Windows 7 Enterprise On A Netbook

I own an Asus Eee PC 1000H netbook purchased from Costco sometime ago that was pre-loaded with Windows XP Home edition. One of the first things I did was to reformat it to Windows XP Professional to take advantage of features such as better networking tools and Remote Desktop.  That worked great for all my needs: web surfing and watching Anime videos at the gym during cardio workouts.

I knew early on I was not going to upgrade to Windows Vista on the netbook given the resource hog that Vista is, but when Windows 7 was announced, I was interested; more so when I learned that Windows 7 would be designed to work better with netbooks than Windows Vista.

© Flickr user 200ok
© Flickr user 200ok

So once I acquired my copy of Windows 7 Enterprise, I immediately upgraded my home computer, a Dell Studio XPS 435MT, from Windows Vista 64-bit Home Edition to Windows 7 64-bit Enterprise Edition (more on how that’s working out in a future post). The second computer upgraded was my Asus  Eee PC 1000H. I figured a netbook would be a good test to see how efficient the latest and greatest operating system from Microsoft would run. My reasoning was that putting Windows 7 on a fast computer wouldn’t make much difference, but putting it on a more limited resource computer would show how well the operating system works with limited resources. And here’s what I found so far:

Windows 7 Setup Time Is Fast

Turns out that it is not possible to do an upgrade if you have Windows XP installed. Instead, you have to do a clean installation. I’m amazed at how fast Windows 7 installed on my netbook taking a little less than 30 minutes from when I launched the installer to when Windows 7 was up and running on my netbook. I have to say that the Windows 7 installation is probably by far the smoothest and pain-free of all the Windows operating system installations I’ve done, hands-down based on installation on two other desktop computers.

Hardware Support

I had read a few online articles that there are some issues with driver support for such things as the LAN card which I think is because they were using the beta version. I actually didn’t have any issues. I think this is one of the best new features of Windows 7 is the huge library of drivers it has built-in. I remember how much of a pain it was with Windows XP, that if you forget to write all your drivers prior to a re-installation, you could spend hours searching for the correct drivers for your devices (DriverMax is a great software to use before reformatting as it downloads all the installed drivers).

asus-support-drivers-website-windows-7-eeepc-1000hI found this site that has Windows 7 drivers for the Asus  Eee PC 1000H along with a good installation guide. You can download the various drivers individually or the zip from that site. After I installed Windows 7 Enterprise, it seemed like Windows had all the drivers for my 1000H so I haven’t really installed any of the drivers from that site. You should note that the person was using Windows 7 Beta, which at the time may have needed those drivers. The best thing to do would be to go to Asus Support website to download official updated drivers from there. The trick to get the Windows 7 drivers on the Asus website is to click on Eee Family under Windows 7 supported product models which will take you to another page. Select your Eee PC model (I selected Eee PC 1000H/XP) and it will give you a list of drivers to download.

Runs Very Well

Originally I was skeptical at how well it would run on a netbook, but felt better after reading some positive user experiences with Windows 7 and their netbook. Two sites reported getting a 2.3 on the Windows Experience Index, which I think is quite good for a netbook, unfortunately for me, the best score I managed was a 2.0. Here’s the breakdown of my hardware: Intel Atom 1.60 GHz processor, 160GB SATA hard drive, 2 GB of RAM, and the Mobile Intel 945 Express Chipset video card. This is my Windows Experience Index breakdown:

Component Subscore
Processor: 2.2
Memory (RAM): 4.4
Graphics: 2.0
Gaming graphics: 3.0
Primary hard disk: 5.6

So my Asus EeePC 1000H scored the lowest on the graphics card, which I figured it would being the Intel built-in on express video card. In the real world, the netbook runs just perfect for my needs. I can watch my Anime videos on battery power with no jerkiness or pauses. I’ve yet to try Hulu steaming, but I’m sure that will work fine as well.

One of the Best Wireless Managers

windows-7-wireless-managerOne of the cool new features I especially like about Windows 7 is the new Wireless Manager. It’s very easy to use, especially on limited screen sizes such as netbooks. You click once on the wireless icon and up slides this little window with all the wireless networks detected allowing you to easily connect, disconnect, and switch among wireless networks without having to go to another screen. I’ve always found Windows XP’s Wireless Manager to be a pain in the ass with having to open a whole new window to select your wireless network. And then when you have to enter your 128-bit encryption key without being able to see the key is just the final nail in the coffin. With Windows 7, you select the wireless network you want and enter in your key with the choice of exposing or hiding the key as you type.

Battery Life

So far I have not noticed any vastly difference in the battery life on my Asus EeePC 1000H running Windows 7 versus Windows XP. Some people have noticed as much as a 30-40% difference in battery life, but for me it seems to be about the same. Obviously battery life is affected by many factors such as screen brightness, how much processing the processor is doing, how much RAM is being used, how often the hard drive is accessed, whether the hard drive is a solid-state drive (SSD) or a SATA drive, and so forth. I usually get about 2-2.5 hours on a full charge watching my Anime videos or surfing the web.

Conclusion

So would I do it again: install Windows 7 on my netbook? Most likely. There are a number of new cool features of using a new OS such as Windows 7 and quite frankly, I’m getting tired of the blandness that is Windows XP although it works quite well. I can’t say that Windows 7 runs faster than Windows XP, but for all the additional added features, I think it’s worth the cost of a little bit of speed. I definitely like the new Wireless Manager and the other cool new features of Windows 7.

One thought on “Windows 7 Enterprise On A Netbook”

  1. I’m not as convinsed as you right now being a w7 ultimate user on my personal machine ( Lenovo 3000 N200) I am experiancing problems with w7 Enterprise on my office machine ( Dell Latitude E6510) Now the Orical VM ware and my Blackberry w7 download will not run on w7 Enterprise, the wirless network feature is good but it auto connects to the wrong one every time. I will plod along for now but I have not started out to well

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