Reviewing a Year of Windows XP on Netbooks

Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc has posted a nice look back on the last year of Windows XP on Netbooks. Of course this look back points ahead to what Windows 7 will bring, and that’s really the point. Nothing wrong with that, and there sure seems to be enough excitement based on what we’ve seen with the Windows 7 Beta to offer some real promise here.

Brandon touts several advantages of Windows over the Linux variants that have made their way onto some Netbooks, and the now oft-repeated mantra that more Linux Netbooks get returned than Windows versions. Conveniently though he leaves out two key points in his look back and his look ahead.


  • Microsoft was ready several times to phase out Windows XP as an OS but the problems with Vista and the opening that Netbooks created kept them from doing so. What would have happened to the Netbook market had Vista not been so derided for its faults (or for that matter had so many faults), and had Microsoft stuck to its guns with the XP phase out?
  • There is no easy path to upgrade to Windows 7 from XP. A lot of the current crop of Netbooks can run Windows 7 well (at least what we’ve seen from the Beta). Microsoft is making media possible for you to move up, but you’ll have to do a full install instead of an upgrade. For many this isn’t a real issue, but for some it might be. A clean install of any new OS offers a better start in most cases, and in my opinion, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered before this can be looked at as smooth path.

I’m guessing Microsoft and the OEMs are counting on Netbook consumers opting to buy new hardware with Windows 7 pre-installed (you know-the limited Starter Edition) rather than trying to upgrade.