Missing features in Windows 7 Starter will disgruntle netbook buyers, survey says

Most were unaware that Win 7 Starter lacks some standard features in Win XP

Microsoft Corp. may have ditched the three application limit on the Windows 7 Starter Edition, but other restrictions on the netbook-only version of the operating system will be an unwelcome surprise for many netbook buyers, according to a survey published Monday.

Sixty-one percent of consumers do not know that Windows 7 Starter lacks some features standard in any version of Windows XP, such as support for multiple monitors, DVD playback -- even the ability to change the desktop image from the Microsoft logo, according to a survey by electronics shopping site,Retrevo.com.

Other higher-end features Windows 7 Starter lacks include the advanced Aero interface, multi-touch, Windows Media Center, and XP Mode virtualization.

Informed of these missing features, 56% of the 1,100 randomly surveyed respondents (95% likely to fall within plus or minus 6.5% of the overall population results, says Retrevo) said that they would not be satisfied with Windows 7 Starter.

The problem, according to Retrevo, is that 23 out of 28 netbooks available today on Amazon.com are installed with Windows 7 Starter.

Microsoft may be counting on upselling users to to an $80 upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium. That is done via the Anytime Upgrade program on Microsoft's e-commerce Web site.

But it could also create ill will toward Microsoft, said Andrew Eisner, director of content for Retrevo.

"I think most users will feel angry with having to pay the $80 for an upgrade to get those features," he said.

It could also boost demand for Linux netbooks, which are expected to grab nearly one-third of the booming worldwide market this year for netbooks.

Microsoft declined to comment specifically on Retrevo's survey. Rather, it pointed to a statement it made back in February when it announced the six versions of Windows 7.

"Small notebook PCs can run any version of Windows 7. For OEMs that build lower-cost small notebook PCs, Windows 7 Starter will now be available in developed markets," it said. "For the most enhanced, full-functioning Windows experience on small notebook PCs, however, consumers will want to go with Windows 7 Home Premium, which lets you get the most out of your digital media and easily connect with other PCs."

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Windows 7netbooks

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?