I just ran the Windows 8 upgrade assistant. It told me that my Pentium 4 CPU
does not support NS (whatever that is) and that Windows 8 will not install on
my computer. Bummer! Unfortunately, a new computer is not currently an option
for me. I’m wondering if I might replace the CPU with a Windows 8 compatible
one? And if that might be a viable option. Do you foresee any problems making
this impractical? I assembled my computer from components a few years ago so
it’s not a brand name machine. Any alternative suggestions you might have would
be most welcome.
In this excerpt from
Answercast #96 I look at some possibilities in upgrading a self-built
computer so it can run Windows 8.
Replace CPU for Windows 8 requirements
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for me to say. I think the chances of your being able to do a CPU swap with a CPU that actually supports the features required by Windows 8 is probably pretty low.
It really depends on the exact motherboard you have; the exact CPU you have – and if that CPU has the exact same connections (what we typically call pinout) as a newer CPU – and if there’s a newer CPU that would actually fit the same socket as the existing CPU you have.
My guess is the answer’s, “Probably not.” You might be able to replace the motherboard. I don’t know… since you’ve built it from components yourself, then that might be an option. Finding a motherboard that would fit in the same enclosure you’re currently using could be a different way to go.
It does mean you’ll probably end up replacing more than just the CPU. You’ll probably end up replacing the RAM because it will be different. You may very well end up having to replace your video card or use a different on-board video card.
You get the idea. I mean there’s a lot more change going on when you’re changing the motherboard.
“Does not support NS?”
The NS? My assumption is that what you’re really referring to here is the NX bit.
What that is, is a hardware feature in newer CPUs that allows the software to say, “This data over here? You can never, ever, run that as a program.”
That’s an important security feature because what that allows the system to do is to stop malware that tries to do exactly that. That is what a lot of malware, in the past especially, has been known to do. It actually loads itself in as if it were data, as if it were like a document of yours and then says, “Ok, computer, go run this stuff… Even though it looks like it’s a document, I’m going to have you actually treat it like a computer program” and the processor happily would do it because there was no concept of stuff you couldn’t execute.
The NX bit is exactly that. It’s a way for the system to say, “You know what, anything I put in this memory over here is only data. It is never a computer program and anybody that tries to actually run it, as a computer program is wrong and should be stopped.”
So, it’s a security feature that’s important and yes, Windows 8 now requires that be present.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have good feeling for an answer for you here. Like I said, my suspicion is you’re not going to be able to replace just the CPU. It’s going to require at least a motherboard upgrade and at that point, then, you are spending a little bit of money.
It may in fact be time to swap the entire computer. I just don’t know.
Honestly, in your situation, if I were strapped for cash and not really interested in upgrading the hardware to the point where you could run Windows 8, I’d seriously consider something else.
Windows 7 – if you’ve got it; stick with it. Otherwise, consider one of the free versions of Linux that are out there. There are many. They are very good. They can run a lot of things depending on how you use your computer and what software you need to run.
They can in fact fit the bill for a great price known as free.
Unfortunately, I think ultimately – the answer is no. I don’t think you’re going to be able to do what you’re looking to do; but maybe there are some alternatives.
(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)
Next from Answercast 96- Which is better, cable or DSL?