I'm working on documentation for a remote connection solution in my company.

We've all seen lists like the following...

PC Requirements

  • 2 GB RAM
  • dual-core processor
  • high-speed internet connection
  • Windows Vista or above
  • Internet Explorer 8 or above

The solution does none of this checking before installation. The requirements are tighter than the system needs so as to limit the scope of support during roll-out (i.e. the Helpdesk hasn't yet been trained to troubleshoot on a WinXP, Chome, or a Mac... requirements could be relaxed over time).

I'm having trouble translating this into plainer language. Does anyone have any suggestions? Can we safely say that our everyday user is comfortable with the concept of RAM, and we just need to show them how to find the answer?

  • Really you have software that states Vista or above is required but it will load on XP and Mac? You still have XP in your company? You do know XP is no longer supported?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


My advice would be:

  1. Have the software verify any absolute requirements. i.e. things that will stop the software from working.
  2. Let the user worry about verifying performance requirements. Presumably the requirements like 2GB of RAM are not an absolute rule, but the software will work poorly without this. If that is the case, just give the information, and it is up to the user to judge the acceptability of their system. There is no practical way to explain a 2GB RAM requirement to someone who doesn't know what RAM is (And remember: only a small subset read the documentation anyway).
  3. Don't introduce fake requirements. Instead, treat a support problem as a support problem. Preferably, the support desk should be trained to support more systems, but if that is not possible, say something like "Support is provided on Windows Vista and above" rather than claiming it only works on those systems.

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