Windows 11 is renowned for the relatively steep system requirements that put it out of reach for many PCs that quite happily run Windows 10, but there’s a fix for that: a new version of the OS called Tiny11, which not only lowers the hardware bar for entry considerably but also strips away a lot of bloat.
Tiny11 is made by NTDEV and is essentially an ISO based on Windows 11 Pro 22H2, with the release being announced on Twitter, as highlighted by Neowin. (Note that it follows on from Tiny10, which is much the same idea for Windows 10).
It's finally here!Based off of Windows 11 Pro 22H2, tiny11 has everything you need for a comfortable computing experience without the bloat and clutter of a standard Windows installation. https://t.co/yM1Ip2ljjB pic.twitter.com/Tg5PWUZU1QFebruary 2, 2023
As the developer states, it has “everything you need for a comfortable computing experience without the bloat and clutter of a standard Windows installation.”
This alternative take on Windows 11 has been in development for some time, with early preview versions available for download in the past, but this is the final release candidate and should hopefully run smoothly as a result.
The system requirements are just 2GB of RAM (you need at least 4GB for Windows 11 itself) and 8GB of storage space, plus Tiny11 dispenses with the security requirements like TPM and Secure Boot, which prove problematic for many PCs.
Analysis: Security concerns are the main stumbling block
What is Tiny11 exactly, then? Basically, a DIY project where the dev has tinkered and produced their own Windows 11 ISO – with a ton of stuff stripped out – that you can download to install this ‘lite’ version of the OS. Note that this isn’t a pirate thing: you still need a valid license key to run the operating system, just as with normal Windows.
The catch is that you have to trust the developer hasn’t done anything shady, as in the past, some of these kinds of projects have been carriers for spyware or other even worse malware.
We’re not suggesting that Tiny11 is doing anything nefarious, of course, but the point is we can’t really be sure what’s been done to the operating system here – and even with a legitimate project carried out in good faith, there’s always the possibility there could be unintentional hiccups.
The biggest worry here, though, is that Tiny11 is clearly less secure than Windows 11. It strips away a lot of security measures as observed above, and Microsoft put these in place for good reasons – by and large – plus it could be less secure in other aspects we don’t know about (that could certainly be one of the possible hiccups we just mentioned).
In summary, we just don’t know how secure Tiny11 is, and for that reason, it’s best to err on the side of caution in our humble opinion, and give this one a swerve. That said, it’s a nice idea, we can’t deny that, and doubtless some of the braver inhabitants of the desktop computing world may want to give this a try on an old PC just to see how it works.
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).