Windows 8 Developer System Requirements

A number of readers have written me about the Windows 8 Developer Preview system requirements. The requirements that should work, don’t always appear to work. I’d like to say that there is an easy answer to the problem, but it could be one of several interaction problems that you’ll need to consider when working with this version.


  • These requirements don’t include resources you need to run applications.
  • Minimum system requirements usually equates to barely working.
  • Hidden hardware needs don’t appear in the list.
  • Drivers don’t interact with your system correctly, even though they should.
  • This is a beta, so it does eat additional resources.

The biggest issue, however, is that most of the people reading my books are developers who would require additional system resources anyway. An IDE eats up considerable resources, as does running an application in debug mode. Unfortunately, you won’t find many places that discuss the system requirements for a development machine. With this in mind, I experimented for a while and came up with what I think are the minimum requirements for a usable development machine (one that will do the job without constantly causing problems):


  • 2.0 GHz 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 500 GB hard drive
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • Display that supports MultiTouch if you plan to have anything to do with the new Metro interface
  • 1280 × 1024 display resolution
  • 100 Mbps network adapter

Yes, this is quite a bit more aggressive than the published system requirements that Microsoft provides, but these requirements seem to be the minimum that works for me. Anything less seems to prompt all sorts of little glitch problems that make it hard or impossible to determine whether the error is in your code or the system itself.

Depending on what you plan to do with your application, these requirements may still not be high enough. For example, an application that works extensively with databases will likely require more RAM and possibly a larger hard drive as well. You can’t develop good applications without the required resources.

To this list of minimal requirements, I’ve added a second display to make it possible to see the application and the debugger at the same time. My system also has two DVD drives, multiple USB 3.0 ports, memory sticks, and a number of other features to make it easy for me to develop robust applications.

Remember that you’ll want Internet access on your system. Otherwise, you’ll lose access to updated help information to write your applications. In addition, Microsoft is likely to make updates available that you’ll want to download and install on your machine. So, what is your development system like? Let me know at