One way to run an underpowered netbook more quickly is to install Linux, which allows "dual-boots," meaning you can still choose to run Windows, should you need to. With that in mind, a reader asks,
I remember that you use Linux on your netbook. Can you point me to a good distro [distribution] for netbooks?
I use Linux Mint, which is based on Ubuntu. This means that Mint uses Ubuntu (DED) installers for applications, which is convenient. Unlike Ubuntu, Mint is a complete version, which means that it includes all the usual software you expect, audio and video codecs, and so on -- plus some mild customizations that make it easier to use.
You can get it from here: http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php (Download the Full-featured Standard Version.) I haven't tried the LXDE version, which is supposed to be for really low-end hardware.
I converted my wife's desktop computer from Vista to Mint after Windows twice lost all her settings. She uses FireFox and a word processor only, and so didn't even noticed the switch!