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

Six Vista annoyances fixed in Windows 7

In the past two-plus years, I’ve read countless complaints about the Windows Vista user interface. It has too many options for ordinary users. It doesn’t offer enough options for advanced users. It’s dumbed down and overcomplicated, sometimes all at the same time. Maybe Microsoft's software designers have learned something from all that criticism, because I see plenty of small but significant improvements in Windows 7. The most revealing is a dialog box that includes this refreshing option: "Let me choose."

January 7, 2009 by

322 Comments

Five things Steve Ballmer won't tell you about Windows 7

On Wednesday night, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is going to step on stage at the Venetian Hotel’s Palazzo Ballroom to give the keynote address that kicks off the Consumer Electronics Show. It’s the first time for Ballmer, who’s taking the slot that his predecessor Bill Gates has had for years. It’s widely expected that Ballmer and an entourage of product managers will publicly unveil Windows 7 Beta 1. But I’m going to be listening for the things that Microsoft chooses not to talk about. In the spirit of the occasion, I offer these predictions of five things that Ballmer will take great pains to avoid saying.

January 5, 2009 by

238 Comments

If you love Windows XP, you'll hate Windows 7

My colleague Jason Perlow has been playing with Windows 7, and he hates it. The sad thing is, all the things that he hates are improvements, in my opinion, which just goes to show that you really can’t please everyone. Jason describes a reaction I heard from plenty of diehard XP users when Vista was released. If you insist on using techniques you learned back in the last millennium, you will be frustrated. But I believe that an open-minded XP user who actually takes a few minutes to learn how the new UI works will be more productive very quickly with Windows 7. I've taken Jason's three examples to prove my point.

January 1, 2009 by

722 Comments

Surprises in the Windows 7 license agreement

Over the weekend, I had a chance to spend some quality time with the leaked Windows 7 build that’s zipping around the Internet. No one at Microsoft will confirm whether this code is the same as the beta due to be officially released in early January, but it bears every earmark of being the real thing. One of the first things I did before installing the software was to read the end user license agreement (EULA), carefully. Most of it was boilerplate, but I found a few surprises hidden within the legalese, including an expiration date that suggests a summertime release.

December 29, 2008 by

85 Comments

Which sites will make the IE8 Compatibility Hall of Shame?

According to Microsoft, a release candidate of Internet Explorer 8 is just around the corner, and with it comes an urgent call to web designers to get their act together and tweak their sites so they’ll render properly under the new browser.Back in August, I began using IE8 Beta 2 full time on the Windows PCs I use for everyday work.

December 21, 2008 by

211 Comments

That Windows 7 bootleg is a ticking time bomb

Bootleggers, beware. Judging by my inbox, lots of you downloaded a bootleg copy of Windows 7 build 6956 from BitTorrent, and now you have it running. But no matter how hard you try, you can’t update its built-in copy of Internet Explorer 8 with this week’s extremely critical out-of-band security update, which Microsoft turned around in record time. What's a poor bootlegger to do?

December 18, 2008 by

92 Comments

Windows Live drops the ball on support

I've been impressed with the array of apps and services that have debuted lately under the Windows Live banner, including the new Windows Live Essentials package But the glow wears off fast if you need support. As I found through personal experience, support options are difficult to find, and when you're finally able to submit a request, there's no guarantee you'll get an answer any time soon. What was Windows Live management thinking?

December 17, 2008 by

20 Comments

A new record for Godwin's Law

Everyone knows Godwin’s Law, right? The longer a heated discussion goes on, the probability that someone will compare someone else to Hitler or the Nazis approaches certainty. Usually, Mac-versus-PC arguments take some slow simmering, followed by a few preliminary flame wars, before someone lets fly with the Hitler references. But today’s comment section beneath a post on a BusinessWeek blog sets a new record for invoking Godwin’s Law.

December 16, 2008 by

35 Comments

DirecTV kills its Media Center tuner project

Nearly three years ago, at CES 2006, DirecTV announced that it was working on a tuner that would allow Windows Media Center to receive high-definition premium satellite signals. Earlier this year, there were rumors that the project was in beta test, and several high-profile web sites even spotted the hardware in action at Microsoft's labs. Alas, the long-rumored project is now officially dead. I've got the details.

December 9, 2008 by

11 Comments

Windows 7 Beta 1 to arrive January 13?

At the Professional Developers Conference in late October, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky announced that Windows 7 Beta 1 would be ready "early next year." A Microsoft insider has now confirmed the actual date, which is indeed very early next year. I've put together my predictions for the Beta 1 timeline, which starts with Steve Ballmer's keynote at CES.

December 2, 2008 by

8 Comments