Software and Performance
The Eee PC is pre-loaded with Windows XP Home Edition, 32-bit edition (SP3). Sure, it's not as cheap as a Linux installation, and it doesn't have the bells and whistles of Windows Vista's Aero user interface, but, it gets the job done in this arena. Windows XP is still light enough to run on limited CPU power and produce a solid computing experience, whereas Windows Vista is just too heavy for a CPU like the Atom N270. Business users will also appreciate that Windows XP has gone through three service packs now and is rock solid. However, since this is the "Home Edition", you will not be able to connect to corporate networks (domains).
Default Asus Eee PC 1000H Desktop Screen with Windows XP Pre-Installed
While the default Windows XP installation isn't bogged down by tons of pre-installed extras and bundled software bits, it still isn't flawless either. There are a lot of things loading by default which simply don't need to be, making the initial boot process longer than should be expected. Once the system was given a thorough cleaning of non-essential apps loading on startup, gave it a defrag and ran Disk Cleanup, the system was significantly more responsive and booted quicker.
Some useful programs like Adobe Reader, WinDVD, Skype, and Sun StarOffice are installed by default, along with several Asus branded applications to control various special functions of the notebook, but Asus has kept it thin in terms of pre-installed applications for the most part, and we like that.
While Windows XP is undoubtedly still a respectable operating system, and is a much better suitor to the netbook market compared to Windows Vista, the fact of the matter is that we are nearing seven years since this operating system was released. Sure, the hardware needed to run such a system is down to amazingly small and portable levels, but in the end, this is still a Windows XP box.
One of the more interesting aspects about the Eee PC lineup is that Asus is building the hardware to be operating system agnostic. This same hardware can be purchased with Linux as its default operating system, and you won't be losing out on hardware functionality. When dealing with fairly low-end, fixed components, Asus has few driver issues to worry about with alternative operating systems, much more so than most modern notebook releases.
Windows is certainly a much more tolerable choice for most business users compared to Linux, and we're happy to see it offered as a pre-bundled option. A lot of folks, like myself, liked the concept and hardware side of netbooks, but didn't want to be forced into running Linux, when all of your production-level applications are for Windows. I'd certainly be curious if the hardware can an operating system such as OSX - and I'm sure there are folks out there already working on similar projects.
Performance and Responsiveness -
Performance wise, within Windows XP, the Eee PC 1000H actually feels quite snappy and responsive to application requests. For its target applications, web-browsers, IM clients, online-based applications, it works quite well. If you get into applications which really push on the system's graphics chip or processing power, you can definitely feel a slowdown. Unfortunately, since we're dealing with a single-core, it's really easy for programs to take 100% CPU power when initially loading, slowing everything else in the system down. Users should consider grabbing less system intensive applications to maintain top performance on the 1000H. Things like using Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, or using FoxIt instead of Adobe Reader. All in all, the Eee PC 1000H's performance was tolerable but frankly not that impressive.