According to Microsoft, Windows 7 will run comfortably on a netbook. No surprise there. The company’s been saying this for a while now, and we’ve seen a number of early adopters load up a pre-release copy of the operating system on existing netbooks. In fact even Windows Vista runs better than many people would have expected on devices with slow processors and relatively small amounts of storage and RAM.
But Computer World did dig up one interesting new fact: Microsoft says you’ll want a 16GB or larger SSD or hard drive to comfortably run Windows 7. That’s because the operating system will eat up about 8GB when you account for system files including hiberanation and temp files. That leaves 8GB for programs and storage.
Considering the fact that some current netbooks have 8GB or less of solid state storage, that might sound like a big restriction. But keep in mind, Windows 7 isn’t due out until the middle of 2009 at the earliest. And flash memory prices are continuing to fall. So while you may be able to find a netbook with a 1 to 4GB SSD on the shelves after Windows 7 is release, my guess is that most low cost ultraportable notebooks will have 16GB or larger disks anyway. Whether they’ll run Windows 7, Windows XP, or Linux is another question.