There seems to be a competition to see how small one can make Windows 9x and have it still boot into a GUI. The latest salvo in this war reduces Win98SE to under 5 megs.
People brag about how fast Windows runs when you do this. Well, yeah! Look at the file listing and the most crowded directory is 28 entries. I’ve seen 1,000+ files in C:\Windows at times. Since FAT is very efficient when dealing with small numbers of files (MS themselves said in the DOS 5 manual to never put more than 100 files in a directory) but inefficient when not, it’s no wonder to me that Windows, cut down this much, can boot in seconds. A computer’s disk is its biggest bottleneck, and the FAT filesystem doesn’t help.

The only problem is, as far as I can tell, Windows cut this small has no networking capabilities or anything else interesting besides a GUI. Which raises the question: Whatcha gonna do with it now? These days, an OS without Internet connectivity and some means to print isn’t very useful to anyone. I know that eliminates two of the three reasons I wanted a computer in the first place.