Many netbooks come installed with Linux or Windows XP, with seldom netbooks having Vista installed. Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 has proved popular with many users and netbook owners. After reading many articles and posts about Windows 7 on netbooks, I thought it was time I gave it a whirl, as while I got accustomed to using XP again, I did miss the features and appearance of Vista.
Partitioning my existing hard drive with XP installed unfortunately didn’t go as planned so dual booting isn’t possible. Windows 7 however installed absolutely fine using an external USB DVD reader and it’s still possible to access and use the files stored on the XP partition. The installation of Windows 7 took under 30 minutes with an additional 30 minutes installing my regular programs and applications. The drivers for the Wifi don’t work straight away and you need to either download the MSI Wind drivers for XP/Vista, or connect the netbook to the internet via ethernet cable and allow Windows 7 to download the 5 (at time of writing) small updates, including the wifi driver. The onscreen display for volume, brightness, bluetooth and wifi connectivity are also not installed with Windows 7, but you can download the System Control Manager from here to install this feature.
While it doesn’t run as smoothly as I’d previously read it did, it is a lot quicker than my Vista based desktop, which in many cases, has double or even triple the specifications found on the Advent 4211. I started with a few applications open and installing others. Opening and extracting files with Winrar caused a slight problem with Firefox with the browser freezing. However since all the applications I usually install were installed, I went for the most extreme case of programs running and the netbook didn’t react negatively. With three Firefox windows open, Windows Music Player, Photoshop, MSN, and Windows Mail open I switched between the different programs with ease and no slow down.
As I usually have that many applications open, the taskbar can become very cluttered, but with the default settings of Windows 7, the taskbar is easy to manouver and switch between programs. Within the taskbar options, you have the choice of combining the taskbar buttons with no information, or allowing them to combine when the taskbar is full, or never combining. I’ve had a play around with the various settings and while the taskbar buttons can take a bit getting used to, they’re perfect for the small screen size if like me you have many windows open at a time. An option is also provided for switching to small icons. The below screenshot shows the taskbar items combined while full and always combine options with the smaller icons option being displayed in the last toolbar.
Other features I’ve been impressed with on Windows 7 is the desktop preview which has worked flawlessly for me, with no delay. The Tasks option on the Start Menu has also proved very useful, and again the Advent 4211 experiences no slow down while using this feature.
Over all I’m very impressed with Windows 7 and will be installing it on my desktop soon. I’m also very impressed with how well it runs on the netbook. I can easily see it becoming the most popular OS for netbooks once it’s released especially as many of the features benefit the screensize.