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

With SP1, Microsoft plans to ditch the Vista "kill switch"

With SP1, Microsoft plans to ditch the Vista "kill switch"

When SP1 ships sometime in early 2008, it will strip away one of Vista's most annoying features and remove one of the most persistent objections to Vista's adoption. Microsoft plans to remove the infamous "kill switch" from Windows Vista when SP1 is installed, restoring WGA to its original role as a series of persistent but nonlethal notifications. I've got the details of Redmond's dramatic reversal in policy.

December 3, 2007 by in Microsoft

How green is your PC?

How green is your PC?

How much does it cost to run a PC or a Windows Home Server 24/7? I've just completed a abttery of power management tests in my office, and the numbers surprised me. In my neighborhood, running a home server costs about $5 a month in electricity, but I can cut that bill by two-thirds just by using the default power management settings in Windows Vista.

November 30, 2007 by in CXO

Five secrets to faster Vista starts

Five secrets to faster Vista starts

The wise old men of mainstream tech journalism are once again repeating the conventional wisdom that Vista is slow to start up and slow to shut down. They're wrong. I provbed this with some tests last spring and I've just repeated the same tests with equal or better results. So what's the deal if you're experiencing slow startups and shutdowns with Vista? Chances are you're running into one (or more) of five specific issues. I've got the details here.

November 26, 2007 by in Windows

Are you prepared for holiday PC repairs?

Are you prepared for holiday PC repairs?

For IT professionals and computer support people, holiday travel means a flurry of ad hoc support requests. You will, of course, say yes when Mom or your brother-in-law asks for some help with a PC problem. So why not accept the inevitable and show up prepared for the job? Here's a list of the hardware and software tools I bring home for the holidays.

November 18, 2007 by in Windows

Microsoft releases details on Vista activation

Microsoft releases details on Vista activation

Almost a year to the day after releasing Windows Vista to manufacturing, Microsoft has finally released a document outlining some of the technical details behind Vista's product activation. Most of the information merely confirms what Windows experts already knew, but one detail is surprising: For the first time, Microsoft has confirmed that it limits the number of times a system can be reactivated over the Internet. I've got the details.

November 13, 2007 by in Microsoft

HP's new home server is small, smart, and impressively simple

HP's new home server is small, smart, and impressively simple

When Hewlett Packard called last month and asked whether I wanted some hands-on time with their new MediaSmart home server, I jumped at the chance. My biggest question was simple: Why should I buy this hardware when I can build my own server, presumably for less? After spending the last two weeks comparing the MediaSmart Server to one I built, I see the difference. If you're looking for world-class backup, along with easy remote access and digital media sharing capabilities, this machine should be on your short list.

November 8, 2007 by in Hewlett Packard Enterprise

One year later, Vista really is more secure

One year later, Vista really is more secure

Windows Vista was released to manufacturing a year ago next week, and landed on retail shelves exactly nine months ago today. At the time, Vista head honcho Jim Allchin predicted that the number of security patches required for this version of Windows would go way down compared to its predecessor. So, was he right?

October 31, 2007 by in Enterprise Software

The RIAA versus us: a file-sharing standoff

The RIAA versus us: a file-sharing standoff

After reading through hundreds of comments to last week's digital media ethics poll, I've come to the realization that my readers are much more rational and reasonable than the entertainment industry. Overall, I see plenty of common sense in those responses. When it comes to sharing digital music, for example, a large number of you think it's perfectly OK and even good for the industry. Not surprisingly, that stand is at odds with the RIAA.

October 19, 2007 by in Legal

Digital media ethics: it's personal

Digital media ethics: it's personal

The voting in my digital media ethics poll is now closed, and your votes have made one conclusion crystal clear. The overwhelming majority of you believe that if you buy a music CD, you're buying the rights to play back that performance any way you want, on any media, at any bit rate, as long as it's for your personal use. According to the RIAA, you don't have a right to do any of that stuff.

October 17, 2007 by in Tech Industry

When is it OK to copy digital media?

When is it OK to copy digital media?

The response to the digital media ethics poll I posted earlier this week has been overwhelming. Based on these results, thne RIAA and its allies are clearly losing the battle of ideas. Here's a summary of the voting so far, along with links so you can add your opinion.

October 12, 2007 by in Legal

Where do you stand on digital media ethics?

Where do you stand on digital media ethics?

Help me wrestle with some ethical questions related to digital media. We can all agree that it's easy to make perfect copies of digital media, and that there's no such thing as an unbreakable copy protection scheme. But the fact that you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should. Does it?

October 9, 2007 by in Security

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 3)

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 3)

This is the third and final installment of my series pointing out some of the significant errors in a widely read critique of Windows Vista's content protection design. If you think you're getting accurate, unbiased information about Vista from Micrsoft's most vocalcritic, think again. Today's examples show how selective qoting of Microsoft's specs left out important details, and why Nvidia graphics cards are much more powerful than you think. Oh, and before you decide to buy any hardware based on someone's recommendation, you might want to ask whether they've actually used it first.

September 20, 2007 by in Windows

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 2)

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 2)

Windows Vista includes a new set of features that allow playback software to work with protected media, especially high-definition content. This DRM infrastructure is bitterly controversial, and it's given rise to an enormous amount of misinformation. In part 2 of this three-part series, I continue my detailed examination of the errors, dostortions, and untruths in the most widely quoted paper on the subject, written by New Zealand researcher Peter Gutmann. I was stunned to find that some of the assertions in his epic paper are directly contradicted by his own sources, and that two of his key stats are literally made up. See the proof for yourself.

September 18, 2007 by in Dell

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