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With Windows Vista having never received more than a lukewarm reception (at best), many eyes are now turned towards Redmond in anticipation of Microsoft’s next OS. The company says it has learned from its mistakes and promises to do better this time around with Windows 7. Since it will come pre-installed on most new desktop PCs and notebooks once it is released later this year, Windows 7 will inevitably gain a certain installation base. The situation was different when Windows Vista was released, as many users chose to stick with Windows XP for the time being. That won’t be as much of an option this time, since most companies no longer offer XP. Of course, manually downgrading will still be possible if you have an installation disc and a valid license. On the other hand, Windows 7 is generally being seen in a much more favorable light than Vista anyway. It looks like a lot of users may give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt.
But what about the netbook space? So far, this class of mobile computing device relies on either Linux or Windows XP as its operating system. Considering that the latter was released over eight years ago, it’s understandable that many users are looking for a more modern version of Windows to run on their mobile computing companions. Although it’s possible to install and run Vista on a netbook, we've tried it and it’s not exactly a fun experience, with the system feeling sluggish and overburdened. Besides, most netbooks only come with 1 GB of RAM, which is decidedly too little for memory-hungry Vista.
In May, Microsoft opened the doors to its Release Candidate 1 of Windows 7, allowing users to download the preview and take it for a spin. Of course, the software giant is hoping to establish a firm foothold in the netbook market with its newest version of Windows, promising that Windows 7 will run much more smoothly on the lightweight hardware than its predecessor. Naturally, that piqued our interest. How would Microsoft’s newest OS fare on a current netbook? What’s the everyday user experience like? And, of course, what do the benchmarks say about performance compared to Windows XP?