We asked Nik Rawlinson to move out of his comfort zone and give this stripped-down version of Windows 11 a try. Read our Tiny11 Review.
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Tiny11 is a stripped-down version of Windows 11. Where the full-fat OS requires 4GB of RAM and 64GB of drive space, Tiny11 can manage with 2GB and 8GB respectively. It looks like the perfect solution for older machines that fall short of Windows 11’s specs as, in the developer’s words, it will run on “basically any computer that also ran Windows 10”.
That might leave you wondering why Microsoft, with all of its resources, didn’t manage the same. The answer is most likely that Microsoft didn’t want to: its goal was to ship a feature-rich operating system that was a genuine step up from Windows 10, rather than a minimized working environment.
Tiny11 developer NTDev hasn’t stripped out everything. Accessibility features and smaller apps such as the Calculator and Notepad, plus Windows Terminal and PowerShell, have all been retained. Microsoft Store is also in there, so you can update applications and add new ones as required. You can download Tiny11 from tinyurl.com/3fuv436s.
KEEP OLD HARDWARE RUNNING
The most obvious benefit of Tiny11 is that it should continue running efficiently on older hardware over the longer term, not merely the next
year or two. Nor does it comes with Microsoft bloatware: both Edge and Teams have been removed. You can add them from the Microsoft Store, or choose an alternative browser and log in to Teams on the web.
There are two versions of Tinyl 1 available, one of which is designed for older hardware that lacks support for TPM2; this handles on-device encryption, and was a key requirement blocking many from upgrading machines. Neither does Tiny11 require secure boot.
SAVE YOURSELF FROM MANUALLY DEBLOATING
You could install a regular build of Windows 11 and strip out the features you don’t require. There are utilities to help you achieve this, such as Debloos/ BloatyNosy tinyurl.com/5n99afvw, which can analyze your system and remove what it considers bloatware, or give you the option of removing components you don’t need and have no plans to use.
However, you can only access postproduction apps such as BloatyNosy if you’ve installed Windows 11. Tiny11, on the other hand, is an all-in-one solution where installation is possible because it’s been stripped down in advance.
RUN THE APPS YOU KNOW
The benefit of sticking with an operating system based on Windows 11 is that you can continue running the applications you use. There’s no need to use a workaround such as WINE under Linux, nor is there a need to learn how to use a new OS or apps. You can avoid converting your data from its original formats, too.
USE A LOCAL USER ACCOUNT
By default, Tiny11 uses a local account, rather than a Microsoft account, so your activities are less intimately linked to your profile (you can revert to a Microsoft account if you prefer). If you’re particular about your privacy, this could be a reason to switch on its own—particularly as Microsoft is now encouraging Microsoft account login as the standard option.
IT’S IMPROVING ALL THE TIME
Tiny11 hasn’t come out of nowhere—it’s a follow-on from Tiny10, so has been in development for several years. As such, it’s improving over time. The first release achieved its small size through the removal of the Windows Component Store, which made it impossible to add features and languages. However, release notes for the latest build state that Windows Component Store is back, as is the removal of sponsored apps.
WHY NOT TINY11?
Are there reasons not switch to Tiny11? Sure. First, it isn’t an official build. It’s not supported by Microsoft, and there’s no guarantee it will work in the future.
Neither is Tiny11 free. If you don’t already have a code to activate Windows 11 Pro, you won’t be able to activate Tiny11, so if you’re installing it as a money-saving measure, I’d recommend another look at Linux. (In fact, unless you absolutely have to run Windows, that’s still what I would recommend people do.)
Tiny11 may be the best-known stripped-down Windows 11, but it isn’t the only option. Ghost Spectre 11 tinyurl.com/227nyrhx lets you install a build on machines without TPM support.
ReviOS [tinyurl.com/4vc7u5h8] is another stripped-down OS, removing tools such as Photos and Windows Mail. It also avoids pre-installed apps such as Disney, plus core features such as the Telemetry Client, screensavers, and themes.
In short, you have choices: download, play, and consider your options.