Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

And rather better than a US$35 tablet, if you need a Windows 10 machine lurking around


Among the many bizarre and stupid mistakes Microsoft made with Windows 8.x was the decision to require screens to have resolution of at least 1024 x 768.

That decision meant that hordes of Netbooks, the very small laptops popular in the late noughties, had no obvious upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 8.x.

Back in November 2013 I therefore tried to figure out how to extend the life of my own Netbook. Along the way I confirmed that Windows 8 was indeed a terrible idea for Netbooks, especially my Lenovo S10e and its 1024 x 576 screen.

That Netbook's been gathering dust since that 2013 story, but a few weeks back I found myself in need of a spare computer to serve as a data mule carrying data to the cloud. Microsoft seemed only too happy to let me upgrade the Netbook to Windows 10, so I gave it a try.

I must say works rather nicely. The upgrade required a single download and about an hour of work. Once that was behind me, the single core of the computer's 1.6 GHz Atom N270 did a reasonable job running Windows 10. The machine doesn't exactly zip through its day, but nor have I been left waiting for hourglasses to stop turning screens to refresh or apps to act.

Importantly, the machine's 1024 x 576-pixel 10.1-inch screen is no hindrance to Windows 10.

As we've discussed elsewhere, Windows 10 is a worthy upgrade that makes Windows sensible again. That experience repeats on the S10e.

The overall experience is not so pleasant that I'd use the machine for everyday tasks or foist it on the kids. But it's doing alright as a data mule, thanks in part to the wired 10/100 Ethernet port that means I can send stuff to the cloud without messing up WiFi around the house.

Long story short, my experience suggests that if your Netbook is still working and Microsoft's nagware is nagging you, a Windows 10 move probably won't leave your Netbook in worse condition than XP.

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