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So you’ve caved into the corporate marketing machine and got yourself a fancy little netbook which looks like a smaller notebook and behaves exactly like one, just slower and more annoying to use due to the small keyboard and screen. Well, you get what you paid for, so what can you do to get the most out of your new expensive toy?

Most netbooks are sold with terribly poor processors that struggle to do even the most basic of tasks. Web surfing (non-Flash intensive sites only, mind you), listening to music and watching movies are about the only things these things can do competently.

A lot of them come equipped with minimum RAM, hard disk space and comes bundled with Windows XP, which Microsoft has phased out in commercial sectors, but kept alive because these netbooks won’t be able to handle more demanding OS like Vista or 7.

But to the netbook’s defense, it is very portable and small enough to slip into a small bag without weighing you down. The battery life of most netbooks are quite decent, due to the low performance parts used in them. 4 hours and above is the norm, making it perfect if you are traveling around remote areas with no proper power points. With so many netbooks out there, the only distinguishing factors are the physical design (such as keyboard, inputs, etc) and battery life, so just go with one that gives you the best of both worlds and live with the fact that netbooks can literally be used only to surf the net, and not much more.

The first thing you should is upgrade your netbook’s RAM to at least a 2GB. On Windows XP, this will make your life much easier. For the more tech savvy (or even if you aren’t so good at computers), check out the various Linux distributions that are available. Linux is a great alternative to Windows XP, because it brings a host of enhancements (both graphically and in terms of usability) that are absent in XP and nowhere else does it shine more than in netbooks.

My personal favourite is the popular Ubuntu Netbook Remix, which you should check out even if you’re not a fan, or are scared of, running Linux. It is a truly amazing replacement for XP and should give your netbook a new breath of life.

Finally, ensure that you have CCleaner installed and running on your netbook once a week to clean up junk from your computer. These files may slow down your desktop computer or laptop, but on a netbook it can make a very big difference towards the efficiency of your computer. Enjoy using your netbook!