A couple of weekends ago I was working on my Asus 901 netbook, and it was just running dog slow and spitting up multiple errors at boot after logging in. I loaded Windows 7 on it (using nlite) last summer, which was kind of a pain to load, but was a fun experiment and got my feat wet with Windows 7. Initially Windows 7 worked OK, but just started to slow down and give out random errors, then I would get Windows Update notifications that would not install for various reasons. It was becoming frustrating, as at times I just wanted to boot the thing up and check my e-mail or send out a tweet.
The netbook’s drives where a 4GB and 16GB. There might be ways around it now, but I had to load the Windows OS partition on the 4GB drive and do multiple links to program files on the 16GB partition. I upgraded the netbook to the max physical memory allowed, 2GB, but that was really the only thing I did to it. I also had a heck of a time searching out drivers for the Asus that would work properly. Again, to be fair, this was last summer so there may be a better way to do this now.
I browsed around on the web, contemplated various linux distributions (eeebuntu, which I think is now Aurora and easypeasy was another, and a slew of others). I decided to try out Ubuntu 10.04, the netbook edition, from a USB thumb drive to see how it would work. I picked the netbook version of Ubuntu because I didn’t see a need to load a bunch of applications that I wouldn’t be using my netbook for. I primarily use my netbook to check e-mail, surf the web, etc, not any real “hardcore” stuff. I backed up the original netbook, then downloaded a copy of Ubuntu, and got a running copy going on a USB thumb drive. After the first boot up, I was hooked. I was amazed at how things just worked. No messing around with drivers. The netbook’s wifi found my access point, I entered in my security info, and was out on in the Internet in seconds. After playing around with it for about a hour, I decided to select the install feature from the system menu, and had a clean system loaded in about 30 minutes.
I really like Windows 7, but after seeing what this did for my netbook, for me making it useful again, I am contemplating trying it out on my desktop (the full version) at home as well. I don’t really play video intensive games anymore (no time, grrr), so this maybe the way to go. It is an older machine, so I might be able to get a few more years of life out of it. I really like the fact I can try it out on a USB thumb drive and give a run through its hoops.