Saturday, May 15, 2010


Last week I got a netbook in part for my upcoming vacation but also for future trips and doing some software development in my spare time. I ended up going with the Asus EEE PC (1005PE), and I have to say that although I was skeptical before trying it out, I am really loving it now.

The two things I did right away were 1) upgrade the ram to 2gb, and 2) upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate. The device came with Windows 7 Starter, which would be fine for netbook users who mainly want web browsing, email, and simple word processing. However, I'm looking to do some app development in my spare time and some development tools won't run on that OS, so I decided to switch.

Upgrading to 2gb was very easy, but unfortunately you need to buy a 2gb stick to replace the existing 1gb and there is only one slot. If anyone would like to take a 1gb netbook ram stick off my hands, please let me know!

Upgrading to Windows 7 Ultimate was also quick and painless. There are plenty of instructions available on the web for how to do it from a USB key. Since my 2gb ram came with an 8gb SD card, I used that instead, but it worked just the same. All the windows drivers were automatically installed and worked with the device, so if you don't care about the add-ons provided by Asus, you're all set. However, I liked their touch pad driver with the additional gestures it lets you perform (scrolling horizontally and vertically, as well as pinch and stretch), so I installed that driver from their site. I also wanted to use the hotkeys provided on the keyboard, such as using the function key for quick muting or volume changes, so I installed the hotkey driver as well. Finally, the resolution of the screen is a bit odd at 1024x600, so without the Asus driver things on the screen look a little stretched. Installing this along with the other two drivers was a matter of clicking 'install' and took all of five minutes, but I am very happy with the results. I'm not sure if it is the upgraded OS or that I removed all the extra skinning that Asus does, but it seems to me the performance is even better now than before. I haven't tested that or run any empirical comparisons though, so YMMV.

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