What OS is on Your Netbook?


nokia netbookIt’s no secret that my netbooks have all had MOSPD, or what I call Multiple Operating System Personality Disorder. From the very first netbook, my ASUS Eee PC 701, to my current Toshiba NB205, all of my devices have changed operating systems at various times. Making matters worse is that some were dual-booting — that’s the current setup for my Toshiba: Windows XP on one partition and the final, release version of Windows 7 on another. Then there was the Mac OS X “hackint0sh” experiment, various Ubuntu builds, some Moblin betas, Linpus Lite… you name it, the list goes on.

The point is, netbooks are great little machines for experimenting with operating systems. Sure, you can use any machine for these activities, but the devices — and their prices —  are relatively trivial by comparison and that can lend a more reckless experimental attitude when it comes to operating systems. At least, for me it does.

Matthew Dillon has a nice summary of netbook operating system choices today at Gotta Be Mobile and after reading it, I got to wondering what you folks are running on your netbooks. Our polls don’t allow for multiple choices, so if you have a multi-boot system, choose the OS that you use the most. And if you have multiple netbooks, base your response on your primary netbook. These days, I’m using Windows 7 far more than XP on my device. Even more now that the gigantic trackpad has proper drivers! :) For the poll, it’s not possible to list out oodles of Linux distros, so I’m lumping them all together for now — don’t hesitate to be specific with your distro in a comment. Perhaps we’ll chat about which distro is best suited for mobile devices in the future!



I love Linux Mint on my Asus 1000HE. It is handy and has less setup then regular Ubuntu. I prefer a full desktop OS on my netbook as it is more flexible. At least until the new Karmic NBR goes live.

steve walton

running Mint 7 on my eeepc901 – updated kernel with con kolivas bfs and a few other tweaks -fast and snappy, no complaints

Ian Tindale

A couple of days ago on my Acer Aspire One (8GB SSD) I just overwrote the Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 that’s been on there for the past few months and put on the new alpha 6 of Karmic Kubuntu Netbook – it’s, well, it’s quite different. It’s probably in the direction of Moblin, only I never got on with Moblin for some reason even though I really wanted to and was all for the decisions they’d made. Try Karmic Kubuntu Netbook and see what you think. I’m still not quite sure it’ll stay, but it’s a very interesting ride so far.

As for sticking with the original Acer Linpus Lite, no – I’ll probably never return to that, it’ll never get updated enough now. It’s tantamount to a frozen 2 year old distro that worked extremely well.


Well, you don’t need the whole range of Linux distribution options. I’m mildly curious about how many people stick to the OEM’s Linux distribution, or switch to a different one.


Could not stand the Xandros on my Eee PC. I may buy another preinstalled Linux netbook, but I would probably distro hop.

BPI Sell out

Ubuntu all the way… Win 7 is too slow, winxp will kill any SSDs eventually, and an EEE with xandros is just a bit of a weird install!


I run Windows 7. Windows XP was a bit faster but all the new features make the slight speed loss worth it (I tend to underclock to save battery life; Win 7 is perfect at 1.6ghz)

Ricky B.

I run an updated version of the default Ubuntu that came with my Mini 9 primarily. I tried OSX, but was running almost everything inside X11.app anyway… I just prefer Linux, I guess. :)


Eeebuntu on my 1000HE with a bunch of exotic customization (people don’t know what OS it is when they look at it.) I may set up a dual-boot with Jolicloud as an experiment.

Kamal DS

Triple booting on my Aspire One D250:

1) EEEbuntu 3.0 base: My main OS
2) Windows Vista Ultimate: Heavily tweaked and running like a champ
3) Windows XP: For legacy apps


My MSI Wind is dual booting XP and Ubuntu Netbook Remix while my Dell Mini 9 is dual booting OS X and Moblin. I use UNR and OS X respectively as the primary OSes.


Believe me I want to put Windows 7 on my U810, but the 800 MHz processor vs your HP Mini 1000 1.6 GHz processor is the reason I am thinking twice. Now if I had a U820, that would be a different story.


I recently loaded Windows 7 Home Premium on my Gateway LT3103U Netbook, and I have to say it is worlds better than the original Windows Vista Basic that it came with. I had thought of putting 64 bit Windows 7 on it, but quickly though twice, as some software and hardware are not compatible, or do not have 64 bit drivers available. I was also thinking of putting Windows 7 on my Fujitsu U810 to replace the Windows XP Tablet load, but have seen posts on line where the auto rotate and certain touch features and audio were issues some people were still waiting on a fix for. Besides for the speed and RAM of the U810, I would probably revert back to XP anyway.


I love my Dell mii 10v. I put mac OS X on it last month. Under XP, it was nice enough, but Hulu stuttered, youtube was ok, and blip unwatchable. I bought the thing to be my bar-top, show off some video or website you’ve seen that week computer. Really, now it’s one useful machine! I watch tv while cooking or mixing drinks – flawless, I say.


…are you all using legal versions of various xp, vista, 7..mac os x? i know, 7 is not out yet…you want an extremely performant netbook? the only single most efficient and performance bringing hardware as of today is a new fast SSD and not the OS or ram! try ubuntu 9.10 on a runcore/supertalent sata2 ssd with 32 or 64 GB and you’re core2duo 15 inch laptop with windows 7 will still be booting while you’re running evolution and ms exchange, gimp, firefox with 5 tabs, exaile, skype, empathy… oh, forgot, i have another 30 min longer battery life and 1 gb ram…i spend the money on where it matters. oh right, i’m one of those who has been thrown into the linux pot which does not matter, since 1 or 2 vista users are more important to be listed..


Bitter much?

Yes my Mini came with XP and I have three copies of Win7 pre-ordered. OSX wasn’t legal but it was more of a trial run and I already removed it.

Win7 will perform better with a SSD, too. It’s not just Linux so get off your high horse.


Windows 7 has been officially available to most (or all?) MSDN subscribers for a few weeks now…


Windows 7. I hackintoshed my HP Mini for a few days but got tired of OSX and went back to 7.


Thanks for all the great advice and info. I’m definitely going to do what Kevin said for trying Ubuntu.


I just installed Ubuntu 9.04 using WUBI and it runs pretty well on my HP Mini 2140. Linux is getting better and the apps are adequate for netbooks but I still prefer word over the open office stuff and it runs fine on the netbook. I need to try running 7 on it before I buy a copy I hear it runs fine but XP runs great why fix it if it ain’t broke.

Robert Nelson

On my Eee PC 1000H I am running a dual-boot using Windows 7 and Jolicloud with Windows 7 being the one that gets the most use.

In other words, if I am doing anything important (writing) then its Windows, but for general web surfing I tend to use Jolicloud.


eeebuntu, a community variant of ubuntu remix, focused on eeepc’s.


I’m running windows 7 on a dell mini 9 and it works well. I have Unbuntu Netbook Remix on a seperate partition. I would use it more, but I can’t figure out how to access MS Exchange 2007 with a linux client.


I’m curious how Windows 7 runs on Atom powered netbooks?

I’ve been tempted to put Unbuntu on my older laptop, but I’ve been hesitant because of software needs. Now that I’ve moved most things to the internet and “cloud” based apps, I may try it. Any good advice on where to find the best instructions to install Unbuntu and ditch Windows?


Kevin C. Tofel

Dave, I’ve been running various Windows 7 builds on Atom netbooks for the past year. The final release version is on my Toshiba NB205 which uses the ever so slightly faster N280 Atom. I do have 2GB of RAM in the device, but even with 1GB, Windows 7 runs reasonably well. Better than people expect after they heard about or saw Vista horror stories from netbook owners.

It’s actually quite easy to install Ubuntu on a netbook, or any device for that matter. I recommend hitting the main Ubuntu site and downloading the Live CD image. Then you can run Ubuntu without removing your current OS. If you like what you see, you can install right from the CD.


i’m using Win7 Ultimate Ed on my MSI Wind U100 (w/touchscreen) and it runs just as good as XP, if not better.

i do have 2gb of ddr2 though and an 802.11n wifi card too for streaming tv from laptop to it. :)


Right now, it’s Moblin. Before that it was Ubuntu (most of the time with Netbook Remix). It came with Linpus pre-installed and I used it with that for quite a while.

You’re right, Kevin. With my Acer Aspire One I’m also experimenting a lot OS wise. With my ThinkPads, I’m a bit more hesitent since I need those machines for my work.

By the way, it would have been nice if the poll offered more Linux distros to choose form. The three I mentioned above are quite popular but anything but the same. And since you do make a difference between XP, Vista, and 7, it would have been fair to offer a similar choice for Linux.

Finally, I want to mention that in my opinion it’s not very smart to run any Windows on a netbook. At least if the screen size is 10″ or less. Regarding such a small device just as a shrinked laptop that offers the same UI, only smaller, isn’t very useful. A 9″ or 10″ netbook really plays out its strength when the UI is optimized for its display size. And I mean not just some tweaks with font sizes and dpi, but a fundamental re-design. See Moblin and UNR.

Kevin C. Tofel

Totally understand the desire to have more Linux distros. The problem is: where to begin and end? For the moment, we’ll lump ’em together but revisit in the near future to discuss pros / cons of various distros.

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