| By Woody Leonhard |
I used to think of “slimming” Windows XP as an interesting hobby like, oh, collecting edible bugs or cataloging campaign promises: sure, you can do it, but why bother?
Then I bought a small-footprint netbook and my perspective changed overnight.
‘Tis a gift to be simple — and small
For years and years, I’ve been a Big Iron kinda guy. My work PC sports all the bells and whistles: a honkin’ video card, giant monitor, mouse with a tail, and an OmniKey keyboard that’s the size of the grill on a ’56 Buick. Whenever I hit the road, I always packed as much electronic heat as I could haul, including a wide screen, big keyboard, and as many peripheral amenities as my poor aching back could tolerate.
How that has changed. A friend recently talked me into buying a netbook — an MSI Wind running Windows XP Home, to be precise. The thing is tiny. Its screen is cool but supports only a resolution of 1024 by 600. The keyboard rates as pretty good for a netbook — a perfect illustration of the phrase “damning with faint praise.” Heck, the whole computer, including the charger, weighs less than the OmniKey at my office.
I expected to hate the netbook. Instead, I’ve become attached to the little critter. While the netbook won’t replace the mammoth PC workhorse in my office anytime soon, the mini-machine is perfect for the TV room, a run down to the beach, or a short weekend adventure. Sometimes I surprise myself!
The machine comes with an 80GB hard drive. Windows XP Home occupies about 2GB all by itself. In exchange for all of that disk real estate, you get Internet Explorer 6, Outlook Express, Windows Messenger, Windows Movie Maker 2, and Windows Media Player 9. I figure this collection of outdated apps gathers in one place more security holes and heart-stopping bugs than just about any assembly of Microsoft products ever.