/ BLOG / My 4 hours of netbook fun, and Sysprep under Safe Mode

I use my work Macbook Pro for personal stuff as well, and quite frankly if you don’t want kids in the future, it’s the laptop to use on your lap. And deity forbid that you want to use a demanding program; you might as well forget about using your legs for a week afterwards. To combat this I’ve been toying with getting a netbook for over a year now, and since last week was my birthday, I got myself a Compaq 702EA as a present.

Sadly I wasn’t impressed with the 702EA. I knew going into it that it would be low powered. That was what I wanted. Sadly I wasn’t prepared for just how poor the performance was of the unit. At minimum I expect a laptop of the current generation, to be able to cope with a “standard” flash banner and scrolling the webpage. Sadly this wasn’t the case under XP or any flavour of Linux (current versions of fedora, ubuntu and ubuntu netbook remix) or Solaris (nexenta and opensolaris) that I tried. Having used MBPs for the best part of 2 or so years, I fear that I’ve become somewhat spoilt.

Having decided to return the device I was faced with the prospect of returning it to factory defaults. Fairly simple with a normal laptop, but as this was a netbook, not so much. In the end I ended up cheating, resizing the partition back, using the XP Home safe mode to remove the users and data I’d added and using sysprep on the provided disk to reseal the Windows installation. Interestingly until now I wasn’t aware that sysprep needs to run in Safe Mode with Networking in order to function. If you run without networking it states that the version of sysprep doesn’t match the version of Windows.

So will I be joining the netbook revolution again? Given the cost of netbooks, no. The only reason I’d gone for the 702EA was because it was available for £200 from ebuyer. All other netbooks are too near the cost of a regular laptop and I can’t jusify it, quite frankly.

The crunchpad still looks interesting though.