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

How do you benchmark real-world work?

How do you benchmark real-world work?

Most of the technical reviews of Windows Vista I've read recently focus on speeds and feeds. But does that granular approach miss the real point of owning and using a PC? Can any stopwatch-based measurement of isolated tasks performed by individual hardware and software components really measure the worth of a technology investment? I don't think so. What really matters is usability, a subject I've been thinking and writing about for nearly two decades now. But what's the best way to measure usability? The answer isn't as simple as you might think.

February 20, 2008 by in Hardware

Another take on Vista vs. XP benchmarks

Another take on Vista vs. XP benchmarks

When I read my colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’ epic account of his benchmark tests of Windows Vista SP1 versus Windows XP SP2, the first thing that struck me was how far apart his numbers were from those I was seeing. In fact, I went back and redid all my tests to confirm that I hadn’t missed anything along the way. They checked out completely. On my test bed, with only one exception, Vista SP1 was consistently as fast as or faster than XP SP2. Why the difference? I have a few theories.

February 19, 2008 by in Windows

More Vista SP1 answers

More Vista SP1 answers

Earlier this week I posted a FAQ on Windows Vista Service Pack 1. In the Talkback section of that post and via e-mail, I got a few additional questions. In this follow-up I explain why you don't need a product key and why slipstreaming a copy of SP1 into your existing Vista installation media is (almost) impossible. I also show how to reclaim disk space used by the backed-up copies of your old system files.

February 13, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Vista SP1 rolls up 551 bug fixes

Vista SP1 rolls up 551 bug fixes

How many bug fixes are included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1? By Microsoft’s count, SP1 rolls up 551 separate hotfixes, in addition to 23 security updates rated Important and already delivered via Windows Update. A handful of those hotfixes were previously released via Windows Update, but most were available only to corporate customers and OEMs. If that sounds like a lot, well, it is. But it’s not out of line with the number of fixes that went into the first two service packs for Windows XP. I've got the full breakdown by category.

February 11, 2008 by in Windows

A Vista SP1 FAQ

A Vista SP1 FAQ

I’ve been working with Windows Vista Service Pack 1 for several months now, in beta releases and, for the last two weeks, in the final released code. I’ve put together this post to answer some questions I’m frequently asked about this long-awaited update. And if you're frustrated at the thought of waiting until March to get your own copy, skip to the end, for some good news about a possible change in the release schedule.

February 9, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Vista SP1 hands-on: six trouble-free upgrades

Vista SP1 hands-on: six trouble-free upgrades

On Wednesday, FedEx delivered DVDs containing the final, RTM bits of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 to three ZDNet bloggers. My colleagues posted their results (and in one case an extensive correction). Here's my report: Six successful installations, with no problems to report.

February 7, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Windows 7 = Vista Release 2

Windows 7 = Vista Release 2

The most common comment I've read lately by Windows analysts is that Microsoft has accelerated the development schedule of Windows 7 in a desperate attempt to replace Windows Vista. All of those predictions miss one big point: There's nothing "early" about the rumored late-2009 release date of Windows 7. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

January 28, 2008 by in Windows

Vista virtualization: The bigger picture

Vista virtualization: The bigger picture

Microsoft has belatedly gotten around to relaxing its licensing rules so that customers can install any edition of Windows Vista in a virtual machines, including the less expensive Home Basic and Home Premium editions. I haven't seen anyone document exactly how this change works yet, so I thought it would be worthwhile to run through the changes in detail. If you're thinking of adding a virtual copy of Vista on Apple hardware, the savings can be substantial.

January 23, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Gizmodo is about to learn the meaning of karma

Gizmodo is about to learn the meaning of karma

It's easy to mock the over-the-top-ness of CES or the stuffed shirts that define some companies. But it's equally easy to forget that real people with real jobs lose sleep for months to get ready for this show. Gizmodo's CES stunt was obnoxious and mean-spirited. So my only question is who will be the first to give the Gizmodo Gang a dose of their own medicine?

January 11, 2008 by in Hardware

Microsoft extends the reach of Media Center

Microsoft extends the reach of Media Center

More than 70% of Windows Vista copies sold in 2007 were so-called premium editions, which include Media Center capabilities. That's good news for digital media fans, who might not even realize that Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions give them a direct pipeline to stream high-definition digital music, photos, and videos into other rooms with a Media Center Extender. I've got details on a handful of new extender devices introduced at CES.

January 9, 2008 by in Hardware

About those 100 million Vista licenses...

About those 100 million Vista licenses...

My colleague Mary Jo Foley reported earlier today on Microsoft's claim that it has sold 100 million retail copies of Windows Vista. That's a stretch, as it turns out. I tracked down a Microsoft spokesperson who helped me unravel the numbers.

January 7, 2008 by in Windows

My road map for CES 2008

My road map for CES 2008

I attended my first CES 29 years ago. In 2008, the technologies have changed, but I'm still covering toys for my generation. What's on my road map for CES this year? (Besides Vista, of course.) How about some technologies that actually make life simpler?

January 7, 2008 by in CES

Windows adoption rates: a history lesson

Windows adoption rates: a history lesson

In the Talkback section of my earlier post on XP versus Vista adoption, several commenters pointed to a PC World Techlog post that supposedly contradicts my conclusions. Those PC World numbers are interesting, but they don't add up. But don't believe me: just ask PC World, which published a very different set of numbers one year ago.

December 30, 2007 by in Enterprise Software

Who's choosing XP over Vista?

Who's choosing XP over Vista?

One of the most accepted bits of conventional wisdom among pundits as 2007 draws to a close is that the marketplace has rejected Windows Vista in favor of Windows XP. But is that conclusion supported by hard data? I found a large database of information from one of the world's biggest PC makers that provides a glimpse into how the market is really choosing between XP and Vista

December 30, 2007 by in Dell

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