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back to article Eee PC: better with Windows?

I have now installed Windows XP Pro on my Eee PC and while the unit's power consumption characteristics are slightly better than they were under the standard Linux installation, it's not as much of a gain as I'd hoped for. Installing XP is straightforward. The Eee PC's manufacturer, Asus, provides the drivers you need on the DVD …

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Happy

JD

"the latter can't see the Eee PC's webcam because Asus has yet to provide a *Windows* driver for it."

Just wondering if anyone has seen a large order of wool mittens and long johns with a delivery address of "Hell".

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Silver badge

But... why?

Why would you install Windows on such a machine? There's virtually no real benefit from it. On a Desktop computer I might understand someone installing Windows to run his old application, but such applications wouldn't propperly run on that resolution.

And then there's all the extra hardware which didn't even exist back when Windows was made. Just think of the wireless ethernet card you probably won't be able to use anymore.

So of course, you can run Windows on that device, and there may be reasons for doing so, but that's clearly just a tiny niece.

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Windows Pagefile

I'd recommend, if you're running Windows on the Eee PC, that you move the Windows pagefile onto the flash memory card (preferable) - or run Windows without a pagefile (not ideal with 512MB of physical RAM). Windows writes to this file a lot, and you don't want to waste read/write cycles on the internal flash storage on this.

Unfortunately I don't think you can move the hibernate file off the internal storage.

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hiberfil.sys

Raymond Chen explains here why you can't move Windows' hibernation file from the root of the boot drive: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/technetmag/issues/2007/11/WindowsConfidential/default.aspx

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Turnabout...

I just can't wait to read the first comment from an eee purchaser saying "well why would I go to all that trouble to install Windows when the OS that came with the computer is fine in the first place?"

:D

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Anonymous Coward

But...

What does the Eee PC beach babe think of this?

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Linux

@Adam

I have an eee. It's black and very sweet. So here goes.

"Well why would I go to all the trouble to install windows when the OS that came with the computer is fine in the first place?" :)

But being serious, the eee has shortcomings, but very few that I have found. Most have a fix on the eee user forums and are because I find them annoying, it's not the Pc's fault.

I'm not a linux fanboy as I am a dabbler at best. I just don't think putting windows on and removing all of the options are a benefit. Though the user manual is very good in details on "how to" and that is a plus for asus.

Relating to the article.

Why put on windows to get 22s reboot from hibernation (With better memory usage than linux) and 45s on boot up.

Linux is 15s bootup. (Don't use an SD and it's quicker) And power off uses less power than sleep. So what is gained?

The user forums also include how to make the linux front end look more "windows like" with the super user, having the desktop and start menu.

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Can you use NTFS on the thing?

The main disk drive screen shot showed a system drive using FAT32 file system. What stops you from using NTFS on it?

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Paris Hilton

Why XP

for me, I'm using the machine purely a SNES emulator and having tried ZNES 1.5.1 under Linux, I got sound crackles and screen flashes - switched to XP and run the Windows version of ZSNES 1.5.1 and everything is absolutely perfect! runs sweet 60/60 fps no issues but I have also turned of the pagefile and am loading the ROMs from SD to save the SSD everyone is worrying about. I could use a software FSB to bring the processor upto full speed but no need for my 'killer app' as battery life gains win out. btw, I have got over a gig free on the SSD for any other emulators I may want to add later...

Also where is she pls? This must be the 3rd EEE story without her and I'm finding that I'm having to go back to old posts to make sure my buying decision was a good one!

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Re But... why?

It's just a pretext to not show us the blonde on the beach again.

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Linux

Y is for Windows

I really don't see the point of putting Windows on the EEE. A killer app question maybe? It plays nicely enough with Windows out of the box, you get RDP and CIFS in the standard OS.

I've tried a few different configurations but I'm happiest with the Xandros distro it ships with plus some minor tweaks and additions. It's hard to beat for the remarkable speed with which it boots, the low resouce usage and the slick integration of the desktop components. There's the odd Windows program that I have to have on there - but that's what wine was invented for.

I'm neither a fanboy or a novice with Linux, it's coexisted quite happily with the various Microsoft offerings in my home network for years. Just a tool for a job question - and on the EEE I've ended up deciding that the factory OS ain't broke.

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Anonymous Coward

Why put Windows on an eeePc?

Once you get out of the world of personal usage and back into the business world, you'll very quickly find yourself reaching for a Windows App, even if it's only occasionally.

I personally work on a Linux Desktop and have a Mac at home, and on both machines I run Windows in a Virtual Machine for the odd time that nothing but a Windows Specific programme will work.

I know a guy who'se bought an eeePc purely so he can carry around a Windows platform, loaded with all his Windows Specific Work Apps, in the smallest possible formfactor - saves lugging around his 2kg Dell when he's on call.

I'm the last person to advocate Windows - I've spent the last 5 years removing it from my life, so much so that it now exists only on a virtual platform...but I still see the point of installing Windows - just because you don't need it, doesn't mean others don't.

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Anonymous Coward

Someone with an eee tell me

What if anything you've managed to do with the thing.

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Bronze badge
Flame

Why not Windows, but...

...none of the stuff I use that needs Windows would run usefully on an Eee.

I can see getting some things set up being a little harder, though I've a little Linux experience, but I don't see much need to change to Windows. The only likely catch is over a large USB drive that might have been formatted to NTFS. Last I checked, access from other operating systems could still be tricky.

Where this could pay off is in a more corporate (or school) environment. It seems unavoidable that companies will want to run software that needs Windows, not just Microsoft Office, and schools will want their pupils to know how to use Microsoft Office.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that companies are still using software with a very recognisable MS-DOS-text-display look, box-drawing characters and everything. And if they're doing that, being able to easily install Windows is the key to selling to them.

On the other hand, while this isn't formally a "rugged" machine, it's cheap and durable. And, figuring inflation, it's cheaper than a Z88 was. There's a lot of corporate niches where the data, rather than the program is the important bit. You're the journalists--how often do you need features that aren't in Wordpad?

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Bronze badge

Can't wait..

...till I get a pension cheque delivered and get two of these machines. (One for me, one for girlie)

Linux, please - if I was a "power user" (whatever that means) I'd need Microsoft(tm) Viagra(sm) Professional(fw*).

Let's face it - most of the world + dog needs to peruse the web, e-mail and write letters to pet donkey. Nowt else. Seems perfect.

</anorak>

*FW - fuck*ing what?

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Coat

@Dave

NTFS reading is absolutely fine (I usually salvage NTFS disks with a linux machine).

Last time I had a look, writing and journal file management was still experimental. As I do not need it, there is good chance that it has evolved.

I want to react on the fact that there is no decent FS (excluding fat32, as it does not fit decent anymore) handler supported by both Linux and windows natively. Wonder if there is still no solution to mount ext2/3 partitions on windows (and without it being a pain).

Not that I really need it, but I remember being very frustrated when formatting my external USB HD, wanting to make it ext3 and then thinking about how much pain it was going to be when actually visiting still using windows friends. final solution was ntfs and keeping an old windows computer (and transfer trough samba, or ftp). It is not specially pleasant but you cannot decently ask people to get a ext fs mounting soft on their machine before you visit them.

Ok, I'm OT but I don't care :)

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Silver badge

Didn't like Xandros, but will try it again one day

I installed XP on this Eee I'm typing on right now for a couple of reasons, I did try to get to grips with the Xandros OS but found the software it came with a little 'kludgy' (apart from Firefox) - I won't use even half the apps it came with and those that I did use I didn't like. At one point the stupid OS refused to let me access any UMS devices (flash, HD and CD/DVD), saying I didn't have permission so I had to do a restore-to-factory-default on the machine to get things working again.

The audio playing tool was a bit pants, sure it handled mp3/ogg & streaming radio which are the ones I use most but I like Winamp, it's small (doesn't need nearly the entire screen to operate), simple & powerful and I'm not talking about the latest version but an older version from a few years ago (don't need video playback on it).

The video playing tool had a couple of useful features but generally video playback was not smooth, there was noticable 'tearing' where halfway through displaying a frame on the screen it would start displaying the next frame. I can't stand Media Player 9 & later on Windows which is why I use Media Player Classic with ffdshow because the combination of the two mean a straightforward interface of a program that can play almost any audio/video file (bar mkv & ogg video but I don't use those) including being a DVD player so no having to fart around with bloatware such as WinDVD or PowerDVD just to watch a film. XP on the Eee provides smoother video playback in my experience.

Windows is an environment I'm familiar with, yes I know that sounds bad and I will at some point restore this Eee back to it's Xandros OS to have another bash at getting 'into it', but for now I'm sticking with XP because I don't want to have to re-learn how to use various linux based audio/video/image editing programs when I already know how to use the Windows programs I have, that will work fine on the Eee.

As for the extra built-in hardware, the wireless card works, the ethernet works, the SD reader works, the touchpad works & the webcam all work fine. Saying things like "Just think of the wireless ethernet card you probably won't be able to use anymore." is precicely the kind of FUD I'd expect from linux fanboys.

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@Dave Bell

<quote>..and schools will want their pupils to know how to use Microsoft Office.</quote>

Wrong. If schools can't teach ideals and higher morals, eg. using open standards and ethical software, then there is no no hope of ever making the world a better place. Schools are where we start to chisel away at the monopoly.

Didn't you watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

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RE: hiberfil.sys

I guess Raymond must have missed a meeting.

http://blogs.msdn.com/ntdebugging/archive/2007/06/28/how-windows-starts-up-part-the-second.aspx

Quote

Hibernation files are interesting. The file either contains a full memory image, or it contains a pointer (ARC path) to the boot partition of the last operating system that entered hibernation. That boot partition will contain another Hiberfil.sys file, which contains a full memory image of the hibernating operating system.

End Quote

Although the thing is rewritten every time you hibernate (thus preventing you from creating a pointer file), it's not impossible for ntldr to detect it on other partitions or disks as is explained by Raymond Chen. Boot.ini uses the same format and has no problems with multiple disks and partitions.

If M$ wanted to, they could allow some control over where the hibernation file was stored.

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Coat

No more Windows stories on Eee PC please !

Because they seem to miss the bird at the beach.

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Thumb Up

W2K!

Besides the camera, I got Windows 2000 to run on it. It left me with 2GB free on the SSD. Works well!

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Flame

Fucking waste of

time I told you wouldn't get much out of it with XP leave it the way it came and it has some uses, with XP it has no storage left. What you can't find a laptop with XP on it.

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Heart

Not a linux fan but...

I don't mind linux but dislike the linux fanboi community. I use Windows a lot and hate that the linux crowd want to make me feel guilty or inadequate for liking microsoft products.

That said, I can't understand why anyone would put XP on this device when the preinstalled OS does everything I want it to do. If ever there was a device which makes linux *useful* then this is it and I would be surprised if many people make the switch to XP as it's a whole lot of hassle for no discernable benefit.

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Anonymous Coward

use this?

http://www.nliteos.com/

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Alert

Apart from anything else, the cost is?

You forgot to mention the cost of this exercise.

Presumably £100 is a realistic estimate? (£40 USB DVD reader + £60 XP license [minimum])

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linux vs MS is irrelevant in the article

I only use linux, but i believe in tools for the job. Often that means tools for the user = MS, since thats what most ordinary users know.

Anyway, that said, in this article having installed the inferior OS and then turned off ALL effects and niceties the author installs Pigeon, Open Office and some other open source apps.

So please tell me the point of doing all that? Wouldn't it be easier to use those apps with the OS that came with the machine. Also it doesn't show a true idea of XP on this machine, as MS Office will bloat the little space left after XP is installed and any other MS based apps are likely to run dog slow when there is little space....

Aside from an exercise i really dont see the point as its not really a true idea.

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Linux

Reading (and writing) NTFS

Try NTFS-3G. I (and many many others as well) have used NTFS-3G to write to NTFS partitions without any problems for a while now.

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About SNES emulators on the Eee

If the Windows version of the SNES emulator works better, what about using Wine to run it in the OS the Eee ships with? Wine runs on the Eee ... right?

It doesn't run everything, but you never know until you try. I've been pleasantly surprised before, running it on my full-size notebook.

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Bronze badge

The XP Killer App - IME for Asian Languages

Being able to use the English keyboard to type Asian languages such as Simplified Chinese is the app I would need on day 1. So far I was not able to confirm if this familiar interface, a clone of the Windows IME for East Asian Languages, is available on Linux.

Killer App number 2 is drivers for GPRS/3g modems or usb dongles, to leverage that portability. Not to mention, would the Eee be able to recognize Internet Banking usb stick readers?

Anyone?

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Linux

XP on the EEE? Oh, so you're scared of change...

"The drain on the Eee PC is much higher - ironic given its low-power screen LED backlight and lack of a hard drive"

When was the last time you heard your hard disk spinning when your laptop was in standby? Oh, you probably haven't, so that won't make any difference. And when was the screen last on when you left your laptop in standby? Again, I'd imagine never...

"[with Windows] It takes the Eee PC about 22s to recover from hibernation, about 45s to start up from scratch"

Oh, that sounds great, after a few months that'll be 1:30 to boot and after 6-7 months that'll be 2 minutes to boot. Compared to the original OS's time of 12-15s, that seems a little poor.

Now I've tried Linux (Mandrake) in the past, much to no avail, until about a year ago when I installed Ubuntu on my PC. Then about 11 months ago I removed Windows. There's nothing I could do in Windows that I now can't do in Linux. Granted, I don't play a lot of games on my PC, but Ubuntu does have some native 3D games. Now I'm a bit of a geek (it's been said) and playing about with a new OS is all good fun to me, but with Ubuntu, you really don't need to worry about being a die-hard Linux fan, you just want to have to put a little effort in. If you don't want to put any effort in, then it's too late; you're a corporate sell-out already.

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Coat

Or just install it on a USB HDD

I've had my EEE over two months now. I use Linux for most things but if I want Windows (or to use the more versatile Ubuntu) I just plug in my USB HDD and away I go. Fully powered by one USB port.

I've got to be honest however - Windows for me is just for games.

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@b42k

"Wrong. If schools can't teach ideals and higher morals, eg. using open standards and ethical software, then there is no no hope of ever making the world a better place. Schools are where we start to chisel away at the monopoly."

Unfortunately we need the kids in school to be able to get a job at sometime in the future, and while most companys still use MS software they need how to use it.

Morals and Ethics only work in a world were you don't have to work for a living.

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nLite : Shrunken faster Windows

As someone has just mentioned, nLite is a great way to shrink as well as speed up Windows.

I have installed an nLited XP on my Asus, installed it to less than 1gb without removing any important functionality, and it boots in 25 seconds. NTFS is of course no problem either.

So all in all, the question for me is why bother sticking with the Linux distro when my Windows install is small, fast, fully functional, and damn sweet!

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re: The XP Killer App - IME for Asian Languages

Which languages are you after? SCIM (scim-im.org) is a open project for common input methods for Linux and other unices.

Depending on your dongles, most of the models available on UK networks will work. You won't have the Windows bangs and whistles but it's possible that they could be persuaded to work through WINE. www.pharscape.org has a list of which cards work and which drivers they work with.

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