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

Vista Hands On #9: Use Vista for four months, free

Vista Hands On #9: Use Vista for four months, free

Looking for real Windows Vista secrets? Everyone knows you can install Windows Vista in evaluation mode for 30 days and reset the countdown timer three times, giving you a free evaluation period of 120 days. The trouble is, you have to remember to type the magic command every 30 days or you're deactivated. Unless you know the real secret, which uses another Windows feature to automate the process. I've got the never-before-published details here.

March 1, 2007 by in Windows

Vista Hands On #8: Delay activation

Vista Hands On #8: Delay activation

Every copy of Windows Vista requires activation, and the default settings will do it automatically three days after you complete Setup. If you're not ready to make that commitment, here's how to disable automatic activation and use Vista risk-free for its full evaluation period.

February 27, 2007 by in Windows

Vista WGA problems confirmed

Vista WGA problems confirmed

I've seen Vista's new WGA problems up close and personal, and I've got the screenshots to prove it. Why are some programs able to convince Windows that the operating system has been tampered with? Why is Windows Defender allowing them to do it? And what can you do if you're caught in the crosshairs?

February 26, 2007 by in Windows

Problems arise with Vista's validation

Problems arise with Vista's validation

Microsoft announced its new anti-piracy measures for Windows Vista last fall with an assurance that its tight integration into the operating system would reduce the number of false positives. But its own message boards tell a different story, with at least four third-party applications now known to cause validation problems and even outright activation failures.

February 25, 2007 by in Windows

A brief history of anti-piracy at Microsoft

A brief history of anti-piracy at Microsoft

I’m revisiting Microsoft’s Genuine Advantage program this week, in light of the introduction of a new WGA Notifications tool for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. As background, I thought it might be interesting to post a brief history of how Microsoft’s anti-piracy programs have evolved over the past 25 years.

February 24, 2007 by in Windows

Son of WGA

Son of WGA

Microsoft has just released an update to its Windows Genuine Notifications software for Windows XP and other pre-Vista platforms. Last summer's WGA release was a horror show; will the sequel be kinder to customers?

February 23, 2007 by in Windows

Vista Hands On #7: Move user data to another drive

Vista Hands On #7: Move user data to another drive

One of the smartest things you can do with a new installation of Windows Vista is to relocate user data folders to a different drive than the one that contains the Windows and Program Files folders. The advantage? By separating system files from data, you make it easy to back up and restore each. Here's how.

February 22, 2007 by in Big Data Analytics

Vista Hands On #5: Edit boot menus and more

Vista Hands On #5: Edit boot menus and more

In Windows Vista, Boot.ini is gone. So how do you control options for a multi-boot system? You can use Microsoft's command-line tool, Bcdedit.exe. But a free third-party tool, VistaBoot Pro, is a much better choice.

February 19, 2007 by in Windows

Vista Hands On #4: Clean install with an upgrade key

Vista Hands On #4: Clean install with an upgrade key

You probably heard or read about the "Vista upgrade loophole." Most of the reports I've seen have the basic facts wrong. The Setup feature they're describing isn't a loophole at all. It's a perfectly legal workaround for an amazingly stupid technical restriction that Microsoft imposes on upgraders. In this installment of my Vista Hands On series, I explain exactly what's going on and how you can legally perform a clean install using an upgrade key.

February 15, 2007 by in Windows

Vista Hands On #3: Check your disk before upgrading

Vista Hands On #3: Check your disk before upgrading

If you're getting ready to perform a Vista upgrade, be on the lookout for two gotchas, both of which are related to your system drive. You'll need sufficient disk space and the right disk format. If your old PC is still using FAT32, this installment in my 30 Days of Vista Hand On series will explain how to convert it to NTFS.

February 14, 2007 by in Hardware

Vista Hands On #2: A no-fuss, nondestructive clean install

Vista Hands On #2: A no-fuss, nondestructive clean install

Who says you need to format your hard disk to do a clean install of Windows Vista? In this edition of my 30 days of Vista Hands On, I explain how to use an upgrade copy of Windows Vista to install a completely clean copy without wiping out your old data. The technique involves a Setup procedure that was guaranteed to cause problems in Windows XP but works just fine in Vista.

February 13, 2007 by in Windows

Vista passes its first Patch Tuesday test

Vista passes its first Patch Tuesday test

It's Patch Tuesday, and Microsoft doled out a dozen Critical and Important updates for Windows and Office via Automatic Updates. But if you're running Windows Vista, you can hit the snooze button for another month. None of those patches - not a single one - apply to Windows Vista or Office 2007. But there is a new Ultimate Extra

February 13, 2007 by in Windows

Vista Hands On #1: What you need to know about product keys

Vista Hands On #1: What you need to know about product keys

When you buy a copy of Windows Vista, the most important part of the purchase is the 25-character product key, which you use to activate your installation. In the first installment of my Vista Hands-On series, I explain how to use two tools - an obscure VBScript file included with all Vista editions and a free third-party utility - to find out important details about your product key.

February 11, 2007 by in Windows

Five Vista tips, revisited and expanded

Five Vista tips, revisited and expanded

Last year, I published two collections of tips for beta testers of Windows Vista. Now that Vista is officially released, I've gone back and selected the five best tips from those two posts and expanded them to cover the version you can buy today. (And don't miss my 30 days of brand-new Vista tips and tweaks, beginning next week.)

February 8, 2007 by in Windows

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