Just Scrivener on a very low-powered Windows laptop

Hello everyone.

As you know, these days there are very cheap Windows laptops on the market (around 200 eur / 175 gbp), designed to compete directly against the cloud-based Google Chromebooks. They are basically 11"- and 14"-inch screen designs, and offer very small local drive space (32GB or 64GB at its best), which for Scrivener should be more than enough (you can always add an SD card for expanded local storage).

Is there someone around that runs just Scrivener on these little machines? I know Windows may strive on such low-end specs but I mean running just Scrivener and nothing else.


Low spec? Small hard drive? Small RAM? I don’t think there’s any possible reason to be wary of a so-called “low spec” modern laptop running a clean Windows install and Scrivener.

Consider: I have an ancient Dell 5000 laptop (with a really nice 15-inch screen…its key redeeming feature) with a Pentium III processor, maxed out at 512 KB RAM, and a 60GB Hard Drive. It runs dual-boot, WinXP or Linux XFCE/Debian. Scrivener does just fine on either OS. I do run Scriv for Win on the Linux side, using WINE.

The path for Windows (in my opinion) has plunged off a cliff with Windows 10; there’s nothing in my house that is new enough or beefy enough to run Win10. So that’s my primary caution with “low spec” machines. But Scrivener runs very nicely on most anything. Just beware of huge research files with lots of PDF docs–that would take a long time to back up on a slower machine.

I use it on a 10-year-old really slow HP Mini netbook with 2 somethings of RAM. It works fine. Some of the view changes take 30 seconds to display so you have to wait on that, but I am spending most of my time chapter by chapter, not viewing the entire project, which takes more time to render.


I ran it on an Asus Netbook for quite a while. Admittedly the netbook was running XP, but I could have bought it with Windows 7 so it obviously would have run that. I think it also had 2 somethings of RAM, and I didn’t even think it was particularly slow.

I just read that the Windows-10-netbooks with 32gb storage are struggling to install the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (big one, I guess) that was released in August, so maybe it is better to play safe on the storage side and get the 64gb ones. It is a pity because I wanted to keep this really cheap.

FWIW, before you consider an underpowered Chromebook, there are plenty of new lower-end Windows laptops that are almost as cheap, easily run Win 10 – which is the most efficient gui OS Microsoft has ever offered, btw – and work beautifully with Scrivener. Check out Amazon or eBay.

This isn’t an advertisement for it, but I just got a ThinkPad 11e for this very purpose. Celeron, 8GB RAM & 128 GB SSD for about 260 euros. Built like a tank yet only 1.5 kg. It won’t do much more than office work but that’s all I needed it for. Works very well.

Yes, I was actually toying with the idea of getting a Lenovo Ideapad 100S (14"), which is as low as Windows can get.