The beta version of 7 ran fine; RC had a serious problem where it would cause the netbook to react so sluggishly at times that it could take minutes to complete a single operation. Inserting a high-speed 4GB SD card for ReadyBoost did not make a difference. As time went on, I wondered what I would do when 7RC expired, as it was set to do this month.
Over the weekend, Microsoft began flashing their "Upgrade to proper 7 Ultimate soon" message. Since 7RC was a bust, I figured I would upgrade instead to XP SP3, which originally came with the computer.
I knew that going from XP to 7 required a thorough trashing of the hard drive's data, and so assumed that the Format command would be executed by the XP install routine. Much to my surprise, XP installed adjacent to 7, meaning that all my files remained intact -- even the Windows folder for 7 (XP was installed in a new Windows.0 folder).
Because of WIndows's archaic registry system, I did have to reinstall many programs so that XP could find them, but that task I did while watching the closing ceremony of the Winter olympics.
Since the weekend, I have found that XP does not suffer 7's slowdown problem, so I am pretty pleased.
Linux Mint 8 is still there in its own partition, but the dual-boot info was erased by the XP install process. Now I need to figure out how to get that back.