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Green Bay v. Minnesota, anyone? Microsoft's new star OS gets humiliation of being beaten by its own almost decade older OS

With Windows Vista, Microsoft revamped many features and piled on a lot of functionality that Windows XP didn't have -- among other things improving security.  An unfortunate side effect of this, though was that Windows Vista was much bulkier than Windows XP and more battery hungry.  As a result, up until October most netbooks used Windows XP.

With Windows 7, more new features were added, but this time a more disciplined approach concerning OS bulk was taken, helped, in part, by a large public testing phase.  Windows 7 was trimmed down from Vista both in memory and install size, and many of its critical metrics (boot time, etc.) approached the high bar set by Windows XP.

However, Microsoft still fell a bit short of the eight-year-old OS in a couple of critical metrics.  According to numerous testers one of the biggest failures is in battery life on netbooks.  According to recent tests, it isn't even close -- Windows 7 delivers much worse battery life.

Versus the grizzled veteran XP, Windows 7 averaged 47 minutes less battery life in testing by Laptop.  In some models, such as ASUS 1008HA, the deficit was almost an hour (57 minutes), cutting the battery life by approximately 16 percent (roughly 1/6th).  Further testing by Liliputing and jkOnTheRun confirmed the lower run times.

A recent comparison by CNET between 64-bit Windows 7 and competitor Apple's OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard", run on MacBooks with Boot Camp showed Windows 7 to trail behind Snow Leopard in battery life as well.  It also was bested by Snow Leopard in boot time, shutdown time, multimedia encoding, and multitasking tests.

Looking on the positive side, it is a marked improvement that Windows 7 can run on the majority of netbooks -- a feat Vista couldn't pull off.  However, its disappointing to see that for all the hard work Microsoft poured into the operating system, that it still can't beat a well-designed product it made almost a decade ago.

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"Battery Eater" is not real-world use.
By Chris Peredun on 11/12/2009 2:22:03 PM , Rating: 5
Both Liliputing and jkontherun are using Battery Eater Pro to simulate real-world use. jkontherun is disabling power management features as well, which doesn't sound very much like "real-world use" to me.

From jkontherun:
I tried to setup the environments as equal as possible in what I consider a reasonable “real world” situation: screen brightness at 40%, Wi-Fi on and all power management features disabled.

And here's a contradictory story from NetbookReviews, using the same Battery Eater Pro test:
The Windows 7 powered Asus Eee PC 1008HA ran for an additional 1 hour 4 minutes and 12 seconds over the Windows XP powered Asus Eee PC 1008HA!

For a personal anecdote, Win7 has breathed life into an older XP laptop of mine - it gets about 30 minutes more battery life, and is running cooler to boot. So you'll excuse me if I carry on with my Win7 love-fest. XP was a great OS, and I enjoyed it for the eight years I used it, but its time has come to pass.

Alternatively, I've got a netbook at home. Perhaps I need to do some testing of my own to see if this is borne out.

By The0ne on 11/12/2009 2:26:30 PM , Rating: 2
Win7 has breathed life into an older XP laptop of mine

This statement alone is why I've converted laptops with XP and Vista, especially, to Windows 7. Haven't heard one complaint yet but received tons of compliments about the OS. The OS "snappy-ness" is what most users are liking. I "feels" faster because things are crawling around, for example the menu or mouse movement >_<

By JuPO5b4REqAYbSPUlMcP on 11/12/2009 2:49:41 PM , Rating: 2
They need to clarify that. Perhaps they were disabling the power management features that control sleep/hybrid modes, to keep the laptop alive during the tests.

By Yawgm0th on 11/12/2009 3:26:44 PM , Rating: 1
Can you give yourself a 6?

By Dennis Travis on 11/12/2009 4:36:25 PM , Rating: 3
A am constantly getting longer battery life with Windows 7 on my Acer Aspire One Netbook with stock battery. It's maybe 15+ minutes longer than XP here. This is with basic internet usage with screen turned down but still very viewable.

By MickLOL on 11/12/2009 5:22:25 PM , Rating: 5
Chris, you are contradicting Jason Mick's sensationalism by making this statement. He needs you to go "WOW! THIS MUST BE AN AMAZING STORY JUST BY READING THE TITLE!!" then disappointed by his lack of professional journalism experience.

By MonkeyPaw on 11/12/2009 6:23:21 PM , Rating: 3
Alternatively, I've got a netbook at home. Perhaps I need to do some testing of my own to see if this is borne out.

Actually, I ran 7 RC on an Eee 904HA, and battery life was pretty much unchanged, if not a little better than XP. It was always 5-6 hours, depending on use. XP never did better than 5:30.

With Vista and 7, there are quite a few more power saving options, which this guy disabled for "the same baseline." In Vista/7, you can have auto-disable transparency (but keep Aero), and you can also change your thermal cooling scheme, the max CPU speed, your wireless power level, and your GPU power management--all automatically when on battery. By disabling any/all of these in tests, they've effectively killed the improvements in power management that Vista/7 has introduced since XP. That makes this a terrible comparison, since they've effectively disabled the power management improvements.

RE: "Battery Eater" is not real-world use.
By MatthiasF on 11/13/2009 12:44:49 AM , Rating: 2
Here's an idea, Chris.

Mention to your editor that maybe your writers shouldn't post news articles on topics that have unverifiable information.

If the researcher doesn't walk down the steps they did for the test, had another 3rd party do the same steps (without prior bias, ei. not being told the first results), and the two results don't match within respectable degree than do not repeat the results as fact.

It's called journalism. I'm sure there's a wiki out there explaining this stuff.

RE: "Battery Eater" is not real-world use.
By aebiv on 11/13/2009 1:11:18 AM , Rating: 3
Or just fire Jason Mick...

RE: "Battery Eater" is not real-world use.
By MickLOL on 11/13/2009 7:21:56 AM , Rating: 3
"But Jason Mick provides us with revenues, because of his sensationalist titles, people can't resist clicking on his stories. Forget integrity, we are in this for the $$$!!!"

By aebiv on 11/13/2009 9:39:06 AM , Rating: 2

By Smilin on 11/13/2009 10:09:15 AM , Rating: 2
I have finally started to agree with this.

The authors of articles are not shown on the front page. For those that have been around for a while go through the list and see if you can predict which ones Jason writes.

I've stopped going to other sites (slashdot, zdnet, because I got utterly sick of their bias and sensationalism.

DAILYTECH: Don't go thinking you're fvcking special. I'll quit coming here too.

This seems a bit... sensationalized?
By davebeneteau on 11/12/2009 1:52:31 PM , Rating: 3
Considering that some of these netbooks have upwards of 10 hours of battery life, losing 45 mins to have updated software (which i really enjoy) seems hardly a blow. just sayin.


RE: This seems a bit... sensationalized?
By MindParadox on 11/12/2009 1:58:13 PM , Rating: 3
yeah, but if you dont bash MS at every opportunity, you obviously are a lame know nothing noob :P

didncha know that?

Apostrophes cause Catastrophes!

By mindless1 on 11/13/2009 3:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
It's more simple to explain than that. Some people pretend "updated software" is important. Others know differently and keep using XP because they can do 100% of the things they need to and in most cases 100% of the things a Win7 user can because they realize a fundamental truth:

The OS was always meant to be a means to run apps, not your babysitter nor "lite" apps that have less functionality. For all the claims that updated matters, nobody really benefits unless they weren't adept at using a computer - the rest of us long ago became highly proficient, and had great security with XP. The supposed merits of Win7 vanish under a microscope and you're left with a bloated power hungry mess.

You shouldn't need a more and more powerful system to get the same things done, that is the opposite of progress.

RE: This seems a bit... sensationalized?
By oralpain on 11/12/2009 2:00:09 PM , Rating: 4
16% is what was reported, and 16% is hardly a trivial difference when it comes to one of the most important features of a netbook, portability/mobility.

In fact, I'd argue it's far more important than updated software, as the number of real advantages for 7 over XP on a netbook are very small.

No one is playing DX10/11 games on netbooks, or really making use of any of the other notable improvements.

Is a new GUI worth a 10-20% hit in battery life?

RE: This seems a bit... sensationalized?
By StraightCashHomey on 11/12/2009 3:04:22 PM , Rating: 1
Honestly, for me.. yes, it is.

RE: This seems a bit... sensationalized?
By lycium on 11/12/2009 4:49:37 PM , Rating: 1
that's because you're a "straight cash homey" and not a serious computer user ;)

enjoy your shiny shiny bling bling *facepalm*

By EasyC on 11/13/2009 1:13:07 PM , Rating: 2
If that were the complete case, he'd own a mac.

By RU482 on 11/12/2009 3:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
If by "new looking OS" - no
But, Win7 has some pretty sweet features that IMO would be worth the tradeoff

RE: This seems a bit... sensationalized?
By Reclaimer77 on 11/13/2009 2:51:34 AM , Rating: 3
Is a new GUI worth a 10-20% hit in battery life?

Perhaps you missed the part where in order to get these numbers, the power save features in Windows 7 were disabled ? Making the whole test moot in the first place.

Look XP is pushing a decade old. If you believe the only difference between that and 7 is a "new GUI", you're a moron.

By oralpain on 11/14/2009 2:41:48 AM , Rating: 2
I use Windows 7 Professional x64 as the primary OS on two of my systems, so I'm not unfamiliar with it.

Still, for my netbook, and most netbooks, the practical difference (as in what you can do with them) between the Windows 7 and XP is virtually nil.

If anything, XP is the more capable OS on that level of hardware (32-bit CPUs, often small HDDs, integrated graphics).

It's irrelevant how old XP is. What doesn't XP run that Windows 7 will, assuming the hardware used is a netbook?

By Lord 666 on 11/12/2009 2:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
Once I converted my HP Mini 1151NR (the Verizon Wireless netbook) from XP to Windows 7, the battery life became stable and predictable. Before then, it was very eratic and near useless.

Based on my Win 7 experience, purchased a HP Mini 311 (Ion platform) with the 6 cell and converted to Win 7 for my wife. She loves it.

By CSMR on 11/12/2009 3:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
Battery life is important. However netbooks aren't to techy people. If you've got a weak processor then any overhead from OS services etc. is going to be exaggerated. With a more powerful processor no doubt the effect is much less. Even with netbooks, once Pineview arrives things should look better.

By Jedi2155 on 11/12/2009 10:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
On my 17" Gateway, previously on Vista x64 High Performance, the reported battery life was 2 hours and 40 minutes. I installed Windows 7 on another partition, and I got a reported number of 2 hours of 7 minutes. I was rather shocked.

I have gotten over 3 hours of battery life a number of times on my laptop so I understand that Vista's numbers are not or completely unreliable. However Windows 7 measures their battery life or whatever is running in the background needs work.

By AstroGuardian on 11/13/2009 7:50:17 AM , Rating: 2
What? 10 hours? Not even close to 7 hours!

Jason Mick at it again
By mfed3 on 11/12/2009 1:58:11 PM , Rating: 5
Thanks Jason for telling us that an operating system with requirements of 2ghz cpu, 1gb ram, and a discrete graphics card supporting WDM for aero affects does not give us better battery life than a barebones stripped down 2D OS with no services running.

In other news, DOS embarasses windows 7 with better battery life...

RE: Jason Mick at it again
By oralpain on 11/12/2009 2:01:41 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, many version of DOS have no idle process/tsr, so would get worse battery life than XP or 7.

RE: Jason Mick at it again
By mfed3 on 11/12/2009 2:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
yea but you get the point, set the cpu to throttle down in the bios / underclock and same thing...

RE: Jason Mick at it again
By AstroGuardian on 11/13/2009 7:56:36 AM , Rating: 2
How can you underclock a netbook?

RE: Jason Mick at it again
By Taft12 on 11/12/2009 2:44:27 PM , Rating: 1
a barebones stripped down 2D OS with no services running

This is EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT in a netbook. Jason Mick is getting flamed as usual, but this is a real blow to MS' claim that Windows 7 is a good netbook OS.

RE: Jason Mick at it again
By damianrobertjones on 11/12/2009 4:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
Well... my HP 2133 with it's Via cpu does quite well with Win7 and once I've finished tweaking, even better.

As for battery life... Not that bothered really as I tend to have it plugged in most of the time. If I want more battery life, I'll order an extended battery or change to another machine.

RE: Jason Mick at it again
By Breathless on 11/12/2009 3:50:24 PM , Rating: 3
(Shakes his fist at the Mick)

RE: Jason Mick at it again
By MickLOL on 11/12/2009 5:23:31 PM , Rating: 3
I wish DT would just post the author of these stories on the homepage. Then I would know not to bother to read it.

RE: Jason Mick at it again
By Rike on 11/14/2009 12:22:23 PM , Rating: 2
The think they stopped doing that because of masher.

Has anyone followed up the links?
By dark matter on 11/12/2009 2:12:52 PM , Rating: 3
One of the links involved testing Windows 7 and OSX on a Macbook Pro. Not that Apple would have streamlined their drivers or anything to run on their own hardware. Next he uses Quicktime as a measurement tool. Erm, Quicktime is a dog on Windows. Not that Apple would have streamlined Quicktime to run on its own OS or anything.

Then the other link involves a Toshiba NB205 netbook. And then the guy runs Battery Eater pro. Then somehow extropolates the runtime in "normal" usage. And then goes on to claim Windows 7 is worse.

These "sources" have to be worst examples of testing I have seen. Seriously, there is no objectivity. Its like two guys have gone "hey" lets test this. And the Internet latches onto it and repeats it as though it is gospel.

Utter shite.

RE: Has anyone followed up the links?
By armulyman on 11/12/2009 2:33:01 PM , Rating: 1
yeah, i own a macbook pro, and up until last month have been running XP and OSX 10.5. Both of which drained my battery in a matter of just over an hour while idling, and often times XP wouldn't give me so much as a warning that my battery was empty. (I tried for months to fix this.)
after upgrading to Win7 64bit and OSX 10.6 I found that 10.6 wasn't much of an improvement, and that the battery warnings worked in win7. The battery life hasn't gotten any worse. But when it comes to boot times? maybe it's me, but after eliminating Extraneous fonts, there's just no comparison between 7 and snow leopard, snow leopard often takes almost a minute, and 7 takes only about 15 seconds.
this study seems skewed as hell, I don't know anything about the netbook end of things, but I'm very happy with windows 7

By AstroGuardian on 11/13/2009 8:00:17 AM , Rating: 2
You sound like you are kinda..... er.... me! I came to the same conclusion. Identical case here.

Cheers buddy!

RE: Has anyone followed up the links?
By MrBoffo on 11/12/2009 2:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
It'd be nice if the versions of quicktime were the same at least. And of course we can't mention the positive aspects like Win7 being the winner on CoD4 testing. I the only one who doesn't care about booting/shutdown times? All I use is hibernate.

By StevoLincolnite on 11/12/2009 9:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, booting and shutdown times aren't important to me either, my notebook with Windows 7 has not been shutdown or rebooted in a few months now. (Still running the Beta 7100 build).

To some people the boot/shutdown times might be important if they do it several times a day, especially if they are running on battery and there battery levels aren't all that high.

Battery life
By eddieroolz on 11/12/2009 2:02:28 PM , Rating: 2
You might lose 45 min of battery, but you gain other features not measurable by any metric such as excellent usability, security and visuals. You can't put a price on that.

RE: Battery life
By tastyratz on 11/12/2009 2:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
you can put a price on everything, but value is always subject to interpretation.

RE: Battery life
By Mitch101 on 11/12/2009 2:37:23 PM , Rating: 2
I'll buy that for a dollar. ;)

Auto?? Seriously? Auto?
By gyranthir on 11/12/2009 3:43:10 PM , Rating: 3
Mick fails again. Why is this under the Auto section??

RE: Auto?? Seriously? Auto?
By jithvk on 11/13/2009 4:33:26 AM , Rating: 2
it is a special section for Jason.
he is autodidact .

By damianrobertjones on 11/12/2009 4:01:54 PM , Rating: 2

Old news. Really... old.

But thanks anyway.

RE: Nice
By damianrobertjones on 11/12/2009 4:22:48 PM , Rating: 2
Now to add something sensible.

It's about time Microsoft steps in here and stops all this rubbish.

MS, release a cast iron configuration install, whatever, that literally tweaks the living heck out of Windows 7 with regards to battery life. At that point everyone can relax and drink fine juices in the sun.

Yay. LIfe goes on

So, never move forward?
By Trisped on 11/12/2009 4:45:06 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get this article's accusations against the operating system. Yes, a new OS is usually slower, requires more resources, and is bigger. This means more expensive parts and more power consumption then if you were to target the older OS. Yet we still upgrade to get the new features of the new OS. These features always have a cost and to act indignity when an OS is released 8 years after your chosen one exhibits these characteristics seems... stupid. But if you want to build up Microsoft hate and Apple love then it makes sense. I won't go to Apple though, it doesn't have enough features I need.

RE: So, never move forward?
By mikefarinha on 11/12/2009 5:08:09 PM , Rating: 2
The sin of this article are that all of the cited sources intentionally disable the power saving features. This creates a lab scenario and not a real-world scenario.

Maybe because of Aero?
By Operandi on 11/12/2009 7:11:06 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if this could possibly be due to 7's Aero features hitting the GPU that would not be present in XP?

Has anyone tried any test 7 vs. XP with Aero disabled?

RE: Maybe because of Aero?
By BushStar on 11/13/2009 4:33:51 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly, battery life does take a hit when Aero is enabled.

I installed Windows 7 on a notebook that previously had XP and it clearly did not run as long on battery power until Aero was turned off. Now that it is disabled it seems to last as long though I never recorded life time to confirm this.

What is wrong about this article
By Murloc on 11/13/2009 8:39:27 AM , Rating: 2
it's not even your article, the data about 7 vs xp is completely taken from another article, you just add sensationalism and text.

To make this thing of any usefulness, you should take informations from 3-4 different complete reviews and aggregate the data, maybe in a table or something.

An article saying: my brother said that windows 7 is better would be the same thing.

RE: What is wrong about this article
By xaders on 11/13/2009 6:30:50 PM , Rating: 2
ill buy windows 7 on all my PC in my household which are all running windows XP now. ill prefer windows 7 pro then home premium one.

now, only have one laptop with windows 7 RC on it. also brought windows 7 student version. it sucks because the direct download doesnt allow create a separate disc. have to pay for it. it is an upgrade. the upgrade terms sucks. microsoft need another way to upgrade. vista was like ME was and windows 7 is what vista is suppose to be or some people called it vista sp3.

Put it in power saver mode!
By JimmyJimmington on 11/12/2009 10:01:49 PM , Rating: 3
Put it in power saver mode and then do the test.

Pretty sad when....
By millerm277 on 11/12/2009 10:47:53 PM , Rating: 2
You can tell an article is by Jason Mick, without even reading more than the headline.

Now then, as for the "topic" of this:

This is complete BS. As the owner of three different netbooks (8.9in and 10.2in Aspire One's, and whatever the education Dell netbook is.)

1. Windows 7 gets longer battery life even running the laptop at load the entire time (watching a DVD-quality movie) than XP.
2. It also gets much longer battery life, in normal use, most likely because of the better power management.
3. This title is contrary to almost everything that's been said by any reviewer across the internet.

RE: Pretty sad when....
By Quix on 11/13/2009 2:43:23 AM , Rating: 1
I wonder how the battery life of a PC would be running Snow Leopard? After all, It looks like now a PC can install a retail version of Snow Leopard using Free Empire Efi, or Rebel Efi, or Boot 132 loader.

If you look at Market caps, Microsoft has been steadily losing market cap and Apple is gaining. Some say in 2-3 years Apple could be bigger, profitability wise then windows.

No matter how many Microsoft keyboards, MS mice, windows CE, flavors of windoze, or Zunes or X-boxes, its still losing ground to Apple.

Didnt Microsoft just lay off another 800 employees after firing what 4 or 5 thousand just before that? You call that a success?

What I really want to know is...
By thekdub on 11/12/2009 4:51:40 PM , Rating: 2
How does Win7's battery life stack up compared to Vista? My HP laptop came with Vista and the battery life is awful. Maybe an hour and 15 minutes max, and this is on the "Power Saver" setting with brightness turned all the way down, one or two programs running, wifi on, and most useless background services/processes not running.

It'd be nice to inform those living in the modern age whether or not Win7 is a better mobile option than Vista.

What flavor of Win7 are they running?
By Nekrik on 11/12/2009 7:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't look into the articles too deeply but I didn't see what flavor of Win7 they are running. If they use Ultimate on a netbook I would really question why and immediately wonder how many of the default services are simply wasting power (media center, full Aero, etc...) and are never going to be used on a typical netbook.

As for the bootcamp comparison I would question the bootcamp drivers developed by Apple, hell, they did a pretty sloppy port of iTunes, safari, pretty much any Win app they've tried, how do they expect to write a decent power-management driver for an OS they can't develop apps for?

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