Ed Bott

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the author of more than 25 books on Microsoft Windows and Office, including Windows 7 Inside Out (2009) and Office 2013 Inside Out (2013).

Latest Posts

The Vista RAM puzzle: Is 2GB enough?

The Vista RAM puzzle: Is 2GB enough?

If you're using Windows Vista, you might be tempted by low, low prices to bump your system RAM from 2GB to 4GB. You want it, but do you need it? In my experience, you should only consider adding that extra RAM if you belong to one of two exclusive groups. Do you fit into either of these exceptions?

August 13, 2007 by in Hardware

A confusing (but harmless) hotfix error message

A confusing (but harmless) hotfix error message

If you've tried to install this week's two performance and compatibility hotfix rollups for Windows Vista, you may have encountered an odd error message. I've got the explanation, plus instructions on how to verify that the updates have indeed been correctly installed.

August 8, 2007 by in Windows

Microsoft hints at Vista SP1 beta in August

Microsoft hints at Vista SP1 beta in August

An offhand reference in an obscure Microsoft document suggests that anyone with an MSDN subscription will have access to a beta of Vista SP1 very soon. And what's this reference to a new generation of graphics hardware?

August 8, 2007 by in Windows

Vista scare stories distort the real picture

Vista scare stories distort the real picture

Playing the old “I Googled this and got x gazillion pages back” game can be hazardous to the rest of your argument. That's what I discovered when I tried to find out more about an alleged performance flaw in IE7.

August 6, 2007 by in Windows

Hasta la Vista, Nvidia

Hasta la Vista, Nvidia

Nine months after Microsoft released Windows Vista to manufacturing and six months after Vista hit retail shelves, Nvidia still can't get its driver act together. With an Nvidia display adapter, you might be unable to resume from sleep, and HDTV displays are a mess. Here's why I'm no longer using or recommending Nvidia cards.

July 30, 2007 by in Windows

Vista Hands On #18: Log on automatically

Vista Hands On #18: Log on automatically

A reader asks how to automatically log on to a default user account without having to click an icon on the Welcome screen. The procedure for setting up auto-logon is pretty simple, as long as you understand the security risks. I have step-by-step instructions, plus a link to a useful power toy that does the necessary registry edits for you.

July 29, 2007 by in Windows

Problems arise with Vista's activation system

Problems arise with Vista's activation system

Last month I began hearing rumblings of problems with the product activation system in Windows Vista. Last week I got to see the problem firsthand. The bottom line? The simple act of updating some hardware drivers – without making any changes to the hardware itself – can result in the Software Protection Platform code in Windows Vista deciding that the system requires reactivation. Some very common drivers from some big-name hardware vendors are the cause, and a fix could be months away.

July 26, 2007 by in Windows

Vista Hands On #17: Solving a pesky resource problem

Vista Hands On #17: Solving a pesky resource problem

Are you experiencing odd "out of memory" errors or display problems with Windows Vista when you try to open a large number of programs or windows? Even if you have multiple gigabytes of physical memory in your Windows Vista system and you're using only a fraction of it, you can still run into this problem. It turns out the cause is more than a decade old, and the solution is as simple as tweaking a Registry key to bump up the size of the mysterious interactive desktop heap. I've got the details.

July 25, 2007 by in Windows

Hardware notebook: What I look for in a Vista PC

Hardware notebook: What I look for in a Vista PC

For most of last year, I was installing beta releases of Windows Vista practically every week. Since Vista's official release six months ago, I've had the luxury of being able to work with the same hardware and software for months, with the goal of setting up stable systems that are easy to use over the long term. Here's what I've adopted as my current specs for new desktop and notebook systems running Windows Vista.

July 12, 2007 by in Windows

The Vista driver outlook gets a little brighter

The Vista driver outlook gets a little brighter

I’ve been watching for the past six months as PC hardware makers deliver updated drivers to make their products work with Windows Vista. Lately, the trickle has turned into a steady stream, with some high-volume hardware companies delivering solid 32- and 64-bit updates. But there are still some rough edges to deal with.

July 5, 2007 by in Windows

Vista isn't Me2, it's Win95 + 12 years

Vista isn't Me2, it's Win95 + 12 years

The similarities between Vista and Windows 95 are striking: Unachievable levels of hype; a long and public beta; initial compatibility, performance, and stability problems. If history repeats itself, Microsoft will release its next Vista update in 2009 or 2010 and it will be greeted as finally delivering on the promise of what Vista should have been all along.

June 28, 2007 by in Windows

Has Dell kicked the crapware habit?

Has Dell kicked the crapware habit?

In the fourth installment of my series on setting up a new Dell consumer PC running Windows Vista Home Premium, I roll up my sleeves and start looking for crapware to zap. Surprisingly, there's almost none to be found, and Dell has created a simple automated routine to uninstall the handful of programs included with this PC. Have consumers won the war against crapware?

June 20, 2007 by in Hardware

Not one, but two Windows service packs

Not one, but two Windows service packs

A newly released document filed with the U.S. District Court supervising the Microsoft antitrust case reveals some detals about two long-awaited Windows updates. Yes, Virginia, there will be a Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista, and there's news about the long-delayed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, too.

June 20, 2007 by in Microsoft

Day 3 with a new Dell and Vista

Day 3 with a new Dell and Vista

I’m documenting my experience with a new Dell C521 running Windows Vista. After an initial glitch that requires an onsite service call from Dell, I'm back in business. Today's goal is to stress-test the machine using a selection of real-world applications and see how it performs under fire. How much can a $500 PC handle before it falters? The answer even surprised me.

June 14, 2007 by in Dell

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