Windows 7 (M3) Running On A PC From 2000/2001

I recently downloaded a copy of Windows 7 Milestone 3 (M3). Curiosity had gotten the best of me. This is the same copy of Windows 7 that Microsoft has just passed out at its recent Professional Developers Conference, PDC. At this conference Microsoft demoed the newest update to their UI (or UX as they like to say now) but unfortunately those new features aren’t in this build as they weren’t stable enough to pass out to the public.

So after I downloaded Win7 M3 I wanted to get it installed to play around with it. I had two options.

  1. Microsoft Virtual PC
  2. My old PC I built in 2000/2001.

I figured that since I don’t use my old PC for anything any more I’d see how it would fair. The following are my notes.

Windows 7 M3 Notes – Oct 31 2008

1GHz AMD Athlon
512MB of PC133 RAM
Motherboard ABIT KT7A

Turn on PC 5:40PM
Win7 DVD Boot Splash Screen, Pressed “Install Now” – 5:42PM
Create 40GB Partition – 5:44PM
away (Halloween Stuff)
Create Password Screen 6:11PM
-Password Hint(Required)
-Product Key
-Windows Update Settings
-Date & Time

Preparing Desktop 6:13PM
Usable Desktop 6:14PM

Total install time: 34 min’s

So, yes it installed just fine on my 7 year old PC. However, there were problems that I encountered after the install that I couldn’t resolve.

The biggest problem of all was the lack of driver support for old hardware. I couldn’t find drivers for either of my two old 10MB/s NICs, my Linksys Wireless B NIC, nor my ATI Radeon 8500. So I was unable to get any network connection or use my graphics card in any real capacity. However, after having those problems I was still able to use Windows 7, obviously I didn’t have Aero enabled and the initial indexing was taking a toll on the HDD but it was a fairly usable experience for a 7 year old PC running a beta of the latest Microsoft Windows. I was impressed, it ran comparably to Windows XP with generic graphic drivers, usable but a fair amount of ‘clipping.’

Here is a pic from the System Info page.


Here is the breakdown of my Windows hardware score (the reason for the 1.0 is due to the fact that I can only install the default SVGA drivers and not any specific ATI drivers). Also I believe that the HDD is 3-4 years old, which is probably why it scored higher.


So that basically ended that experiment. On the bright side I now know for sure that my old PC needs to be junked… even if it still runs, there isn’t much use for it for me. So sad.

I just finished reinstalling Win7 on Virtual PC so I can play around with it a bit more. A quick note. I used the new Ribbonized version of MSPaint and was pleasantly surprised that, by default, it saves files in the PNG format. While it supports PNG in Vista the default is JPG.



I played around with it a little bit more this morning. I still couldn’t find any Vista Drivers for my Radeon 8500, however I decided to try and install the XP drivers. I was able to install them through the Device Manager but not through the ATI Catalyst install manager. Also every time I shut down or reboot with the XP drivers I get a BSOD. The desktop performance improved slightly but I wouldn’t put it comparable to WinXP with the proper drivers. I was able to increase the Graphics score.

After seeing my Radeon 8500 get a Graphic score of 1.9 I can see why neither ATI or Microsoft would want to support 7 year old hardware… If I still had my 3dfx 3500 I’d be curious to see how Win7 and Vista score it.

Windows Experience Index with WinXP Radeon 8500 drivers.


You can see from msinfo32 that the final BIOS update was from 2002.



26 thoughts on “Windows 7 (M3) Running On A PC From 2000/2001

  1. If you extract the latest Radeon 8500 XP drivers by starting the driver install, replace certain files with 8500 drivers that come with Vista and then install the driver through Device Manager you will get a working driver for Radeon 8500 in Windows 7. I would have uploaded my driver version somewhere, but ATI license forbids this in my understanding.

    The Radeon 8500 driver files that need to be copied from Vista are (these driver files might only exist in a Vista with Radeon 8500 installed):


    First off, you’ll need to rename the files that you copied somewhere like this:


    Then you should replace the orginal XP driver files with the renamed files (found normally in C:\ATI\SUPPORT\6-11-pre-r300_xp-2k_dd_ccc_wdm_38185\Driver\2KXP_INF\B_32846). Your computer should prompt for 6 file replacements if you renamed the files correctly.

    Then you just need to manually pick the driver inf-file from Device Manager (found normally in C:\ATI\SUPPORT\6-11-pre-r300_xp-2k_dd_ccc_wdm_38185\Driver\2KXP_INF). I used CX_38185.inf. Then reboot your computer and you’re done!

    I’ve seen no BSOD yet. Windows 7 gives me a score of 1,9 in graphics.

    • Mika Mars,

      could you possibly email me those dlls? I dont have a Vista PC, just installed Win7 on an old computer with RADEON 8500.

      • Hi! Please, like all people here, i’ve the same problem. Could you please mail me the files or give a link to dl them?

        It would extra nice 🙂

        Tita (From Paris)

  2. Wow! Thanks for the detailed reply. Unfortunately the pieces of that PC are now strewn across my floor right now as I needed a case to build my Windows Home Server. If I ever do decided to revive that clunker I’ll give these steps a try.

    • Yeah, I googled pages related to Radeon 8500 and Windows 7 and found your page so hopefully my reply will help someone else with the same problem. It’s annoying when MS ends driver support like this…

      • Yes, that’s true. But almost all Vista drivers work in Windows 7 without any problems, so ATI/MS could have made an effort to add those drivers to W7 too. I suppose they just want people to buy better hardware.

      • As far as I can remember the 8500 didn’t work in Vista either. Am I wrong?

        Also as I eluded to in my original post I find it hard to blame either of them for dropping support considering a $30 card today can run laps around the good ol’ 8500! 🙂

  3. Those driver files that I explained about are the Radeon 8500 driver files that come with Vista. The driver is ATI manufactured and included only in Vista.

    I’ve had two graphics cards since I bought the 8500 (X800GT and HD3450) but they both broke so I’m back again with my old reliable 8500! 🙂

  4. Similar situation here. The only thng is that i never installed Vista. So i don’t have the vista drivers.

    I’ll let you know if i find something, and please post any additional informaiton you find.

  5. To the above posters and anyone who finds this blog post,

    After much searching I found the pertinent forum in which a user (regli) has uploaded the “XDDM” Radeon drivers that were included in Vista:

    If you don’t want to read the thread and just want the driver:

    I have installed the drivers and can confirm that they work without any issues. Hope this helps and happy new year!

  6. I spent about an hour on this and found a solution. Go to ATI’s support site:

    Download that package, extract it but DO NOT INSTALL IT. Then open device manager and click on “Update driver” for the graphics card, which in my case was reading “Generic VGA blah blah blah.” Then, click on “Browse my computer for driver software.” Specify the location which you have extracted the catalyst software to, the default being:


    It will install the new driver automatically. Restart and bazinga.

    Note: The first time I reinstalled my screen freaked out like it had short circuited. However, I also made many other changes before restarting. Upon restarting in safe mode, uninstalling the driver, and then booting up normally and installing only the Radeon 8500 drive everything worked fine. I recommend setting the resolution to the lowest possible numble, 800×1024 or something before restarting to ensure you do not encounter maximum resolution problems that your monitor may not be capable of supporting.

    • @ergeg,

      Those are WinXP drivers. The drivers in this article are Vista, which can be used for Windows 7.

      I ended up installing Vista on my old machine using another drive, then took the drivers off, rebooted into Windows 7 and did what Mika Mars said. Works better than the WinXP drivers for sure 🙂

      • Hi,
        I’m trying unsucessfully to install my radeon 8500 under Win 7.
        Whatever I’m doing, I’ve a splendid BSOD. I don’t have Vista, and I wondef if you could send me the dll files you’ve got after your installation, or if you could publish a link to DL them. Best regards.

  7. Thanks monkeyboy!
    Here one more link on social technet microsoft com “The Definitive ATI Compatability Thread (from Radeon 9500 until X2100)”

    Win7 works fine on my Duron 750/320 Ram/ati 8500

  8. Thank you all very much for your work. I spent a couple of hours on it with NO solution. I followed the advice about replacing XP driver files with vista ones and IT WORKED.
    So it is true. You can install a Radeon 8500 on a Windows 7 system. My graphics card is a Radeon 8500LE and my OS is Windows 7 Ultimate.
    HINT Get the vista driver from
    just pick the slow download option for free download. 🙂

  9. Weird I downloaded the vista drivers as provided by MonkeyBoy and installed/extracted the latest Radeon 8500 XP Catalyst Drivers (6.11 for XP).
    Replaced the xp drivers with the vista drivers and updated the adapterdrivers.

    BUT when loging off or change user, it’s: BOD 😥

  10. Do as described in first post by Mika Mars. That solution resolved me BSOD when logging off, restarting or shutting down. I was mad about that and really solution exists!! And its this one!! Radeon 8500 in Win 7 32 bit, i tried Age of empires 2, working, restarts ok, shuts down ok.

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