Windows 11 transforms into a Chromebook killer thanks to Tiny11

Woman using a laptop in a coffeeshop
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Tiny11 is the talk of computing town once again, with this seriously stripped-back version of Windows 11 having been spotted running on a literally tiny amount of system RAM.

If you missed the launch of the release version of Tiny11, it’s a Windows installation (which still requires a valid license) with a whole load of the bloat removed, with way lower hardware requirements than the full (official) version of Windows 11.

Now, the specs for Tiny11 call for 2GB of system RAM (rather than 4GB for the full version), but as Neowin highlighted, the OS can actually run with way less memory than that – just 196MB (which is a fifth of a Gigabyte, or just under, in fact).

A regular leaker on Twitter, @XenoPanther, who often shares Windows bits and pieces, achieved this feat, but with serious caveats.

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Yes, with that amount of memory, Tiny11 did not fire up easily, experiencing some 30 minutes of crashing before reaching the desktop. And then once at the desktop, opening Task Manager took 15 minutes, which is clearly ridiculous.


Analysis: A hugely impressive feat – but proceed with equally sizeable amounts of caution

The point here, however, is that even loading Windows 11 on such a pitiful amount of RAM shows that Tiny11 really does massively lighten the footprint of the OS.

It’ll certainly run fine on 2GB, and doubtless it’ll just about manage on even less, although obviously you’re not going to want to run it with the likes of 200MB. Not unless you enjoy waiting half an hour for anything to happen (and no doubt crashing if you try to do more than just open a simple panel like Task Manager).

Tiny11, though, comes with its own caveats as we’ve discussed previously. Namely that this is a modified ISO for Windows 11, and we don’t know exactly what’s in that installation package. Not that there’s likely to be anything dodgy – we’d hope – but we can’t know for sure. And we must also consider that the ISO does strip away some of the security measures for Windows 11 too (ditching that TPM system requirement, for starters, opening up the OS to far more PCs and older systems).

So, there are risks you’re running by using this alternative take on Windows 11, and just bear that firmly in mind if you decide to take the plunge. A further limitation is that you can’t get further Windows 11 updates either – except for security patches, mind, so that means new features won’t come to your OS installation.

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).