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. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    Pah!

    Remember them?

    I've still got an EeePC doing real work with debian Linux on board.

    1. getHandle

      Re: Pah!

      Lubuntu for me on my eMachines em350 - ideal "kitchen" computer!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Pah!

          The ideal kitchen computer was the Honeywell H316.

          That was then, this is now. The ideal kitchen computer is Deep Blue - Chef Watson, say no more, even if you can't eat it, the suits are probably going to be interesting.

      2. OhDearHimAgain

        Re: Pah!

        I prefer Xubuntu - its not quite a light as Lubuntu, but pretty close - however, its lot easier to look after.

        We have it on our 1Gb/1.2Ghz dual-core atom netbooks and its like having XP back, except secure :)

        1. Chika

          Re: Pah!

          My Aspire One still has openSUSE running on it, though I don't often use it these days. Poor thing is getting a little tired.

        2. Woodnag

          Lubuntu vs Xubuntu

          Been Lubuntu-ing for a few years, and like the simplicity, but random stuff just stops working until re-install, and PCManFM crashes about 1 in 10 times after copying files. Maybe try X.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Pah!

      Ditto for me, but with Mint. Not much use for image manipulation, but quite a useful tool otherwise.

      I'm sure Windows 10 would run fine on mine (for now, at least - who knows how future upgrades will play), but I'll pass - I'd have to pay for it anyway.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Pah!

        Only yesterday I pulled the upgraded 3GB hard drive from a Toshiba prior to scrapping it; the bios battery has died and screen backlight is on the dark side of feeble.

        See that 75MHz pentium go!

    3. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Pah!

      My 701 still has debian on board - but the keyboard is a bit broken (a few of the keys only respond intermittently)

      Haven't had to use it in a while though...

    4. The Real Tony Smith

      Re: Pah!

      I've got an EeePC sitting here doing stirling work as a low load database server with the addition of a couple of 1TB USB drives configured as RAID 1.

      Also running Debian

    5. Steve Graham

      Re: Pah!

      My "media player", permanently connected to the television and sound system, is an Aspire 1 netbook with Atom N270.

      My armchair device for looking up stuff on the internet while watching television (that's what people use tablets for, right?) is a Samsung netbook with dual-core Atom N570.

      Both running Linux. It would be crazy to try to put Windows, any version, on them.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pah! / Remember them?

      Remember the eeePC lady? I wonder if she also presently having general memory issues and lagginess.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pah! / Remember them?

        I've got a pen and a notepad.Sometimes I need to replace the pen, other times I use a pencil.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pah! / Remember them?

        "Remember the eeePC lady? I wonder if she also presently having general memory issues and lagginess."

        'lagginess' or 'sagginess'?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pah! / Remember them?

          "'lagginess' or 'sagginess'?"

          Without a picture, how could one possibly tell?

          1. Electron Shepherd

            Re: Pah! / Remember them?

            Judge for yourself (possibly NSFW depending on policies)

            https://www.prlog.org/11884010-asus-eee-pc-beach-girl.jpg

    7. Deryk Barker

      Re: Pah!

      Yup, my HP and my wife's Compaq netbooks are both happily running LXLE linux.

    8. Manolo

      Re: Pah!

      I also have an EeePC still running: it has Lubuntu on board and is a secondary NAS (with an USB attached 500GB drive) and also doubles as a secondary media server. Does SMB and NFS.

      I also have an Acer Aspire One, running some flavour of Linux, I think Xubuntu. Haven't booted it for a while, but I think I'll give it a whirl.

    9. Number6

      Re: Pah!

      I have a couple of Aspire Ones with Linux Mint and LXDE. starting to struggle a bit but still going and still in use. Not bad for 8 year old machines.

      Netbooks never went away, MS saw them as a threat and screwed the market.

      1. Bernardo Sviso

        Re: Pah!

        > Netbooks never went away, MS saw them as a threat and screwed the market.

        Assisted by Intel, for similar self-serving, anti-competitive reasons.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pah!

        I found open/fluxbox works well with the aspire one.

        The fastest it ran was with an arch build from scratch but I didn't plug it in for a couple of years and the package manager got itself in a twist. I then completely ruined the file system by forcing an update.

        I'm back on debian now.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Pah!

          eee pc relegated to DNS,DHCP and light filtering and firewall duties (dead screen) running debian with cacheless squid+guard (virgin superhub running in modem mode) the usb network is 10/100 and runs just fine.

          I don't actually remember rebooting it.

    10. The Travelling Dangleberries

      Re: Pah!

      LinuxMint 13 XFCE works fine here on both my 701 and 901 EeePCs. I tried EasyPeasy before settling on EeeBuntu for a while until development stopped, then ran Xubuntu for a year or so until I got fed up of it not behaving as it should. I still have the original Xandros OS on the internal SSD on the 701 with the hacked desktop GUI. I fire it up every now and again to smile and remember the taste of freedom that ASUS gave me with that crippled version of Linux.

      I once encountered a much more modern netbook with Windows 7 on it. Despite lots more RAM than my 701 and a much faster CPU the GUI and most other things were slower than on my 701 with Linux on it. That's progress for you.

      I cannot see why I would want to install any version of Windows when modern distros such as LinuxMint install and work so well OOB.

  2. Joe Werner
    FAIL

    But.... where are the netbooks?

    Recently my netbook (Samsung, 6years old, second battery, new keyboard) became unreliable. The screen works only intermittently. So I went to search for a replacement. It should be faster than the Atom processor, have more disk space (say... 500GB), similar long battery life (6-8 hours), and a similar size, and of course similar cost would be nice, the old one was 300€ with the RAM upgrade). Of course it needs to run Linux, 'cause that is what I use. Turns out this is impossible.

    1. Flatpackhamster

      Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

      They've been replaced by devices like the Linx 1010 - 10" touchscreen tablet running Win10, and with an attachable keyboard.

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

        Linx7 in my case, with a Bluetooth keyboard/touchpad it's permanently connected to the TV. Perfect for that job or for a travel media device and can do "real" work in a pinch.

      2. bollos

        Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

        tablet + keyboard = laptop!!

        1. Christian Berger Silver badge

          Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

          "tablet + keyboard = laptop!!"

          ...until you try to actually use it without having a table. There is a reason why laptops have most of their weight under the keyboard and the display is firmly attached to it. That way you can use it without having a table. Just hold it in one hand and type with the other.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

            The acer one I have has a battery and additional hard drive in the keyboard so it has enough weight to tilt the screen without falling over. Sure when you "undock" it loses the additional hard drive (and USB) but I bought it because at the time the "small screen" laptops were gutless and had no storage - this one had the option to undock (which I didn't need) but also had 500gb of storage AND two batteries. CPU is just find for general use (and light image work i.e. presentation preparation, word stuff, notepad++ work etc) There was a dell tablet that was a rival to the surface pros that also undocked with additional batteries but was also twice the price.

            Having a gyroscope means you can tilt the screen sideways and providing you have a Bluetooth mouse you can plug a keyboard in to use it. sure it looks weird (with the keyboard STILL docked) but it means you can work in a document/page portrait mode on the train. I always found full size laptops with "hotkey rotation" to fall over more on trains like this....

            I think acer do "iconias" now but im not sure how they are weight distributed.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

      I was in the same boat as you recently. My eeePC 701 is showing its age and I wanted a newer netbook.

      The new "netbook" equivalents (the cheapo Medions and Asus Cloudbooks etc.) are optimised for battery life and media consumption (and aren't particularly Linux-friendly, either).

      Your best bet these days is a secondhand Lenovo X-series (e.g. X220), failing that a Dell Latitude (I recently acquired a Latitude E6220 for €200) or an HP Elitebook.

    3. Martin

      Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

      How about a Chromebook? Some of those are really good now. And if you want Linux, use Crouton.

      OK, you won't have 500GB disk space; but if you can manage without all that space (say with a NAS or similar) then you're fine.

      You never know - you might actually LIKE using Chromeos as well.

      1. Joe Werner

        Re: But.... where are the netbooks?

        A Chromebook? A tablet? I do some work on it and like to have the data with me when I travel, which is too often. Not on an external harddisk, that is another thing to pack that would be left in an airport lounge or whatever. The tablets / combo things also usually have very crappy linux support, which is bad if that is what you need to work.

        The size fits. The battery life fits. The rest does not, which is the deal breaker.

        The smallest laptops available are now 11", and this is what I am typing this on now. It is bulky and heavy compared to the netbook. (Lenovo E145 + Mint).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windoze XP

    So, is that an upgrade directly from XP? Was it free? My understanding was that upgrades only applied to Win7 or later, XP and Fista you have to pay for. What changed?

    1. Really Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windoze XP

      Later netbooks came with 7

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windoze XP

        Mostly Win 7 "Starter edition". I have a netbook with 7 Starter and I'm pondering whether to take the plunge or not of the proffered upgrade.

        1. NBCanuck

          Re: Windoze XP

          "Mostly Win 7 "Starter edition". I have a netbook with 7 Starter and I'm pondering whether to take the plunge or not of the proffered upgrade."

          I had a netbook with Win 7 Starter. While I had it I upped the memory from 1GB to 2, and changed the drive to a 64GB SSD. I had given my old netbook to my daughter over a year ago and she took the plunge last fall and upgraded to Win 10. She did it on her own, likes it very much, and I have not been called upon a single time for tech support or instructions.

          1. Steve 114

            Re: Windoze XP

            Same story here with an HP netbook (Atom?) I use as a kind of literate multimeter. Win7 Starter (pathetic), shifted to SSD, upgraded seamlessly to Win10, works faster than before. Can't say I like it, but I haven't tweaked it as I need to see what innocently-upgrading cousins are suffering from.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windoze XP

          Back in 2014, I decided to rejuvinate the old 2010 Acer Aspire One, upgraded to 2Gb Ram and 64Gb SSD and still windows 7 starter ran like a POS! Scrubbed Windoze and went for LXDE (LTS)

          Still going strong..

          Great battery life in these for mobile work.

          Many LXDE distros out there, check http://distrowatch.com

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: Windoze XP

        "Later netbooks came with 7"

        I upgraded mine from XP to 7 straight out of the box, and while 7 natively supported the 1024x600 display, some programs spawned taller dialogue boxes, so you lose the buttons at the bottom.

        One minor registry change, and you can easly choose 1024x768, or, 1152x864. It won't look pretty, but it'll work.

        So, since it's working just bloody fine right now thank you very much, why the pain of upgrading?

    2. Gordon861

      Re: Windoze XP

      I just upgraded my WinXP Toshiba NB100 to Windows 10 Pro and it works fairly well.

      Bought the Win10 licence online from Kinguin for about £13.

  4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Landfill tablet as an evolution of the netbook - Disagree

    What netbooks have become is the Windows Live spec which is 1366x768 in a 10x form factor and 100M Ethernet. I have two of those, both with AMD Fusion CPUs. Thanks to having a decent Radeon onboard they provide more than sufficient GPU power for most day-to-day tasks. Definitely better than the abhorrent Intel IGPs which shipped on most netbooks. Everything else - reduced size keys on keyboard, overall form factor, etc is practically the same making them an ideal "spare" which you can chuck in your bag in case your main laptop decides to kick the bucket in the middle of a trip (happened to me a couple of times).

    1. Preston Munchensonton
      Stop

      Re: Landfill tablet as an evolution of the netbook - Disagree

      Indeed, there was more to disagree with for me:

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

      Pfft. FFS, worthy and sensible must mean something else in the Southern Hemisphere.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Landfill tablet as an evolution of the netbook - Disagree

        It depends what you want to do on it; The spec you describe is MASSIVE (high power GPU in a netbook?). Netbooks were supposed to be low powered PCs with good battery life and low heat, not notebooks with small screens. Dell used to sell small XPS machines with high end components but small high quality screens - great for even small mobile gaming.

        But asking a netbook to run windows 7 or 10 is a massive undertaking. Just put Linux on there, it will do everything you need.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Madness

    1) Such devices ran XP badly, they originally had Linux.

    2) Win 10 costs money to replace XP and offers just spyware

    3) Linux Mint with Mate works fine.

    Why would you bother?

    1. Ilmarinen

      Re: Madness

      Agree.

      Bought a Win7 netbook a few years ago. It limped along soooo slooooly it was an embarrassment.

      Duel boot it into Mint + xfce and, Presto, a neat little machine.

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: Madness

        Poor hdd must be getting a thrashing if you have dueling partitions!

    2. Geezheeztall

      Re: Madness

      I agree. My EeePC 1015px was originally equipped with Windows 7 Starter. It later served as a travel device for email and web when tethered to my phone and a backup point for photos and video. Updating took hours to complete because the netbook was infrequently used. With Security Essentials, Windows Update, Firefox, and Adobe all calling home at any given time, I couldn't trust my tethered data was not being wasted.

      I dumped Win 7 for Mint. It updated much quicker and at my convenience. It booted quicker and device functionality remained much the same.

      Trying Win 10 is intriguing but it is so network chatty, I'd probably blaze through travel data plans in no time. With even less manual control for updating, installing it isn't worth the risk and aggravation.

    3. serendipity

      Re: Madness

      "1) Such devices ran XP badly, they originally had Linux"

      Bit of an over simplification that. The early ones with 7" screens and minute SSDs were horrible and weren't even up to running XP and should have been restricted to Linux . The later ones like the Samsung NC10 I had with a single core Atom, 2GB RAM and 160Gb HDD ran XP just fine. I even ran a full version of Visual Studio on it for occasional late night coding in hotel rooms. I never tried the last of the line dual core models but I can't see any reason why they wouldn't have run Windows 7 quite well.

      "2) Win 10 costs money to replace XP and offers just spyware"

      Can you actually back that claim up re Spyware. I've read several in depth analyses of Windows 10 that compressively debunk that myth - sorry if the facts don't fit your anti-MS stance.

      "3 Linux Mint with Mate works fine"

      If it does be happy but remember some of us need access to stuff not easily accessible via a Linux Distro - different strokes and all that.

      1. Goldmember

        Re: Madness

        "but I can't see any reason why they wouldn't have run Windows 7 quite well."

        My 2GB Atom NC10 (which I only bought around 18 months ago from ebay for £45) ran Win 7 like shit. But with a recent upgrade to a 240Gb SSD and Win 10, it's now a perfectly usable machine, and is great for travelling. I too run Visual Studio on it for occasional airport lounge/ plane coding, although it's mainly for films and email. It's knocking on a bit so it's not the quickest, but the weight and battery life are good, and it does the job well enough for now.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Madness

        " I've read several in depth analyses of Windows 10 that compressively debunk that myth"

        Link welcome, especially trustworthy non-MS-dependent one.

      3. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Madness

        @serendipity

        sure! Read through this (and the links) https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/07/30/windows-10-privacy-settings/

        Check out all the ads in the software. Notice how they become more "bespoke" over time? Wonder how they do that. Remember this is your operating system, not a browser (that you can run in sandbox/private/in-private browsing mode permanently if so required). sure you can begin the process of opting out of everything but this is enabled FROM THE START so all your data is being sifted/anonymised/shaped (whatever jargon you care to use) from the very beginning.

        You shouldn't NEED to opt out, it should be OPT IN (remember this is your OS not a single program).

  6. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    The facts!

    I'm not exaggerating, but Linuix Mint would have been a billion times better.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: The facts!

      Sometimes you can be right, even if you don't want to be.

    2. Bob H

      Re: The facts!

      My Samsung NC10 didn't perform particularly well with Ubuntu but I think Unity was to blame, I really need to find that machine and rebuild it with Mint.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: The facts!

        NC10 + Mint Mate works fine.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The facts!

      "I'm not exaggerating, but Linuix Mint would have been a billion times better."

      You *are* exaggerating.

      Linux Mint is only 473 million times better.

  7. localzuk

    Netbooks had one good use

    Education. They were ideal for kids. You could buy a few class sets for less than the price of an ICT suite refurb.

    Its no wonder that Google's Chromebooks sell so well in education really - they're the only real option for a similar device.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Netbooks had one good use

      I bought a cheap 10" netbook* in 2008, used it mostly while traveling. Good enough for e-mail, writing up a few notes, Skype, do a bit of browsing (timetables & weather). Also, fitted nicely in every hotel room safe that came my way.

      It now sits in a corner of the living room as a digital VCR (DVB-T USB stick plus recording software), still running nicely on XP, now air gapped of course. The display is still good, so when DVB-T in it's current form is discontinued I might swap the HD for a SSD and put some flavour of Linux on it. Would need a new battery though, but battery is removable, so no biggie.

      *akoya W1210, from ALDI

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Netbooks had one good use

        I found them handy for plugging temperature probes into, logging and displaying temperature against time (when developing a cooking product).

        - All the essential ports, inc. serial

        - small size

        - WinXP - ran the software that came with the temperature probe.

        For reading websites, it was horrible though - like peering through a letter box.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Netbooks had one good use

          - All the essential ports, inc. serial

          Hmm. Never seen a netbook that had a built-in serial port. Even the Thinkpad X series (not a netbook, but nicely portable) of which I've had a few didn't have one, only when slapping the Ultrabase on.

          1. Schultz

            USB - - > Serial

            Was there ever any other way?

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge

              Re: USB - - > Serial

              6551, 8250, 16450, 16550 and more, young grasshopper.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: USB - - > Serial : 6551, 8250, 16450, 16550

                Er, wot no Intersil 6402? And (for the collectors of obscurities) TMS9902?

                AY5-1013?

                </dinosaur>

            2. Pedigree-Pete Bronze badge

              Re: USB - - > Serial

              9-pin d-sub, 25 pin RS-232, DIN take your pick young padwan.

              1. P. Lee Silver badge

                Re: USB - - > Serial

                >take your pick young padwan.

                And all so much more reliable than usb-->serial, despite the name.

                1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                  Re: USB - - > Serial

                  yep. I still remember reading int33,3 to get the serial mouse position and button status. Ahh Borland C, those were the days.

    2. 404 Silver badge

      Re: Netbooks had one good use

      They are still good for education. I picked up a later model Aspire One* with Win7 starter, 2GB ram, 250GB HD, from Craigslist for homeschooling my 12/yr old daughter for $40. Gave it a new battery, reconnected the wireless antenna lead (guy thought he had a sucker, he didn't), and it runs great. Perfect for doing her homework, hates it because it's not powerful enough to play her games when she decides to fuck off instead of doing work.

      Evil, mean, DAAAaaaad! +1

      *replaced cheap $199 Staples Gateway Win8 laptop that she stepped on somehow, some way.

    3. Oneman2Many

      Re: Netbooks had one good use

      Speaking of education, the school I support had 50 odd Asus EeePC not doing much. When the school converted to Google Apps for education I had a look at what we could do with the netbooks. Thought about putting linux on there but too much support hassle, so ended up installing ChromeOS on there. The only issue with the conversion was the wifi cards were not compatible but managed to source 50 cards on alibaba for less that hundred quid delivered. My 10 year spent the summer swapping the cards out and reloading the netbooks which was a nice little earner for him. been a year and a half and aside from 2 of the netbook suffering HDD failures the rest are doing fine without any support calls.

  8. petur

    For once I have to agree

    My HP netbook came with Win7 originally but has been dual-booted into Debian since day one.

    I did the Windows 10 upgrade just because I could, and the machine indeed runs Windows better than before, so kudos Microsoft. I could even use for some occasional work-related stuff that needs Win10.

    And then came a 'minor' update for Win10 that wiped grub - no problem, can handle that - and the last updates won't install because some extra system partition Windows needs is too small (after googling the stupid error number for half a day)

    Some incompetence seems to linger on at Microsoft... *sigh*

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It needs to be free

    If you must have a working Windows 10 machine in your home or office but won't work on it all day and don't want a new PC, I think an upgraded Netbook will do a better the job.

    I imagine most of the earlier Netbooks are running Linux or Windows XP, so aren't upgradeable for free as it stands.Paying for a license wouldn't be sensible in these cases.

    So, a prediction : Microsoft will eventually decide to sweep all those existing netbooks into the fold, by offering a free full installation.

    I might take them up on that (on a separate drive), if only in the principle of "Know Your Enemy".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bollocks

    Microsoft knacked the netbook market with artificial limitations so windows was free to OEMs, it's the same old shit now with crappy celerons, hamstrung RAM (2GB) and a totally useless 32GB slow drive.

    We have fuck all to thank microsoft for other that shitting on a market and forcing OEMs to offer a substandard product.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Bernardo Sviso

      Re: Bollocks

      > Microsoft knacked the netbook market with artificial limitations so windows was free to OEMs, it's the same old shit now with crappy celerons, hamstrung RAM (2GB) and a totally useless 32GB slow drive.

      > We have fuck all to thank microsoft for other that shitting on a market and forcing OEMs to offer a substandard product.

      Plus, Intel imposed it's own, virtually identical and equally arbitrary restrictions, to discourage the use of cheaper, less powerful (but still perfectly adequate for many uses) mobile CPUs. (God forbid, that OEMs try to make and sell what the customers are actually looking for!)

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks

        maybe but the original eee pc had socketed ram and an upgradeable "ssd" (I use the term SSD lightly)

  11. trog-oz

    Mine came with XP and I upgraded it immediately I got it home

    As soon as unpacked my Asus 1005HA I installed Fedora 16 and it's never missed a beat. I've never changed it and it travels with me when I'm away.

  12. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Linux

    NB100

    I picked up a mint condition Toshiba NB 100 for £30, put in a 128 GB SSD for £50 and extra memory was £20 AFAIR. Running Xubuntu it's silent, the fan never seems to have to do any real work. The only downside being the grey lettering on a black keyboard is hard to see in poor light.

    After installing Xubuntu everything worked immediately, it's a handy travel device.

    If I was nefarious I could run macchanger and hang around unsecured wi-fi for dodgy downloads.

    I presume that Win 10 won't allow that or will dob you in to the police if you try.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: NB100

      nah, windows 10 wont dob you in, it will use the opportunity of wifi to anonymise/unidentify/zip your data and send it home to MS so that your windows adverts can be tailored to your individual browsing and purchasing habits. All to enhance your windows experience.

  13. Adam 52 Silver badge

    Microsoft account

    Did the upgrade actually require a MS account, or was that an optional part that went wrong?

    I tried integrating Windows 8.1 with Hotmail... eventually had to ditch the Hotmail account and its associated Windows one to stop the spam from Microsoft so no desire to go there again.

    1. Chika

      Re: Microsoft account

      As I recall, the account was mandatory on Windows 8/8.1 betas. Once it was released, you could set it up to have a local account rather than tie it to a Microsoft Live account but they tended to try to make the option for a local account somewhat less obvious.

      It's a similar state of affairs to Windows 10 in that respect.

  14. Fihart

    no comparison

    Having found both types of device in the rubbish, intrigued by author's comparison. Except there is no comparison.

    Starting with the Elonex netbook, originally given away by Orange to tempt users to eat expensive mobile data via a dongle. This failed to work using the screwed-up Ubuntu installation on board (confirming my then prejudice against Linux) but booted from an external CD drive to install XP. Apart from a horrible keyboard and exhausted battery, has proved a usefully portable tool when visiting friends to fix their systems.

    Next the no-name Android (model name AC1 or something similar) 10 inch tablet which turned up a couple of years later. First clue to its lack of utility was the inclusion of a stylus. Without that the screen is as responsive as a sloth with a hangover and, even with, is inaccurate enough to make text a pain. Add strangely reluctant network socket, weak wireless and battery -- plus the weird phone-based version of Android -- and the thing is rapidly gathering dust.

    So -- netbooks good, but for a nicer experience stick with better known brands. Cheap iPad knockoffs, avoid, even if they are cheaper than cheap (i.e. free)

  15. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Yes, my Acer Aspire One is running Mint nicely...

    ... although I never liked the original installation, Lupus Linux.

    P. S. Anyone know why the nine inch models all disappeared replaced by models with 10.1 inch screens?

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: Yes, my Acer Aspire One is running Mint nicely...

      Linpus?

      My AA1 simply stopped working after a couple of years. Was OK for the time but Acer build quality is, erm, variable.

    2. Bernardo Sviso
      Childcatcher

      Re: Yes, my Acer Aspire One is running Mint nicely...

      > P. S. Anyone know why the nine inch models all disappeared replaced by models with 10.1 inch screens?

      The public was clamoring for larger screens, but both Microsoft and Intel were diligently trying to quash the netbook market (Microsoft because netbooks were demonstrating how well Linux worked, on cheap and convenient netbooks that struggled under Windows; Intel because they wanted to sell powerful, expensive, power-guzzling CPUs that were being displaced by the cheaper Atoms).

      So Microsoft and Intel enacted a bunch of arbitrary specifications -- arbitrary, from a user's point of view at least :P . Failure to "play ball" and conform to these criteria meant the OEMs would be deprived of prompt, reliable access to CPUs or Windows at reasonable (ie. competitive with one's competitors).

      These system specifications, devised and enforced solely for the well-being of the poor, ignorant consumers of course ;) laid out restrictions on the cpu, RAM, memory, and (the item that most ordinary consumers were most concerned about) screen size.

      Microsoft and Intel both declared screen-size limited to a maximum of 10.1 inches. This undoubtedly saved countless poor consumers from endless trouble -- and possibly saved lives.

  16. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    WTF?

    Linux this and Linux that

    It seems that most are either missing the point or deliberatlery misssing it.

    The exercise was to see if W10 fitted on and worked - not just provoke an avalanche of smug gits who just want to whip out thier own preferred O/S.

    As such it seems to have worked in both areas.

    1. tony72

      Re: Linux this and Linux that

      Well said. I dusted my old first gen Acer Aspire One off (upgraded back in the day to its maximum 1.5GB of RAM, with an 80GB ipod HDD) to install Windows 10 on it for similar reasons. Its never going to be a daily use machine regadless of OS, because even if there are jobs it can do ok, I have more recent machines that can do those jobs ten times better. But it was an interesting exercise doing the upgrade and comparing Windows 10 to the other OSes I've run on it, XP, Linux (the original distro the AAOne shipped with), OSX, and Win 7. Windows 10 came out pretty good in that comparison, no driver issues, everything worked out of the box, and performance was as good as you could probably squeeze out of the hardware.

    2. Ilmarinen

      Re: Linux this and Linux that

      Nope, point not missed:

      "Back in November 2013 I therefore tried to figure out how to extend the life of my own Netbook."

      (reports that Win8 didn't work)

      "That Netbook's been gathering dust since that 2013 story, but a few weeks back I found myself in need of a spare computer to serve as a data mule carrying data to the cloud."

      (so put Win10 on it)

      Silly fellow, if he'd extended it's life with a Linux, like us smug gits, he could have been using it all that time ;-)

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Linux this and Linux that

        @OP well not really. I can use small flatblade screwdrivers to undo torx screws. That doesn't mean that you SHOULD do this just because you CAN do this. Same here, just because W10 works on an old netbook doesn't mean you should use W10 when Linux does a far better job.

        Sure if you want to run visual studio on your netbook then go ahead, that wont work in Linux. But I doubt you are scratching the bottom of your drawer thinking "hey, I wish I could run VS on my 5 year old 8gb 512Mb RAM netbook" whereas MINT will run openoffice & web browsers quite happily.

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    Love to see netbooks again

    In fairness you can get something approximating a netbook by buying a cheap windows tablet (e.g. a linx 8) and coupling it with a bluetooth keyboard. All in it probably wouldn't cost more than £150.

    But still, it'd be nice to see an honest to goodness actual netbook for that price or thereabouts.

    1. Craig Chambers

      Re: Love to see netbooks again

      Or just buy a Linx 10 with dock keyboard for £150.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Love to see netbooks again

      "something approximating a netbook by buying a cheap windows tablet"

      Approximating is spot on. The original netbooks were Linux only. MS stomped on that market by twisting vendors' arms to run Windows which meant the H/W spec and therefore the price had to go up. Unless those tablets allow loading of another OS they are only approximations to netbooks and certainly not replacements.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Love to see netbooks again

        I have a linx 8 running kodi in W7 - this is so I have access to Netflix and amazon streaming using a breakout windows script otherwise id run Linux. The great thing is, it is silent, can run with the screen off and has HDMI out so it can remain plugged in. Coupled with a small Bluetooth remote it is a great little box.

        Obviously being windows 7 you needed to murder GWX and the rest of the updates to stop W10 downloading onto the small 32gb drive (it has about 8gb free)

  18. GrumpyWorld

    I had 'upgraded' my eeBook (dual Atom) to Win7 and it was never happy, however put Win10 on there and its a handy little device for taking on weekends away. For surfing and Mail or a game of Online Bridge its just fine.

  19. OhDearHimAgain

    Insall Xubuntu

    Once you Linux, you will never go back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Insall Xubuntu

      Sorry, but not everybody has had a great experience with Linux. Every time I've tried to use it for anything besides a headless server, it's been a nightmare on par with Win95. Even my Android cell phones needed to be rebooted at least once a day. I've still got one Linux box running as a seedbox, and for that purpose, it's been doing just fine. But there's no way I'm going to go back to using Linux for a desktop or laptop anytime soon.

  20. Brass knob

    Every time someone says something positive about Microsoft, there's a torrent of 'just install Ubuntu'....

    Don't get me wrong, I love UNIX/Linux (have it running on about 6 devices) but Windows 10 is excellent, and as the article highlights, it can help you bring old devices back to life, partly due to its efficient design, and its solid provision of hardware drivers.

    1. Chika
      Mushroom

      Sorry, but you really have to take into account that Microsoft have literally rubbed a lot of regulars here up the wrong way.

      That and the fact that a large proportion of netbooks that still remain in service cannot take advantage of the W10 "free" upgrade package, either because they are running WXP or because they are running Linux.

      Don't get me wrong - I've often tried getting older hardware to run newer systems. Probably the silliest attempt was testing W7 and Windows 2008 Server betas on an old PIII laptop... and yes, they worked! The thing is, however, that many of us that have posted about our netbooks running Linux have no real intention of loading in a replacement OS like this, whatever the outcome of such a trial is.

      And since the netbook is dying out anyway, is there really a point? That PIII I mentioned was never used in that form for anything serious - it was just a curiosity. As soon as it was all over, it was scrapped. Bringing an old system back to life is a worthy cause and I've done it on so many occasions but I doubt that I would do it with W10 in its current state (let me clarify - "excellent" is not a phrase I'd couple with W10 right now), not because I couldn't, but because of all the reasons that have been pounded out here before on so many threads.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Microsoft have literally rubbed a lot of regulars here up the wrong way."

        It's true, that bastard Nedella has been coming round to their houses and rubbing their hairy arms against the grain.

        What a git.

      2. sabroni Silver badge
        Unhappy

        re: because of all the reasons that have been pounded out here before on so many threads.

        Doesn't stop any of you pounding them out again though, ad bloody infinitum....

    2. kryptylomese

      You saying that "Windows 10 is excellent" does not clarify anything. Windows 10 runs your software and crashes infrequently (wow excellent) 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. If you want a career in computing then learn Linux. Linux can run perfectly on resource limited devices WAY smaller than a netbook, and going the other end of the scale, Linux runs on the biggest computers on the planet (pretty much the whole of the top 500 supercomputer list) - We are not impressed by Windows 10 which is basically the Fisher Price of operating systems.

      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.

  21. Only me!

    Eee

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

  22. 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...

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    So, my dear old netbook

    Becomes "The Spy Who Loved Me".

  28. 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!

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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!

  38. pyite

    How?

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

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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!

  44. 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

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still Junk

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

    1. GrumpyWorld

      Re: Still Junk

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

  49. 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!

  50. hoverboy

    Running Windows 8 on a Netbook involved a simple and widely-advertised registry hack http://www.askvg.com/how-to-force-enable-windows-8-snap-feature-in-low-screen-resolutions/

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    You said....

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

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

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. Matthew Collier
    Thumb Up

    AOA110L

    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)

  55. GrantB
    Holmes

    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.

  56. 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)

  57. Roadcrew
    Linux

    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.

  58. 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
      FAIL

      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 ..

  59. 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.

  60. Rústy_PC

    Netbooks were never bad..

    if you have the right OS on them.

    1. Roadcrew
      Happy

      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. :(

  61. 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.

  62. 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

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re.netbooks

    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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