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I have a notebook that has an Intel Atom N270 CPU on board with 1.6GHz and 898MB of RAM. It runs on Windows XP Home Edition and is slower than a slug.

Would it perform better if I flattened it and installed Windows 7?

I am not technical, so an answer with easier words would be appreciated.

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    Not an answer to your question, but I have a machine with similar specs (Asus eee pc 901) which runs very smooth on Android-x86, whereas XP was extremely slow. Not sure if your hardware is supported of course, but it may be worth having a look. – Berend Feb 19 '15 at 11:45
  • Its going to be slower then a slug period. You have bottom of the barrel hardware with almost minimal memory for applications that exist in 2015. Even Linux distributions will struggle with that little memory and the processing power of that CPU. – Ramhound Feb 19 '15 at 12:00
  • Before start: make/model of netbook? While we're waiting for that you do following: 1. Have anyone before you tried it? 2. If no, check minimum hardware requirements for Win7. Yours does not qualify... But don't let that stop you - windows is flexible, there may be techno-miracle. 3. Check on manufacturer site if there are drivers for win7? Sometimes Vista drivers will do, but not rely on it. If no, then good chance win7 will not do you any good... 4. all you have left is to do fresh install XP – AcePL Feb 19 '15 at 12:14
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    You are probably better off flattening it and re-installing XP - take the gain of a fresh install. – Chenmunka Feb 19 '15 at 13:18
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    This is not an answer, but a comment. Windows XP has ceased its support lifetime. It is not maintained and a machine running XP on a network may pose an information security risk (to be clear, recent WannaCry attack couldn't target XP, but doesn't mean future attacks won't). In my opinion replacing XP is mandatory, but then you could legitimately ask if your hardware is a better suit for Linux or Win7/10 – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ May 27 '17 at 11:27
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On the specified system, windows XP hands down.

Note that with general use programs that run and install, in a normal-user desktop environment, windows 7 will take approximatively 1GB or RAM. The primary reason for XP to Vista/7 upgrade was actually the DX support, which is not the case here.

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    Worth noting that Windows XP is long past its end of life and is no longer safe to use if connected to the Internet. – ChrisInEdmonton Feb 19 '15 at 15:52
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    I totally disagree. XP is just as safe. And it has the advantage that you can practically patch anything at its core, while post-Vista OSes do not allow that. Internet connectivity is way more browser related than OS related when it comes to security. – Overmind Feb 20 '15 at 7:07
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    XP has known vulnerabilities that Microsoft will never fix. Microsoft themselves say XP is unsafe. Although you can still get modern browsers for XP, that won't be the case in a few weeks. Chrome, for example, won't be supported on XP after April 2015. – ChrisInEdmonton Feb 20 '15 at 13:57
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    Ms said that in order for users to migrate. It's marketing trick, nothing more. 3rd party support is another issue. – Overmind Feb 23 '15 at 6:36
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    'Unsafe' is a tag that can be used on any Windows OS. – Overmind Apr 26 '17 at 9:11
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No it would not, windows 7 minimum requirements are

  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

So it will run very, very slow. You must buy at least additional RAM. Keep in mind, that these are minimum requirements, so you want be happy. I have never installed Win 7 on such bad configuration, but I have done it on virtual machine and it was too bad.

I know that this is a matter of personal opinion, but if I am stuck with that computer, I wold try with lubuntu, or some other lightweight linux. If you are using computer for web browsing and watching videos, there is no reason why you shouldn't give ubuntu a chance.

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  • His computer does not meet the minimum requirements. – Ramhound Feb 19 '15 at 12:01
  • I'd suggest a not-so-light linux distro, like Linux Mint XFCE or maybe CrunchBang... try a few different ones live – Xen2050 Feb 19 '15 at 12:01
  • Mint Xfce would be a great choice, but the menu system is broken on at least V17 (can't edit it). You might get Mate to work in that little memory (it's like an enhanced version of Xfce). If your software needs are modest, a lightweight memory resident Linux, like Puppy or Porteus, will breathe new life into the hardware; very fast on minimal resources. – fixer1234 Feb 19 '15 at 21:01
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Windows 7 tends to perform okay on limited hardware like that. I had Windows 7 on those specs and it was okay, but I would try and but some more RAM in if you could. It would be more secure and modern- I would prefer it over XP, but I doubt it would perform better - it would be the same or worse.

That said, by today's standards that laptop is gutless and will chug badly browsing the modern web- the CPU just isn't up to it (and I'm speaking from experience here).

I would put the money towards a new laptop - even if it's a bottom rung model, it will effortlessly outperform the Atom.

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