Install Windows 7 On Your Netbook


No one will ever accuse us of being Windows fanboys; we’re certainly fans of netbooks though (or anything cheap enough that we don’t care if we accidentally burn a hole through it). We’ve heard from quite a few friends that Windows 7 is actually an excellent operating system to run on a netbook and is a dream compared to XP. Gizmodo has compiled a guide to getting the release candidate on your lightweight machine. It’s available now and will work for free for a year. The image is 2.36GB which you need to dd onto a USB device. They recommend at least an 8GB drive, but anything smaller than 16GB and you’ll have to use Window’s compact utility to save space. Other than these space considerations, the install appears to be easy. Let us know about your experiences using Windows 7 on your netbook.

47 thoughts on “Install Windows 7 On Your Netbook

  1. Replaced WinXP Home with Win 7 RC on a Dell Mini 9. I have the 16GB SSD so space was not a problem. I can safely say it performs faster than WinXP. Battery life seems to be the same. All this and it even has Aero turned on and a few desktop gadgets. Win 7 is impressive. I’ve not said that about Windows for a looong time.

  2. 7 was more responsive than XP on my old Thinkpad. Not faster, but giving the illusion of speed because you can switch tasks and access various UI features when XP would temporarily lock the whole UI out. That’s a big deal to me as I usually run a minimum of 4-5 tasks and will switch to the web while I’m waiting for something else.

    I originally I didn’t like 7 and went back to XP. That’s when I really started to appreciate the difference.

  3. I tried the Win7 Beta and wasn’t too impressed. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. I didn’t like the fact that you couldn’t change the start menu to look like the older windows versions. I also had a very hard time getting any java based to work properly, if at all. And the one thing that really peeved me? It automatically installed Windows defender, which turned my box into a slug.
    I did kind of like the “customer experience” which told how i was doing compared to other systems.
    I did get my copy of win7 rc and hope to install it in a few days. Hopefully some of those bug will be gone.

  4. cool, set up our systems to run windows so all our cool hacks we develop can stop working when the latest malware comes out for win7. then we can pay only $99/year for complete “protection” from a 3rd party product. and then pay for any other programs besides “trial” and “limited edition”. Awesome! count me in!

  5. windows 7 rc ran fine on my old desktop system (vista wouldn’t even install on that system). windows 7 beta worked as well as vista … oh wait. it was all going swimmingly testing the rc on the old beast until I tried to play a video. the output was very choppy at best. windows xp never had any issue playing the files I was loading (about the quality of old youtube stuff – not the new HQ stuff). windows 7 is definitely better than vista, no argument there, but I wouldn’t say it’s better than xp yet. seems the video implementations need some more tweaking. of course, this is a 1.533GHz box with 1GB ram, ati radeon 9600, and 300gb hdd… so it was on the low end of the spectrum for windows 7, but windows xp still has no trouble with that system.

  6. > The image is 2.36GB which you need to dd onto a USB device.

    A simple file copy and marking the partition as active works fine.

    > … but anything smaller than 16GB and you’ll have to use Window’s compact utility to save space.

    It installs fine in a 8GB partition inc. pagefile a and hiberfile, with a about a GB spare. Through the magic of hardlinks, explorer will think that you have about 10GB of files though…

  7. First time commenting :p

    Ive been running windows 7 on my msi wind u100 netbook since last year. its had almost all of the versions put on it from pre-beta 6800 to the rc now. I loved seeing how the operating system improved over this time. The only little problem i have with it right now is that it only has wddm 1.0 drivers for my graphics. And the screen wont turn off to save power which kills that battery a bit :(
    But other then that it is much better then what comes installed on netbooks in the first place. oh and btw i probably wouldnt want it on my netbook without putting an extra gb of ram in it so you get 2gb

  8. After following the instructions for using vLite on a win7 image, putting the rc build on my eee 1000h, then deleting a lot of junk from system32 (after a little takeown.exe magic) I managed to fit a full install of windows 7 in 2.3GB after things like firefox and winamp.

    This was one day after the release candidate came out.

    Battery life did hit the dust though, from ~6 to ~5, haven’t tried turning aero off yet.

  9. I’ve just used a USB DVD drive to install the Windows 7 Beta 1 on my Eee 1000h, I haven’t bothered to install the RC yet but probably will soon.

    My experience with it on my laptop has been pretty good, battery life seems about the same as the Asus rolled XP install they sent with it. Though i can’t get any of the media or function buttons to work on it yet, everything else seems in good working order and performs pretty well.

  10. I’ve been running Windows 7 for the last 2 months on my MSI Wind U100, and while the battery life did drop about 20%, the responsiveness seems to have improved.

    My screen dims fine and the function buttons work flawlessly, and with an extra 1 gb of ram and a 9-cell (ebay) battery, I’ve boosted it to 5 1/2 hours of battery with awesome speed and power for such a little device.

    Next: Touchscreen! (58.99+19.99 s&h on ebay)

    p.s. – just because you hate windows doesn’t mean i have to, haters.

  11. i’m gonna be honest here–you shouldn’t have to worry about security on windows 7. a lot of people skipped over windows vista because it didn’t perform as well–i didn’t, and the security on windows vista is very clearly superior to XP. I don’t ever run third party security apps, since honestly they’re not necessary if you’re careful, and they’re even less necessary when you run off the UAC architecture / much improved “not-giving-admin-rights” to your default user in windows vista (and i’d assume windows 7). I tried to implement this in windows xp (with the run as and all that) and it’s a total pain without something like UAC. Keep in mind that Linux and Mac OS work the same way with not making every user have “root” access by default, and that this is a big reason why they tend to be more secure for the average user.

  12. I have Win7 on my eeePC 1000he right now and it runs fine. Easily as responsive as the stock XP install. Here is the killer though… it boots twice as fast as Ubuntu 9.04. No Linux hate here, just stating an observation. I understand I could recompile a kernel and likely get one that boots much faster than Win7, but I don’t have time at the moment to dick with it.

  13. I have it (RC1) running on an Acer Aspire ONE (AO150) with 120 G HDD, and only 1G RAM.

    After a bit of an issue with the wireless driver and touch pad driver, it has worked great! It previously had XP Home Premium and worked OK, but now it starts up quicker, shuts down quicker, attaches to hot spots quicker, changes networks better than Vista (crap networking). When this is released, I will buy it for sure. This OS is hands down better than XP, AND Vista. I would recommend it for the netbook range.

  14. i am running 7 on an AAO150 (9″) since the first days of the public beta and it’s been fantastic. unlinke with ubuntu, it just works. had almost the same battery life than with ubuntu but everything work a little bit better, especially because it seems to me that flash for linux sucks.

    I’ve bought the “fking-bad-ass” 9-cell battery that protudes like an mutant cancer from the back on the device (7800mah vs 2200mah) and it’s been more than fantastic. i have now more than 7.5 hours of battery life, watching movies.

    now, I don’t bother bringing the AC plug in most situations.

  15. i have win7rc1 on my slow ass [POS] ibm r51 thinkpad (five years old), ill be honest with you, it was built for xp and could barely run it smoothly on a good day without overheating. its running win7 rc1 and its a tad faster, not much, the boot time is 3 seconds faster than xp, granted i had a 2 minute average boot time. performance is break even with xp, however it seems like much more is running with 7 and its doing more without the overheating issue. i myself would defiantly buy windows 7, or just crack the beta and run it indefinitely.

  16. I’ve installed RC1 on everything including a Dell Mini 9 and the Mini 12. The Mini 9 ran great. One tip however. Video. Install the Windows Vista Drivers available from Intel. Download it, right click on it and choose properties. Click run in Windows Vista Service Pack 2 Compatibility Mode. Also click Run as Administrator. Save, Close, run driver installation. Reboot. Wala, good video performance. (This applies to ATI and Nvidia as well. However They have drivers for Windows 7 available for download on their sites. Unless you have the All-In-Wonder HD. Then you need to get the Vista drivers.). Anywho, I decided to follow this here:

    And I installed OSX. Native. Blows 7 and XP out of the water. Ubuntu too. I don’t like Apple’s underpowered overpriced hardware but their OS sure does run sweet on our hardware :D

  17. You’re looking for speed and something to do work on quickly. This is my opinion, and perhaps shared, but if I want work done quickly, I prefer to use something that’s not so dependent on resources, like Fedora 10.

  18. Hey sketchyjae, are you using KDE or Gnome, because they’re pretty resource-hoggy.
    Trust me, I know, I tri-boot xp, win7, and ubuntu 9.04 on my eee 1000h

    From pressing the power button to a loaded desktop:
    XP – 28 seconds
    Win7 – 35 seconds
    ubuntu – 35 seconds

    Linux =/= speed all the time

  19. Well dammit what the hell did I do wrong then?

    I slapped RC1 on my Dell mini 9 and it was pokey as hell!

    Of course THE NEXT DAY an article like this comes out. _awesome_

    Turns out it’s probably drivers so i’ll take another crack at it.

  20. I know this probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; any hardware not supported in Vista is not supported in W7. I installed it on my Dell Latitude D400 with 512MB of RAM and it ran fine apart from the display. I can get a decent resolution, but only with 256 colours, or 16bit colour with a tiny display. I thought that as W7 runs on lower powered hardware, there might be a driver set available.

    If anyone has had any success getting W7 to run properly on pre-W7 harware, I’d be very grateful to be proved wrong!

  21. @_matt, I had read that somewhere before with a link to the .exe file which you I was advised to run in XP compatibility mode, which I did. This did not solve the problem, but your suggestion did!!

    I can now use a much more respectable screen resolution of 1024×768, thanks so much! I’m hoping that I can use a similar method to get my PCMCIA wireles adapter working now.

    I can now say I am quite happy with W7 itself, evene thoguh I haven’t had that long to explore it in all it’s non-tiny glory. It runs much faster than my old XP installation, though of course that’s not a fair comparison.

    I can’t use any Aero effects of course, but as subbota said, it is much better at switching between tasks, so it seems much faster.

  22. @Gerry: I think this will be just a pricing issue. If windows 7 starter is cheap enough, it will appear as a viable competition to Linux (which still has a per-machine fee for laptop manufacturers). So if it costs like the netbook’s WXP (ie: $15), it will be on every netbook.
    But, some users, the more technical ones, will want to remove all those limitations, so the upgrade voucher to Home Premium will have to be cheap enough.

  23. I went at my Win7 install on my Mini 9 again using the information from the guides and now it’s great!

    I’m glad this all came out like two days after my first bad attempt.

    thanks all!

  24. Confirmed:
    Seems to be great as a daily driver.
    I like how Windows Media player handles divx files with no problems and plays them better than VLC.

    It looks like I might have to buy 2 copies when the time comes.

  25. I’ve run the full, bloated RC1 factory install on an old IBM Stinkpad T30, just to test the “out of the box” performance. So far, Ive been pleasantly surprised. Performance has been as good or better than XP. The initial install had some issues with the older hardware, but running windows update found and installed every piece of hardware, with no hunting for drivers on my part at all. Joining the domain, group policies, everything just worked. I don’t like that Vista and W7 force us to use roaming profiles, rather than just copying to the local default profile, but that’s my biggest bitch so far. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised.

  26. been running windows 7 on my older Aspire one for about a month now, it runs every bit as well as XP and honestly it feels more natural and easier to use. occasionally I have wireless driver issues but it is a easy fix and overall I will never go back to using anything else now that I have it installed and running.

  27. this is kind of silly dd an image when you can just copy the install data from the disk to a usb and install regular and you can use vlite to remove unwanted stuff like defender and language packs you dont use etc etc etc.. you can get win 7 ultimate down to 3gb installed. anybody who used the beta should wait for the retail or (dont tell anybody i told you this) search torrent sites for the 7600 rtm . it is the oem version.

  28. I started off running the XP Home Edition that came installed on my HP Mini 110 and totally hated it. I’ve since gone to Windows 7 Eternity and dual boot with Linux Ubuntu 9.10 for the netbook. Love it in dual mode and refuse to go backwards with XP again.

  29. bn running windows 7 for a while now, bn gr8. Anyway, i installed it on a netbook Acer aspire one. Cant seem to find drivers for it. Need help?
    Cant find it on the manufacturer’s website.

  30. I installed windows 7 ultimate 32 bit on an Asus eee pc netbook and it works flawlessy,actually better than the XP that it was installed with,I thought I would have problems or lack of drivers if i did the upgrade,but i backed up all my stuff,did a clean install and had no problems,i wish I would’ve done it sooner if i wasnt so scared id ruin my little netbook in the process,it actually even runs extended desktop and multiple monitors in fullscreen better than i did in xp which was really choppy,so i recommend upgrading to anyone who wants to make a change.

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