Windows 10 Experiment: Operation NetBook
Well I decided to embark on a little test for my vacation this summer. I decided to only take my daughter's abandoned NetBook as my primary computer. It's a Windows 7 based Netbook (actually a Samsung N150) and it is basically identical to most of the Atom-based Netbooks of it's era. It's a slow machine... as far as NetBooks go I think this one is only slightly better than average due to the 2GB of DDR2 RAM installed. It's got a 1.6GHZ N450 processor.
So I upgraded the existing Windows installation to Windows 10. The upgrade completed but I started getting blue screens... yet another failed upgrade (I do not recommend the upgrade for long term use) I found it very slow and full of obsolete Samsung bloatware, so I decided to format the HDD and reinstall completely. After the installation, I found that 100% of the hardware was detected by Windows 10, and the only driver I could update was the Realtek sound driver (Realtek published a new Win 10 driver in July).
Cortana had to go. Tried it but it was too slow and a drain on resources.
It's not fast, but it's usable. The memory footprint is considerably higher than the previous Windows 7 Starter Edition. I would definitely not recommend using less than 2GB (which I believe to be the maximum for this particular system). If I reduce the amount of pagefile available, I immediately get out of memory warnings doing nothing but browsing.
I tried running some of the games from the app store. Minesweeper, mahjong and solitaire collection ran okay, however load times were very long, especially when signing in to Xbox Live. Candy Crush will not run at all... I suspect the system doesn't meet it's requirements. No error message at all though--I just get an orange screen and that's it.
As for browsing, everything is fine although slow. There is a big difference between browsers... I did some benchmarking along with non-scioentific tests. Edge is considerably faster than IE Chrome or Firefox.
One thing I did with Edge is that I completely turned of Flash (which is built-in). I think Flash is a performance killer and I don't miss it.
As for Windows, I turned of transparency and most of the graphical enhancements for the desktop. I don't miss any of the enhancements and I'm sure it provides a small boost.
I also removed the tray components for a number of applications and I set Skype not to boot with the computer. I think it makes a difference too... especially on the bootup times. I installed the free OneNote 2013 app, but disabled the tray icon.
Overall, I'd say that Windows 10 on the old NetBook has been a success! It's fast enough to use regularly... so long as expectations are reasonable. I expected things to be much much worse. Most netbooks have only 1GB of RAM--I expect Win 10 to install and run, but I'd be surprised if it was viable for browsing the web.http://www.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/windows-10-faq