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

Making sense of Windows' irrational pricing and licensing

Making sense of Windows' irrational pricing and licensing

Trying to find the best price for Microsoft software is a frustrating game, with a constantly shifting set of rules that leave most people feeling like losers. Trying to understand whether you're staying within those rules is stressful. I don't know a single person who thinks the retail price of Windows is fair and that the terms of use are understandable. In fact, the entire licensing structure for Windows feels Byzantine and outmoded. It needs an overhaul, and next year's launch of Windows 7 offers a perfect opportunity for Microsoft to give its consumer and small business customers a fresh start. If I were in charge of the retail launch, I'd make five changes.

April 14, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Cast your vote in the Windows 7 release date prediction pool

Cast your vote in the Windows 7 release date prediction pool

When will Windows 7 be ready for release? The current conventional wisdom says 2010, but I say that’s wrong. In this post, I explain why Microsoft has to release Windows 7 befoire the end of 2009, and why I think they can do it. And just to make things interesting, I’ll kick off the unofficial Windows 7 Release Date Prediction Pool with my prediction. Think you know more than me? Leave your best guess in the Talkback section.

April 9, 2008 by in Windows

Vista SP1 reboot bug fixed

Vista SP1 reboot bug fixed

Remember that issue where trying to install Vista SP1 would result in a hard-to-break reboot cycle? Microsoft says they've identified the problem and created a fix for it. If you've been holding off on SP1 deployment because you feared bumping into this issue, you may now safely resume.

April 7, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Windows Media Center meets cable TV in HD

Windows Media Center meets cable TV in HD

Six months ago, after years of waiting, I finally had a chance to switch my Media Center setup over to a fully digital, cable-compatible, high-definition configuration. How has it worked out? Let's just say you'd have to pry the Media Center remote from my cold dead fingers. In this post and the acccompanying image gallery, I show you how I assembled this system and how well it's working. I also tackle the question of whether this type of system is right for you.

April 4, 2008 by in Dell

The Vista license "loophole" that isn't

The Vista license "loophole" that isn't

Software licensing is often hard to understand. But that's no excuse for so-called Windows experts to deliberately publish sensational stories that turn the facts upside-down. The editors of one popular Windows newsletter are telling their readers that it's perfectly OK to violate the terms of the Windows license agreement. They're wrong.

April 3, 2008 by in Windows

MaxWin to supersize Windows

MaxWin to supersize Windows

Yesterday, I wrote about Microsoft’s efforts to reduce the size of the Windows kernel as part of its MinWin project. Early today I learned of a top-secret parallel development effort being run by a separate group at Microsoft. The hush-hush project is called MaxWin, and if my sources are correct you’ll see it soon. I've got details on how you get on the beta program, but hurry: the program closes at 11:50PM tonight.

March 31, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Is MinWin really the new Windows 7 kernel?

Is MinWin really the new Windows 7 kernel?

Many of the articles and blog posts I've read about Windows 7 in recent days mention MinWin, usually following up with the observation that it's the new lean kernel that's going to be at the heart of Windows 7. I think this conclusion is wrong. If you don't believe me, go back and watch the eight-minute video snippet that got this all started last fall. Too busy to spare eight minutes? No problem - I've transcribed the relevant parts here.

March 31, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

What Microsoft can teach Apple about software updates

What Microsoft can teach Apple about software updates

I was stunned and angry when I saw Apple Software Update offering Safari 3.1 for Windows, with the check box obligingly selected and the Install button awaiting a click. Apple's defenders say it's no big deal that an update mechanism intended to deliver security fixes has been co-opted to help Apple with its ongoing hostile takeover of the Windows desktiop. I think Apple is dead wrong in the way it’s gone about using its iPod monopoly to expand its share in another market. Ironically, an excellent model for how its update program should work already exists. It’s called Windows Update, and it embodies all the principles that Apple should follow. See for yourself with this image gallery.

March 24, 2008 by in Microsoft

Sony drops its $49 "no crapware" fee

Sony drops its $49 "no crapware" fee

The blogosphere is buzzing today with contempt for Sony, which just outlined its Fresh Start program and immediately ran into a buzzsaw of criticism for its plan to charge $49 for the privilege of getting a crapware-free PC. Guess what? Hours later, a Sony Senior VP tells me the $49 charge is gone. Over. There will be no extra charge to order a clean PC from Sony. Read on for the full details.

March 21, 2008 by in Hardware

Your turn: Readers choose their 10 favorite Windows programs

Your turn: Readers choose their 10 favorite Windows programs

Two weeks ago, I published a list of my 10 favorite Windows programs of all time. The response was overwhelming and refreshingly enthusiastic. I had a lot of fun following the give and take in the Talkback section, as commenters offered their recommendations and suggestions and opinions. Collectively, you offered an extraordinary number of alternatives – so many good suggestions, in fact, that I’ve gathered the best from that thread and turned them into this follow-up Top 10 list. What do the readers of this blog consider their favorite Windows programs? Read on to find out.

March 20, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Want Vista SP1? Here's what to expect

Want Vista SP1? Here's what to expect

When Microsoft released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 to manufacturing on February 4, they promised to make it available for the general public in mid-March. Today they delivered on that promise, making SP1 available to Windows Vista users through Windows Update and as a standalone installer package from the Microsoft Download Center. Here's what you need to know to get this update installed - and to find support if you need it.

March 18, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Speeding up a sluggish Sony

Speeding up a sluggish Sony

Over the past year, I've read nothing but horror stories about Sony's Vaio running Windows Vista. Over the past weekend, I finally had a chance to see one of these allegedly accursed machines up close and personal, courtesy of digital media guru and blogger Jeremy Toeman. Ironically, the well-used machine I received was running Windows XP and was practically unusable. Here's what happened when I replaced it with a clean installation of Windows Vista.

March 17, 2008 by in Windows

My 10 favorite Windows programs of all time

My 10 favorite Windows programs of all time

In this article and accompanying gallery, I list 10 Windows programs I use every day. Every one adds a feature that makes Windows easier to use or can help make you more productive. Most are free; for those that aren’t a trial version is available. All of the programs in this list run on XP and Vista. I've been using every program on this list for long enough to recommend it without reservation.

March 2, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

A real-world Vista challenge: Can this Sony Vaio be saved?

A real-world Vista challenge: Can this Sony Vaio be saved?

For nearly a year, Jeremy Toeman has been chronicling his experiences with Windows Vista running on a pricey high-end Sony Vaio. In a word, it has sucked. (He's now replaced his Sony with a MacBook.) So we worked out a deal. Jeremy’s sending the infernal Vaio to me, and I’m sending him a Dell notebook that's running Vista without issues. My goal is to restore the factory Vista install on that Sony and see its suckiness up close and personal. Can its problems be fixed, or are Sony’s engineers just clueless?

March 2, 2008 by in Windows

Remembering Windows XP's early days

Remembering Windows XP's early days

I am amused by the current lovefest going on with Windows XP. It’s the greatest operating system ever, in the minds of some, especially compared to the allegedly bloated, slow Windows Vista. Ironically, some of the biggest defenders of XP were singing a very different tune a few short years ago.

February 25, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

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