processor or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64)
- 1 GB of RAM for 32-bit or 2 GB of RAM for 64-bit
- 16 GB of hard drive space for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
- DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher.
What if my computer does not meet the system requirements
If your computer does not meet the minimum system requirements, the program you are attempting to install will not run and may not even install. If your computer meets the minimum requirements but does not meet the suggested requirements, the program is going to work, but it may be slow.
In some situations, you may be able to upgrade your computer to help meet the requirements. For example, upgrading RAM, bigger hard drive, or a better video card can all help a computer meet the system requirements. Your computer may also support upgrading the processor, but in many cases require that a new motherboard be installed. Typically if the processor does not meet the requirements, we recommend considering getting a new computer.
The hardware requirements are the requirements of a hardware device. Most hardware only has operating system requirements or compatibility. For example, a printer may be compatible with Windows XP but not compatible with newer versions of Windows like Windows 10, Linux, or the Apple macOS.
If a hardware device is not compatible with your computer, it is up to the manufacturer to release drivers. Unfortunately, many manufacturers only release updated drivers to fix problems with older drivers and often do not release drivers for newer operating systems or alternative operating systems. If your hardware device does not have drivers for your operating system, usually the only solution is to get a replacement device that is compatible with your operating system.
Note: In some situations, you may be able to find either compatible drivers or drivers made by a third-party company. See our computer drivers from a third-party page for steps you can take in finding drivers elsewhere.
How do I understand the words in the system requirements?
Often the words and terms used in the system requirements can be difficult for most users not familiar with computers to understand. The easiest method of determining the meanings behind these terms is to perform a search on the word that confuses you.
For example, you can use the Computer Hope search box, at the top of any Computer Hope page, to search for "GHz". You will be directed to our GHz page and learn about this abbreviation being related to a computer processors speed.