I've been trying all my various applications on a new Win 7 64 Home Premium netbook (waaay better than the first-generation netbooks-- dual core ultra-low-voltage SU4100 rather than Atom N270 CPU, 13.3" display and long battery life). It's reasonably snappy, though you won't be doing serious 3D CAD with it.
- most of my XP-compatible apps installed okay. A few such as Skype I had to use a newer version that has some downside (such as advertisements).
- ACDSee 2.2 (ca. 1997) works great.
- Working drivers for laser printers were available, though not automatic (IIRC, I installed a Vista -64 driver for one).
- User interface is not too irritating (though why they got rid of the 'up' directory button on Explorer for Vista and Win 7 I'll never know.. there's a keyboard shortcut that does it.
- 64 bit OS
- Won't run any of my DOS command-line assemblers directly, nor can editor spawn DOS-based programs 8-(
Supposedly this can be fixed by upgrading to Win 7 Professional or Ultimate at $85-$150 more and downloading a 500M program, but I'm not eager to waste that money times however many computers will need it (ideally, available on all). It creates a virtual machine running XP, so there will be a lot of issues with trying to automate things.. but!!
... when you read the fine print, this (new) CPU does not have hardware assisted virtualization, so it won't work at all. 8-(
Another alternative would be to run a VMWare virtual machine with XP or Win2K (or FreeDOS or DOS 6.x) on it, but that's messy too, and no cheaper. Might give it a try anyway.
A free option is to install DOSBox which does work with my Metalink command-line assembler (about 20 years old). Have to 'mount' directories etc. so communication between the virtual machine and real not so easy. I don't see a way to integrate it seamlessly with an editor running under Win7, but it will at least allow old object code to be re-created, if necessary.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany