The people who worry about the Starter Edition of Windows 7 are showing up in the strangest places. I would not think that this would come up as a problem for many, as the netbooks that are the intended recipient of this edition will most likely be underpowered for a reason.

The limitations imposed by Microsoft will hardly affect the general netbook user, as most will be using the units as supplemental to a desktop computer. No one is positioning the netbook as the only computer to own.

Netbooks, for the people I have seen using them, are a way of having an electronic note taker (for college, classes at the adult ed center, etc.), a way to respond to e-mail while on the go (airports, trains, & as a passenger in cars), and a way to transport information from home computer to office computer.

In every case, the user is only using a browser, and e-mail program, and possibly, an IM client. That’s 3. Much more than that and you run out of memory, and start chugging the hard drive. Should there be a solid state drive, no chugging, but still slower than moving things in memory, and also increased battery usage. If an editor or word processor is used, then the browser, or e-mail can be closed – no big deal.

Linux is going to be a better solution for many, as its memory loads can be adjusted more easily than Windows 7, but for many that receive a netbook, it will come with that Limited Starter Edition, so changing will not happen.

Download Squad has a small piece on this, and though the conclusions are the same, I think the idea that so many programs will be open at one time is all wrong. People, as I have observed, simply don’t use computers of known limitations that way.

Microsoft has been offering a low cost, limited “starter edition” of Windows for customers in developing nations for a few years now. But with Windows 7, Microsoft will begin offering a starter edition in developed nations like the US for the first time. You won’t be able to walk into a store and buy it, but it may come preloaded on some low cost computers like netbooks. It’ll be up to each computer maker to decide whether to install Windows 7 Starter Edition or offer a pricier option like Windows 7 Home Premium.

There’s been a lot of talk about how Windows 7 Starter Edition had a limited feature set. It won’t let you run more than three programs at once, for instance. And users won’t be able to change the desktop background.

From my experience, more people are going to be more upset about this than the 3 program limit. Customization, especially on personal sized items is important to many. For many, it makes identification of one’s personal property easier.

But ZDNet’s Ed Bott discovered that these limitations don’t have to spell out a horrible user experience. For starters, he says that three application limit isn’t exactly written in stone. For example, you can open as many windows of a single program as you like. So you can have a dozen browser tabs or separate windows open at once. And a number of programs that are built into Windows don’t count against the limit. That includes Windows Explorer, the Task Manager, or Command Prompt.

Once again, Mr. Bott hits the nail right on his thumb. Few people are going to have more than one instance of a command window open, on a netbook, or any other machine, for that matter – those that do use something ending in ‘x’ as an operating system. Also, who has more than 1 instance of the task manager open at once, except by mistake? Still, the point of this is that Microsoft borne items are not figured into the limit.

Installer programs also don’t count against your limit. So you can run three programs while installing a fourth. Control panel applets, Windows desktop gadgets, and anti-virus apps running as a Windows service also get a free pass.

I suppose this could be nice, but then, installers usually hog resources, and many times demand to be the only program running.  Not much of a point.

So if all you plan to use your computer for is surfing the web, checking your email, and maybe sending instant messages, you shouldn’t have a problem. If you want to do all of those things while making a Skype call and watching a video you probably need a more powerful version of Windows. And Ritalin.

Same conclusion, but different starting point. It won’t be so bad, but it will leave you wanting more. Again, simply how Microsoft planned it, and by the way, they also hope for a double hit – another copy of Windows 7 to be sold.




Digg This