back to article Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

Among the many bizarre and stupid mistakes Microsoft made with Windows 8.x was the decision to require screens to have resolution of at least 1024 x 768. That decision meant that hordes of Netbooks, the very small laptops popular in the late noughties, had no obvious upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 8.x. Back in …

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      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        but Linux can do that and whole lot of stuff that Windows anything cannot do and that is why Azure is over 25% Linux the biggest companies in the world use Linux

        Yes, let's compare what companies run on their cloud-based virtual appliances to what people use a netbook for at home. Stunning logic. While the use of Linux on servers, embedded systems etc makes a lot of sense, and has long been widespread, there is a reason why "This is the year of Linux on the desktop!" is a running joke.

        1. kryptylomese

          "Yes, let's compare what companies run on their cloud-based virtual appliances to what people use a netbook for at home. Stunning logic." Who said anything about cloud based virtual appliances? Google runs Gubuntu on the desktop and many large governments run Linux on the desktop. The running joke is people like you who cannot see that Linux on the desktop happened quite a long time ago. Does it compete in numbers with Windows, no - not yet, but that is changing so wake up and smell the coffee.

          Most people in this thread are agreeing that they in fact do run Linux on their netbooks but you do not want to accept that because you are a blacksmith in the age of the horseless carriage.....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Who said anything about cloud based virtual appliances?

            The post I replied to did. You do actually know what Azure is, right?

            The running joke is people like you who cannot see that Linux on the desktop happened quite a long time ago.

            Hilarious. I tried to look up some figures for Linux desktop market share for you, but the Linux trendline is so close to the axis that you can't actually read a figure off the graph.

            Does it compete in numbers with Windows, no - not yet, but that is changing so wake up and smell the coffee.

            Well, I sure smell something.

            Most people in this thread are agreeing that they in fact do run Linux on their netbooks but you do not want to accept that because you are a blacksmith in the age of the horseless carriage....

            I got the "I'm a cool techie coz I run Linux!" thing out of my system well over a decade ago, then I grew up. The desktop will be an obsolete concept long before Linux gains significant market share, so if a tiny, unrepresentative minority of tinkerers wants to persist with it, that's fine, but don't try and pretent that that represents some kind of meaningful progress.

  1. Only me!

    Eee

    So where is the picture of the beach bunny on the Eee? It is time it had another airing!

  2. Alex Walsh

    Closest thing to a netbook...

    Is probably something like the Toshiba Satellite Click Mini- 8.9 inch Windows tablet with a detachable keyboard and a battery in both bits. Bitterly regret not getting one when Amazon were flogging them for £149 at one point last year.

    1. Callam McMillan

      Re: Closest thing to a netbook...

      I bought one. Didn't get it for £149, but it's still not bad, even if it does have a few niggles.

      1. Alex Walsh

        Re: Closest thing to a netbook...

        My boss bought one (on my recommendation). Been a few firmware issues with battery drain from what he's said but it is exactly the form factor I miss and he's pretty pleased with it. (eee 701, 9001, 1001HA saw me nicely for years).

        Ironically, his main use for it is Sky Go as none of his Android tablets are supported by it...

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Please stop flogging a dead donkey

    Quote As we've discussed elsewhere, Windows 10 is a worthy upgrade that makes Windows sensible again.

    It might have been if it wasn't the spying it does on you even when you have disabled ALL you can. It stlll wants to talk to dozens of MS registetred IP addresses.

    Sorry. that is not my idea of a worthy upgrade. The general concensus amongst the readership (and commentards ) here is very much the same.

    As for that small screen, are you really sure that it is that usable? Some of the control panel options hardly fit on a 768 high res screen. and without a scroll bar in sight you are frankly stuffed if you are a normal user. sure it might run but the world has moved on since the days of the netbook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please stop flogging a dead donkey

      Perhaps I missed an important detail, but the only change I saw was that Win10 reports telemetry data. This should just tell them which features of the OS you're using. I'm really not bothered by MS knowing that I never open their new start menu, I never click icons on the desktop, I use jump lists mainly to open a second instance of the same program, or other similar things. Really, this encourages them to keep the features of the OS that I do like, and not waste time on the garbage (start screen on a 4k monitor) that I don't use. Otherwise, we end up watching Opera decide no one uses bookmarks in their browser, because the only people that left any telemetry data turned on didn't know what bookmarks were.

      Now, if they're actually uploading all my files (not to OneDrive, that one is obvious) or snarfing my entire browser history, then I'm likely to have a different opinion.

      1. Chika

        Re: Please stop flogging a dead donkey

        We'll stop when something really positive happens wrt W10. This is a non-story overall, something I'd expect of ZDNet rather than El Reg.

        This donkey isn't dead. It's just resting.

  4. SolidSquid

    "Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!"

    "The overall experience is not so pleasant that I'd use the machine for everyday tasks or foist it on the kids"

    Surely these two statements are contradicting each other? If Windows 10 "makes them good again", surely that would mean they're usable on an every day basis and would make an ideal machine to pass on to your kids to use, as they would have been when they first came out

    I realise there's a lot of people throwing about "just install linux" (and people annoyed at it), but in this case it does make sense. I've got an old Acer Aspire One which is running Linux and is a perfectly serviceable machine still for browsing, youtube and word processing. It's never going to run an IDE, but even when it came out that was a restriction on it because of the limited RAM expandability, but it definitely runs better with Linux and can do a lot more than you describe your machine in the article being able to use now you installed Windows 10

  5. Robert E A Harvey

    Very dissapointing

    I really liked my 10" netbooks, under Ubuntu, but the manufactuers never fitted a proper screen because of Microsoft meddling.

    Now I want to replace them the same people who sold me one for 300 beer tokens want 900 for summat similar. Still without a decent screen.

    No thanks.

  6. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "...free Office 365 for a year, making it a tough deal to ignore..."

    Free is good.

    But the "...for a year..." makes it very easy to ignore.

  7. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    So, my dear old netbook

    Becomes "The Spy Who Loved Me".

  8. Bodge99

    I've got a bit of a soft spot..

    ...for netbooks, esp. Acer D255, D270 and the HP mini 210 4000 series. I'm looking for a good used Asus 1025 C with an N2800 CPU for coreboot experiments..

    One thing I have discovered is that the given spec. for these is "a little inaccurate".

    For example, the HP mini 210-4xxx is quoted by HP as supporting only 1GB of ram (WRONG!). Intel quote a max of 2GB for this chipset. The motherboard will actually take a 4GB stick with just over 3GB usable. The same applies for the Acer D270.

    Linux runs very well on these, especially with a SSD fitted.

    1. 404 Silver badge

      Re: I've got a bit of a soft spot..

      Aspire One 532h here - was inspired to see if my old CF-53 4GB stick I had laying around would fit. Didn't but I did find out why she's been reluctant to use it lately - she killed the Windows 7 installation messing around trying to get her games installed... Debating whether to linux her out of spite...

      1. Bodge99

        Re: I've got a bit of a soft spot..

        Hi,

        I think that the AOA 532h takes DDR2 and your CF-53 is DDR3?

        I just use the best value for money that Ebuyer sell, faster speed ram is fine and is often cheaper as it's more "current".

        I've got 4GB sticks in all of my netbooks and am working on bios mods to allow a 64bit OS on the HP minis.

        All good fun!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tangent..

    If the Windows 10 nagware determines that it cannot be installed on your device, how do you make the icon go AWAY...?

    1. Chika
      Alert

      Re: Tangent..

      Try starting with the GWX Control Panel, available at http://ultimateoutsider.com/downloads/ (this can do all of what you see below and will monitor for attempts to reverse any of this)

      If you want to get your hands dirty, however (and bear in mind that this is advice only, I cannot be responsible for any loss of data or system problems if you do this)...

      You can also try killing the GWX process then uninstall KB3035583, then make sure that the Windows Update system is set to notify only rather than automatic download. Once that is done, there are a couple of registry keys that can be used to control the return of the nag (though I'm scepticle as to how long Microsoft will honour these).

      The actual settings, if you are willing to use regedit (please remember that you do this at your own risk and hopefully would have the sense to do a registry backup first), are

      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Gwx\DisableGwx DWORD:00000001

      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\DisableOSUpgrade DWORD:00000001

      If the subkey doesn't exist, simply create it then set as shown. I believe that this works for W7 and W8.x.

    2. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Tangent..

      The best way of getting rid of it is fdisk

  10. Not That Andrew

    What's with all the Mint fanatics in any thread that mentions Windows 10? I mean I despise the way MS is shoving Win 10 down our throats, (while liking some of its features), but I don't go about recommending Slackware to everybody.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Facepalm

      but I don't go about recommending Slackware to everybody.

      Why not?

    2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Trollface

      > What's with all the Mint fanatics in any thread that mentions Windows 10?

      The post right above yours is one reason.

      Trolling poor Windows users might also occur in the process.

  11. bollos

    do i remember them?!

    mate, i'm still p*ssed off they stopped making them! i blame those nobby tablets for that. just as manufacturers started bringing out netbooks with dual-cores they killed them! i have no need for maximum battery life but i would love a nice geared down quad-core 8" netbook running W7 off a nice 500GB Samsung SSD. can someone ask dell to re-issue the dell mini 9 with a decent cpu and SSD? i can fit my own SSD if necessary and even change the cpu if that's possible. the HP2133 i had was a fantastic little machine (great sound and metal keys) but the pony VIA ULV cpu was *soldered* into the damn mb so i couldn't upgrade it!

    1. CaveatVenditor
      Thumb Up

      Re: Remember Netbooks?

      "the HP2133 i had was a fantastic little machine"

      I love my HP2133 and bought a new battery for it recently to show the love. It's too well made to consider throwing it away but even LXLE runs like frozen treacle. I'm probably mis-remembering but I think even XP was faster. Is there any known Linux flavour that really works on this baby?

  12. GrumpyWorld
    Mushroom

    Unix

    Invented by arseholes for...

    I thought it was a joke operating system from the 1940s when I first worked on it in the late 1980s.

    You just put this twiddly character in here with this random collection of letters to get it to do X.

    No don't put the twiddly character there! It will purge your hard drive instead...

    1. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: Unix

      It does what you tell it to.

      If you're stupid enough to put your hands under the knife while cutting cheese expect blood and pain.

      Many people always get the cheese cut for them, perhaps you should abstain from buying cheese from the deli counter and buy only sliced cheese.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Unix

      "I thought it was a joke operating system from the 1940s"

      Citation needed for operating systems, joke or otherwise, from the 1940s.

      "when I first worked on it in the late 1980s."

      Hmm. Back then I'd been involved in using Unix for casework administration in a busy forensic science lab, distribution & service of mobiles, administering social housing, administering a professional society's membership list & maybe other stuff I've forgotten. And many other people were using it for many other applications. So what was your problem? PEBCAK?

      1. GrumpyWorld

        Re: Unix

        Perhaps I had been spoiled by a grown-up operating system from Burroughs; simple things like:

        Copy A as B from X to Y

        where X and Y could be different devices on different mainframes.

  13. Sequin

    No probs with Windows 10

    U upgraded my netbook (Medion Akoya E1222) to 10 before Christmas and have had no problems. I upgraded it from XP to 7 Home edition about two years ago and doubled the RAM from 1 to 2 gigs at the same time. I suspect it might struggle with the original amount of RAM.

    1. Chika

      Re: No probs with Windows 10

      Strictly speaking, if W7HE ran with no probs on 2GB on that system, W10 should be fine too. I'd expect that drivers are likely to be your biggest worry - they usually are on any new release.

  14. inmypjs Silver badge

    "Windows 10 is a worthy upgrade"

    Oh FFS Win 10 is not a worthy upgrade it is bait.

    Why would Microsoft suddenly decide to give away one of its main cash cows for past decades? Not just give it away but desperately attempt to ram it down people's throats?

    Because it is bait and when enough morons (like the article author) are hooked they will switch and the morons will start paying.

    Morons running Win 10 will be paying for it one way or another and likely be paying more than for any other version of Windows.

    Smart people would just say NO, but, the morons have us out numbered so Microsoft will probably get away with it.

  15. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    MSI U180

    Came with W7 starter but intended from the start to be a Linux machine. Left W7 there to dual boot (always a good idea to keep the original OS in case it develops a hardware problem & needs to be returned). Still has a now elderly version of Mint, running Informix database & used in libraries & archives on research visits. A tablet? Useless for this application.

  16. Orionds

    Lubuntu on eeePC and Xubuntu on netbooks

    Lubuntu and Xubuntu run great on these little machines. On netbooks, I have a comprehensive set of full desktop software that include the Gimp, Libreoffice, Kodi, Handbrake, Kodi Media Center, XnView, etc. running nicely and smoothly with 1Gb ram.

  17. Matt_payne666

    Modern day netbook....

    Ive got a HP 5051 netbook - just updated that to win 10 for fun and as said - its alright....

    but for those lamenting the demise of the formfactor - have a look at the dell venue 10 pro - I bought one for the missus a few years back, with the keyboard connected it has almost the exact same footprint and is marginally thinner (my HP had the extended battery)

    The dell has a baytrail atom (which is ok), full HD touch screen, real keyboard, came with win8pro, breaks in two for tablet duties and is available used for peanuts!

  18. pyite

    How?

    The whole point of Netbooks was that you could buy them without Windows. How is this going to help?

  19. billium

    @GrumpyWorld even MS users here have some respect for Mr Ritchie.

    @inmypjs Maybe they are trying to increase bing usage. In Win 10 bing and bing apps are all over the start screen. Also as has been stated, I know lots of people with Microsoft accounts now.

  20. gvnmcknz

    CloudReady & BunsenLabs : Net Books Resurrected

    Retired and need to update old gear, can't afford new :(

    Keeps me out of trouble as well

    1/ Neverware CloudReady!

    Chromium OS, origin of Chromebook/Box/Base etc. OS

    Freebie for individuals, paid for schools/organisations, purpose?

    To resurrect old machines, and does!

    Very good on my old Dual Core Atom powered Netbook. 32GB SSD

    Bit fiddly to install, but super worth it!!

    2/ BunsenLabs Linux

    Single Core 32 bit Atom 16GB SSD

    Very minimalist OpenBox window manager, (resurrection of Crunch Bang #!).

    Otherwise X/Lubuntu or Debian.

  21. carlos_c

    Hp Stream ?

    do a nice little laptop 10 " screen , 9 hrs battery - £179 of your English pounds - just googled and it can run mint for the Penguistas

    1. Skribblez

      Re: Hp Stream ?

      Was looking at one of those to replace my Aspire One D255e that I had upgraded to Win10 from Win7 Starter. The D255e worked fine with Win10 with 2GB ram and a 64 GB SSD, but the low-res screen was getting to me.

      The Stream 11 seemed like a good replacement but I ended up with an Acer Switch 10 2-in-1 laptop instead because it was on sale cheap enough to qualify as an impulse purchase. The 1280*800 screen on the Switch 10 is nice enough and it came with 2 GB ram and a 64 GB SSD, so it runs Win10 fine. I find it nice to have a lightweight, usable laptop that can double as a tablet for movies or an ereader etc. But then I tend to do most of my actual work on my old MacBook or a Mac Pro.

    2. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge
      Pint

      Re: Hp Stream ?

      +1 for "Penguistas". Made oi larf.

  22. gvnmcknz

    CloudReady & BunsenLabs : Net Books Resurrected

    Retired and need to update old gear, can't afford new :(

    Keeps me out of trouble as well

    1/ Neverware CloudReady!

    http://www.neverware.com/#introtext-3

    Chromium OS, origin of Chromebook/Box/Base etc. OS

    Freebie for individuals, paid for schools/organisations, purpose?

    To resurrect old machines, and does!

    Very good on my old Dual Core Atom powered Netbook. 32GB SSD

    Bit fiddly to install, but super worth it!!

    2/ BunsenLabs Linux

    https://www.bunsenlabs.org/

    Single Core 32 bit Atom 16GB SSD

    Very minimalist OpenBox window manager, (resurrection of Crunch Bang #!).

    Otherwise X/Lubuntu or Debian.

  23. nightflier

    My EeePC came with W7 starter (replaced with Lubuntu). Just for kicks, I put W7 Starter back on and let it upgrade to W10. It mostly worked, but with 1G of RAM I did not consider it usable. Mint XFCE does a much better job.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: CloudReady & BunsenLabs : Net Books Resurrected

      "http://www.neverware.com/#introtext-3"

      Why do these idiot companies put up websites which display nothing with NoScript running?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: CloudReady & BunsenLabs : Net Books Resurrected

        Because developers!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 10 on old hardwarre

    I put windows 10 on my Acer windows 7 laptop. 64 bit edition if that makes a difference. It's an Aspire 5332 with a dual core celeron. It's been glacially slow for ages, and I decided I had nothing to lose by upgrading. However, it went even slower after the upgrade until I first replaced the hdd with an SSD, and doubled the memory.

    I also upgraded my HP stream 7 tablet from W8.1 to W10, and saw a performance degradation, especially noticeable at boot time.

    And my 5 year old quad core desktop with a fast nvidea graphics card boots with the enthusiasm of a rheumatic dog on a cold day, after always having been a nippy little mover.

    It's hard to imagine that more limited hardware can deliver an acceptable response under W10. But YMMV

  25. Deltics

    Available Online Only - BUT... Windows 10 will delete your OneDrive files.

    It is pretty easy to tell OneDrive that you want files only in the cloud. Just select the files/folders you need cloudified right-click and select "Make available online only".

    That strikes me as "making it easy".

    However, one word of caution if using Windows 10....

    The Windows 10 OneDrive client has a fatal flaw that appears to result in it DELETING any files that it has trouble synchronizing. Even if they are marked as "Online only".

    I have determined this to be the case after losing 300GB of files to the errant Windows 10 OneDrive client and eliminating all the possible causes until finally whittling it down to a system that I upgraded to Windows 10 recently - the only Windows 10 system syncing with my OneDrive.

    In hindsight the culprit should have been immediately obvious since the loss of files started at the time that the Windows 10 upgrade on that system was completed.

    Further, having switched to a 3rd party OneDrive client (syncDriver) it appears that there is some problem with OneDrive cloud access from Windows 10 generally which in turn is what was triggering the faulty "Delete files in case of sync error" behaviour, since even syncDriver is having trouble synchronizing some files.

    However, since I have set syncDriver to sync in one direction only (cloud to client) it is not deleting the files on the cloud host. Neither is OneDrive deleting the files in the cloud itself. Hence I am 99.9% certain that the problem with spontaneously deleted files is due entirely to the Windows 10 OneDrive client.

    The problem has seemingly disappeared since I disabled OneDrive on the Windows 10 client, even though it is still in use on various Windows 8.1 and Mac systems.

  26. herman Silver badge

    Since the author mentioned the Lenovo S10 - I have one here running Fedora 23. It works nice, but not recommended for video processing though.

  27. David Roberts Silver badge

    EeePC 901

    I think.

    At the time there were two versions; Linux with 4GB and 8GB solid state memory, or a Windows XP version with a HDD.

    I worked out that I could buy the Linux version and an OEM XP CD for less than the cost of the XP version, and anyway who wanted spinning rust in a travel PC?

    [I needed Windows to run software to manage a few hardware devices with Windows only software, including a TomTom satnav.]

    Ran well for a couple or more years and did everything I needed whilst world travelling. However XP just kept getting more bloated and eventually choked on some updates because of lack of space. So it got stored away until I could re-Linux it. Still waiting. I doubt it would run W10 even if that was a free upgrade.

    Recently (a year ago?) bought a small HP with W8.1, for much the same reasons. It works fine (especially after the SSD upgrade) and again does everything I need when on the road.

    I can't decide if I should upgrade whilst it is still free - W10 sounds generally O.K.(ish) but the snooping, forcing, and general mistrust of MS weighs against this.

    I do think that if MS get everyone onto W10 they will save so much on their support costs compared to supporting 4 separate versions (W7, W8, W8.1, W10) that they may well not need to charge. If they want to stay in business they need to keep their OS on the desktop and sell services on top. Of course, logic is not always their obvious strong point.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still Junk

    Netbooks were junk then and still are! Today's replacement is Chromebooks...more Junk!

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