Customer satisfaction within the computer industry is up slightly in 2009 after two straight years of decline. According to newly published data from the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Windows-based PC vendors and budget PC brands in particular saw the biggest gains this year, while longtime leader Apple actually dropped a point compared to 2008.

Overall user satisfaction with personal computers rose to 75 on a scale of 100. The uptick is tied to an increase in the number of cheap netbooks (and notebooks) that run Windows XP instead of Vista. However, this was not enough to displace the Cupertino-based company from the top. Apple’s customer satisfaction score of 84 was nine points higher than its nearest competitor, Dell, and 10 points higher than HP, Compaq and Gateway.

Compaq's score of 74 represented an increase of 5.7 percent, the largest gain among computer makers in the last year, whereas for Acer-owned Gateway it is a notable 2.8 percent jump. The aggregate of smaller manufacturers also improved 3 percent to 74. You can read more about these findings here.