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

Sony drops its $49 "no crapware" fee

Sony drops its $49 "no crapware" fee

The blogosphere is buzzing today with contempt for Sony, which just outlined its Fresh Start program and immediately ran into a buzzsaw of criticism for its plan to charge $49 for the privilege of getting a crapware-free PC. Guess what? Hours later, a Sony Senior VP tells me the $49 charge is gone. Over. There will be no extra charge to order a clean PC from Sony. Read on for the full details.

March 21, 2008 by in Hardware

Your turn: Readers choose their 10 favorite Windows programs

Your turn: Readers choose their 10 favorite Windows programs

Two weeks ago, I published a list of my 10 favorite Windows programs of all time. The response was overwhelming and refreshingly enthusiastic. I had a lot of fun following the give and take in the Talkback section, as commenters offered their recommendations and suggestions and opinions. Collectively, you offered an extraordinary number of alternatives – so many good suggestions, in fact, that I’ve gathered the best from that thread and turned them into this follow-up Top 10 list. What do the readers of this blog consider their favorite Windows programs? Read on to find out.

March 20, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Want Vista SP1? Here's what to expect

Want Vista SP1? Here's what to expect

When Microsoft released Windows Vista Service Pack 1 to manufacturing on February 4, they promised to make it available for the general public in mid-March. Today they delivered on that promise, making SP1 available to Windows Vista users through Windows Update and as a standalone installer package from the Microsoft Download Center. Here's what you need to know to get this update installed - and to find support if you need it.

March 18, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Speeding up a sluggish Sony

Speeding up a sluggish Sony

Over the past year, I've read nothing but horror stories about Sony's Vaio running Windows Vista. Over the past weekend, I finally had a chance to see one of these allegedly accursed machines up close and personal, courtesy of digital media guru and blogger Jeremy Toeman. Ironically, the well-used machine I received was running Windows XP and was practically unusable. Here's what happened when I replaced it with a clean installation of Windows Vista.

March 17, 2008 by in Windows

My 10 favorite Windows programs of all time

My 10 favorite Windows programs of all time

In this article and accompanying gallery, I list 10 Windows programs I use every day. Every one adds a feature that makes Windows easier to use or can help make you more productive. Most are free; for those that aren’t a trial version is available. All of the programs in this list run on XP and Vista. I've been using every program on this list for long enough to recommend it without reservation.

March 2, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

A real-world Vista challenge: Can this Sony Vaio be saved?

A real-world Vista challenge: Can this Sony Vaio be saved?

For nearly a year, Jeremy Toeman has been chronicling his experiences with Windows Vista running on a pricey high-end Sony Vaio. In a word, it has sucked. (He's now replaced his Sony with a MacBook.) So we worked out a deal. Jeremy’s sending the infernal Vaio to me, and I’m sending him a Dell notebook that's running Vista without issues. My goal is to restore the factory Vista install on that Sony and see its suckiness up close and personal. Can its problems be fixed, or are Sony’s engineers just clueless?

March 2, 2008 by in Windows

Remembering Windows XP's early days

Remembering Windows XP's early days

I am amused by the current lovefest going on with Windows XP. It’s the greatest operating system ever, in the minds of some, especially compared to the allegedly bloated, slow Windows Vista. Ironically, some of the biggest defenders of XP were singing a very different tune a few short years ago.

February 25, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Microsoft removes another one of WGA's fangs

Microsoft removes another one of WGA's fangs

With the release of Service Pack 1, the Vista "kill switch" is now officially dead. An announcement earlier today by Microsoft reveals details of a new update that will detect two widespread activation cracks. What happens when your copy of Vista gets flagged as non-genuine? The answer isn't what you might expect.

February 21, 2008 by in Windows

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

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