XP Netbook Upgrade to Win7 Starter: Disappointing

Dennis Faas's picture

Thinking about upgrading your Windows XP netbook to Windows 7? Recently, a ZDNet contributor did just that with his Samsung N150 Plus single-core CPU netbook. The results, however, were disappointing.

Since many netbooks now ship with Windows 7 Starter Edition and Home Premium -- and because Microsoft is making the push away from XP, the upgrade seemed to make sense.

Windows 7 Starter Edition: For Netbooks Only

Windows 7 Starter edition is exclusively for netbook computers. You cannot use Windows 7 Starter Edition for standard PC (nor would you want it, in most cases, as many features have been removed).

Windows 7 Starter Edition is is currently offered as an upgrade on a number of netbooks; for $30, you can upgrade from the base operating system of Windows XP. (Source: about.com)

Performance Issues: A Key Concern

Unfortunately, after making the upgrade ZDNet writer "Moley" found himself faced with some atrocious performance issues.

Moley is a popular blogger on online tech publication ZDNet. He called his attempt to install Windows 7 Starter Edition on his Samsung N150 Plus "a disappointing and frustrating experience," and "not particularly an experience for a novice." (Source: zdnet.com)

Nowhere to Go But Windows 7

Windows 7 began appearing on netbooks before the operating system even launched last October, but it's been only in the last few months that the OS has been seen more frequently on the tiny devices in big box retailers like Best Buy.

For most of their short history, netbooks have shipped with the leaner Windows XP, but now that that OS is being pushed aside by Microsoft, netbook makers like Hewlett-Packard and Dell have little choice but to make the upgrade to Windows 7. (Source: cnet.com)

And it's not necessarily Windows 7 that Moley had a problem with, or the way PC makers install the OS. Instead, for him the problem was Windows 7 Starter Edition on a netbook previously running XP.

"I could not believe how long it took me to set it up, bring it up to date and install additional programmes," Moley said after making the upgrade from XP. "Many restarts, slow in themselves, and just slow when finished."

As mentioned, Moley pointed his finger at Starter Edition. "[In] my opinion, Windows 7 Starter is so crippled that it performs worse on a nettbook than Windows 7 Home Premium, and familiar functionality has been removed."

Netbook Hardware Limitations

Realistically, the problem is not limited to just Windows 7 Starter Edition, but instead has a lot to do with the limited hardware found in early netbooks containing single-core, low-frequency processors.

For example, many hardware manufacturers continue to ship with the same Intel Atom N270 (single-core) processors and 1GB RAM that came packaged in some of the earliest units, shipped in late 2008.

While standard laptops have leaped in performance capability, netbooks haven't changed much at all. And that makes running a new OS particularly difficult. (Source: product-reviews.net)

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