I recently found my MSI Wind U100 Netbook out and thought as Windows 10 is currently a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8 user i’d give it a try and see how well it runs on the MSI Wind, a 7 year old netbook.
MSI Wind U100 Background:
The MSI Wind U100 is a netbook (small laptop) that I purchased in 2008 which got me though my second and third years of University. Back then thin / small laptops such as the Macbook Air didn’t exist. However in mid 2008 “Netbooks” became the next big thing in the computing world. These were essentially small / light laptops with a 9 or 10″ screen powered by an Intel Atom Processor.
The Intel Atom was really power efficient at the time, which allowed netbooks such as the MSI Wind U100 to have a 6 hour battery life. Back then i remember thinking this was amazing, previous to that your average laptop was 15″, big, bulky and you would be lucky if you got more than three hours of battery life out of it. I remember taking my 15″ Acer Ferrari 4000 laptop to University a couple of times in my first year. I quickly concluded it wasn’t a viable option, although it would fit in my bag, my back and neck hurt from carrying it around all day as it was just too heavy.
MSI Wind U100 Specifications:
- 10″ 1024×600 screen
- Intel Atom N270 single core processor at 1.60 ghz
- 2gb of DDR2 ram (upgraded from 1gb)
- 160gb hard drive
- 10/100 Ethernet
- Wireless B/G/N
- 4 in 1 cardreader
- 1.3 megapixel webcam
- 6 cell battery which gave about 6 hours usage
- Weighs around 1.18kg
- Came with Windows XP home edition
Even at the time the MSi Wind U100 wasn’t a powerhouse, however connectivity / portability and battery life was where the MSi Wind U100 excelled, that was exactly what i wanted. It could run Microsoft Office 2007 (later 2010) and browse the internet perfectly fine, all i needed to get through my University day.
In addition the MSI Wind U100 had great comparability with other operating systems. When i first got the MSI Wind I ended up with a quad boot setup consisting of Windows XP, OSX, Ubuntu and an early beta build of Windows 7. Early alpha versions of Google’s Chrome OS worked well from the SD card. Eventually when Windows 7 was released i got rid of my quad boot setup and simply stuck with Windows 7 as it worked even better than Windows XP which the laptop shipped with, something which surprised me. Windows Vista didn’t run well at all on the Intel Atom based processors.
This sort of leads me on to this blog post, I thought as Windows 10 currently available as a free upgrade i’d see if it was even possible to run Windows 10 on my MSI Wind U100 and how well it worked.
Installing Windows 10 on the MSI Wind U100:
As i had Windows 7 Ultimate installed on the MSI Wind at the moment i downloaded the EN-GB version of Windows 10 Pro from Microsoft’s Tech bench website.
As the MSI Wind doesnt have a DVD drive i simply extracted the contents of the ISO with WinRAR and started the upgrade process.
I was warned i would have to download an EN-US language pack after upgrading to Windows 10 if i wished to continue using the same language. This was fine though as I downloaded the EN-GB ISO on purpose given I live in the UK. Back with Windows 7 Microsoft never had a UK specific version of Windows (not that it really makes much difference apart from a few spelling differences)
I chose not to keep any files / settings when upgrading as my Windows 7 install was over 6 years old, so I wanted to start fresh:
The Windows 10 installer did its thing, when i came back to the MSI Wind U100 about an hour later I was prompted to create a user count. It took a while to set things up after that and end up at the desktop, shortly after the drivers for the GPU were automatically installed. I than ran Windows Update and the most recent updates were downloaded.
After that the MSI Wind U100 was good to go, looking at device manager drivers had automatically been installed for all the hardware inside the MSI Wind. Wireless, Bluetooth, the card reader and even the built in webcam all worked fine:
Windows 10 seems to work well enough on a 1024×600 screen too:
How does Windows 10 perform on the MSI Wind U100:
I’d honestly say Windows 10 works as good as Windows 7 on the MSI Wind U100, it boots up in around 30 seconds and is ready to use. Microsoft Office is as usable as it ever was on Windows 7 and my day to day applications all work fine. Microsoft’s edge struggles a bit when loading webpages that contain flash adverts, however flash content was never that great on the MSI wind anyway!
I remember thinking when buying the MSI Wind U100 that the Intel Atom N270 only been a 32bit processor would limit the ability to upgrade to more modern operating systems in the future. However back in 2009 I was pleased to hear Windows 7 would still have a 32bit version, however fast forward 6 years later and the 32bit version of Windows 10 also works perfectly on the MSI Wind U100.
Not bad at all for a £280 Netbook i purchased 7 years ago, the MSI Wind U100 just seems to keep going.
I hope my experience of upgrading to Windows 10 on the MSI Wind U100 might be useful to someone else, I don’t think i’d personally pay to upgrade to Windows 10, however for free during the first year you might as well. For basic internet / office use the MSI Wind is still very much usable in 2015.