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Author Topic: Questions re Windows 7 Starter on a Netbook  (Read 8179 times)
cyberdiva
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« on: December 13, 2009, 10:36:53 AM »

I've been eager to get a netbook for some time now, but I wanted to wait until Windows 7 became available.  Now that it is, I find myself uncertain what I'm getting or giving up with Windows 7 on a netbook. I'm hoping some of you have had some experience with Windows 7 on a netbook  and can help.

Almost all the netbooks seem to come with Windows 7 Starter, including the Toshiba NB205, the one I'm most interested in.  I'm most interested in using a netbook for the following, especially when I'm traveling:

1) reading and sending email (I use Mulberry as my main email client, and Gmail for some personal email)
2) going to web sites (like Donation Coder :-) )
3) playing large video files, some downloaded from the web and others converted from DVDs I own.  I currently play most of these files with KMPlayer 2.9.4.1435.  I'd definitely want to be able to continue to play these files--e.g., when I have a long plane ride.  What I've read about Starter is very unclear concerning its capability to play video files.  I don't care at all that it doesn't have Windows Media Center, but I do want to be sure that I can put a player such as KMPlayer on it and play the videos smoothly.
4) playing CDs and DVDs with an added piece of hardware such as Samsung Super-Writer Master.  I don't plan to take this with me on trips, just use it for adding software or watching DVDs when I'm at home but not at my desktop.

I'm planning to increase the RAM from 1GB to 2GB.  I don't care about Aero, nor even about not being able to change the wallpaper, etc., though I do want to be able to put shortcuts on the desktop and arrange them as I want them.  Will Starter meet my needs, or will I find that I've bought an expensive paperweight?  Also, I've heard conflicting things about whether the Intel 1.66GHz Atom Processor (N280) can support the more full-featured versions of Windows 7 such as Enterprise.  I'm pretty sure it can't support XP compatibility mode, since that's very resource intensive, but can it run, say, Enterprise, on a netbook so that I have access to a few other features? (I can get Enterprise through my university at a reasonable price, but not other full versions such as Home Premium.)

So...should I go ahead and buy a netbook with Starter and see how it works out, or are there too many pitfalls?  Thanks very much for your help.
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Josh
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2009, 10:45:01 AM »

Almost all the netbooks seem to come with Windows 7 Starter, including the Toshiba NB205, the one I'm most interested in.  I'm most interested in using a netbook for the following, especially when I'm traveling:

I am the owner of a Toshiba NB205-N210 so I can provide you insight into my experiences with Windows 7 on my netbook. I am currently running Windows 7 Pro with aero enabled. I have 2GB of ram and have a fairly snappy system.

Quote
1) reading and sending email (I use Mulberry as my main email client, and Gmail for some personal email)

You should not have very many issues in this department. Most software I have found works flawlessly on W7.

Quote
3) playing large video files, some downloaded from the web and others converted from DVDs I own.  I currently play most of these files with KMPlayer 2.9.4.1435.  I'd definitely want to be able to continue to play these files--e.g., when I have a long plane ride.  What I've read about Starter is very unclear concerning its capability to play video files.  I don't care at all that it doesn't have Windows Media Center, but I do want to be sure that I can put a player such as KMPlayer on it and play the videos smoothly.

This is a touchy area as most netbooks are fairly low in power. I can play various files but when you get into HD (mkv/h264/x264) files, you will notice significant lag. Flash video lags on my netbook as well (suprise suprise). KMPlayer will throw W7 into basic mode because of the way it handles video although VLC plays video back fine in aero mode.

Quote
4) playing CDs and DVDs with an added piece of hardware such as Samsung Super-Writer Master.  I don't plan to take this with me on trips, just use it for adding software or watching DVDs when I'm at home but not at my desktop.

I have not ventured into playing DVDS on my device but I will test it and let you know.

As far as which version of W7 you can run, I would say all of them. I am running Win7 comfortably on my system and it works very well. Enterprise should work without a hitch as it really adds business level functions such as domain join and a few other features. Overall, I feel you will be better suited with any edition OTHER than starter. Starter, from what I have read, limits the number of taskbar based applications you can run and eliminates certain key features which you will probably enjoy in home premium, pro and enterprise editions. I would go with home premium at a minimum.

Hope this helps smiley
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2009, 11:47:01 AM »

Josh, thanks VERY much for your very prompt and helpful response!  You addressed the things I was most worried about, and I now feel much more optimistic about buying the NB-205 with Starter and then, probably, upgrading to Enterprise.  I guess I'll put both KMPlayer (my current favorite) and VLC (which had been my favorite before I found KMPlayer) on the netbook.  I might add that I don't plan to watch HD video (at least, I haven't done so up 'til now), so the lag problem may not be an issue for me.

Again, MANY THANKS!!
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 11:48:33 AM by cyberdiva » Logged
JavaJones
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« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2009, 05:36:41 PM »

This is very good stuff to know. It's a big disappointment that MS decided to hobble their main netbook OS so much.

Incidentally Josh, the reason KMPlayer might be dropping you out of Aero is the display/rendering method, not necessarily something fundamental to the app. You can adjust the rendering mode in the preferences...

- Oshyan
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Josh
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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2009, 05:49:20 PM »

If that is the case then it should not be the default rendering method as I do not touch any of those settings.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2009, 07:04:24 PM »

Didn't they have second thoughts n the number of taskbar tasks that can be run during the final beta stage? I read something about it somewhere but can't remember where.
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Josh
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2009, 08:55:25 PM »

Not sure, everything I have read about starter states that this is limited.
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steeladept
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2009, 09:42:47 PM »

Didn't they have second thoughts n the number of taskbar tasks that can be run during the final beta stage? I read something about it somewhere but can't remember where.

Yes, they dropped that restriction before it went to production.  It was ostensibly because the processor couldn't handle it, but after so many beta testers proved that wrong (and showed it to be a marketing gimmick to get people to buy the more powerful machines that have more profit margin for all involved), they decided to remove the artificial restriction.
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2009, 03:05:53 PM »

Yes, steeladept is right--in a rare moment of sanity, Microsoft abandoned the three-program limit.  I now own a Toshiba NB-205 netbook with Windows 7 Starter, and I've found no such limit. 

Right now, I'm thinking that I'd have preferred WinXP on the netbook, but I suspect that as I become more accustomed to Windows 7 and learn how to work around the things I don't like, I'll probably be very glad I made the decision I did.  I won't say much more now, since I'm still feeling my way around.  One thing that has pleased me is that, so far, all the programs I've wanted to use seem to work fine (knock on wood  smiley  ).
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JavaJones
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2009, 04:01:56 PM »

Thank god for that! Cyberdiva, I'm curious to hear your continued thoughts on Win7 Starter vs. XP as you gain more experience. I already have a netbook with XP so it's not an immediate consideration for me, but I do often recommend purchases for others, and many people are interested in netbooks these days.

Josh, the default rendering method has been the same since XP I think. It probably should have changed with Vista, but I imagine it would be more likely with Win7 now being a lot more likable and, eventually, popular. In any case I will say the rendering method options are great to have, but I too find their adjustment to be a bit of a "black box", not knowing entirely what is best to choose...

- Oshyan
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SKA
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2009, 09:26:54 AM »

Which AV(antivirus) works best on such netbooks ?

Or its vital to upgrade SE(starter edition) to HP(Home Premium)  or Professional ?

SKA
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2009, 08:27:42 AM »

SKA, I've been using the free version of Avast, first on an old laptop (now retired) and now on my new Toshiba netbook.  It seems to be doing a good job.  It updates its database frequently, doesn't hog my computer's resources, doesn't waste my time with frequent false positives, and doesn't pester me to buy the paid version.   I also have a firewall (Agnitum Outpost Pro), and I run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro as well.  They all seem to play nicely together.  I've also heard good things about the free version of Avira, but apparently it keeps nagging about buying the paid version, or so I've read.

As for which flavor of Windows 7 to run, I'm still running Starter and am hoping that it will prove adequate for my limited needs (the netbook is NOT intended to be my primary computer).  As it turns out, I'm able to get either Professional or Ultimate/Enterprise from the University at a moderately decent price, but I'm not sure that I'd be able to simply use Windows 7's upgrade anytime feature but rather would have to do a fresh install that would wipe out all the programs I've been carefully installing and tweaking.  That's strong motivation to stick with Starter  Wink.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2009, 08:33:23 AM by cyberdiva » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2009, 11:31:08 AM »

I like AVAST very much and recommend it to all my home user clients.

If you prefer to pay for AV why not subscribe to NOD32 - very light on resources.
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SKA
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2009, 03:52:08 AM »

Dear Carol/ Cyberdiva

Why I ask is I get the feeilng Win7 Starter is a "light" edition -add a conventional AV and its bound to get slow - or no ?

Netbooks are v. new for me ( its my Christmas gift to get suitable AVs for my bro & niece, hence my query - grin).

SKA
« Last Edit: December 22, 2009, 03:55:18 AM by SKA » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2009, 04:26:35 AM »

Unless they have deliberately degraded preformanbce I can't see why running AVAST or NOD32 would have a significantly greater impact on Starter than Home Premium?

The things that will make a difference (for any software) are the amount of memory available and the hardware speeds. My personal opinion is that most versios of Windows benefit from 2Gb of RAM (XP, Vista, 7) but XP can cope best with less memory. 7 is certainly better with less memory than Vista (which constantly disk threashes on a 1Gb system).
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Josh
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2009, 07:10:19 AM »

I can say from first hand experience that running nod32 on a netbook is not a good idea. It doesn't slow things down during normal operations but any browser with a download manager will often times fail due to nod32s scanning system. I spent 2 months going back and forth with eset via email and did not resolve that issue.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #16 on: December 22, 2009, 07:21:59 AM »

Was never my experience of NOD32 - the only thing that was noticeable was that scans of exe and zip files when downloaded caused a brief pause.

I am using AVAST these days on my home computer and that is light and has no issues that I have noticed.
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Josh
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« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2009, 07:40:33 AM »

That is exactly what I experience and it often times led to a failed download. I worked with eset to resolve the issue but never could do it. This kinda sucks too as I have two licenses for nod32 but only one in use Sad
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cyberdiva
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« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2009, 09:25:10 AM »

I've been using the free version of AVAST on my netbook, which is currently running Windows 7 Starter and 1 GB of RAM (which I'm planning to up to 2 GB, but not because of AVAST).  So far, I've had no problems with AVAST (knock on wood, salt over my shoulder smiley )
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zridling
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« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2009, 02:20:19 PM »

Thanks Josh. A friend at work asked me these questions and I didn't know. Now I can relay this info to them.  Thmbsup
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Josh
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« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2009, 03:25:09 PM »

Zaine, glad to help smiley
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Deozaan
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« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2009, 04:28:16 AM »

I've been running Windows 7 Ultimate on my MSI Wind U120. I don't believe I've encountered any software that worked on XP that doesn't work on Windows 7. This particular netbook cannot upgrade from 1GB to 2GB of RAM so Win 7 does run a bit slow in a few aspects. I disabled Aero because there was something that would always disable it. I can't remember exactly what it was anymore. Probably a game.

I use AVG (free) for my anti-virus and haven't noticed any problems with that.

Since (AFAIK) netbook hardware is essentially all the same, I would not recommend putting Win 7 on a netbook unless you can get 2GB of RAM, as that might make almost all the difference in the world. Though I suspect, as Josh mentioned, that because of the CPU and GPU limitations there would still be video choppiness in DVDs and higher resolution videos. Though I don't understand how you could watch HD video on a netbook since they're limited to about 1024x600 and HD is 1920x1080.
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JavaJones
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« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2009, 04:20:16 PM »

720P (1280x720) is also "HD". Though still you can't play it at ful resolution on many netbooks.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2009, 01:34:41 PM »

I'm running Win7 Home Premium on an Asus EeePC 1000H for about 2 months now ((your basic single core atom processor). It runs just fine, but it does get a bit slow with too many open apps/windows. I use it for my work and run Office 2010 beta with Outlook open all day, in addition to various open Firefox, Word or Excel windows. I probably have 7-10 windows open at any one time. Its not a speed demon, but it can handle it. Though, I do recommend 2gb of memory. I have no problems running flash videos. I do turn off all the fancy screen bling :>) and follow typical "speed up win 7 tips". Make sure you get a decent hard drive - 5400 rpm minimum. As for security, I use the free Microsoft Security Essentials - small footprint, efficient, relatively unobtrusive, decent reviews (no antivir stops everything).
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