Netbooks manufactured with Windows XP have had its 80 GB HDD restriction dropped by Microsoft in favor of a 160 GB limit.
Microsoft is becoming a bit more lenient with the limits it has imposed on netbooks manufactures who wish to use Windows XP as the OS. As of Wednesday, Microsoft officially doubled the maximum allowable hard disk drive size to 160 GB, up from 80GB. MSI and Asustek already have taken action to update their Windows XP netbook offerings to feature 160 GB HDDs, which should affect the MSI Wind U100 and Asus Eee PC 1000H netbooks.
Due to the demand for Microsoft Windows XP in netbooks, Microsoft has a large amount of control over the allowed specifications of netbooks. With Microsoft wishing to push its Windows Vista operating system, it has been attempting to cut life support to Windows XP. Since netbook computers are arguably too underpowered for Windows Vista, it seems netbook manufactures have pressured Microsoft into continuing to provide Windows XP as a low-cost speedy alternative. As a compromise it seems, Microsoft has set guidelines for what are acceptable system specifications for Windows XP, limits that netbook manufactures follow faithfully. Although Linux is a viable alternative to Windows XP and it is used in some netbooks without system specification restrictions, many consumers still prefer a Windows operating system.
Some of the restrictions Microsoft have supposedly placed on netbooks include a 1 GB of RAM limit, a specific list of allowable slow CPUs, limited screen sizes, and limits on solid state drive capacities. Increasing the hard disk drive limit from 80 GB to 160 GB should have little effect on the system prices, yet it should add extra appeal to those looking to buy a netbook and increase sales of netbooks featuring HDDs, compared to those featuring SSD storage options.
Although the limits imposed by Microsoft are still tight, they meet the basic requirements needed for what a netbook has been designed for: basic, inexpensive, portable functionality.