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

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 1)

Everything you've read about Vista DRM is wrong (Part 1)

Self-described "professional paranoid" Peter Gutmann of the University of Auckland has become the most widely quoted source of information on DRM and content protection in Windows Vista. The trouble is, Gutmann's work is riddled with factual errors, distortions, contradictions, and outright untruths, and his conclusions are equally wrong. In this three-part series, I'll show you why Gutmann's outrageous and inflamatory arguments don't stand up to close scrutiny.

September 16, 2007 by in Hardware

More on HD, DRM, and CPU usage

More on HD, DRM, and CPU usage

I've been reporting my experiences with Windows Vista and playback of HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. Several commenters have expressed skepticism over my contention that Windows Vista's DRM didn't come into play at all, and I've also seen some raised eyebrows over my test results involving CPU usage. To put those questions to rest, I dug up an older, slower system without a single HDCP-compatible part. All it takes is a single two-buck part to produce perfect HD playback - at least for now.

September 8, 2007 by in Hardware

A Blu-ray / HD DVD update

A Blu-ray / HD DVD update

I have a stack of shiny high-def discs, a Windows Vista PC, and a new combo drive that plays both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. Here's how I went from bare metal to home theater in 60 minutes or less. And the best part of all? No Vista DRM. Yes, you read that right. I've got the details right here.

September 6, 2007 by in Dell

Blu-ray, HD DVD, and Vista

Blu-ray, HD DVD, and Vista

As part of my ongoing Vista Media Center project, I'm about to add Blu-ray and HD DVD playback capabilities to my new living room system. Unlike most upgrades, though, this one isn't a simple matter of plugging in a new drive and loading some updated drivers. You'll need to jump through no fewer than six hoops to get Blu-ray or HD DVD working on a Windows PC.

August 30, 2007 by in Hardware

What you can expect in Vista SP1

What you can expect in Vista SP1

Microsoft has finally removed the wraps from its plans for Windows Vista Service Pack 1. What's in it? When will you be able to get your hand on it? Will it include a new search interface to address antitrust complaints? I've got answers to those questions and more.

August 29, 2007 by in Windows

My Media Center parts and price list

My Media Center parts and price list

Several readers have written to request a list of parts and prices that I used for my Vista Media Center system. Here it is, with the caveat that the prices are bound to fluctuate. If you're planning to build your own, start here.

August 24, 2007 by in Amazon

Vista Media Center takes over the living room

Vista Media Center takes over the living room

In June, I recounted my out-of-the-box experience with a new Dell PC running Windows Vista. In July, I took the plunge and moved this system out of the office and into the living room. With a few extra bits of hardware, everything is working together perfectly. If you've considered doing the same thing, read my advice and check out the accompanying image gallery.

August 23, 2007 by in Windows

We need less whining, more complaining about Vista

We need less whining, more complaining about Vista

The single most frustrating thing about working with Vista today, just as it was back in the year after XP's release, is that the collection of accumulated experience hasn't turned into a searchable trove of solutions yet. It takes time and effort for early adopters to build that sort of distributed knowledge base. So how do we get there? Less whining, more complaining.There's a big difference.

August 20, 2007 by in Windows

No more Vista whining, please

No more Vista whining, please

Over the weekend, I read yet another Windows Vista whine that managed to hit the Slashdot front page. In this case, it was my longtime colleague Jim Louderback, who decided to push the "Vista sucks" button as he was bailing out of PC Magazine. Here's why I'm unimpressed.

August 19, 2007 by in Windows

Gutmann: "I'm going to ignore" questions about Vista FUD

Gutmann: "I'm going to ignore" questions about Vista FUD

If you're waiting for Peter Gutmann to reply to my questions or those of my ZDNet colleague George Ou about his confusing, contradictory, and inflammatory Windows Vista "research," I've got some bad news. In a note on his website, Gutmann says he "doesn't have the time" to back up his theories with actual facts. Anyone want to take bets on how many publications that unquestioningly picked up his original FUD will publish follow-up stories?

August 16, 2007 by in Windows

Busting the FUD about Vista's DRM

Busting the FUD about Vista's DRM

Encryption researcher Peter Gutmann of New Zealand says the content protection built into Windows Vista is creating headaches for people trying to view high-definition content they've created. Trouble is, Gutmann doesn't appear to have actually used the OS he's so intent on tearing down. I've got five questions I hope he'll answer when he gets back to his office.

August 13, 2007 by in Windows

The Vista RAM puzzle: Is 2GB enough?

The Vista RAM puzzle: Is 2GB enough?

If you're using Windows Vista, you might be tempted by low, low prices to bump your system RAM from 2GB to 4GB. You want it, but do you need it? In my experience, you should only consider adding that extra RAM if you belong to one of two exclusive groups. Do you fit into either of these exceptions?

August 13, 2007 by in Hardware

A confusing (but harmless) hotfix error message

A confusing (but harmless) hotfix error message

If you've tried to install this week's two performance and compatibility hotfix rollups for Windows Vista, you may have encountered an odd error message. I've got the explanation, plus instructions on how to verify that the updates have indeed been correctly installed.

August 8, 2007 by in Windows

Microsoft hints at Vista SP1 beta in August

Microsoft hints at Vista SP1 beta in August

An offhand reference in an obscure Microsoft document suggests that anyone with an MSDN subscription will have access to a beta of Vista SP1 very soon. And what's this reference to a new generation of graphics hardware?

August 8, 2007 by in Windows

Vista scare stories distort the real picture

Vista scare stories distort the real picture

Playing the old “I Googled this and got x gazillion pages back” game can be hazardous to the rest of your argument. That's what I discovered when I tried to find out more about an alleged performance flaw in IE7.

August 6, 2007 by in Windows

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