Tablets

Is Microsoft shooting its other foot with Windows 7 on netbooks?

With the release of Microsoft Windows 7 set to occur in 2009, it leads one to contemplate the possibility of Windows 7 as a netbook operating system. Greg Shultz considers whether Microsoft's OS plans for the next generation of netbooks makes any sense.

Back in 1997, I acquired an HP Jornada H/PC running Windows CE 2.0 and began writing a weekly column for Microsoft's Windows CE site. The Jornada was a great little computer that basically looked like a miniature laptop and was about as big as an oversized checkbook. It came with a touch screen and a pen-like stylus that you could use like a mouse pointer, and it had a nice little keyboard on which you could actually type comfortably. The screen was good sized and sported a 640 by 480 resolution with 256 colors.

The system came with Microsoft Pocket Office, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Access, Pocket PowerPoint, and Pocket Outlook, which allowed me to really use the system for work. The Jornada had a built-in modem, and Windows CE came with Pocket Internet Explorer, so I could even surf the Internet.

As you can imagine, in that day and age being able to slide a computer in my shirt pocket and head off to wherever I wanted was pretty heady stuff. However, after about a year, the novelty wore off and I put it aside in favor of a more powerful, yet larger, Toshiba laptop running Windows 98 Second Edition.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Netbooks

I always knew that the technology would evolve and that miniature laptops with as much promise as the Jornada had in its day would once again surface. That is why I've been watching the emergence of the netbooks very closely.

In 2007 Asus unveiled the ASUS Eee PC, and the netbook revolution began to take shape. Soon Dell and HP launched netbook computers, and others joined the fray. While versions of Linux appeared to be the OS of choice for netbooks, mainly because Vista was too much of a resource hog, Microsoft decided to keep Windows XP in play and keep Linux from gaining a stronghold in the netbook market. To that end, Microsoft started formulating deals with the netbook OEMs to make it affordable for them to put XP on netbooks and keep the prices down. In fact, a recent article from the Wall Street Journal revealed that Microsoft is charging less than $15 for Windows XP on a netbook system.

I'd really like to get a netbook, but I'm not ready to jump to Linux yet, and the thought of buying a 2009 computer running a 2001 operating system just doesn't seem right to me. As such, I've been waiting to see how Microsoft will address the netbook market with Windows 7.

In this week's Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, let's consider whether Microsoft's OS plans for the next generation of netbooks makes any sense.

So what about Windows 7?

Back in February, Microsoft announced its main line of Windows 7 SKUs, as shown in Table A.

Table A: The Windows 7 SKU lineup

SKU

Key Features

Starter Three concurrent applications, ability to join a Home Group, improved Taskbar and Jump Lists.
Home Basic Unlimited applications, ability to join a Home Group, improved Taskbar and Jump Lists, Live thumbnail previews and enhanced visual experience, advanced networking support, and Mobility Center. (emerging market only)
Home Premium Unlimited applications, ability to join a Home Group, improved Taskbar and Jump Lists, Live thumbnail previews and enhanced visual experience, advanced networking support, Mobility Center, Aero Glass and advanced windows navigation, easy networking, improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To, Multi-touch and improved handwriting recognition.
Professional Unlimited applications, ability to join a Home Group, improved Taskbar and Jump Lists, Live thumbnail previews and enhanced visual experience, advanced networking support, Mobility Center, Aero Glass and advanced windows navigation, easy networking, improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To, Multi-touch and improved handwriting recognition, ability to join a Domain, Encrypting File System, and Location Aware Printing.
Ultimate & Enterprise Unlimited applications, ability to join a Home Group, improved Taskbar and Jump Lists, Live thumbnail previews and enhanced visual experience, advanced networking support, Mobility Center, Aero Glass and advanced windows navigation, easy networking, improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To, Multi-touch and improved handwriting recognition, ability to join a Domain, Encrypting File System, and Location Aware Printing, BitLocker, Direct Access, BranchCache, and AppLocker.

While this lineup is very similar to the Vista SKUs, Microsoft has switched the two bottom-line offerings. In Vista, Starter was for emerging markets and Home Basic was for low-end OEM systems. In Windows 7, Starter is designated for low-end OEM systems and Home Basic is for emerging markets.

Starter

Of course, netbooks are considered low-end OEM systems, and as such Starter has been designated as the operating system for netbooks. While on the surface this sounds reasonable, as soon as you read the first line in the description of key features -- three concurrent applications -- all reason simply goes out the window. 

My first thought was that it was a typo, a mistake; someone had simply misplaced the emerging market only label. Surely, Windows 7 Starter was supposed to be for emerging markets and Windows 7 Home Basic was for low-end OEM systems/netbooks.

However, no correction has ever been issued, and the notion of Microsoft forcing Starter on netbook consumers has been allowed to pick up steam. Pretty bad move on Microsoft's part, especially, when you consider that a recent report issued by the Gartner market research firm predicts that the netbook market will grow by 81 percent this year.

I thought that they were bent on improving their image with Windows 7.

Of course, Microsoft appears to be thinking that the Windows 7 version of the Anytime Upgrade feature will save the day. People will just buy a netbook with Starter on it and then turn around and upgrade to Home Premium.

But how well will a netbook run Home Premium? Glance back at the Home Premium features listed in Table A. Is the idea of running Home Premium on a netbook a sound one? Or, is it another Vista-capable debacle in the making?

Now, take another look at the Home Basic features listed in Table A. To me, the Home Basic features just seem like they would be a perfect fit for a netbook. Without a doubt, I'd buy a netbook running Windows 7 Home Basic and would finally have the opportunity to relive the excitement and freedom that I first experienced long ago with my HP Jornada H/PC running Windows CE 2.0.

What's your take?

Do you have a netbook? Are you planning on getting a netbook? Would you buy a netbook with Windows 7 Starter on it? Does a netbook running Windows 7 Home Basic make more sense to you? Do you think Microsoft is making a mistake? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

TechRepublic's Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report newsletter, delivered every Friday, offers tips, news, and scuttlebutt on Vista and Windows 7, including a look at new features in the latest version of the Windows OS. Automatically sign up today!

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

60 comments
barry
barry

Very big mistake. I have an Asus Eee running XP Home and it's a good fit. No way would I buy one with a Starter version - what a joke. Totally self-destructive move by Microsoft once again. On the other hand, this should give Linux a foot hold in this 'emerging' market, and that's a golden opportunity.

Redsheep
Redsheep

Just try it. You wont be disappointed. All your office docs open, you get your internet without fear of Active-X, auto-update, graphics, sound, programs to control them all PLUS a good old command line interface if you really want to be geeky.

jon_saxon
jon_saxon

Frankly, I am not worried about Microsoft shooting its other foot. I am worried about Microsoft introducing yet another product that is a huge step backwards. Vista appears to be Microsoft's best marketing campaign for Linux. I wonder if that is what they intended...

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Windows 7 would even be on Netbooks. Is that not just an assumption?

mgyoshi
mgyoshi

It makes a heck lot more sense to put Home Basic on netbooks, first of all vista starter was originally designated for emerging markets, and home basic for lower end computers, but apparently microsoft is taunting our struggling economy and is hurting us by putting windows 7 starter on netbooks. if they don't take that decision back and switch things around (have the starter edition of windows 7 for emerging markets, and home basic for lower end computers) if they don't make that move then they will seriously crash and burn windows 7 and their reputation. i mean i know our economy is low right now but c'mon is microsoft trynna say we're now the "emerging market"? that's why we deserve a crippled piece of an operating system? :P microsoft get your crap together otherwise people will wanna throw tomatoes and bananas at you like at a very sucky concert.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What is the netbook OS of choice? In TechRepublic's netbook reviews we have seen Linux, Windows XP and Windows Vista. I have not doubt we will seen netbooks with Windows 7 since Microsoft has made it clear that is part of their plan. But which version will be on those netbooks? Would you buy a netbook with Windows 7 Starter on it? Does a netbook running Windows 7 Home Basic make more sense to you? What is the best OS for netbooks and, in the end, does it matter what Microsoft says it should it be?

mailboweb
mailboweb

If they can cut back an other 100$ of the netbook price, then i wold consider buying one with Start Edition. Why not? To enter the Internet, play an movie or an album or some pictures. I would buy an other netbook if they can cut cost by 100$. If it is just for fun use then it would make sence to release an Stater Edition.

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

At least someone else here has a brain! As I stated in an above post, too many people aren't doing any research and just taking someone's obvious opinion as "fact.

mailboweb
mailboweb

I wouldn't trade in Vista for linux at any rate. Not if I am an mainstream user that needs appliance and not an computer history lesson. Vista has always been the precursor to windows 7 or what ever they will call it. What ever some of you say about Vista. It works. Maybe not for all the professionals but for mainstream users it works great, and looks nice. I have been using XP sinds it has been leaked and I was very happy they released Vista. It was installed on my laptop. For personal use I use Vista and never looked back everything works so fare. What does not work well I fix, but thats so little. What is it that you don't like about Vista or Windows 7? You people don't know and that's what keeps it all back. Its still the people vs commerce, but the people are looking at it the wrong way.

swats
swats

I'm running the Windows 7 beta on an Acer Aspire One. It works perfectly. Every feature including Aero flows as though it was designed for my netbook. Microsoft actually got it right and they're gonna do WHAT??????

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

You say: "microsoft is taunting our struggling economy and is hurting us by putting windows 7 starter on netbooks" Where did you get that information from?

mailboweb
mailboweb

They could also use Windows Mobile to run the netbooks. Multi threat, Internet, Office mobile, Multimedia and other mobile software.. Or Windows Starter with runs you normal PC applications but just three at a time, runs an oem version of mobile center and other oem created software. Hard choice but do you need an net book or an laptop? Net book is cheaper.

twinjenz
twinjenz

I agree with those comments and with Vista being such bloat ware. XP Home edition on Netbook. Is that the best they can do.? And the cheek to lower the price down are M soft loosing or lost the plot after the useless Vista bloatware.? Just proves there faith in Windows 7 which appears zilch more bloatware.?

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

If you took the time to read the linked MS website, you would see nothing that says Starter is the designated OS for netbooks. What you would read is that Starter is for "limited distribution" only. https://partner.microsoft.com/US/productssolutions/windows/wiwindows7 If it is "limited distribution", how can it be the designated OS for netbooks? The "writer" gives no links to where he got his information that says it is. Like I have said a million times, do your own research. Read things for yourself. Do not trust what someone else writes or says as fact, especially if they do not say or linkn where they are getting their "information." In fact, if you read the other OS versions, they all include Microsoft Mobility Center. The only one that doesn't is Starter. What is a netbook? A netbook is a small portable laptop computer designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet. Now I ask you, if Starter is the designated OS for netbooks, why would it be the only version that does NOT come with mobility center? Sounds to me like someone is trying to get a fire started using BS, opinion, and guesses.

chris
chris

For some, a netbook is just a way to do some quick things (would love a "convertible" one so I could read it like a kindle. Others want it to "be" a laptop. How stupid is that? But, I would bet, most people are of the latter. They shouldn't buy one, but it's kitsch. What really gets me is people who say "get the windows one" because it's more familiar, when MS have made it as non-familiar as linux is. Vista is so different, and yet people accept that difference. I don't get it

enfield_john
enfield_john

All a netbook really is, is an underpowered, undersized laptop. I've used them and kept wishing I had a fully functional laptop. I really don't do much computing on the go any way, so I don't really have much use for a laptop either. The laptops I've had have spend most of their time sitting on my desk anyway. It seems that actually taking your laptop or netbook anywhere just results in more frequent repairs. They really aren't durable enough. I suppose I could shell out a couple thousand or so and get one of those "toughbooks" like what the military supposedly uses, but I don't know if I'd use it enough to justify the expense.

himmelsmi
himmelsmi

It should just be home and pro just like xp micro**** already messed up on vista and they are about to do the same on 7 i mean look at mac os x leopard There is leopard fir desktops then there is server no Home, Pro or anything of that sort same with ubuntu. i think they need to fire gates and go back to xp

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

Having been playing with computers since I was a nipper, but what is this article talking about? SKU - the only time I have used this word was in retail and it meant Stock Keeping Unit. Three concurrent applications - does this mean that the OS is limited to a max of 3 windows at any time? ability to join a Home Group - what is a 'home group' and why is it of benefit to me? improved Taskbar - is this Microsoft's definition of the word 'improved'? Jump Lists - what are 'Jump Lists'? enhanced visual experience - does this mean anything tangible? Les.

tkitzmiller
tkitzmiller

Using Windows 7 Starter version seems to defeat the whole reason for buying a netbook. A large percentage of netbooks will be corporate travelers who will want to be able to get some work done on the road. Why not just use your Blackberry instead?

geekydewd
geekydewd

I bought two netbooks. I got a Dell Inspiron Mini-9 with Ubuntu for $199 during the President's weekend sale for myself. My friend, who is a pilot for a major airline, liked it so much that I bought a birthday present for her, a nine-inch Acer Inspire I found on sale more recently for $229. The Acer came with the same processor, more memory and XP Home. The Dell boots quickly and is responsive. The Acer takes forever to boot, despite my tuning its startup, and is downright sluggish. My recommendation? If you don't need a Windows-only application, run Linux. My friend is not a "computer person." I will suggest that she try the Dell for one or two trips and if she can adjust to Linux, I will install it on the Acer as well. That brings me to the main point of my rant. People post things like, "Why buy a netbook when I can buy a full-featured 15-inch notebook for $100 more?" That argument completely misses the point of a netbook. A netbook is the perfect travel companion, something my pilot friend immediately recognized. Weekend ski trip? Put one in the glovebox. It is perfect for checking weather forecasts and snow reports. Flying? One fits in your purse or backpack and is perfect for checking e-mail and flight schedules. Unlike a 15-inch notebook, a netbook tucks into whatever bag you are already packing. A full-size notebook requires you to pack another bag. A netbook is all about being networked, being able to communicate any time, anywhere. Recognizing this, Microsoft proposes using the "Home" version of its operating system, the version with crippled networking functionality, for netbooks. Hello??!! Netbook??!! Network??!! Ding! Ding! Ding! Shoots self in foot, indeed!

DComander101x
DComander101x

MS should just create a stable DOS based variant of windows 7, that has patches for the old viruses, and the DLL hell patch, as the netbooks will never be able to run windows vista or windows 7 premium, though if MS wants to be acquired by IBM, thats fine with me, at least IBM will be able to develop OSes that the customers want.

rlem
rlem

I also believe that the starter version of Windows would be inadequate. We currently have a netbook with XP Home. It is adequate for most tasks the we use on the move. I could not accept anything less than the proposed Home Premium. The restrictions of the XP Home version have always been a pain when trying to service people that got it with their machines. Microsoft has over-reached themselves with the many variations of Vista. I have been sticking with XP Professional in all my systems and, to the extent possible, for new client installs. To get the same functionality in Vista, the Ultimate version is required. I recently got a new, high end notebook that came with Vista Home Premium. I was sorely disappointed. I knew there were differences between the it and the Ultimate but not to the extent I found. Microsoft has not posted a very detailed list of differences. They are more subtle than the list they put up. The whole structure Vista is aimed to increasing the cost of the replacement OS for XP to an excessive level. With Windows 7, they now seem to be raising the ante further by making the Home Basic version for "emerging markets only". What MS needs to do for Widows 7 is go back to the same version levels as XP: Starter, Home (Premium), and Professional (Ultimate). Then they need to be honest about the price increases of the relative versions. They certainly sold enough of those!

doomdreamer
doomdreamer

Microsoft, like any business, likes to make money. They are still selling their 2001 OS because it was/is pretty solid. Infact, it does almost everything people want it to do, still. If/When starter pops up on laptops and people find the "3 Concurrent applications" to be a problem, Microsoft will either patch it or release a new version (ala Media Center XP release). Also, after speaking with a Microsoft Rep at a conferance, I belive they will have a whole different version of Windows (Like Windows Mobile) for Netbooks.

ShoePhone
ShoePhone

It reminds me of the "Vista-capable sticker" which lead to very disappointed customers. Windows 7 Home Basic makes much more sense.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

The Full Quote: These engineering investments allow small notebook PCs to run any version of Windows 7, and allow customers complete flexibility to purchase a system which meets their needs. For OEMs that build lower-cost small notebook PCs, Windows 7 Starter will now be available in developed markets. For the most enhanced, full-functioning Windows experience on small notebook PCs, however, consumers will want to go with Windows 7 Home Premium, which lets you get the most out of your digital media and easily connect with other PCs. The comment 'will now be available' - reads (to me) that it would be up to the note /netbook builder to choose that OS version to ship with and not MS to dictate it's use. So any decision on what is released with the hardware has nothing to do with MS. It will be upto the consumer to see what the note/netbook builders release. There are many full-size notebook options out there that are also very affordable and portable. Ask yourself what you want your computer to do, balancing those needs with how mobile you want it to be. There isn?t a one-size-fits-all option. ? Brad Brooks The focus of your artice should therefore be focusing on the system builders rather than MS, who are just giving an option to the builders. Regardless, even Win7 starter is better than the ability to run one app at a time on a device such as an iPhone, which is what apple are saying is the alternative. Edit - added apple comment I can see the tumbleweed....

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

is not an official announcement on the basic version only being offered on netbooks. Worse still when MS officially say: Windows 7 has trimmed down to only 3 different versions for everyone in developed countries: Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise. Windows 7 Home Basic and Starter editions are actually available in emerging markets, but they "will not legally be available for sale in the U.S., Western Europe, Japan, and other developed countries."

ctsmain
ctsmain

while it's true these netbooks are good for keeping your cost down they are not as functional as a laptop for the most part. everything I personally have seen of them is even with windows XP home on the ones I have seen it's still a really watered down version of it. Most business users or IT guys would still benefit more from a good fully functional laptop. The netbook is a good, really portable, ultra light PC option but it's more like a cross between the PDA's of days gone by and a laptop. or for lack of a better comparison a laptop with a few less accessability options. Great idea for someone that doesn't want to spend as much as they would on a laptop and still be portable but not functionally appropriate for everyone. They are geared more for end users than tech's, but they could be functional for either one depending on personal and or job related needs.

ref
ref

I guess you must be in the glass bubble or work for MS. I consider myself to have been beat up, robbed, whipped, keel hauled, bruised, emotionally scarred, etc. by MS products. I guess my point is that we tech types feel like we know MS only too well and we see the same old crap. I recently happened upon an old web page from early this decade. "Windows XP is FASTER, manages resources better, makes it easier to run your apps,..." A whole generation of users has been had and it blows techs who are in the know away. With Windows 7, it appears the sick, gut-wrenching plot continues. Let's face it. Most techs must be from Missouri -- the show me state. MS has beat us up so badly we need 4 or 5 years of pain free computing to get over it and the hype MS comes up with -- like the smelly pure Vista crap, crap, crap has left a bad bad stench in our nostrils. I have written before that one of my client's machines runs a rotator contraption with DOS and Windows 3.1. It takes 8 seconds to boot into DOS and in 4 more seconds, Windows 3.1 is fully loaded and ready to run. All this is with 2MB or RAM and a 486DX-66 processor. It runs for years at a time without problems. Oh for the day... R, Good Things Computers, Warsaw, VA

twinjenz
twinjenz

I know of quite a number of people who dont like [ Accept.] Vista as its bloatware 2.3 odd Gb of space. A number I know of are migrating back to Win XP. Unsure if Windows 7 is going to be answer as still about same space requirements as Vista although more friendly to use.

ctsmain
ctsmain

I have used both laptops and Desktops since 1999 and have had seemingly quite the oposite impression that you mentioned here. being an IT Administrator I have to do a lot of technical writing,training documents, equipment inventories, site maps, new equipment proposals, cost reports, project management reports, and emails, emails,emails. Now that's just the administrative part of my job. I still have to run like a chicken with my head cut off most days to do the hands on work that my job and title require. So for me a note book or laptop is an invaluable and very useful tool. I use mine when i am away from the office more than even the desktop at work.I can do more and double check my work for mistakes better when i am not at work because of always being interupted by someone needing something else done. it's just a little hard to stay focused when your office door is ALWAYS swinging open or another ticket is poping up in your email every few minutes. The worry over breaking the system during normal use or transport that my companies have thought about in advance are covered by the Complete care warranty that every portable system I have had covers. As for not wanting that to worry about the system tearing up Dell, (and I am sure others) do have the tough books (ATG all terrain grade, or XTG eXtreeme Fully Ruggedized grade) systems. Some of them have different features that even some desktops don't normally have, such as touch screens, solid state hard drives and finger print scanners. and with the newer models coming out now all of those may even be considered "old technology" so there is deffinately a market and purpose for most laptops and always a use, otherwise why would those companies go to all the trouble of designing and manufacturing the systems in the first place? I also own several of my own portable systems as I don't always like being tied to my desk at home. Some days i can do just as much sitting out on the deck or in my living room with my children while helping them with thier homework. It's all a personal need or lack there of that justifies your need of a portable but they are deffinately worth the time and effort it takes to get them in the first place. My main personal portable is leaps and bounds better and faster than any desktop I have or have ever owned and I have just as much space on it as I do on any desktop. Just another view on your observation.

tedj
tedj

I'm the IT pro for a small business so I'm on call 24x7 to support everything from a user with a cantankerous printer to the credit card process and phone system. I have a Dell Mini that I can grab on the way out the door. It runs Windoze but supports my VPN software and can use Bluetooth to connect to by Blackberry for connectivity. Just this week I was dropping my daughter off at piano lessons when I received a message that the ERP was not allowing POs to be entered (something of an important process). I was able to pull to the side of the road, boot the laptop, make a connection to the Blackberry, connect into my system and fix the issue within 10 minutes. I was 20 minutes from home and my WAN connected laptop. Netbook = freedom while maintaining high service levels!

RipVan
RipVan

I'm glad I got off of that, I too complained, just like many posters on this thread. It's nice not to worry about it now, and just read about the frustrations of others.

Slayer_
Slayer_

...now. 3 concurrent applications, wow, that 30 processes in task manager just won't do. So we get Explorer... an svchost and the "system" process. You can now do nothing but browse folders. If you want to run a program, you have to close explorer first. Unless they mean user defined processes... Cause then I'm gonna make the System account usable and login as that :)

rlcallaway
rlcallaway

I have maintained XP on all of my computers and as a consultant virtually all of the clients I encounter are also still on XP (Professional. I need to upgrade at least 3 of my computers and have been waiting for Windows 7 but from what I am reading it sounds like all MS has done is re-label Vista and is retaining that same ridiculous set of versions. I presume they will also continue their outrageous price gouging. What should I do now? Do I bite the bullet and go with Vista Ultimate? Do I wait for Windows 7 and go with Home Premium? Win 7 Professional seems way over done. Should I move to Linux? I have used Linux before and was only marginally satisfied. Help!!

pmorris
pmorris

I started out with a B\W Cassiopeia, moved to a Dell Axim running CE 2 (with a foldable keyboard), and now am using an Asus EEE pc 1000. I wouldn't even consider running Windows on this machine. The Ubuntu distribution has everything I need - and the my two MUST HAVE windows applications run fine under Wine. I have a very bitter taste in my mouth from finding out that I couldn't updrade the operating system on my Dell Axim - and it was Microsoft's fault not Dell's. I don't know why the author is so hesitant to try Linux. The worst that can happen is you erase it and go back to Windows. BTW these netbook manufacturers are going to have to learn that touch typists need normal sized right shift keys. I remapped the up arrow on the Asus to get around this annoyance!

radio1
radio1

True windows XP was first released early this decade, But it wasn't even close to being a good operating system at that time. XP IMO got to be a good OS only after service pack 2 was released in late 2004. It as a whole has been developed for the last 8 years and now is the stable, easy to use OS that it is today. I will be happy to run an OS like that on my netbook rather than a bleeding edge wonder full of faults that uses way too many resources and has nothing to show for it. Yea it might be OK when M$ is done using the regular consumer to beta test it and finally releases SP1 and SP2 4 years down the road, but it will still use more resources and not offer any drastic improvements over its predecessor. Why is bigger and slower better? One day I hope M$ reverses this thinking and works on thinning out the bloatware and streamlines an OS to be smaller and faster and more secure. Just one dummy's opinion

blackepyon01
blackepyon01

For a student who would only use their netbook for office and to play their music, sure Win7 starter would be a cheap alternative. But for anybody else out there, like the rest of us, who like to multitask on anything that can run solitare, we are forced to buy up to at least home basic. Perosnally I would put Win7 Starter on the demo machines at computer shops so people would be less likely to want to shoplift them. I'd call it Windows 7 "Demo" version.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Use it or not. That is a choice in my book.

mailboweb
mailboweb

Soul?? conscience?? its commerce not war. There not killing people you know. And yes they do need to make money. Less profits made is more people on the streets. Last I heard: "Microsoft must lose 5500 employees due to net profit loss.." That's an fact, consider that too.

ref
ref

MS will price this junk and use agreements and contracts to force on the manufacturers exactly what they want to and we'll be buying 3 OS MS products for each netbook we buy. It's marketing. It's MS. You talk like you think they have a conscience or a soul. They have neither. Oh no. I've become a skeptic. And I swore I wouldn't do it. R, Good Things Computers, Warsaw, VA

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

the iPhone with the latest released OS can only run 1 app at a time. So what is the big deal?

ctsmain
ctsmain

no all FORCING businesses to upgrade will do is put more strain on each company's infrastructure that is running XP because then they'll lock it down so much that they can support any issues that can come up themselves in house and no longer have to worry about updates from microsoft. Most larger businesses won't upgrade until they feel the need they just find a work around for the whole "have to upgrade" issue. I have seen this at every large corporation i have worked for. Places like Dell,GE,Sprint, T-mobile, etc. will not upgrade when it's obvious that would be easier for them. Some of those i just mentioned still have some systems running on windows 2000 and server 2000 and that hasn't been supported for years now.

RipVan
RipVan

As soon as MS can get out a product stable enough to force business to upgrade, they will pull the XP rug out from under the feet of users. Money. That's just how they are. Their base is too inept to do anything about it. I don't mind. The view from here is comical.

chris
chris

I love running linux, but only because it's far more configurable (in terms of interface). I am more efficient on it. But, some things are harder to do (when you want to be compatible with winders users or apps). I use windows (XP) because I have to be compatible in some things, and run linux when I don;t PS I'd recommend Mandriva 2008.1 with KDE 3.5 if you can find it. Mandriva 2009 is running KDE 4 which is less mature at this point.

katebenison
katebenison

Unlike (probably) most of your readers, I've only been a technophile since I got my first laptop about 5 years ago. It was a Toshiba P35-S609 running Windows XP Home, and I soon learned how to love/hate it. Lately, the love part has pretty much won, and the machine is upgraded to XP Pro. After getting the first machine, I acquired a second, also a Toshiba running XP Pro, an almost supercompact with a 12" screen. Then, last December, I got an Ausus 1000HD running XP Home. I recently upgraded the RAM to 2 Gigs, and I think it's a terrific little machine. It's great for travel or using anywhere in the house, weighs nothing, and is the computer version of a pair of slippers (I do agree with pmorris about the right shift key, but KeyTweak lives!). I can't imagine why I would want to buy a similar machine with Vista or Windows 7 (or even Linux), when what I have works so well. All I'd get for the extra money would be a learning curve to wrestle with. Anyone considering a netbook should hustle out and get one with Windows XP now, while they're still available.

reisen55
reisen55

Technicians utilize FAR more features of an operating system than do standard users and even WE rely upon a tool kit of our favorite utilities to do our jobs. Most users and most businesses rely upon - THIS IS CRITICAL FOLKS - THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS and not JUST the operating system to actually DO STUFF. Like manage patients, update letters, send out email, etc, etc. VERY LITTLE of the operating system PER SE is actually used (keyboard work) in this way but the OPERATING SYSTEM MANAGES THESE THIRD PARTY APPLICATIONS ... and if it fails to do so properly, companies can go out of business. NOT PRICE FUNCTIONALITY FIRST. Netbooks are cute for trains, have nice features, lousy keyboard unless you type with 2 fingers and a miniature display.

Rich.ritter
Rich.ritter

Check a major store chain to see ... the cost of a basic desktop is $298 (no monitor, 2gig RAM, Win7Pro), notebooks start at $598 (13.3 video, P1.3, 3GDDR, 250SATA, HDMI, webcam, Win7HomePremium), XP Netbooks start at $288 (atom processor), Win7 Netbooks start at $298. Price-wise, the price point with a monitor of a desktop PC is less than a comparable notebook, if you are a savvy shopper. Netbooks are an option, and for a few extra $$ you can get Win7 (home/std)installed. rr

MPG187
MPG187

Yea, I have computers that can't run Vista or 7, they are < 1 GHz. I should still be able to put on a modern OS onto these machines.

ctsmain
ctsmain

While as with any operating system the first run of windows XP wasn't great it was still better at the time than windows 98 or 98 SE. which is what most people ran on at that time. I personally was having a good time with windows Millenium myself and refused to switch to XP myself because of it's size on the disk and at the time there still weren't any really large hard drives to hold bulky os's and any amount of data at all so i found a few tools and tweaks to keep windows ME running smooth and waited until Service pack 1 was released to upgrade to XP. By then there were larger hard drives and i could put all my data and such that i wanted to keep as well as the OS on the disk and still have space to use them. Vista however is such a resource hog that unless you have 4 gigs of ram and a couple 8 or 16 gig thumb drives plugged in along with a core 2 quad you won't see the speed you can get out of XP Pro sp3. this is the reason i am hanging on to my core2 duo system with XP pro and have no intention of upgrading to vista or windows 7. Until Microsoft can slim down all the resource intense background processes and apps that are running during normal operation, it's not worth doing unless you just like the pretty new look of vista and performance isn't an issue. I'll probably be working well with windows XP until such time Microsoft ceases to support it. But i'd rather have to hunt for Updates and deal any issues that only affect an older OS than to be forced to upgrade and everything run so much slower that i am not even happy using my systems any longer. One last thing I don't agree with the inferior title given to the portable systems. I mostly use a portable myself these days but it's an actual desktop replacement that both has the same or more memory, hard drive space, and video capabilities as most desktop systems have on them now days. maybe some of them out there are an inferior machine but there are some that are just as good as any desktop and in some cases better so to generalize them like that is a huge injustice. Not sure if that's a microsoft judgement or not but whom ever coined that whole title obviously wasn't thinking about the advancements in mobile computing that have been made as of late.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Laptops usually are more expensive then desktop and are limited...? Sorry, just another person using THEN instead of THAN, just peels the skin right from my torso!

radio1
radio1

I have used the same method. I even upgraded using just about the same philosophy as you. In fact i still have windows 2000 running on my personal box. It is barely a 1 gig processor and have 512 megs of ram with significant tuning. It runs better and quicker and more reliable than anyone I know of running vista. That includes A guy running it on a quad core with 4 gigs of ram. I must say though that I have xp pro on my laptop and am very pleased with it. I hate that M$ beta test on the public. Finish the OS before it is released. Yea there may need to be patches, but come on. It should be decent out the box.

shegeek72
shegeek72

I have 3 PCs: budget AMD dual-core running XP SP2, Intel i7 940 gamer quad w/Vista HP 32-bit and an Intel dual-core laptop w/Vista HP 64-bit. Vista is pretty and games are supposed to look better (due to DX10), but my workhorse is the XP system. It would behoove MS to make it's next OS an updated XP/XP clone. But Microsquash doesn't listen to its customer base, it's too big and has quashed its competiton to the point that it can do whatever it wants and its users will have no choice but to stick to XP or go with Vista-bloatware.

john3347
john3347

Although XP is considerably more stable (fewer crashes) than when initially forced down the public's throat, The backward step in user experience from Windows 2000 has improved very little, if any. There are now many more applications that run on XP than anything else - even Vista. Vista took this user experience a huge step further back with additional negatives when compared with even XP. The resource hog that Vista is illustrates one of these additional negatives. Windows 7 promises to improve on Vista in this, and almost every other area. I don't know how much more computer resources various editions (SKUs) of 7 requires, but if either enterprise or small business customers are going to take a liking to netbooks, something comparable to Windows 7 Pro would be required. The point of all this is this: Why is there even any discussion concerning Starter edition and Home Basic edition? Certainly Vista anything will not run on a netbook, but it does appear that Windows 7 is enough less of a resource hog than Vista that it might run satisfactorily on an upper end netbook. This is what we need to be pushing for...........a lean Windows 7 with good networking capability and a powerful enough netbook to run that system.

alex_stx
alex_stx

I've been in this business since 92 and have seen a lot of Microsoft desktop OS come and go... And, as a good measure, always lagged well behind... I've switched from Win 3.11fW to Win 95 OSR2 when Win 98 was making waves. Jumped to 98SE when XP was the new kid on the block. Finally, although I maintain a lot of systems running XP SP2 or SP3 and a handfull of Vista, I'm still using the good old 2K. Over the yers I got convinced that age makes wine better (only if U enjoy it with moderation)and you have to change the recipe over the time. I knew that Vista is a resource hog because I've tested it (like everybody else these days)on some of my client's systems so I've stayed away from it. But, for the first time I decided to give a bad mouth OS a try. And yeah, you've guessed it right, it works just fine on an old P4HT at 3.2GHz with just 1GB of DDR (400). But still... the main reason for me not owning a netbook yet is the OS. So we'll have to wait a little bit more and see how well 7 will perform in the IT arena and hope that the increased demand in netbooks will reveal more powerfull machines and smaller prices. (Surely Microsoft will adapt, as it always had in the past-and to end in an ironic but still true note: afterall viruses are the most adaptable live structures on Earth). Don't be a dummy, give it a try to see for yourself.

smeyers
smeyers

If your a Dummie then i guess most of us are!!! I totally agree with you. The fact that 7 takes up so many resources is reason enough not to want it on a laptop. I am finally happy that XP is running better then it ever has, but the fact that laptops usually are more expensive then desktops and are limited on speed would make you think that M$ would rationalize that. It seems all they care about is selling boxes and not how those boxes function. Nice reply radio1.

MPG187
MPG187

Yea see my post below. Starter is a joke, only three apps? Who are Micro$oft to tell you how many apps you can run at a time. Does that include the ones that site in the taskbar, cuz if it does then you could have three apps open before you even get a chance to do anything.