For Tiny Netbooks, Windows 7 Is Good News

31 Comments

screenshot_pinned1Last week, Microsoft (s msft) released the public beta of Windows 7, the successor to the much-maligned Vista operating system. After spending the past three days testing the system, I’m impressed. Windows 7 proves that the company from Redmond is in no mood to cede control over the desktop OS market. According to Net Applications, Microsoft’s OS market share dropped to a 15-year low of 89.62 percent last year, with the most gains coming from Apple’s (s AAPL) OS X. Some believe that webtops (think Google (s GOOG)) will soon kill stand-alone desktop operating systems, but I disagree. Microsoft’s overall OS user reach is so huge through hardware sales (a majority of the approximately 300 million Vista deployments are said to be from OEM embedded systems) that an improved version that better integrates with the web will likely stem the desktop market slide. Google understands the advantage Microsoft has, which is why it’s trying to develop the same system for mobiles (as well as for portable cloud client computers) by developing Android.

Microsoft shouldn’t worry too much — at least for now. Windows 7 has UI features that are logical and is better optimized for lower-powered computers, like netbooks.

No, it’s not the full desktop-Internet hybrid that one would have expected, but it is made to take advantage of the Internet. Windows 7 improves web browsing by offering a better desktop experience. For example, your favorite sites (on IE8) can now be launched straight from the taskbar. It also removes bloatware like Windows Mail and Movie Maker in favor of web app versions hosted by Windows Live. This is a double bonus: It frees up a fast system to be used in the cheap netbooks bound to dominate hardware trends in the near future and gives users flexibility over their web choices. Kevin Tofel over at jkOnTheRun has already installed Windows 7 on his netbook.

Windows 7 vs. Windows Vista

Where Windows 7 focuses on improved everyday desktop navigation, Vista focused on the demands of powerful media-centered PCs with a system that eschewed ease of use in favor of powerful but hard-to-use features. And there were the annoying security pop-ups that required excessive proactive engagement on part of the computer users.

Windows 7 reduces those irritations. By only assigning memory tasks to windows you’re using, it hogs less power and memory. This makes it quick on systems with only 1GB of RAM — I booted the OS in less than a minute on two laptops and they had plenty of RAM left over to play multiple applications. This should allow Microsoft to ship it in netbooks without XP-downgrading embarrassments.

The fact that the UI has been remodeled for simple web apps also makes it versatile. A new wireless connections manager now displays all available networks with a single click on the taskbar. Before, it took three navigation screens to find them. The new taskbar does something similar. Traditionally, the bar was used to only keep track of open documents and apps, with text labels. Now, large icons are used to switch between docs and to launch apps, a version of the old alt-tab. This is a controversial change because multifunction apps can be confusing. But navigating through the icons is logical for the web — simply click on the IE8 icon, and each of your open tabs will hover above the bar for your choosing.

It’s also more efficient. To end the annoying pop-ups, there’s a User Account Control window that lets you choose their regularity. Finally, recently visited pages are constantly recommended for quick navigation, like when you right-click on Explorer.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Windows 7 is built on top of the same platform as Vista, it has much of the pointless visual Vista hallmarks (transparencies anyone?), and it’s not quite Linux-thin. But the changes are positive and should fend off the vultures circling in the cloud for a few more years.

As long as the price is competitive for businesses (a valid concern), many will finally see a reason to leave XP and move up in class, especially if their workers use a netbook.

31 Comments

Elmer Elly

Hey sorry bout the spelling mistakes in the above comments…i was typing fast ….so i missed some words n letters here n there…

Elmer Elly

This is to all you guyz who think Windows 7 is crap n who still love xp… i just like to tell u that Windows xp is going to die soon this is said by Microsoft n not me n 90 % of Intel Computer will be using Windows 7….Windows xp n vista have got a good sucessor i.e Windows 7 . It has all the advantages over windows xp…there is no doubt windows xp was good but there is no doubt that windows vista is good …..Vista is good only on a good n modern pc…a pc running pentium 4 processor + 256 or 512 ram n totally low graphics…cant expect Vista 2 work like a charm ..it requires hardware upgrade then vista rockz….n now Windows 7 the awesome os ever…Windows 7 is faster than xp,vista in all da ways , its more light , boots faster than xp and vista. Very beautiful os not like Linux n xp …well it run most of the xp application very well ..n if u miss xp interface or still cant get some applications to work which used to work fine xp then there is a feature in widows 7 called virtual pc and under that there is something called xp mode..in this thing you not only get the xp interface in a Window just like an explorer but u can install any old programs which used to work fine on xp….i use a n hp pavillion a1521in having a D processor , 2 gb ram n 64mb onboard graphics…n still it runs windows 7 like a charm …Windows 7 is a very good update from vista..n there are more lot of features on windows 7…any Linux os or mac os X cant defeat windows 7 ..there is no way…there are 92% of the applications which run on Windows n do not run on Mac or Linux…Just if linux , mac being virus free doesnt solve anything …We require a computer for media , for our work , daily use, gaming , studying , a simple pc which even a person having low computer Knowledge can use….u require experts or at least intermediates to use Linux n Mac os …Windows is a simple os which every1 can use….n Windows which has everything security , performance , gaming , day to day computing , n a simple pc …It’s All about a Simpler PC from day one – Windows 7

So MAC n LINUX users stop talking crap n try out Windows 7 …n make way for Windows 8 in 2012 or later …….n Windows 9 in the near future .. Microsoft has already started working on Windows 8 n i have seen the GUI of windows 8 …its freaking awesome ………

WINDOWS 7 RULEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

ROCKZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

AWESOMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Elmer Elly

This to all you guyz who thin Windows 7 is crap n who still love xp… i just like to tell u that Windows xp is going to die soon….Windows xp n vista have got a good sucessor i.e Windows 7 . It has all the advantages over windows xp…there is no doubt windows xp was good but there is no doubt that windows vista is good …..Vista is good only on a good n modern pc…a pc running pentium 4 processor + 256 or 512 ram n totally low graphics…cant expect Vista 2 work like a charm ..it requires hardware upgrade then vista rockz….n now Windows 7 the awesome os ever…Windows 7 is faster than xp,vista in all da ways , its more light , boots faster than xp and vista. Very beautiful os not like Linux n xp …well it run most of the xp application very well ..n if u miss xp interface or still cant get some applications to work which used to work fine xp then there is a feature in widows 7 called virtual pc and under that there is something called xp mode..in this thing you not only get the xp interface in a Window just like an explorer but u can install any old programs which used to work fine on xp….i use a n hp pavillion a1521in having a D processor , 2 gb ram n 64mb onboard graphics…n still it runs windows 7 like a charm …Windows 7 is a very good update from vista..n there are more lot of features on windows 7…any Linux os or mac os X cant defeat windows 7 ..there is no way…there are 92% of the applications which run on Windows n do not run on Mac or Linux…Just if linux , mac being virus free doesnt solve anything …We require a computer for media , for our work , daily use, gaming , studying , a simple pc which even a person having low computer Knowledge can use….u require experts or at least intermediates to use Linux n Mac os …Windows is a simple os which every1 can use….n Windows which has everything security , performance , gaming , day to day computing , n a simple pc …It’s All about a Simpler PC from day one – Windows 7

So MAC n LINUX users stop talking crap n try out Windows 7 …n make way for Windows 8 in 2012 or later …….n Windows 9 in the near future .. Microsoft has already started working on Windows 8 n i have seen the GUI of windows 8 …its freaking awesome ………

WINDOWS 7 RULEZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

ROCKZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

AWESOMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

freddyzdead

I’ve got vista sitting somewhere, I think I installed it once but went back to Server 2003 after a week. I have no reason to believe that 7 is anything but vista sp2, or vista with a coat of paint. All the DRM and crap that was built into vista is still there in 7. That’s what really matters to M$ and their “business partners.”

I might try 7 anyway, but if I find DRM gets in my way, or that backwards compatibility is very broken, then I will flush it like vista and ME.

Jon

Anyone still bashing vista and raving about XP at this point has clearly been very closed minded for the last 2 years. Anyone bashing W7 needs their head seeing to.

I’m definately an OS whore, I run a win 98 box, my netbook has XP on it, my laptop runs vista and my main PC runs W7. Ubuntu sits on my old laptop, fedora on my server, my website runs on red hat and OSX on my macbook (shockingly) – I use all of them productively and wouldn’t be without any, so I consider my point of view about as neutral as you can get while still using a computer.

Vista was bloated and crap at the start of its life, although all you people with your lovely rose-tinted specs seem to forget that XP was as bad, if not worse – I put this down, in part at least, to a number of the XP lovers being those who only actually started using a PC properly after XP SP2, there’s a fantastic number of 15 year olds who hate vista.

Have any of you actually tried it lately? There’s nothing wrong with it, it was too big for the hardware it was released on, but on a modern PC there’s no issues at all – and the driver problems are all but gone. Windows 7 is an improvement, and with this new slim version of it I see no need for XP to be run on any system. It’s an old operating system with no real advantages over windows 7 – it’s as if I insisted on running my SNES because “it’s never broken” and because “omg, the PS3 had all that messing about with dual-shock when it first came out”. Keep up or shut up.

freddyzdead

@Jon
I can’t agree that XP was crap when it came out. I didn’t, and still don’t, like the Fisher-Price desktop or the way it patronizingly hides important bits of the OS from you because you’re obviously not competent enough to know these things. Vista was even worse, and 7 isn’t much different so far as I can tell.

Microsoft has created all these problems by building an OS with functionality far beyond what the typical user can cope with, and then providing wizards to do all the configuring and housekeeping for them. The user learns nothing, and MS likes it that way because they want us to use windows the way they and their “business partners” want us to use it.

XP is a good, rock-solid OS which has been thoroughly debugged over the 8 years or so that it’s been around. Server 2003 is even better, but MS doesn’t want it being used as a desktop OS, so they artificially create a support vacuum around it. Never mind, I use it anyway and love it. No frills and it never crashes. I have third party/freeware apps doing all the jobs I want – no need for all that MS crap. Why would I want to leave that?

Brian

Come on guys. As much as I like XP (6 machines) and am annoyed at Vista (3 machines) we can’t expect MS to never improve Windows beyond XP. The question is if it is a real improvement, like XP was from 98, and not a bogus improvement, like Vista was from XP. I’m hoping MS is back on track with Win7. I have 3 machines that would benefit from it. Maybe even 9 machines. – The long and the short of it is that Windows needs to continue to improve but no more Vista mess ups please.

Alobeja

It’s Easy…
For The Ones Who Tried Vista and think and you “it’s a piece of crap”, try 7 and you will get awesomed, and for the ones who use XP or Linux, don’t wait anymore for an incredible OS, use 7,is great!!!.

Jake

See…I dont see what the problem is with Vista. I am a dedicated Microsoft fan and never had nor NEVER WILL use any of the dumb products Apple offers. Thier laptops may look good but thier OS is a complete piece of crap and the price is sky high. So, last year, i upgraded to Vista Ultimate in my Compaq C502US, more than 2 years old, and it runs just fine. I dont see what the problem is. After upgrading to 2 GB ram, for 18 dollars, Vista ran like a charm. The Aero interface is awesome. See, the point in that is that it is for beauty. After using Vista i could not bear to use XP anymore.

Pranav Peshwe

“But navigating through the icons is logical for the web — simply click on the IE8 icon, and each of your open tabs will hover above the bar for your choosing.”

Ergonomically, I found this to be a serious pain point rather than a feature. Every time I use the mouse to maximize IE8 I’ve to select the tab i wish to go to. There is no way to just maximize and return to whatever tab I was browsing.
http://pranavsbrain.peshwe.com/2009/01/windows-7.html

Derek

I’ve been running Win7 on a HP Mini and it’s beautiful. More elegant than XP, boots faster than XP Home, things are organized better, Libraries are actually used (unlike Vista), less UAC, the eye candy is nice without eating resources, UI is snappy, Jump Lists are handy, among other things. I think 7 is going to be a hit.

And re: the guy who said running your business with Linux is better than Windows, he’s obviously had no real-world experience in managing hundreds of client machines and dumb users. Linux can’t run the appliations most people need and like, the GUI is ugly, hardware support is hit-or-miss, hours and hours of training is required, etc. etc. Face it, Server 2003 + XP Pro is a rock solid and easily configurable solution for most businesses.

yeomanrycavalry

I recently purchased a HP 5105 Netbook as I feel its one of the best looking netbooks that is available. I was a little worried about going back to using Windows XP since I haven’t used but the XP Professional Version (64 bit) at work. Now that work has converted to the dark side of computing with Vista, I am really worried. Vista has been nothing but a pain on my laptop with 3 GB of RAM and dual core 2.00 GHZ Athlon 64 bit processors. I was actually quite shocked at how poorly my laptop ran when I “upgraded” to the Ultimate Vista, which turned out to be the ultimate mistake. I purchased a HP Mini 1000 with the 1.6 GHz Via chip just to be able to hop onto my emails or the internet right away without the long load times that Vista required on my laptop (agonizingly slow). It was just an interim solution until a better OS came around from Microsoft. I have been pleasantly surprised with XP Home on my HP Mini 5105 but I am really wanting to know what kind of boosts in performance can be expected with Windows 7. Hopefully video playback will be better on the netbooks, right now, not many do a good job with playback of iTunes or even YouTube.

Stanley

There are too many Windows chronies out there who are too closed-minded about other operating systems. The fact is that that Ubuntu and the other Linuxes as well as Mac OS are far and above superior OS in just about every way. No operating system on the market clogs up a system like any version of Windows does.
I installed Wine on my Ubuntu machine the other day and I can flawlessly run all of my Linux apps as well as all of my Microsoft apps. I have not booted back into Windows since. GP was not naive, he is enlightened and willing to go out and find a cost savings solution for his business that does not require a Windows license.

Toni @ NavinoT

Using “UI” and “low-powered device” in the same sentence almost confused me. I thought low-powered means requiring least electricity. now that I’ve read the sentence once again makes it clear that it was low as low in performance.

Wait a second. I’m still confused. I think the author need to elaborate more about the “logical” UI aspect for Windows 7 which aligns with netbook characteristic.

gp

only thing i use winDOZ is for playing games or open those silly sites which still run nice on IE (like my bank )…otherwise all my guys company have migrated to Ubuntu (which flies on my core 2 duo sony vaio laptop while Vista is painfully slow )or Mac …. running your business on mac or ubuntu/linux is absolute bliss ..no more virus ….no crashes ………….i simply love new kde 4.2 …….while all our servers run only on linux ……….i will only try windows 7 on new hardware in future ……if I dont find any XP related drivers….that too for playing games ……….point is windows will NEVER be primary OS for guys who have tasted Mac/Linux…though it still required to play games or just in case some app doesnt work on linux/Mac

Sean

Agree with villager – why the F would I upgrade from XP? I tried Vista, it was the OS on my main computer for 9 months. I almost killed myself it was so buggy and irritating and terrible in every way imaginable. I downgraded to XP about a month ago and have been living happily ever after. XP ain’t perfect – but it’s not a buggy piece of shit like Vista, and there’s absolutely not one single thing in Vista or W7 that gives anyone any reason to upgrade. The people touting it are nothing but apologists.

Frank Miller

I must admit, I don’t understand what all the criticism of Vista is about. I just upgraded my desktop machine to Vista this past week. Its a Dell 4600 nearly 5 years old with a nice ATI Radeon 9800 that I bought back then for gaming. I upped my memory to 3 GB but that was only $50. I think it runs great. It seems snappy and I really like the UI changes. I bought an OEM full version from Amazon and started from scratch for ~$100. It runs MS Office 2003, VS 2005, Firefox 3, and putty, a real mix of old and new apps. What is everybody so upset about, I think its a great upgrade.

Calvin Ngan

quote: “Microsoft’s OS market share dropped to a 15-year low of 89.62 percent last year, with the most gains coming from Apple’s OS X.”

I think Windows market share is higher than 90%, most of the mac user I came across bought a mac coz it is cool, truth is, they boot into Windows using their brand new Mac. Given a choice, most Windows user would prefer to opt out from Apple OS X, they have no choice because it is bundled together with a Mac Hardware.

Rick

As a Vista user, don’t dare drop XP! I’ll never buy a MS OS again unless it’s 10 years from now and has nothing related to “Vista” in it.

villager

But you didn’t really answer the anticipated question – what does it offer that XP doesn’t? Why would anyone dump XP for this?

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