back to article Microsoft says XP netbooks die on October 22

Microsoft has reminded OEMs that as of October 22, it will forbid them from loading Windows XP on netbooks. But if you still want one, there's always China. In a Thursday blog post, Redmond underlined this October deadline, which was first laid down back April 2008. According to research outfit NPD, Microsoft says, 81 percent …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Linux anyone?

    Given that most people use netbooks to pick up email., general surfing etc, wouldn't it be great if this was a cue for oem providers to reduce the price of the netbooks and provide a low cost (free) operating system that does the job adequately.

    1. Lou Gosselin

      Re: Linux anyone?

      I'm sold on Linux. I wouldn't even mind "bring your own OS" models.

      Most people expect windows, and many manufacturers only cater to the majority, unfortunately.

      1. Quxy

        Ask for a Windows refund

        So far, I've been able to get Amazon to refund the cost of Windows on both netbooks I've purchased from them in the US.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Bring your own OS

        I love the "Bring Your Own OS" model. It's one of the two reasons I shy away from pre-built kits. The other reason being that pre-built kits don't offer much flexibility in customization.

        1. Chemist

          Re : Bring your own OS

          I normally use OpenSUSE on my other machines but EEEbuntu installed without any effort on my Asus 900. I only use it for traveling but it works really well for that. Decoding raw photos, web, e-mail and SSH.

          I also favour the self-built kit - allmy desktops and servers are home-built. The last one I built, an Intel dual-core only cost ~£300 with a cheapo monitor

    2. Quxy

      Depends upon where you live

      32% of all netbooks shipped worldwide in 2009 had Linux preinstalled. However, Linux accounted for only about 10% for netbooks sold in the US, largely due to a massive push by Microsoft in the last quarter of the year. For netbook sales in Asia in the first quarter of 2010, it appears that the Linux share was nearly unchanged. Unless Microsoft continues to sell Windows into the Asian market at a deep discount, it's likely that the Linux share in the price-sensitive Asian netbook markets is going to rise. This is particularly true in China, where the government is continuing to quietly invest in Linux-based computing infrastructure, which encourages consumers to look at Linux desktops more seriously.

    3. Sooty

      I tried, I really tried

      I installed linux on my netbook, all the hardware worked, it had all the applications i needed. But...

      The user experience just wasn't there, it caused issues with my network (no idea why, but having it connected caused problems with everything else, disconnect it and the problems went away) had applications randomly freezing for periods of time with no explanation (grey out, get waiting cursor, comes back in a min or so as if nothing happened with no real reason). Some applications even just disappeared, quit without error message or obvious reason.

      Also, basic annoyances, options dialogs and messages, where the buttons were off the bottom of the screen and unselectable, because it didn't like a 1024x600 netbook screen.

      Overall, the functionality was there, but it was severely let down by a poor user experience, caused by a lack of polish in a few areas that should be no-brainers.

      In contrast, going back to windows xp just made everything "work" even if i did have to put in the driver cd that came with the netbook and hit install all, before all the hardware started working properly.

    4. Bod

      linux returns

      Problem with Linux is simply that it's not Windows. As wonderful and competent as it is, consumers expect Windows.

      Even when they've been convinced in store that Linux is great, they get home and realise it doesn't run their favourite Windows app, and they have all kinds of problems because they are in an alien environment (or worse need to learn command line, scripts and config files).

      The average punter is just not prepared to put in the work. Hence the return rate on Linux netbooks is so much greater than Windows.

  2. ahayes

    OEMs should give M$ an ultimatem

    Continue to make XP available or we'll use Linux. Netbook+Vista is fail.

    1. Penguin herder

      Vista is total garbage, but what about 7?

      Others have commented that W7 is slow on netbooks, but I'm asking you :) Personally, I had low expectations of Vista and they managed to disappoint even me. I can't say that I like Win7 much better - too much of the same user interface. Gnome is **much** nicer IMHO, as is the OS underneath it.

      1. The Unexpected Bill

        I've just got to tell you...

        Ah, Vista is a disaster. People can't believe the difference moving to Win7 or even back to XP makes. I've done plenty of both.

        ...but to answer your question about Win7 performance. I'll admit that I installed it (in release candidate form) on a Compaq Deskpro EN SFF box, giving me 40GB disk space, 512MB RAM maximum and a PIII processor clocked at 1GHz on the hardware side. It worked and was entirely usable, the only real problem being the RAM ceiling. Darn Intel and the i815's limits...didn't EVERYONE want 2GB of installed RAM in their PIII box back then...! (yes, that's an absurd remark, although it would have been nice if the 815 hadn't been artificially hobbled...)

        In the end, though, the best thing I could say was that its performance was not that of Vista. It was still Vista's UI through and through. I just can't stand it.

        I'll get my coat. I may need it on the way out with the laptop running Windows 2000 in my pocket...

  3. ceebee
    Thumb Down

    no surprise..

    win7 on netbooks runs like molasses in midwinter.... XP is perfectly adequate for users needs but then there is no margin netbooks for Intel or Microsoft who seem determined to kill the platform.

    1. Kar98

      Like molasses?

      Not quite sure what you're talking about? W7 is not at all like Vista. I've recently acquired a Aspire one 250 that came with XP, and for poops and grins, I've installed W7Pro on it. Absolutely no decrease in performance; in fact, it does seem a bit snappier. Mind you the first thing I did was upgrade the RAM to 2 GB. I wouldn't want to use Photoshop on it, but the tiny 10 inch screen would make that a silly undertaking anyway. For Firefox, Word and and GMail, this is more than adequate, and Windows is a huge step up from Vista.

      /typing this on a Mac mini with Snow Leo.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        2GB? is that all?

        I hate to tell you this, but you really shouldn't need 2GB to check your Gmail and type a letter.

      2. C Yates

        RE: Like molasses?

        Win 7 is certainly not as annoying as Vista, but for the netbooks I've installed Win7 on there is a slight decrease in performance for me. It's not a lot, but it's enough.

        I'm much happier with a nice clean XP build with all the teletubbies UI crap turned off. Like someone else said, I only want it for checking email and knocking out the odd Word document while I'm at Uni...

  4. John Tserkezis

    no surprise..

    "win7 on netbooks runs like molasses in midwinter"

    How about we allocate blame to where it's deserved.

    Win 7 is marginally slower than XP, but still quite usable. (I've tested it, and I'm using it, so there). In some areas (netbooks aside) it's faster than XP. Where it wins on Netbooks is in two areas. Power management, and SSD support with view to extend life of said.

    Unfortunately, cost tends to get in the way.

    I have no idea where this XP $15 Win7 $50 had come from, but basically, I don't care, it's all bullshit.

    You get what you get when you buy the box. The *IMPORTANT* factor is when you pay when you want to upgrade your nearly new Netbook from XP to Win7. At AU$399 for Win7Pro that alone can cost more than the discount price you paid for the netbook in the first place.

    $50 my arse. Then people wonder why OS piracy is rampant.

    Thanks, I've had my rant, and I'm going now.

    1. ceebee

      OEM pricing for XP and Win7

      I think you will find the OEM pricing to the major manufacturers is close to the pricing mentioned in the article.

      It is clear also that any netbook running Win7 will need 2gb of ram and let's hope they stay away from Win7 Basic with the silly restrictions that MS imposed..such as no change to the wallpaper!!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu Linux Netbook Remix

    Runs faster than Windows XP/Vista/7 on netbooks, looks easier on the eye due to being optimised for low resolution screens. A better experience.

    You can buy netbooks & laptops with no O/S from some trade sellers, however often cheaper to get a big brand version with Windows, and then wipe Windows.

    1. Brian Scott

      re: Ubuntu Linux Netbook Remix

      > looks easier on the eye due to being optimised for low resolution screens

      That would be except for the dialog boxes that are larger than the screen. How many tab keys to you type blind before hitting space and hoping you got the OK button and not the cancel button? Its fun to guess (often 2 but 3 needed on network manager) but definitely not easier on the eye or optimised for low resolution.

      1. Allan George Dyer

        Likewise on the dialog boxes...

        but I've taken to Shift-tabbing from the first field. Is there a fix?

        Can't make a comparison - I've never used W on a netbook, and, at those prices, I'm not likely to.

      2. Cubist Castle

        Simple solution

        For windows that are too big, hold alt, click on the window and drag upwards to reveal the lower part of it. Alternatively press alt+F7 and drag up (the same as on Windows).

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Title must contain alphanumeric glyphs.

          But they shouldn't *BE* too big for the screen in the first place!

      3. Chika

        ...and here comes the crunch

        Linux (and this means ALL distros, not just Umbongo - Linux is not Ubuntu) needs some work. This business with the screen res requires the folk doing GNOME and KDE to sort their act out on the GUI, but SSD support needs improvement too. Yes, you can do it, but persuading it to do so should be possible in the install. Until it is, people will be reluctant to go for it, and I don't blame them.

        Look forward to that.

        1. Chemist

          Re : ...and here comes the crunch

          EEEBuntu is fine

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        or alternatively ...

        ... it's fun to rotate to portrait mode to see all of the buttons. That's the only way i've found to complete upgrades on some occasions.

      5. Ben Tasker


        I found the same when looking at possible solutions for a friend with an old laptop of netbook(ish) specs that he wanted to use for a throwaround.

        Gave up on netbook remix, and used EasyPeasyOS. Hadn't used it before, but was reasonably impressed

      6. Anonymous Coward

        Dialogue on Dialogs

        I found this slightly frustrating on my Acer Aspire One with Linpus.

        At the weekend I found myself wanting to print a useful PDF document, so I fired up the HP printer and connected it. (Plug and pray wouldn't print, compiled the HP Fedora driver which wouldn't print before eventually discovering HP has RPMd a Linpus specific driver. Got that sorted.)

        Adobe, however, created a huge print dialog. Had to use the "move" trick to get to the "OK" button at the far bottom past the "do you want to print 2 sided 8 sheets to a page in letter format at 360dpi?" options.

        Same with KPatience Spider Solitaire, had to take off the taskbar to get the top of the deal cards at the bottom of the "desk".

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          Ditto Brother

          Got a cheapy DCP-165C, reasonable results even if the box looks like a '70s record player. I'm liking the scan-to-PDF option (although it only does b/w and color (sic), no greyscale!?). Anyway, the print driver has an ENORMOUS window. Too big for the eeePC. Thankfully the OK button is 'default' so hitting Return accepts any changes I have made.

          Perhaps manufacturers will need to wake up to the itty-bitty market having a display only 600 pixels high (though at least the eeePC has an option to switch to 1024x768 either scrolling or squished).

          While we're at it, they also need to realise that this is 16:9 aspect, as are a fair few LCD panels. There's a number of video capture devices that just *assume* the display, in full screen mode, is 4:3 aspect. [thanks again to the eeePC's full size scrolling, so I can "fake it", but I shouldn't have to]

  6. Tom 7

    Perhaps we can have real netbooks now

    ARM machines with 10hour battery life and all the functionality we want. We haven't had them before because MS cant remember how is OS works to get it onto ARM and has, one way or another, prevented these things getting to market.

    Then we could have £150 HD 10" netbooks and pocket clamshells - and using linux all the gestures you can manage.

    1. Chika

      Cynical Acorn user responds...

      Linux on an ARM system. Who'd a thunk it? ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Horns


      I remember seeing ARM netbooks in HMV before Xmas, retailing for £100 or so.

      ARM processor, not sure what battery life it had.

      Crippled by Windows CE running an ancient CE build of IE.

      Otherwise, nearly considered it as a living room web-browser toy.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    @"OEMs should give M$ an ultimatem"

    In an ideal world, this would happen.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft's business practices, and the US's enforcement of competition law, are far from ideal (and indeed in some jurisdictions some of MS's business practices have been shown to be illegal).

    History has already shown us that any significant vendor who makes a serious attempt to leave the Wintel camp will be "encouraged" in various ways to rethink their plans. Monopolists like Microsoft (and Intel) have lots of ways of making business more difficult (and/or more expensive) for those who dare to stray from The One True Way. Joint marketing funds, early access to pre-release information, that kind of thing, tend to be more easily available to true believers than to sinners.

    I don't really understand why the competition authorities continue to let MS get away with this kind of thing. Other than it being pointless arguing against MS's bottomless legal fund, that is.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, yeah, yeah

    Linux is good but it STILL needs to mature as a desktop / netbook platform. Even netbook remix still has major issues with simple things like hotkeys, wireless networks, screen brightness and as stated above, still has problems with its GUI. These might not be major issues for the likes of you and me, but your average Joe, he just sees something that doesn't work properly.

    Until, it becomes as easy to install and get working as Win7 (which is actually pretty good) for your average Joe, Linux is not going to take off.

    And I want Linux to take off.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    if what you want to do can't be done in Linux...

    ... maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

  10. David Gillett

    Stuck on SP2

    Have nVidia managed to release an SP3-compatible driver for the IDE controller in their motherboard chipsets yet? Kind of hard to uodate to SP3 when it loses access to the hard drive....

  11. A41202813GMAILCOM

    100% CORRECT.

    "Windows XP is the operating system that Microsoft built before it started abusing PC buyers with Windows Vista".

    And That Is Why I Am Still Using It.

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