Several years ago I had bought this netbook because it was small and easy to carry around and it was cheap. It would mean less wear on my main laptop. It came with Windows 7 Starter and worked ok but it got hot especially under stress. I tried different OSes on it and even wiped my recovery partition in the process. I mostly didn’t use it. I had to do some testing this week and I resurrected it. Getting back my Windows 7 product key seems like a pain. @Wickedboy_007 had reminded me that CloudReady was a good option for (older) machines with limited specs. What is CloudReady? From the website, CloudReady is an operating system based on Chromium OS, the same open-source architecture as Chrome OS.
I headed over to the CloudReady website and downloaded the 32 bit Home Edition. This version has a certified models list but my particular HP Mini was not there. I followed the instructions to create the USB installer. At first my trackpad (and I have no mouse in this house) was not working but in hindsight I probably needed to wait for it to be detected because when I rebooted and tried again I was able to use it. You can run it off the USB or select ‘Install CloudReady’ from the lower right pop-up menu to wipe and install on the device hard drive (or dual boot).
It took about 10 minutes to get CloudReady installed. Don’t get scared if the screen goes blank during install, it might just have gone to sleep and a touch of the trackpad will wake it up. You can use as Guest or log in with a Google account. Maybe you will want to use a “throwaway” Google account for testing purposes. All of my hardware works, trackpad, keyboard, screen, speakers, camera and WiFi. The camera flash does come on startup. I’m hoping this is just part of a test sequence and not a photo being taken and sent to the cloud somewhere. I’ll probably ask this question on the forum. Which brings me to another point. There is a forum.
Wish there was an easy one-click performance test I could do to put a number to how my netbook is performing. It’s not fast but it is useable and much more than when I installed Windows 10 on it. I am guessing I would get about two hours of battery life. Overall I am happy to be able to able to get some use from a device that was just sitting there doing nothing. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and enjoy the below screenshots.