System Requirements for Scrivener/Windows?

So I’ve just bought my first Windows machine in many years: I feel kind of icky, but the Viliv N5 ( was just irresistible – it’s the size of an old Psion 5 – and stuck Beta 0.29 on it.

The good news: it will load my Scrivener 2.04/Mac projects.

The bad news: I need to come up with a new word for “slow” to describe the experience. A minute to load a small project, intermittent pop-ups from Windows (which claims the app has died – wait a bit and it comes back to life), generally sluggish behaviour.

The Viliv N5 is pretty much a stock second-gen netbook spec machine: Atom Z520 at 1.33GHz, 1Gb of RAM, Intel GMA500 graphics chipset (sharing the RAM for video memory), and Windows 7, upgraded to Home Ultimate (the N5 ships with Win7 Basic).

I suspect the 1Gb of RAM (actually only about 600Mb is available after the OS and video memory take their bites out of it) is responsible for the performance bottleneck, but I could be wrong.

Is there anything I can tweak to improve performance of Scrivener on a low memory netbook-class machine? More generally, what are the minimum system requirements for Scrivener, and is the release version going to run faster than the beta (removal of debugging code, for example)?

I run scrivener on a netbook, too, though it has 2gb of ram. I’ve got a 10" screen and my main problem is not speed it’s lack of screen size - I’m amazed you run it on a 4.8" machine!

I’d increase the ram to 2gb if you can.


Hi Charlie,

The final release will run faster than the current beta with the complete removal of debug code and other optimizations we are looking to implement. How much faster I can’t say right now.

The minimum specification I’d expect Scrivener to run on would be as follows:

  • 1024*768 screen - this accommodates nearly every netbook although on the cute little N5 - I’d say the 600 height could be annoying with some dialog boxes being 550 pixels tall.
  • Minimum 512MB RAM should cover the majority of text projects, however, projects with extensive video, images and PDF are likely to need more. However, RAM speed is also important. DDR2 SDRAM 533Mhz is a little on the slow side, but I guess in the form factor, it’s acceptable, although, the new 11inch Mac Airs are running 1333 - which is more than twice as fast.
  • Hard disk - 100MB for install. Projects are unlimited in size.
  • Atom Processors are on the slow side compared to mainstream processors in newer laptops ( but the 1.33Ghz should be ample for Scrivener’s needs.

Given the overall set up you have, I can only assume that you don’t mind a tiny screen. Upgrading Windows on these devices is a little worry as they try to trim as much fat as possible to cater for the lower spec hardware in the first place. I’d seriously take a look at some on-line forums to work out which Windows services you can disable which are now probably running after the upgrade i.e. indexing is always a big one as well as various network and sharing services. Disabling these and others should help make the device a little more sprightly.

Updating RAM would be a good idea regardless. It would be interesting to see how much actual RAM is left over once you take into account Windows and all it’s running services - it could be much less than 600MB? Anyway, I hope this helps a little.


Yup, I second that. My Asus Eee PC came with Windows 7, and it was kind of sluggish out of the box, which was a shame since the specs on the machine weren’t that shabby. After going through a few websites on optimisation, I was able to dramatically improve its performance overall. Even with Starter, you can access stuff that Microsoft hides in the Control Panel, such as switching to Windows Classic theme instead of Aero—I just need to remember to switch back to Aero when I take screenshots! :slight_smile:. That is not only faster, but uses much less screen space for windows.

Even with the debugging code in place, b29 is running very snappy on this tiny laptop. It loads large projects swiftly, and the only time it gets a little hung up is loading big media files. They load eventually but it takes longer than my main computer.

Unfortunately the Viliv N5’s RAM is non-upgradable – as I noted, it’s the size of a Psion 5! About all I can do is shove a 32Gb micro-SDHC card in it to add file storage to the built-in 32Gb SSD. Which I have done.

(I don’t propose to do serious writing on it – the Macbook Air is my main travel machine – but if I want to jot down a couple of notes in an existing project while I’m on the move it’s nice to have around, and DropBox will handle the file syncing for me very nicely.)