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

Another wave of WGA failures

Another wave of WGA failures

Will Microsoft ever get WGA right? Last week, I reported on a mysterious outbreak of failures that were causing legitimate Windows XP users to fail validation and be tagged as pirates. This week, Microsoft's support forum is awash in reports from corporate and academic customers that volume license keys (VLKs) are suddenly being reported as blocked.

October 4, 2006 by in Windows

For Vista, WGA gets tougher

For Vista, WGA gets tougher

For Windows Vista, Microsoft is rolling out a new version of its Windows Genuine Advantage program, complete with a new name: the Windows Software Protection Platform. This time, they mean business. Corporate customers have a new Volume Activation program, and anyone accused of piracy will be thrown into "reduced functionality" mode. Technically, it's not a kill switch, but for your Windows PC it's a near-death experience.

October 4, 2006 by in Windows

Apple, Microsoft, and openness

Apple, Microsoft, and openness

If you allow yourself to look at big corporations through the filter of conventional wisdom, all sorts of distortions emerge. Case in point: A couple of premier Web 2.0 sites this week praised Yahoo and Apple for "getting" what Google and Microsoft don't. But a closer look at the example they used shows that it's just business as usual.

October 2, 2006 by in Apple

Browser war? What browser war?

Browser war? What browser war?

Another Firefox update. Ho-hum. Oh. Wait. This one's an official release from ... Microsoft? If there's a browser war going on, someone forgot to tell the folks who are supposed to be doing the fighting.

September 28, 2006 by in Enterprise Software

WGA horror story #760745

WGA horror story #760745

Microsoft continues to insist that there are no problems with its Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy program. But pesky customers keep spoiling the illusion by posting problem reports documenting the flaws. One recent example comes from a hospital, where doctors in the operating room can't view X-rays online until they click past bogus messages warning them that they may be victims of software piracy and demanding that they Get Genuine.

September 27, 2006 by in Microsoft

WGA failures: Microsoft responds

WGA failures: Microsoft responds

As I noted at the end of my earlier post on WGA failures, I contacted Microsoft last week and offered to brief them on my findings so that I could include a response in the original story. Despite repeated follow-ups, they declined that opportunity.

September 25, 2006 by in Microsoft

Microsoft admits WGA failures "coming up more commonly now"

Microsoft admits WGA failures "coming up more commonly now"

An independent analysis of reports to Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage support forum confirms that problems with the company's anti-piracy program are growing. Our investigation found that 42% of people reporting WGA problems were running copies of Windows XP that Microsoft's own diagnostic utility confirmed as Genuine. Microsoft support representatives even have cut-and-paste answers that acknowledge these problems "are coming up more commonly now." Why does Microsoft continue to insist that WGA is problem-free?

September 25, 2006 by in Microsoft

WGA strikes Vista, Office 2007

WGA strikes Vista, Office 2007

Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy program was an add-on to earlier versions of Windows and Office, but the Genuine Advantage code is baked into Windows Vista and Office 2007. And if you thought that Microsoft's next-generation WGA would work better than the current one, think again.

September 25, 2006 by in Windows

Vista passes one security test

Vista passes one security test

Does the multi-layered security protection in Windows Vista work? It's too early to provide a definitive answer, but Vista's handling of the zero-day VML exploit offers some encouraging news.

September 22, 2006 by in Security

Vista Mythbusters #6: Is Vista really more secure?

Vista Mythbusters #6: Is Vista really more secure?

Microsoft touts Windows Vista as the most secure Windows ever, but critics say the changes are mostly cosmetic and are so annoying that most users will simply turn them off. There are big changes in the User Account Control feature in RC1. Have they done enough to win over skeptical users?

September 20, 2006 by in Windows

Vista Mythbusters #5: Aero isn't rocket science

Vista Mythbusters #5: Aero isn't rocket science

To hear some reviewers talk about it, Vista's new Aero interface is so demanding that it will make your old video card burst into tears. That may have been true a yewar ago, but it certainly isn't so today. In the latest Vista Mythbusters post, I explain what Aero is (a handful of flashy visuals), what you need to run it (even video chips integrated on cheap motherboards can handle Aero these days), and why it's not a make-or-break feature.

September 18, 2006 by in Windows

Vista, Office 2007 beta updates

Vista, Office 2007 beta updates

This week, Microsoft made new beta versions of Windows Vista and Office 2007 widely available. If you're interested in evaluating what the Windows and Office families will look like beginning next year, this is a good place to start.

September 14, 2006 by in Microsoft

Vista Mythbusters #4: Yes, Microsoft really is price-gouging

Vista Mythbusters #4: Yes, Microsoft really is price-gouging

Microsoft says they haven't raised prices for Windows Vista. And if you hold your head sideways and look at the official price list just right, you have to agree. Unless you're planning to buy Vista Ultimate edition, that is. With the highest price tag for any Windows version ever, the pricing makes no sense at all.

September 13, 2006 by in Windows

Apple takes back the copycat title

Apple takes back the copycat title

Apple cultists are gushing over Steve Jobs' latest Apple announcements. Browsing your music collection by album cover? A box that connects your home theater to your networked PC and plays music and movies? Someone better tell Steve it's all been done before, and better.

September 13, 2006 by in Apple

Virtualizing Vista

Virtualizing Vista

One of the best ways to test a new (or old) operating system is to install it in a virtual environment. Instead of messing with physical hardware, you create virtual disks, run processes on a virtual CPU, test what happens when you add some virtual memory, and save the whole thing as a file that you can restore in a few minutes.

September 10, 2006 by in VMWare

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