Windows XP netbooks’ days are numbered
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Microsoft is more than ready to bury Windows XP. The operating system is nearly a decade old, after all, and the company would clearly rather have users buy shiny new machines with Windows 7. Windows XP would have retired a few years ago, but Microsoft pulled it out of the vault when it became clear that there was demand for small, cheap, and low power machines like netbooks.
But Windows 7 runs almost as well on most netbook hardware as Windows XP, if not better. And while you can still pick up plenty of netbooks with XP, Microsoft will stop offering the OS to netbook makers in about a year.
But there’s a chance it will already be pretty much gone from the market much sooner than that. Perhaps as soon as early 2010. Microsoft netbook cheif Don Paterson tells The Register that while Windows XP will be available for a little while longer (when purchased with a netbook), he doesn’t think it will have much market share after the holidays.
Paterson also points out that Microsoft will be marketing Windows 7 pretty heavily, and not Windows XP. But I don’t think Microsoft ever really did much marketing for Windows XP on netbooks. The company simply made it available, and customers more familiar with Windows than Linux gravitated toward Windows XP netbooks making it the dominant OS for that market segment.
I’m sure that if PC makers stop offering Windows XP netbooks, people will move on and simply start using models with Windows 7. But while the new operating system does offer some nifty features that are absent from Windows XP, (including Windows Media Center, Aero Glass effects, and backup and restore capabilities) many of the best features of Windows 7, including all of those plus Windows XP compatibility mode, aren’t available in Windows 7 Starter Edition. And that’s the version that’s currently shipping on the vast majority of Windows 7 netbooks. You can’t even change the desktop background on Windows 7 Starter Edition, which means that you can make a good case that Windows XP netbooks are actually more capable than those running Windows 7 Starter.
Of course, you can always pick up a netbook with Windows 7 Home Premium, but those are less common and they generally cost more. And while you can upgrade from Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium, you have to pay $80 for the privilege.
In the meantime, if you’re in the market for a netbook running Windows XP, take solace in the fact that there are still plenty available for purchase. Just don’t blame me if Windows 7 takes off in popularity in a way that Windows Vista never did and developers stop writing applications that are compatible with your Windows XP netbook within the next year or two. I guess you could always just install Linux on it.
via Netbook Choice