Ed Bott

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications.

Latest Posts

Busted! What happens when WGA attacks

When Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage software kicks in and identifies your copy of Windows as "non-genuine," what happens next? On the surface, at least, Microsoft is all tea and sympathy: "You may be a victim of software counterfeiting," says the official message that takes over the Windows startup screen. But that's a funny way to treat a victim, because everything in the WGA experience is intended to get you to open your wallet and pay for a new product key and Windows CD, even if you already own a perfectly legal license. I've got all the details here.

August 9, 2006 by

438 Comments 2 Votes

Confused over WGA? You're not alone

Arrrggghhh! Microsoft has finally tagged my phony copy of Windows XP. I'm officially a pirate now and can finish my in-depth report on WGA. Meanwhile, here are some comments on my latest post, many of them betraying a misunderstanding of Windows licensing, Windows Product Activation, and WGA. I've responded to some of the most interesting comments here.

August 9, 2006 by


Another WGA failure

I just experienced a Windows Genuine Advantage failure. Only it’s not a false positive, like the horror stories I’ve been hearing for nearly two months now. No, I just installed a pirated copy of Windows using a stolen product key, and Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage tool says I'm perfectly legal. The whole story reveals a lot about how poorly the WGA program is being run.

August 8, 2006 by


IE7 or Firefox 2: Which browser is more secure?

Microsoft and Mozilla are on a collision course, racing to complete major updates to their flagship web browsers scheduled for release this fall. IE7 and Firefox 2 include major new security features, including tools to help stop phishing attacks. Does either browser have an edge?

August 2, 2006 by


Who's waiting for Windows Vista?

Not business, that's for sure, according to a new report. Meanwhile, Microsoft is rushing to have shrink-wrapped copies of its new operating system available for consumers in ... January? If there's a worse month for a product launch, it's hard to imagine what it could be.

August 1, 2006 by


Linux, XP, and my old PC

My loyal commenters keep telling me I should give up on Windows and switch to Linux. I'm trying, I'm trying! For my latest attempt, I added some inexpensive hardware upgrades to a Y2K-era notebook, blew away Windows Me, and set it up to dual-boot Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux. Guess which one I'm using now?

July 31, 2006 by


A "modest" price increase for Vista?

Microsoft's Vista boss tells a room full of financial analysts that the high-end version of Microsoft's new operating system will cost a little more, and he won't commit to a ship date. So why is this good news for Windows customers?

July 27, 2006 by


Microsoft to push IE7 as an automatic update

If you’re a Microsoft product manager and you want to make sure that the latest version of Internet Explorer gets on as many computers as possible, how do you handle the upgrade? Why not deliver it automatically? That’s the thought process behind today’s announcement that IE7 will be offered to as a High Priority update to anyone who has Automatic Updates turned on.

July 26, 2006 by


Another pirate?

Microsoft says its WGA validation code is so accurate that it has produced only a "handful" of false positives. It's hard to take that claim seriously when one of the most widely read members of the Windows enthusiast community just got stung.

July 21, 2006 by