Dear Lifehacker, I just figured out how to install Windows 7 on my new eMachines/Acer 350 netbook. Problem is, it’s kinda sluggish. Even though I’m only using it for the internet in my lounge, both Firefox and Chrome run sluggishly.
I’ve removed all but MS Essentials and a Gmail checker running at start-up. I’ve tried Ubuntu for Netbooks and whilst it does run quicker (I may yet go back to it) I find I’d rather not get into Linux (too confusing, I prefer a more basic desktop). I’ve been building my own PCs for 20 years and prefer Windows. My question is: what is the absolute minimum install I can use for a netbook PC running Windows 7 which is only being used for the Internet? Thanks for the help, if any, in advance, Nodeity
While we will offer a couple of suggestions below (and I imagine readers might chime in with a few more), I suspect you’ve largely answered your own question by trialling Ubuntu and finding it runs faster. Windows 7 generally does a better job on minimal hardware than its predecessors, but it does an even better job if you give it a decent processor and plenty of memory to play with. If you’ve already tried booting into Ubuntu and found it more responsive, then I suspect there’s not too much you can do to strip Windows 7 back to deliver the same performance.
If your main aim is purely to surf the Net, then it really shouldn’t matter much which OS you use: in practice, you’ll barely see it (especially given that running the browser maximised is pretty much essential on notebook models). If you’re not a fan of Ubuntu’s slightly quixotic decision to shift the windows controls from right to left, it’s pretty easy to change that, and there are plenty of other thin netbook installs which might also deliver better results. (Hit our list of live CDs for even more ideas.) You can also install Ubuntu without losing Windows 7.
We offered up a guide to stripping back Windows to the bare essentials in 2008, but that related to Windows XP. If you’re that committed to the Windows experience, installing XP would be a possibility, though whether it will actually deliver better performance is an open question.