I have a Netbook with Windows XP Home. Processor is an Atom N280 (1.66 GHz) with 2 GB of RAM. I noticed that newer Netbooks come with Windows 7, but as Starter Edition (which kinda sucks).

I wonder if there is a technical reason for using Windows 7 Starter? Or would a better edition (x86) perform equally well? I'm currently considering Home Premium, but BitLocker and Offline Files might convince me to go Ultimate.

5 Answers 5


I wonder if there is a technical reason for using Windows 7 Starter?

There are no technical reasons to use Windows 7 Starter (au contraire), the reason is purely economical (it's cheaper - you buy cheap, you get cheap): while the resource usage is pretty much the same, Windows 7 Home Premium outperforms Windows Starter on the same system in most aspects, Starter even boots slower than Home Premium (see benchmark resuslts below).

enter image description here

The test platform is a Lenovo IdeaPad S12.

(courtesy of German compumag Chip.de, although it's in German, the results aren't not too hard to interpret)

Windows 7 Home Premium or better on a Netbook?

Most certainly! Not only is it faster with Home Premium, you also get all the bells 'n' whistles. :)

AFAIK, you can't officially buy Windows 7 Starter anyway, there is no retail version. it's only a cheap option for OEMs to sell netbooks with Windows 7.


Not exactly answering the question, but I'll point out that if you want encryption, Bitlocker isn't the only option. TrueCrypt is open source, cross-platform, and simple to use. I use it to protect groups of files, especially on my laptop. And it works fine on Windows 7. That may be one less reason to splash out for Ultimate.

  • +1 for Truecrypt - and referenced this in my answer. Jan 9, 2010 at 10:42

The main reason when they come with starter edition is simply because it costs less.... Nothing technical.

Windows 7 does work on a Netbook, but do not expect anything fast - Windows XP in my books is still better as the Atom CPU is slow.

Edit - Sorry, didn't fully answer your question...

Starter is simply the same functional code base as ultimate or any other edition with many features disabled. You would be able to install ultimate then disable all the additional features not present in starter (such as Aero) and it should perform about the same.

I know no alternative to the Offline Files feature, other than manually creating copies / using synchronising tools such as Microsoft Sync Toy or to a less extent - Mesh or DropBox. Lastly, as Grant Palin said, and I can recommend - Truecrypt makes a good alternative to Bitlocker.


Windows 7 Starter Edition is the cheapest option for the manufacturers. I run the Home Premium edition which works great - worth the money to upgrade.


Its still a netbook. i have a HP 311 with Windows 7 Premium 32bit. Yes, it runs OK and with the ION Nvidia graphics it does better then a netbook with older Intel graphics like the 950 chipset. But its still a netbook and the Intel Atom 270 which I have shows why a single core CPU is dead for a modern OS. Even Windows 7 cannot help it too much. Yes, if all your doing is basics like web surfing page to page then it will be OK. But try and really multi task and you will hear the fan crank up and the computer slow.

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