The vast majority of netbooks on the market today ship with Windows XP. And the nearly decade-old operating system runs pretty well on a machine with a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU and all the usual netbook specs like 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. You know what else runs surprisingly well on these netbooks? Windows 7, the upcoming next-gen operating system from Microsoft. There’s just one catch: It looks like most netbooks may be optimized for Windows XP, and without the proper drivers some netbooks get dramatically worse battery life when running Windows 7.

At first, this seems a bit strange, since Windows Vista and Windows 7 actually include more fine-tuning controls for adjusting your power schemes in order to extend battery life. But Laptop Magazine found that a Toshiba NB205 ran for nearly 9.5 hours with Windows XP, and even with updated Windows 7 drivers only lasted about 7 hours with Windows 7. An MSI Wind U123 also saw a battery life dip with Windows 7, although it wasn’t quite as dramatic.

PC World has a roundup of complaints regarding other netbooks including Asus Eee PC and Acer Aspire One netbooks.

It’s possible that Microsoft and/or hardware makers will release updated drivers after Windows 7 is released in October to address these issues. After all, long battery life is one of the strongest selling points for netbooks. If Windows 7 takes a toll on battery life, some vendors may decide to stick with the cheaper Windows XP. But it’s also possible that all the extra eye-candy that comes with Windows 7 simply uses up more resources, which would make it difficult for Windows 7 to compete with Windows XP in terms of energy use.

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6 replies on “Does Windows 7 reduce netbook battery life?”

  1. Better graphics comes at a price. Also, what is comparison matrix. What kind of 3rd party software? What benchmark? This seems like a broad over arching clonclusion.

  2. Open up your task manager in Vista or W7. It’s ok I’ll wait. Notice dwm.exe taking up cpu time, say hi to aero. Notice sidebar.exe taking up cpu time, say hi to gadgets. Notice these don’t exist in XP because XP doesn’t have either feature. If you compared it to Vista and told me battery time was worse you’d have a point.

    Solution is wait for it… to turn off these features when on battery. There are many available that work in both w7 and vista. I am not just talking just about transparency with aero you need to shut it all down.

    Not to say there aren’t some really bad drivers. But my Lenovo s10 in w7 RC1 with vista drivers is the same or better than my xp battery time. And the s10 doesn’t have the best battery life to begin with. Same thing goes for my tx2500 tablet (that actually has a bad W7 beta driver for fingerprint, solution get vista driver).

  3. I’ve been running W7 on my Mini 10 for months and don’t notice any change in battery life vs. XP.

  4. I think a bit early for such statements cause now the Netbooks are not optimized for Windows 7. We should whait untill we have all together, Netbooks, Drivers and Windows 7.

    But at MS is nothing impossible 🙂

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