Using Windows 7 on Older PCs (3)

Windows 7 has been proven to work on older computers 2 or 3 generations away from contemporary models.  Microsoft has apparently fixed what was wrong with Vista and gave us a new OS free from the bloat and objectionable pop-ups that was the hallmark of the Vista user experience. Microsoft even announced that Windows 7 will work on netbooks. This is significant knowing that beginning in 2008, more portable computers were sold compared to desktop units.

How does Windows 7 perform in the netbook market? Won’t its lightweight hardware seriously hamper the successor of Windows Vista, an OS known for being such a resource hog?

The test machines

Two computer enthusiasts tested Windows 7 on their portable computers. One computer was a 2-year old Samsung Q1 ultra-mobile PC (UMPC) with the following specs:

  • 900 MHx ‘Dothan’ Celeron CPU
  • 512 MB RAN
  • 40 GB hard disk
  • on-board graphics
  • came installed with Windows XP tablet edition

The other computer was a 1 year old Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook whose specs are:

  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU
  • 2 GB RAN
  • 8 GB SSD (solid-state drive)
  • Intel 945 express graphic chip
  • Installed with Windows XP and later with Ubuntu

The verdict

Both testers were surprised how well Windows 7 worked on both computers with lightweight hardware. Driver problems were not experienced and the touch screen interface on the UMPC was fully functional.  Graphics really turned out well and surprisingly, Aero’s churned out a solid performance on the computer screen without any latency and ghosting problems.

Real life work using Office 2007, SQL Management Studio, internet browsing and electronic mail was not hampered at all despite Windows 7 occupying a major part of the hard drive. Most of the applications that worked on the previous OS did not have any problems running on Windows 7.

Windows 7 required a boot-up of 50 to 60 seconds but wakes up from sleep mode in only 20 to 30 seconds. Windows 7 actually performed faster than the original OS (Windows XP) in both portable computers. Aside from being speedier than Windows XP, the new OS looks nicer.

Since both portable computers have no built-in optical drives, one may have to hack the install process by using a flash drive instead of a DVD when loading Windows 7.

Both users are now enthusiastic Windows 7 converts who are busy showing off their laptops to anyone. They managed to convert others to Windows 7 too including a couple of Mac users.

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