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 …


    1. GrumpyWorld

      Re: Still Junk

      No, today's replacement is the UX305 and very nice it is too.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I concur

    Was in a similar boat a month ago, figured it was worth a shot, kids wouldn't even use the netbook, it was gathering dust, figured it was time to throw it away... but hang on let's see what happens?

    End result, super impressed, and now the kids are on it all the time. Winner!

  2. hoverboy

    Running Windows 8 on a Netbook involved a simple and widely-advertised registry hack

  3. Anonymous Coward

    You said....

    "...a seven-inch PendoPad packing..."

    New Jersey has a NEW Superhero, my friends...

  4. W. Anderson

    Year 2000 thinking brough forward

    Simon Sharwood must be suffering from memory or intelligence dysfunction.

    Almost every one of the approximate 14 plus people I know personally and dozens more who owned a then useless Netbook found glory by installing one of the low resources Linux distributions and more recently Android OS, for excellent results and satisfaction of redeemed productivity . That was many years ago and now Sharwood gets great idea of Windows 10 as solution for these Netbooks.

    I have never seen such retarded and inconsequential tech journalism in more than 30 years.

    1. Justin Goldberg

      Re: Year 2000 thinking brough forward

      Heck yes, I use chromium os.

  5. Tom 64

    EeePC 901

    Mine has seen continuous use since 2009 when I picked it up. Its currently serving as my meeting note taking machine.

    True I had to upgrade every bit of hardware on it I could to make it work reasonably swiftly.

    If you still have one of these lying around, I can recommend crunchbang++ or archbang linux for the braver. Minimal bloatware and a usable machine again.

  6. Matthew Collier
    Thumb Up


    Acer Aspire One (AOA110L, Atom N270, 1GB RAM, sloooow 16GB SSD) from 2009 here (paid £140). Came with crappy Linpus and new lease of life with Lubuntu (10.04 LTS, then 12.04 LTS then 14.04 LTS on it (Xubuntu was waaaaay too slow to be useable on this, IMHO)).

    In use as portable device for actual work (but of course, a lot of web browsing too) continuously since then (makes a good spare machine for running Spinrite and Clonezilla on too).

    1GB on Linux is enough for most "average" tasks, TBH, and you're not that likely to run that many concurrent tasks on an 8.9" screen anyway (I've got /tmp & /var to tempfs (RAM drive) too, so the SSD is still going strong after all these years (and speeds *buntu up nicely too!)).

    It's useful to know that W10 may actually make it usable once more, if you're in Windows land, but I'm never going back... ;) (on any machine)

  7. GrantB

    Older Ultrabooks vs netbook

    Last year my youngest daughter was keen on small, light and cheap device with keyboard after getting frustrated with producing schoolwork on her iPad.

    I looked for a netbook and checked out Chromebooks, but in the end, an old 'Ultrabook' - a Toshiba R600 turned up on a local auction site ex-lease which I got for about £35. Hate to think how much they originally went for, but battery was still good, 12" screen (1280x800?), but small enough to go everywhere, 3gb ram, 200gb 2.5" HDD, CPU is duel core, but better than most Atoms. Was going to throw a SSD in it and maybe a light weight Linux distro, but after an update to Win 10 and keeping it clean, performs surprisingly well anyway.

    Ended up keeping it for myself as traveling it has a couple of usb ports and SD slot; somehow boots faster than my i7 powered work laptop with w7 and a whole lot of services running.

    So not a bad alternative to classic netbooks and can run any OS if Win 10 is not your OS of choice.

  8. DaddyHoggy

    I had planned to upgrade my Win 7 starter Asus EeePC 1015PX (upgraded to 2GB RAM) to Linux as it was slowly dying under Win7 failed upgrades and dead drivers - but I thought I'd give the Win10 upgrade a go first.

    It is indeed much better under Win10 than it was under Win7 Starter - I've lost the in-built webcam and mic but it was dreadful anyway and not missed - although when the Cortana upgrade came along that did bork the machine for several weeks with random complete freezes - that has mostly sorted itself out too - and - with a lack of mic - I don't use Cortana.

    It regularly forgets I have a WiFi card and I have to disable and enable it to get it working again - and it has - on occasion woken itself up from hibernate and all but cooked itself inside its poly sleeve - which has been disconcerting.

    So yes, overall, much better than Win7 Starter, but I expect I'll still move to Linux at some point (or - with 120GB of the original 320GB HD still free - will probably make it dual boot)

  9. Roadcrew

    Netbooks, Chromebooks, whatever....

    They do all seem to run faster, more securely and usefully without Win 10.

    This comes to you from a Chromebook that dual-boots Linux.

    Not the most versatile, Chrome OS, but it works reliably here.

    For us, Win 10 kinda works, but took an age to install (on a new Win 8.1 box from Lenovo that came with two free viruses installed out-of-the-box), and (comparing with Linux & Chrome OS) it's a memory hog with all the usual security nightmares...

    Win 10 is really only suited for Windows enthusiasts, imho. You have to be prepared to work with all the after-market protection suites and so on.

  10. iMap

    Fry your hardware

    Out of the frying pan...into the fire,

    by putting Windows 10 on an invaluable netbook IMHO

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: Fry your hardware

      Got a Transformer tablet in the hope it would be a netbook. Windows 8 is unusable (needs touch, but the screen is too small to touch the icons accurately) so I'm happy to put 10 on it, despite the spyware. I'd rather have Android or another Linux but they're not yet well supported.

      But 10 downloads itself, then find it doesn't have enough space to install. You'd have thought it would check ..

  11. paul1149

    ??? There is no upgrade path from XP to Win10.

    If you want an ideal OS for the atom netbooks, Linux works great. I recommend Linux Lite, which is intentionally very close to Win7 in looks and behavior, and runs very fast on older hardware.

  12. Rústy_PC

    Netbooks were never bad..

    if you have the right OS on them.

    1. Roadcrew

      Re: Netbooks were never bad..

      We still have a couple or three - use an HP Mini (Cedarview Atom) daily and still have a couple of earlier efforts - the second-hand Linux-loaded AA1 that came with an early (slow,small, unreliable) flash drive (with unique nasty connector) has borked yet another drive and these are now too expensive to consider buying, so it boots its Linux from one of those truly tiny USB sticks, and makes good use of the SD slot too.

      The HP Mini standard battery lasts even better than the mahoosive upgraded lump on the back of the AA1, its processor/gpu is swifter and its easy internal access is a joy, so it gets more use. In fact the only HP Mini aspect that annoys us occasionally is the screen - which had a pixel missing from new, and now has a bunch of them gone. Ah well...

      Think I prefer using -slightly- larger-than-traditional-netbook screens, but they are so perfect for stuffing in a bag or even a poaching pocket. It was only £130 new from a high street store, so it may get a new screen one day, if it behaves well... ;)

      Oh, and there's an early EEE PC in a cupboard, loaded with Linux kid's stuff (Childsplay, Gcompris, etc). This EEE comes out when small people are visiting. It's survived surprisingly well, although the battery is getting tired. :(

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Booting Linux from a live USB stick on an old netbook

    for all online purchases, is a really secure way of ensuring any malware on your main PC / laptop /desktop doesn't capture your financial credentials or steal your identity.

    Especially since well written malware gives no indication that you are infected.

  14. Justin Goldberg

    Why would you use anything but XP if that's what the machine came with and your software doesn't need windows 7+?

    Also I'm guessing that the tablet doesn't have a DVD Drive, in which case you could create a bootable flash drive. Build 10586 can automatically detect a Windows 7 or 8 BIOS certificate and automatically register your copy of windows 10 without upgrading.

    Everyone who works in IT knows better than to use an in-place upgrade. Use it to register your hardware id with Microsoft and then do a clean install. It will be much smoother. And you can skip the Microsoft hotmail Id, just choose other, etc... They hide it but it's in there. Just keep looking for it.

    And Microsoft is only offering a year of free support for those users

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Have an HP mini 9 here with 7 Starter (not eligible for free update but still cheaper than scratch) which apart from the onboard network being b0rk3d and no SD slot works for the most part.

    For all of £11 + a cheap 240GB SSD from a friend who upgraded to a 500GB this dinosaur may yet survive to scratch un the dirt another day, seems a shame to waste a new battery and other bits.

    Protip: copy OS from recovery on slightly more recent HP netbook with identical chipset and do one crucial update (GW10) then install 10.

    This assumes you have the old drive to recover from and know how to image, resize etc.

    Also worth checking is that the BIOS is indeed the latest version, my old board has a socket so it might also get upgraded to a 25Q128 as these old Eon chips are very prone to failure after such a long time.


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