Windows 10 on my Old Netbook

Now, I don’t expect miracles running new software on old hardware.  I am a pretty patient user and I don’t expect miraculously fast boot-ups, I don’t expect LibreOffice to open quickly on any hardware.  So keep in mind that if I find something acceptable you might find it appallingly slow.

Netbook Specs: Acer Aspire One D255E, 10.1″ screen, Atom N550 CPU (1.5GHz, 1MB L2 Cache), 1GB DDR3 RAM, 250GB HD.

(1) The Windows 10 ‘install me’ icon appeared in the icon bar.  I thought very hard about installing it, but my Win 7 install had got crufty and slow, and the computer is old and due for replacement, so I thought ‘why not?’

(2) Knowing Windows, I immediately backed up all my data.

(3) I clicked on the icon w10i

(4) A window came up saying ‘please wait’ and then sat there for 2 hours while I went and did some teaching.  OK.

(5) Went to and downloaded the tool, then just told it to install on the HD rather than actually create media.

(6) Started the install.

(7) Went home and left the computer running.

(8) Finalised install in the morning. turning off anything that would automatically send data to anyone.



(a) Did it seem any slower than Win7?  Yes.  So I started looking for things to turn off.

Settings > Ease of Access > Other options > Play animations in Windows (turn off).

Settings > System > Advanced (took a bit of finding) … turned off everything in ‘Visual Effects’.

Disabled as much stuff in ‘Startup’ as I could get away with.

Fiddled with the search indexer (effectively, turn off).

Uninstalled some stuff. (Just on principle.)

(b) Does everything still run? Yes, as far as I can tell. Even stuff that has not been updated since early XP days seems to run (for example, the fast and easy former shareware spreadsheet AS-EASY-AS). BUT I notice that LaTeX running under cygwin does not seem to be working. Re-ran the configuration scripts (see here) and all was well.

(c) Does everything look OK?  Yes, it handles the odd-sized netbook screen perfectly well.

Summary: It worked without any issues apart from the fact that that the Win10 notification icon did not do anything so I had to download the media creation tool.  It does not seem much slower, but it is a little slower.  I have not yet got used to the look — it seems a bit old-fashioned to me, but then I have turned off all the eye candy.

Note: After about 6 to 8 months of Win10, I put Debian current onto the netbook. Significantly more responsive. Currently (Jan 2018) the machine is still highly useful and is running Debian 9.3 very happily and productively, having done a dist-upgrade from 8.x to 9.x with no discernable issues at all. I even run virtual machines inside VirtualBox on this low-spec machine, though boot times are very poor, unless I am using a simple VM like FreeDOS.

Beware the upgrade…


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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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