We already know that Windows 7 Ultimate, the version of the next generation of Windows which Microsft has made available as a free beta download, runs great on many netbooks. But there’s a good chance that Microsoft will develop a stripped down version of the OS specifically for netbooks. Not because min-laptops like the Asus Eee PC or Acer Aspire One can’t handle the full version, but because Microsoft won’t want to provide the full functionality of Windows 7 Ultimate at the discounted price it currently charges netbook makers for Windows XP.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft is sending emails to some testers asking if they’d be willing to try a version of Windows 7 on low power machines with 1GHz processors, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of available disc space. Microsoft says testers need a DVD-RW drive, but I’m guessing that’s just for burning the installation image to disc and installing the OS, so a USB drive would do.

It’s possible that the folks who sign up to test this version of Windows 7 will be the first to see the operating system that Microsoft will eventually license to mini-laptop makers. On the other hand, Microsoft is limiting the invitation to users in Chile, Egypt, Lebanon, Brazil, Jordan, and India. So maybe this isn’t a version of Windows 7 designed for netbooks, but instead one made for countries where Microsoft may not find it feasible to sell Windows at full price.

Update: ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley says this is not a Netbook-specific version of Windows 7, but rather… something else.

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11 replies on “Microsoft seeking netbook users to test Windows 7?”

  1. I imagine windows 7 can be the greate operating system offered by microsoft since after windows xp.

  2. There’s nothing to see here, move along, move along. 😉 Seriously, this is just FUD to get people to think about Win7 for netbooks. So that in turn netbook makers will want to produce netbooks with high enough hardware specs to run Win7.

    Microsoft did the same thing with XP on the OLPC’s XO. The XO hardware was capable of running XP (if it had a traditional BIOS) with a little tweaking. Rather than pare down a special version of XP for it, Microsoft convinced OLPC to increase the specs of the XO to accomodate XP.

    The Win7 UI is visually bloated… pretty on a traditional notebook, but cramped on a smaller screen. Win7 has many more processes running in the background than XP.

    Given Microsoft’s track record on dealing with lower-spec’ed hardware, until they actually produce something tangible, it is nothing but talk.

    1. Have you actually used Win7 on a netbook? I like it so much on my Eee 901, I may never go back to XP.

      1. Yes I have. It is still bloated. Pretty, but bloated. What specifically does Win7 offer on a netbook that WinXP does not? I see plenty of kidz install Win7 just so that they can say that they did, but what exactly does Win7 bring to the netbook arena for users? (I know what it does for Microsoft)

        1. It offers/brings a Windows OS to netbooks that is not 9 years old (and not Vista). The Win7 beta is for the Ultimate edition, so of course it is a bit bloated.

          I agree that there isn’t a huge increase in functionality, but I still like it more. Of course if the final Win7 version intended for netbooks is too stripped down (i.e. Vista Home Basic), I may have a different opinion.

          Perhaps Microsoft has learned a bit after their “Vista Capable” debacle and is looking for user feedback from those installing Win7 on systems with the bare minimum requirements.

          1. So in a nutshell… Win7 brings nothing.
            You installed Win7 on your netbook and love it so much that you “may never go back to XP” but the only thing noteworthy is that it isn’t 9 years old?
            I use an OS for what it allows me to do, not because of its age. But I’m funny like that.

          2. its pretty? i don’t choose an os because its pretty i choose it because its fast and efficient.

            i read the entire list and nothing there was remotely useful or interesting.

            the closest was #24 it always annoys me that windows opens up in c:windowssystem32 or some other akward location. (in the office vb has a habit of opening the save dialog in wacky locations even though the project has only ever used a single specific location. we refer to it as shotgun saving) great that i can change it but really annoying when on a tech support call that i still have to walk a average user who has no knowledge of a hard drive to getting to the root of c.

            wordpad can now open office 2007 files? woo hoo, so can open office 3. open office also allows me to change pdfs which is much more useful to me at least.

            i suspect that win7 will be more paletable to the computer using public. but it’s still a piece of crap to the people who will be supporting it. just vista rehashed. by now most of my friends and family have moved to mac and linux. easier to support for me. these days i don’t charge for mac or linux support (they need very little support). i charge only for windows. if they’re dumb enough to use windows they’re dumb enough to pay.

            at the moment the only real app that i have to have is itunes. i could set it up on linux using wine or half a dozen other methods or use an alternate media manager. but then there is the hassle of maintaining that system as itunes changes its db format again (thanks a bunch apple!) might just be easier to get a mac book than keep winxp on a netbook.

            what i getting at is that i won’t be moving to win7. if i can’t get a winxp system for the occasional windows software use then macbook it is. don’t want to learn the stupidity that will be part of win7. vista was bad enough. luckily most of our customers have specifically avoided it but the 1-2 who do have it are a pain support wise.

  3. Here, try our cheap, crippled OS. Don’t know what they are removing but I can bet it wont be their DRM.

    1. i think thats what has been removed.

      i’ve seen windows 7 on an acer aspire one. about the same speed as winxp. doesn’t add anything other than a pretty interface to windows. i don’t want pretty i want useful so it’s of no use to me. seemingly you can’t switch it to windows classic mode.

      considering its built on vista the only things they could have removed to get the performance boost over vista is all the drm crap.

      of course the beta is time locked so it runs out in august i believe. then you will have to use the final off the shelf version of win7 so then the drm will be back in by my guess.

      they are trying to build a good reputation for win7 before it is released. when somebody asked me what was wrong with win7 at work i asked them to walk a new computer user over the phone when they have to support winxp, win vista and win7. three different interfaces with everthing changed and moved around so even describing icons on the alt tab when the icon is now an image of the application which changes depending on what the application is doing. just a pain in the backside as far as i’m concerned for support with no added value.

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