Win 7 Unstable – Gigabyte Q1000C Netbook
Posted by Mike
Windows 7 and Netbooks
I have had a Gigabyte Q1000C Netbook on the workbench this week. The mini laptop came with Windows 7 Starter pre-installed. First off let me comment on ‘7 Starter’: I do not like these starter operating systems, for that matter all the ‘Home’ versions of every Windows operating system, XP, Vista and 7. They always seem to have problems. It would have been preferable for Microsoft to provide the basic Pro version at reduced price to OEM’s and the public market.
However the problems with Netbooks (at least this example) seems more about the lack of ability of the Intel Atom CPU, and insufficient RAM (2GB), to adequately run Windows 7.
Win 7 Instability Problems
Microsoft is aware of problems running Windows 7 on Netbooks. Their response is “There are too few problems to warrant a fix by a service pack or regular update, instead each issue will be addressed by a Hot-Fix”. Not really an adequate response to the numerous issues raised in online tech forums by owners of Netbooks.
The problems with this example:
- Windows Freezes: An ongoing problem that has persisted with the machine since the owner purchased it. Since arriving on the bench on Monday, this has occurred every day, initially so often it was almost impossible to do a Windows update (The owner had struggled with this, and ended up disabling updates – even Service Pack 1 had not been installed).
- Blue Screen of Death: No fewer than 5 instances of the ubiquitous Windows ‘friend’, the blue screen. After all these years, one would have expected Microsoft to move away from the basics that cause this error – a flawed basic system. After Windows XP, Microsoft should have taken the route Apple took with OSX – Unix.
This is a work in progress; After managing to persuade the operating system to stay running long enough to install Service Pack 1 from a networked drive, and get the remaining priority updates installed, the drivers and other optional software were also installed.
This combination of Hardware and Operating System and did not like the Internet. Downloading files causes the system to freeze. It particularly dislikes downloading browser installers – IE 9 from Microsoft updates will not download – it goes from 5% to 50% and the system freezes. Ditto with Firefox. Chrome however did install, and this was set as the dfault browser. Turning off all security applications made no difference so it was not a problem caused by the Anti Virus or Firewall.
Each time the system freezes or goes ‘blue-screen’ the OS looks for another hot-fix from Microsoft. So far it has found one or more on each occasion. However, after 5 days, the system was still not stable enough to go back to the client.
The BIOS was checked and the latest version installed, and eventually, a week later, the netbook was returned to the owner with instructions to run the hotfix every time the system crashed. By then the ‘book had been stable for 4 days.
Another problem occurred several times; when installing the updates, the system stops responding, and has to be hard-booted (forcing turn off by holding down the power key). Not a good thing to do while the updates are being installed – it can cause a corrupted OS.
Best Solution not an Option
If this was my machine, I would re-format the drive and install a more stable operating system that can run on a low end processor with less than 4GB of RAM – Linux.
I am not convinced Win 7 is a practical 32 bit operating system with less than 3GB RAM, which is nearly the limit of the 32 bit OS.
Older software can usually be persuaded to run in 32 bit compatibility mode, or in ‘XP Mode’ (download from Microsoft).
Drivers are no longer as big an issue as they were initially. Most devices (even older ones in many instances) now have Win 7 64 bit drivers from the manufacturers website.