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Windows 7 vs. Windows XP On a Netbook 397

Justin writes "Many in the industry are counting on Windows 7 to bring the netbook market to the next level. Having netbook manufacturers ship netbooks with 7+ year old Windows XP pre-installed surely deterred some from joining the ranks of households with the small, light and portable netbooks. It seems Microsoft has addressed most of the pitfalls of Windows Vista on a netbook by increasing battery life and performance to be very close to that of the lighter-weight Windows XP. Legit Reviews has the full scoop of battery life and performance tests pitting Windows 7 against Windows XP on the ASUS Eee PC 1005HA Netbook." I'd like to see a follow-up with a few different Netbook-friendly Linux distros, too.
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Windows 7 vs. Windows XP On a Netbook

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @02:55PM (#28871143)

    Vista jokes aside, the fact that people are willing TO PAY EXTRA to get their computer with windows XP is a very good indicator.

    Most people/companies are not interested in the new features offered by Vista. They just aren't that compelling.

    Then add the fact that Vista is new, slower, compatible with less hardware, some of your current software won't work on Vista, and many people find UAC annoying.

    Not a lot of upside, and a big downside for many. The value proposition just isn't there.

    Microsoft pulled XP from the retail market to avoid Vista looking like a flop.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @02:56PM (#28871163)

    DirectX 10, silly!

    Seriously, though, Vista changed quite a few things under the hood. The only reason you don't see more Vista-only software yet is because it was, well, a flop.

    If Windows 7 catches on, it won't be long before you run across software that refuses to run on XP.

  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:10PM (#28871371)

    May have been me.

    32-bit should have died with XP.
    Vista should have been 64-bit only.

    No existing applications / devices that were 32-bit only had to worry, there was still 32-bit XP dammit.

    But ok, whatever, fuck it, Intel was still flogging 32-bit CPUs for some reason, and people are morons. Fine.

    But Windows 7? WHY THE FUCK do we need 32-bit versions of Windows 7? FFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK

  • by basementman ( 1475159 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:13PM (#28871419) Homepage

    Having run Windows XP, Ubuntu and Windows 7 on my MSI Wind U100 I can say Windows Seven has by far been the best OS. XP ran fine, but it wasn't particularly pleasing to the eye and had some issues running multiple programs at once. Ubuntu looked marginally better but performance wise it was terrible, I couldn't watch a flash video without it seizing up. Windows Seven looks pretty, runs faster than XP and is just better overall.

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by basementman ( 1475159 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:15PM (#28871459) Homepage

    The point of netbooks is to use them for whatever the fuck you want. Just because they are called "netbooks" doesn't mean I'm only allowed to access the internet with them.

    On my netbook I can browse the internet, write an essay in OpenOffice, watch 720p movies, run an FTP client, play CS:S. Upgrading to Windows 7 makes all of these things faster.

  • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:15PM (#28871469)
    Why not have 32bit? There is no real compelling reason for most people to have a 64bit OS so why force people to buy all new hardware when what you're trying to do is sell an OS? Most people that brag about having a 64bit system have no idea what they're talking about, they just brandish it around and keep yammering on about it like it's some awesome thing.
  • Strange conclusions? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by William Ager ( 1157031 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:17PM (#28871505)

    So, in my interpretation, the Windows 7 netbook had slightly shorter battery life, and performed slightly worse in all but two benchmarks. One of those two was dealing with "next generation gaming performance" that really isn't point of netbooks, and the other was essentially identical to the XP performance.

    And the conclusion the reviewers take from this is that Windows 7 is good? Just because it isn't as bad as Vista, and isn't too much worse than XP?

    With these sorts of results, XP is going to be with us for a long time. Why is it so hard for Microsoft to make something comparable?

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:20PM (#28871549)

    Most people/companies are not interested in the new features offered by Vista. They just aren't that compelling

    Most people anyway, have never sat down in front of a Vista machine for long enough to get used to it.

    Compatibility, seriously? That hasn't been a problem for literally years. Any computer you buy off the shelf today is going to have compatible hardware and I bet you'd be hard pressed to find individual pieces that are worth buying that aren't compatible.

    UAC? Can be turned off in about 5 mouse clicks.

    I can't say much about performance except that my $600 laptop has enough power to handle it easily, I know that doesn't capture the netbook market at all, but if you're buying an off the shelf desktop or laptop I highly doubt you'll see any issues. It's true that there isn't a whole lot of big changes to make the transition worthwhile, certainly there's nothing that would make me upgrade an XP machine to Vista.

    OTOH, if I were buying a new machine and had the choice, I would, in all honesty, take Vista for the little things if nothing else. Being able to control the volume on a program by program basis is very nice. Being able to search the start bar and individual folders, including things like the control panel is also nice, just to name a couple. The single largest problem with Vista was it's launch, for what it's worth running Vista is actually quite enjoyable for me.

    (Please don't blow this post off just because it's not anti-Vista, I run XP at work, Vista on my laptop, and Ubuntu on my Desktop. All have the pluses and minuses, I'm just trying to dispel a bit of the bad reputation that Vista (unfairly IMO) has.)

  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:20PM (#28871551)

    I thought the point of netbooks was to have a computer for accessing the internet and that's about it. Last I checked, XP could access the internet. I don't see the point in putting Windows 7 on your netbook at all.

    7's ~0.5 second sleep and awake times are a nice boost over XP, and on my Mini with 2 gigs of ram Firefox opens under 7 in 1/2 the time it took to open in XP. Also, when I boot up I can start opening programs as soon as the desktop loads, where in XP the whole system would freeze for seconds at a time during the 60 seconds after a boot, possibly because of the JMicron controller in my SSD. I'm not sure how I generally feel about the new taskbar in 7 at its default settings (i.e., OSX Docklike), but on the tiny screen of a netbook the reduced taskbar clutter is great. Windows management features like mouseover-full size Window previews make me feel a lot less claustrophobic in the tiny netbook world, as well.

  • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:30PM (#28871691) Journal
    My experience supporting XP users is that even if I train them not to click blindly on just anything they still get personal email from their luser friends and family who are malware-infected, so it's just a losing proposition. Much as I'd love to see everyone adopt Linux, realistically I am sort of looking forward to win7 being society's default OS. So far, my testing appears to indicate it will be a lot easier to supporrt than XP has been.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:33PM (#28871733)

    he said SOFTWARE RAID. i've had this problem as well. it involves the resync/resbuild process which fails.
    you click on resync and it resyncs to healthy and then about half a minute later with software raid windows 7 marks the raid array as degraded. sync is seriously broken. hardware raid just works but is not portable if your controller fails.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:35PM (#28871759) Journal
    It is a game invented by Microsoft. Some start up creates a product. Looks like the product has some legs. Microsoft feels, that product could threaten its monopoly or it feels it wants that piece of the market also for itself, or it thinks sabotaging that product would somehow strengthen its position. All it used to take to kill it would be a press release. "Microsoft is planning to release a competitor in the next release Or would make the functionality part of Windows." That is it. Venture capital would evaporate and the product would never see the light of the day.

    Now Microsoft is facing the same game from the other end. Very carefully timed announcement by Google that all the OS you would need to run a netbook is coming soon. Vendors do not commit wholeheartedly to Microsoft. Device driver writers do not just hack something that will work in Windows alone and be done with it. Consumers also do not rush out to buy the latest and greatest. Corporations add another action to their evaluation. "What about Chrome OS?". That buys some time. Most vendors cite Chrome OS and demand hefty discount for Win7 in netbook market. Microsoft is forced to sell its OS at bargain basement prices in the fastest growing segment of PC market.

  • Re:So what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <[enderandrew] [at] []> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:46PM (#28872003) Homepage Journal

    Um, I just went through the article and XP was faster in basically every bench mark.

    What feature does 7 provide you that is a huge benefit over XP, especially on a netbook?

  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:49PM (#28872045) Journal
    Well, what about a lighter weight windows 2000? I mean that's what XP is.. 2000+bloat. Until games "required XP" (in fact, only 3 DirectX DLLs, copied easily enough from an XP system) I was plenty happy with 2000. But now one must worry about security updates which don't happen anymore. I'm leaning towards Linux these days. Same basic stuff, without the bloat. Plus the MS agreements where you don't own rights to the software in your computer are becoming an issue. If I can't use software in the approved way, or someone programs a kill switch, then I don't really own a computer do I?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:52PM (#28872105)

    Well, it depends what he meant by "software raid". The "professional" editions of Windows have built-in software raid requiring no special hardware. Then there are things like built-in raid on motherboards which are actually implemented in software. If it's the former, Microsoft is to blame. If it's the latter, Microsoft is not to blame. Or maybe he was using special hardware (controller, etc) that has a faulty driver in the IO stack.

  • Re:So what? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by fregare ( 923563 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @03:57PM (#28872193)
    I can't tale this BS. XP does the job do we really need and improved piece of sh*t i.e. Windows 7 whose only purpose is to enforce DRM. Let Windoze 7 die the terrible death it deserves. Xp does the job and it seems to do it well. What exactly does bloated DRM loaded Wincrap 7 bring to the table?
  • A Netbook is a system with a very low powered single-core CPU. Everything you can do to move things off the CPU makes everything else faster. Windows 7 can offload GDI, window compositing, and many other effects to the GPU (even one as relatively weak as in Netbooks), saving a ton of CPU performance. And thus making everything else faster, even if it's just looking at a web page that's running some Javascript or Flash.

    I just upgraded my kids' Dell Mini 9 (1 GB RAM) to Win 7 RTM from its OEM XP config, and it's remarkably snappier even just doing web browsing, even with a GMA 945. []

  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <`gro.uaeb' `ta' `sirromj'> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @04:32PM (#28872881)

    All this astroturfed media about how great Win7 is and how it is going to kick butt on netbooks. Funny.

    They always forget the one critical problem. Price. The only way XP clawed market share away from the penguin was by Microsoft basically giving it away. They aren't planning on giving 7 away so there is going to be a five tiered price structure on netbooks and that is about three too many.

    1. ARM Netbooks/smartbooks will be the hot new low cost item this Xmas. They will be at or below where ASUS introduced the EEE PC 700. And just maybe they hit the $200 price point ASUS originally aimed for and missed. Does anyone think WinCE will be the big winner in this market? Ok, maybe they can horn their way in by Xmas '11 but the rumormill hasn't been talking WinCE it has been Android and a little Ubuntu with most trying to roll their own.

    2. x86 based machines running Linux. Go look at the HP Mini Mi 110 if you want to see how low x86 hardware can get without the Microsoft tax. I have seen em as low as $249 but they have crept up a bit lately.

    3. x86 hardware with an XP preload. Seem to run at least $30 more than a penguin and usually $40-50 more.

    4. x86 hardware with Windows 7 starter edition. Hasn't shipped yet but we can assume it will cost at least as much as XP. Odds are it will be mostly useful as a platform to harvest the customer's credit card to upgrade to a more complete edition.

    5. x86 hardware preloaded with Windows 7 Home. Either Microsoft gives up on the idea of profits or this puppy boosts the sticker a full $100 over a penguin preload. x86 netbooks have already crept up a hundred or so in average selling price and now Microsoft expects customers to pony up another portrait of Franklin? In this economy? Hello? Anyone remember why the netbook revolution got started in the first place? Wasn't price as big a factor as the form factor?

    Ok, so how will the marketplace solve the 'too many SKU problem'? Starter will probably get ditched as a customer relations nightmare. Linux on x86 will probably finish its vanishing act from retail although a few online sellers might continue if the sales are there. That gets from five to three. So it will depend on how many customers think Win7 is worth a premium likely to exceed $50 over XP. If most pay XP dies, if not....

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:32PM (#28873967) Journal

    That is why I recommend DSL Linux on older laptops where the battery is starting to lose charge. On this 733MHz SFF I'm typing on it is using barely 40Mb of RAM and that is with the TORAM option flag set, which loads the whole thing to RAMdisk! Which means on even a machine as old as this 733MHz with 384Mb of RAM it flies and programs load as fast as I can click them.

    To be fair though, there IS a version of WinXP floating around the Internet called "TinyXP Beast Edition" that gives you all the Vista pretty and still only consumes 63Mb of RAM running the desktop. MSFT has just never been good at tweaking their OSes for speed. Maybe they should hire the TinyXP dudes to make a "Tiny 7 Monster Edition"? And for those that scream "Piracy!" for me daring to mention TinyXP? You can actually use your own key with it like I did and it works just fine. It is just easier to download a pre-tweaked version that to spend all that time tweaking it yourself. Oh and it has SP3 already slipstreamed, whereas my retail disk is XP SP2.

  • by Hel Toupee ( 738061 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @05:41PM (#28874093)
    None of the open-source drivers, either from the manufacturer or 3rd party support hardware video decoding, however, closed-source Linux drivers for the big 3 GPU manufacturers (intel, nvidia, and AMD) all contain the necessary code to accelerate video playback, if the hardware supports it. Of these, nvidia's support in the playback applications (VLC, mplayer, etc.) is the most mature and robust. Intel is not far behind. AMD, to my knowledge, is not currently supported, even though the features are available in the drivers, the libraries to hook into the drivers are not available yet. I researched this when building a Linux-based HTPC. Went with a GeForce 8200-based board. Full support for MPEG, H.264, etc. decoding in hardware using Mplayer, VLC, and XBMC video player.

    Linux versions of Flash are, IMHO, horrible. Ubuntu ships with an open-source alternative which is worse.

    Windows is the best choice if you want it to just work. Most people that complain, shout, and scream about how terrible Linux is, and how they're switching back to Windows expected Linux to 'just work'. Linux is fine if you can put in a little time to get things to work that the distro wasn't specifically designed to do.
  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:25PM (#28874715)

    I kmnow this is off-topic but...can anyone confirm if the following has been fixed in Windows 7?

    Vista's copy progress dialog doesn't even tell you the name of the file you're copying any more. It only tells you part of the path it comes from. XP gives you the filename and full path.

    If you move a folder containing files to a different place that already has a folder with the same name, XP merges them properly. Even with UAC turned off, Vista comes up with a supremely annoying dialog to confirm each file in turn, and even after a succesful move, the source folder is left behind.

    If there's even one file in a folder that Vista thinks might be a media file, it presents the file list of the whole folder with media attributes instead of 'all files' attributes by default. It does this every time you create a new foler and you can't turn off or even force it to use a particular profile.

    Vista's DRM means it can't play some of my media that XP can play without problem.

    Vista still forgets window settings even if you set "remember each windows settings". This is a problem way back to Windows95 I think.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @06:41PM (#28874897) Homepage Journal

    The tests confirm what many of us have been saying all along. Using XP as a baseline, Vista sucks gangrenous donkey balls through a garden hose. Win7, on the other hand, runs about as well as XP. Depending on configuration, of course. It wouldn't be terribly inaccurate to say that Win7 is XP with a better security model, and missing some of the bogus legacy shit that should have been dropped almost a decade ago.

  • by LilGuy ( 150110 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @07:54PM (#28875643)

    My uncle did his masters thesis on the difference an operating system makes in doing calculations and how long batteries last on the same hardware (power consumption).

    It does make a difference -- one larger than he had anticipated.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @09:58PM (#28876665)

    Typical idea is that older OS's will run faster since they were smaller and HAD to run on .. less hardware.

    By OS, you mean Windows here, I think. OS X and Linux consistently get faster with each release.

  • by Mozk ( 844858 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2009 @10:43PM (#28876923)

    Just use nLite, which is probably what TinyXP was made with (to begin with). Getting rid of everything you don't use and disabling unnecessary services can save a lot of disk space and reduce memory usage significantly. It works with Windows 2000 too.

    There are even analogs of nLite for Windows 98 if you want to go even slimmer.

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