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ACER Netbook too slow

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with WinXP SP3 Starter, no big issues with it, but I also do not use Google Chrome
or Firefox browsers. Only Opera 11.64 (at the moment) and IE8. The update cycles
with FF and Chrome have me very leery of using those on some of my systems. If
I get one going the way I want, I do NOT want an auto-update messing things up.
My oldest son also has one of the ZG5s, these are now some 4 years old, still going
quite well. I've considered Win7 on mine, and may still upgrade it. I also have a
tendency to boot mine into Slax 6.1.2, a small Slackware Linux based distribution.
Most things work well in Slax on my netbook, though connecting to my home WiFi
normally has to be done manually.
Anyhow, if you could find it, I would suggest installing Windows XP SP3 Starter or
Home...Starter will probably not be available readily since it was basically an OEM
install, if I remember correctly. But Home should be available from reliable sources.
As a second OS, if you are up to tinkering a bit, consider installing Slax to a USB
thumb drive, even a small 1 gig USB drive is plenty. If you still desire more bleeding
edge, especially in regards to FireFox, then take a look at Porteus...it's a small
Linux distribution that is based on Slax, but uses more recent Firefox releases.
Either of those 3 operating systems would be good for your netbook, and for a
web browser I would suggest Opera, I prefer version 11.64, but work is underway
on version 12.10 which I may try when "stable"...version 12.02 has not been as
well received by some members of Opera Community.
Even if you decide to stay with Windows 7, I would suggest uninstalling Chrome
and Firefox and using Opera instead. I have an older Compaq notebook with
Win7 Ultimate 32 bit, with IE9, but I use Opera 11.64 on it the majority of the time.
If you don't want to switch browsers, then you probably should see if Chrome and
FF have an option to turn off the auto-install of upgrades, maybe just notify you
of the availability so you can read the forums of any problems prior to upgrading.