How To Check If Your Processor Supports PAE, NX And SSE2 For Windows 8 Installation

Windows 8 has just been released officially on 26th of October, 2012. When we go to Microsoft Windows 8 page, we get a straight forward Windows 8 system requirements from Microsoft. You will see the following system requirements:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

If we look closely, we’ll see that we need a processor that supports PAE, NX and SSE2. What are these and how we can check whether these are present in our processor or not? Let’s go through the explanation first.

PAE stands for Physical Address Extension. Normally a 32-bit of Windows install will only be able to access 4GB of RAM while essentially using only 3GB. PAE enables 32-bit processors to access more than 4GB RAM.

NX stands for No Execute page protection. NX processor bit allows the processor to help and safeguard PC from malicious attacks from hackers and crackers. For NX bit to be set, PAE needs to be enabled first.

SSE2 stands for Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 which is a standard on processors for a long time. This will enhance the security of your hardware against malicious software attacks by viruses and other malware.

These three are actually a hard core requirement for Windows 8 installation. If anyone of them is missing, Windows 8 will not install on your computer. So this has to be taken care even before you buy a new license of Windows 8.

There are two methods to check if these three processor features are supported by your CPU or not. In the end we will also try to enable these features.

There is a small portable utility called CoreInfo which lets you see whether these features are supported by your processor or not. Let’s go step by step and check our processor for supported features.

  1. Download CoreInfo tool from Sysinternals. (Direct download link here)
  2. Extract the zip file and open Coreinfo.exe through command prompt. If you double click the executable file, it will open and disappear. So you will need to open command prompt and run the exe file from there. An easy way to open the file in command prompt is to first open the command prompt, drag and drop the file to the command prompt window and hit enter.
  3. This will open a list of features supported by your CPU. You will need to find these three features PAE, NX and SSE2 and make sure they are supported.
    Checking for compatible processor features for Windows 8 installation
  4. The star (*) in front of each feature in the list will show that your processor supports these features and Windows 8 can be installed on your PC.

If you are unsure of anything, just download the upgrade assistant for Windows 8 and run it. It will clearly tell you whether you can install Windows 8 on your computer or not.


42 responses to “How To Check If Your Processor Supports PAE, NX And SSE2 For Windows 8 Installation”

    • I am trying to install a software and its giving me an error that sse2 in not running. My processor is SSE2 compatible as the same software was installed and was working successfully. how can i run sse2 instructions?
      Software Check for a running sse2check.exe process while installing.

    • Yes! when you go to the Sources directory in Windows 8 DVD, you will find another setup.exe. Run it and it will not check for PAE/NX or SSE2. Enjoy 🙂

      • I don’t think this will work for long. I’ve read somewhere that if you install Windows 8 using the second setup file, after the first restart, it will give you 0x0000005b Blue Screen of Death!

  1. I have downloaded the tool. When I try to open it, it just comes and then disappears. What is the problem?

  2. By the way I have tested it on my Pentium 4 processor and interestingly it supports all the three features for Windows 8 installation 😀

    • Interesting :). I’ve seen some Pentium M laptops which don’t support one of these features. All latest processor supports all these and many more hardware features.

    • @ Windows8Geek > The late models of Pentium 4 (since the 5x0J and 5×1 series , both released in october 2004) and the late models of Pentium M (also since october 2004) support the three features required by Windows 8.

      Unfortunately, all earlier x86 processors (apart from AMD Opteron or Athlon 64) don’t support NX bit, which means than most Pentium 4 and Pentium M are not compatible with Windows 8 : the last version of Windows compatible with these old processor is Windows 7.

      • Thank you Usman for the good explanation.
        My Intel Pentium 4 Processor is from 2003, so that’s probably the reason why NX isn’t supported in my case.
        Does that mean now that Windows 8 won’t install at all or do you think that i could install windows 8 but with an inferior security base?
        I’ve got 3 GB Dual channel DDR2 533MHz, Intel Pentium 4 3 GHz and 800 MHz FSB, which was very fast at that time too 😛 Thanks for reply 😀

        • Definitely it used to be a great technology a few years back but now it is becoming obsolete. You should think of upgrading your computer :-).

          Since this is a hardware requirement from Windows 8 and Windows 8 activation depends upon these features, I don’t think it is possible to install Windows 8 without PAE, NX and SSE2 support.

          • hey USMAN, i just found out that I can manually activate the NX support in the BIOS configuration. when I run the coreinfo, it confirms the NX support 🙂 unfortunately the Windows 8 upgrade assistant does not. any ideas?

  3. Just this update: Unfortunately that is not so simple regarding the Pentium M.

    As Intel shows in the Pentium M 765 (SL7V3) has NX support, but that only happens in conjunction with a Intel 915 chipset (resulting in a CPUID 6D8 – family/model/stepping). I have 2 of those processors in different notebooks with Intel i855GM/GME chipsets and that results in a CPUID 6D6, without NX support).

  4. Thanks for the following important info. I was stuck bcoz letters used to disappear from black screen. Now I know how to copy them. Thanks. I have PAE, PAT, PSE, PSE36 PGE, SS and VME starred. OK for Win 8? Let me know:
    2.Extract the zip file and open Coreinfo.exe through command prompt. If you double click the executable file, it will open and disappear. So you will need to open command prompt and run the exe file from there. An easy way to open the file in command prompt is to first open the command prompt, drag and drop the file to the command prompt window and hit enter.

    • Francisco,

      If SL7V3 really did have pae and NX it would work on the i855pm board through modding the steeping b1 to c0 but how can this be if there is already a sloppy code for pm765.bin that can be burned into the BIOS. If the chip really had these features for windows 8 then it would have a dual-urn ability to have D8/C0 hex modded, otherwise your theory is incorrect. I could test it if I had the chip as I modded the pm745 that had a C0 stepping already from the code of the BIOS which only supported the d6 version. It may be possible for the chip to be able to accept d6 and d8 but this is has to be tested!

  5. Andrew,

    IMHO it looks that the SL7V3 (Pentium M 765) has a CPUID 06D6h and, contrary to what Intel shows in the link I mentioned, doesn’t have NX/PAE support.

    The SL7SL (Pentium M 770) has CPUID 06D8h and NX/PAE support.

    I placed a Pentium M 715 in a Intel 915 chipset (where a M 770 has NX/PAE support) and it didn’t show NX/PAE. I didn’t bother testing with the M 765 because I’m totally convinced the result would be the same.

  6. It might be the same as I am trying to get SL7V3 right now and have engineered SL8U6 pm745 to work so maybe it could but has yet to be tested

  7. Is it possible that I can have the exact same processor than in the screenshot, but it does not support NX?

    • I don’t think so because all modern processors support the NX bit. An i5 processor is still a modern processor supporting many advanced functions. Can you tell me some details about your processor?

  8. Turns out Intel 765 SL7V3 does not have PAE or NX!!! I fully tested the microcode and attempted to change it to D8 and it does not have this feature. Intel basically lied their ass off about this chip having xd-bit/PAE/NX. If you got an old man laptop and are interested in getting SL8U6 1.8Ghz to play full-speed unchained in the intel 855pm board let me know I made that work with windows 8 because it does have PAE and NX!

    • Thanks, Andrew. Unfortunately I have 2 SL7V3 … and no SL8U6.
      If I find one of those I’ll ask for your help. Regards.

    • Hi Andrew,

      I’ve got a laptop that has an Intel 855pm board. Could you explain how you got the SL8U6 to run at full speed and work with win8?


      • To get SL8U6 to run at full speed with the toshiba m15 just email me a reply with your email and I will send you the BIOS hidden microcode update which has the microcode to enable this chip at full speed, otherwise if you have some sort of different laptop like a HP or Dell I can just email you the microcode but it’s up to you to translate it into a different computer’s BIOS is they do not offer a BIOS upgrade for your machine past 2005.

        • I have a Thinkpad T41. The last BIOS update they did was a single one in 2007, and the release notes for that one mentioned it handled usb and AMD video chip support. I’ve got the last update for 2006 on mine.

  9. The SL8U6 1.8Ghz has a copyright logo of 05′ meaning it was made in 2005 a year before the 2006 duo cores came out so you can’t go wrong with that cpu for 400fsb.

  10. I have installed windows 8 on a computer. After installation I have used coreinfo to check whether there is (*) in front of NX, PAE and SSE2 or not. But I observed there was (-) in front of NX and PAE while (*) in front of SSE2. Now what does this mean. As you told if there is (*) then it means the system supports the bits.

  11. bro i have done that PAE, and SSE2 supports but NX is not showing * what i shall do now

    1.87 GHZ RAM 1GB






  13. i have a pc p4 1gb ram 2.00ghz
    when i try to install win 8 the error code :0x0000005d will come whats that

    • Have you verified that your computer supports NX, PAE and SSE2 features? The error 0x0000005D comes when your computer doesn't support one of these features or the feature is disabled in BIOS. Make sure you have these features enabled in BIOS if they are supported.

  14. ——————
    System Information
    Time of this report: 6/12/2013, 22:49:08
    Machine name: MANOJNABINA
    Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2 (2600.xpsp_sp2_qfe.100216-2016)
    Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
    System Manufacturer: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
    System Model: To Be Filled By O.E.M.
    BIOS: Default System BIOS
    Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz (2 CPUs)
    Memory: 2038MB RAM
    Page File: 864MB used, 2548MB available
    Windows Dir: C:\WINDOWS
    DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
    DX Setup Parameters: Not found
    DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.2180 32bit Unicode


    will my computer support windows 8 sir plz and how to know wether my system supports PAE, NX, and SSE2 sir .
    thank you.

    • You had quite a huge comment. I had to trim it to fit here. You will need to follow the directions given in the article in order to know if you can install Windows 8 or not. If you are unsure, you can simply download Windows upgrade assistant which will do the job automatically for you.

  15. There is 2nd setup.exe file within \Sources\ directory on the Win8 installation media, which doesn’t check for PAE/NX/SEE2…

  16. it shows that is compatible with pae and sse2, but its not compatible with nx!!what i should do???plz help me!!!!

    • If nx is not compatible, you’ll need to replace your system with a compatible one. But if you still want to install Windows 8 without nx, you may go to \sources\ directory and run setup.exe from there. It will not look for the compatibility and install Windows right away.