Windows 7 for Notebooks and Netbooks

Now that notebooks outsell desktop PCs and low-power and low-priced netbooks are so popular, mobile performance and battery life will matter more than ever for Windows 7. “The notebook used to be just a mobile desktop,” points out Microsoft’s vice president for Windows Product Management, Mike Nash. Now, he says, notebooks need to cope with more complicated scenarios. “A machine will turn on in one place, turn off in another, go to sleep on one network, wake on another,” Nash says. Windows 7 is intended to give notebooks longer battery life, easier networking, better security, and run on much less-powerful machines than Vista—including netbooks.

At the recent Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), Microsoft showed Windows 7 running on a range of netbooks, including the Asus EEE 901 PC, the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, the MSI Wind and even the VIA-powered HP 2133 Mini-Note. Microsoft didn’t set out to create a special version of Windows 7 for low-power machines like netbooks, but general improvements in performance turn out to make a big difference—especially changes to the Desktop Windows Manager. In Vista, the amount of memory used increases linearly as you open more windows; in Windows 7, as long as you have a WDDM v1.1 driver, opening more windows uses much less additional memory.

Using a beta of Windows 7, we were able to open over 100 windows in a mix of applications on a Lenovo X300 notebook with Intel 965-based graphics and a WDDM v1.1 driver, without seeing a warning about the system running slow enough to suggest switching to Aero Basic. On a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 with an Intel Atom processor, which has Intel 945-based graphics for which we couldn’t find a WDDM v1.1 driver, we saw the warning with only 21 windows open; performance, however, was as good as with Windows XP, if not better.

Windows 7’s WDDM 1.1 improves memory usage.

Other performance improvements reduce the amount of disk I/O for reading from the registry and indexing files for search, and improve low-level kernel operations that could slow down access to the Start menu and Taskbar. Windows 7 also loads fewer services when you boot. This doesn’t just get you started more quickly; it means there are fewer services actively resident in memory just because you might need them. When you do something that requires a service, Windows 7 loads the service on demand and then unloads it once it’s no longer required—thus freeing up memory.

Services can be set to start automatically, but only when they’re needed--rather than at startup.

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  • zodiacfml
    i just hope that on the desktop we can turn off windows features.
  • Anonymous
    It looks like my lenovo already has most of these features. And always this discussion about battery life. I have never gotten the advertised battery life is I actually use my laptop. So the screen can not be too dim (let alone outside... what a joke). I actually need the harddrive. So much of these features don't seem that interesting. What is really new in Windows 7. (all the features for OEM's... do I care if I already have it?).
    The easier networking. Interesting. didn't XP show you the wi-fi networks with one click. And then in Vista they removed it. So now it is a feature again? Come on...
    An 8Gb footprint for barebones windows. What is that all about. I can run XP easily on a 10Gb drive. And it needs only about 2Gb. So where is the progress here...???
    Overall from what I read: not much new stuff.
    Sounds like lots of these are already in XP... Should compare battery life with XP, not vista I guess....
    And would love to see a comparison on some of these tasks with an Apple. Just to know if it will be worth my money to switch.
  • Anonymous
    I've played around with Vista a bit, but glad I skipped implementing it as my main OS.
  • hellwig
    Same here with skipping Vista. I had plenty of driver-incompatability fun when I switched to Win XP Pro x64 (for the heck of it). I figured I would just skip the whole Vista issue entirely. If Windows 7 needs less hardware than the 2-year old Vista it is based on, it just further shows how unnecessary Vista was. Looks like the wait for Windows 7 will be well worth it.
  • Anonymous
    what about tablet features?
    to my understanding the 7 OS supports active, passive, wacom technology and multitouch options much better then the Vista did.
    Since the vista did (does) it well, i wonder how much better will the 7 be on my tablet-pc...
  • Anonymous
    Windows 7 IS Vista with options to strip down unnecessary parts and with some tuning done. But most important, with completely new marketing! And people will pay for something that they should already have when they bought Vista. Smart Microsoft is and that's why they're rich.
  • Anonymous
    That's right medmeks..

    So, Why don't we make another class action lawsuits against Ballmer and his god-damned Microsoft?
  • Anonymous
    I agree with medmeks... it is just an updated version of vista as said by Microsoft themselves...because the update was so big they deemed it release. But then Apple charge for each of their big updates every nothing new here...Mircosoft copying Apple??

    I run Vista as my main OS now having bought a copy upgraded from XP. I think it is great and have had zero issues with it in 3 months... i have a macbook too but will be selling soon as i dont use it enough - XBOX 360 etc.
  • jkeelsnc
    This is all good. I finally started using Vista recently and after SP1 it is acceptable (finally). However, this still begs a question. Why the hell didn't Microsoft write Vista with these features to begin with to allow it to run properly on smaller machines and less hardware? I understand that SSD's were not popular at the time but the rest of the features could have been implemented. Not to mention they should checked on the hardware and software compatabilities before shoving it out the door. Having said that, VISTA is finally pretty good and it looks like Windows 7 will actually be very nice.
  • Anonymous
    vista is a rushed product - that's why...
  • Anonymous
    I have written a small howto configure Windows 7 Pro for speed and productivity on a netbook (HP 2133), please visit my blog for howto and screencast : , if you want to skip right to the screencast :