Bright future ahead for Windows 7 and netbooks

Craig Marcho, a support engineer with the Performance Team of Microsoft has blogged his recent experiences with Windows 7 on netbook. A pre-beta build of Windows 7 loaded on a netbook helped him to run Microsoft Outlook 2007, a number of internal applications, and IE 8 without any issues. Though Craig hasn't mentioned which version he installed, since it is a pre-beta build of Windows 7, I think we can assume it to be Windows 7 Ultimate.

He lists some of the main reasons why, and how users can benefit from the combination of Windows 7 and netbooks:

  • A smaller footprint of Windows 7 OS makes it ideal for netbooks since many netbooks have smaller SSDs, atom processors and only 1GB of RAM. Although these components can be upgraded, depending on the model, the base netbook hardware itself is capable of supporting Windows 7 installation.
  • Windows 7 can detect and configure the OS to take advantage of SSD technology. Windows 7 will not automatically configure defragmentation on SSD's as defragmenting a SSD repeatedly would waste the number of writes available to the memory blocks of the drive
  • Netbooks are viable in enterprise environment too. Some common usage scenarios being able to perform inventory tasks in warehouse carrying the portable netbooks, usage of Remote Desktop, handy in meetings and presentations, integrated 3G WWAN card which makes it possible to connect to a remote system when a Wireless Access Point is not nearby

Microsoft has already promised an improved boot up and shut down times, greater battery life, enhanced media capabilities, increased reliability, stability and security on netbooks with Windows 7 and plans to introduce a new, low-priced Windows Server version for netbooks in the next couple of months. Netbook manufacturers like Asus will be supporting Windows 7's native Mobile Broadband by introducing 3.5G-equipped PCs.

During last week at the company's annual fiscal meeting, Ballmer told financial analysts that Microsoft needs to carefully think through what kind of pricing and value to put in the netbook-specific SKUs versus full PC consumer SKUs, versus the business SKU.

In a more recent news, Stephen Elop, President of Microsoft's business division has mentioned at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference that Microsoft is developing packages that are unique to the netbook market and is devising the Wave 14 of Office products for netbooks.

Linux accounted for about 30% of netbook sales before November 2008 on a far smaller number of netbooks sold. The actual netbook sales began to happen in December 2008 in high numbers and a recent study by the NPD Group Research firm shows that more than 90% of netbooks sold in November, December, and January shipped with Windows on them.

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I have HP Mini 2133 (the early version with VIA processor) which came with Vista. While it worked ok with Vista (without any UI candy though) I decided to install W7 beta on it. Works way way faster and the UI candy doesnt even slow it noticeably. However, turning off the UI candy increases the battery life by 30 minutes.

nah... They are trying to fix their mistake, but I don't think all the people that have changed to linux or OSX will go back to windows. Not to mention tons of people that will not upgrade because "they know how bad Vista was"...

luis mazza said,
Great that it runs great. But I just hope the price does not dim the true netbook star: the low price.

Ya, they should make a netbook Windows 7, like they did for tablet PCs, that are more compatible with netbooks, and still have good performance/reliability and nice visuals

so what's the demographic for netbooks, notebooks and desktops?
confused...

which one should i get?
i play guild wars, use the internets, a little bit of BT, yammering, twittering, some word, excel, powerpoint, acess
eclipse for editing php, html, js etc

mocax said,
so what's the demographic for netbooks, notebooks and desktops?
confused...

which one should i get?
i play guild wars, use the internets, a little bit of BT, yammering, twittering, some word, excel, powerpoint, acess
eclipse for editing php, html, js etc

My best guess:

I think that the demographic for netbooks are people who have desktops but want a computer on the go for Internet/email/IM/documents. They are also interested in light-weight mobility, but need to get work done on them and require a decent size keyboard.

Netbooks aren't really targeting gamers. Although guild wars may run fine on a lot of the higher end netbooks, the lack of an optical drive makes a lot of games non-playable (without..ahem, patching). Generally underpowered video cards, however. If you want to play games on your laptop, get a full sized one with dedicated video memory and a decent chipset.

Windows 7 beta seemed to run pretty well on my Samsung NC10 (1.6GHz atom/1GB ram/integrated intel graphics). All the GUI effects worked well and the OS was quite responsive. I had problems, however, with putting the laptop to sleep/waking up, hibernation didn't work properly, and some of the buttons to control the laptop (such as brightness controls, and speed/power saving throttling) did not work properly. If Samsung releases a driver set for Windows 7, I'll probably be upgrading. The video drivers for Vista/7 were not as advanced as the Windows XP drivers (or so I read online). This caused some lag in video playback that was unacceptable.

Using XP. Hopefully Samsung will have updated drivers for Windows 7 when it comes out.

artfuldodga said,
yeah, many people reported sleep issues, not only on netbooks... so i'd say this will be taken care of


Hmmm, no problems here on my Acer Aspire one (same general specs as the NC10).

Interesting... interesting (Server? Really?)

I'm not surprised that Win7 runs that much better on netbooks; a base install is about half that of Vista, so it's looking like there's a lot of bloat taken out (and that's even after the Windows Live stuff has been downloaded and installed).

What this sounds like is that they're changing tack a bit on their original assertion that they wouldn't need a special "netbook" edition of Win7, since all versions will run just fine on them. Indeed, technically they likely don't NEED a netbook version, but it's now sounding like they're scrambling to build a suitably-decontented SKU that will be more functional than the limited-to-3-concurrently-running-apps Basic, but less than Home Premium.

They might be looking for a different name, too, since calling it "Home" implies that these ultra-portables shouldn't leave the house...

BTW, has anybody determined any kind of useful definition of what a netbook actually IS?

A low priced version for the low priced netbook hardware makes sense, I guess most will offer the option of upgrading to other versions.

Suprised 7 plus apps run fine in 1GB, that's back to XP requirements.

Thunderbuck said,
Interesting... interesting (Server? Really?)


I think someone just made that up =P They probably meant "Windows Seven" not "Windows Server" - though even that is odd since there's no special "netbook version."

By the time Windows 7 will be out most netbook will be twice as powerful as 6 months ago.

I got Windows 7 beta on a 1GB, Intel E2200 with Intel GMA 950... runs like a charm to be honest and my dad loves it.

So netbooks in 6 months? easy.

Beastage said,
By the time Windows 7 will be out most netbook will be twice as powerful as 6 months ago.

I got Windows 7 beta on a 1GB, Intel E2200 with Intel GMA 950... runs like a charm to be honest and my dad loves it.

So netbooks in 6 months? easy.


Running great on my Acer Aspire One as well (hard disk model).

I think Vista glass was just very unoptimized feature and got fixed 2 years later, only when gfx chipsets got bigger and better. Now it's just a piece of cake.