Before my trip to India, I bought an HP Mini 2140 netbook. It is a beautiful machine. It weighs only 4 pounds. It has a 1024×576 resolution screen (normal width but short height). It has almost a full sized keyboard. My favorite feature is that, theoretically, it has a 6 cell battery that can last 8 hours – a mind-boggling long amount of time.
The mini came with Windows XP pre-installed. That wouldn’t do. So, I immediately downloaded the release candidate of Windows 7 and installed it on the netbook. The mini does not have a DVD or CD drive. I copied the Windows 7 download to a USB drive and mounted the drive using Daemon Tools. I was able to install Windows 7 from the USB drive.
Next, I installed Windows Live Sync (what used to be called foldershare). Windows Live Sync keeps the files in the My DocumentsEverywhere folder synchronized between my normal laptop, my desktop, and my netbook. I can modify a document in my netbook while riding the Microsoft bus into work in the morning, and have the document changes automatically synchronized with my desktop computer in my office.
Finally, I installed Visual Studio 2010 on the netbook. I grabbed the latest build right off the assembly line. Most likely, I am violating every recommendation for the minimum configuration of a computer to run Visual Studio 2010, but so far it has run just fine.
I wasn’t sure if Visual Studio would work on the netbook – the HP Mini’s Atom processor doesn’t exactly make the machine a speed demon. And, you definitely don’t want to run multiple applications while running Visual Studio. However, the experience is good enough to do light coding on an airplane or a bus (I might even try using the netbook to demo Visual Studio 2010 for a talk).
I did experience a moment during the installation process during which I was sure that installation would fail. Visual Studio complained that I did not meet the minimum screen resolution requirements (my netbook was short by a measly 3 pixels). However, I ignored the warning and everything installed without a hitch.