Ed Bott

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications.

Latest Posts

Dear Microsoft: Please get UAC right this time

The trouble with UAC isn't a single request for permission. Instead, what bothers most people is the second UAC prompt, and the third, and the fourth, and so on. was all prepared to lay out my modest proposal for how Microsoft should tweak UAC in Windows 7. And then I said, "Hey, wait a minute! I already did this." My four suggestions for easing the pain of UAC fell on deaf ears when I first published them more than two years ago. Maybe someone in Redmond is more willing to listen today.

May 29, 2008 by

130 Comments

Free Sysinternals Windows utilities now available online, 24/7

If you troubleshoot Windows PCs for fun or profit, then chances are you've used one or more tools from Sysinternals. Microsoft bought the company and its amazing library of diagnostic and troubleshooting utilities in 2006, and the collection has been continually updated ever since. A few weeks ago, I ran into Sysinternals co-founder Mark Russinovich at a technical conference, where he told me about a new Sysinternals service that was in private beta testing. Today, I'm pleased to break the news that Sysinternals Live is now open to the public.

May 28, 2008 by

20 Comments

Vista screams past XP in gaming tests!

Our technical press, like the mainstream media, sometimes has a hard time letting go of an idea it's been pushing. That's true even when new facts show that the old story wasn't, strictly speaking, accurate. Or when facts on the ground have changed and maybe it's time to alert your readers to the new realities. Today's case in point: A magazine devoted to hardcore gamers and tech enthusiasts does a bunch of tests and proves that Windows Vista with SP1 is every bit as fast as XP, on identical hardware. So what do they do with the story? The answer would make my old J-school professors weep.

May 27, 2008 by

70 Comments

Why is fear-mongering such a popular security sales tactic?

In one of his best columns ever, Bruce Schneier explains why some computer security companies can't help selling fear. The way we as humans respond to potential threats provides a powerful economic incentive for a security vendor to find something, anything, and then to make some noise about what it found. Not so much that you'll be annoyed, but just enough to let you know they're on the job. So how do you strike the right balance between a healthy understanding of the risks of using the Internet and bug-eyed paranoia? How many layers of security do you need?

May 26, 2008 by

44 Comments

How much do you need to know about Windows 7 today?

My colleague Mary Jo Foley and I have our ears to the ground in Redmond, listening for news of Windows 7, and we're hearing ... nothing. If this were like previous Windows development cycles, we would have already been buried in hype and white papers, but new Windows boss Steven Sinofsky has imposed an information lockdown. Is that a bad thing? With Vista, Microsoft overpromised and underdelivered. Will a "talk less, ship more" philosophy produce a better product?

May 22, 2008 by

74 Comments

Puncturing the myth of the invulnerable OS

An Australian developer of Windows security software is making headlines with research that claims to Windows Vista's is Windows Vista is "still a long way from immunity to online threats." So, what operating system is invulnerable to malware? When did that become the criterion for success in security? The data is sketchy (to say the least) and the underlying argument is flawed. As long as crooks are trying to scam their way onto your PC, humans will occasionally make bad decisions about which software to install. Do you really want an OS that substitutes its judgment for yours and refuses to install a program you want or need?

May 20, 2008 by

233 Comments

Microsoft releases Virtual PC 2007 SP1

Last week Microsoft released Virtual PC 2007 Service Pack 1, with support for Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3 as host and guest, and Windows Server 2008 Standard as a guest OS. In the past, I've been underwhelmed with Virtual PC, but this update is surprisingly snappy. If you're thinking about installing Ubuntu 8.04 in a virtual machine, you'll get an error message almost immediately. Conspiracy? Nope. I'll show you where to find the simple, step-by-step workaround to get it running right.

May 19, 2008 by

13 Comments

Fixing Windows Vista, Part 4: Get smart about services

In the three previous installments of this series, I discussed ways to improve the performance of Windows Vista by changing some settings (especially those installed by an OEM PC maker). Today's installment is a little different. Mostly, it's about not wasting your time following bad advice. The single most common bogus tip I read at Windows-focused websites is the one that advises Vista users to disable "unnecessary" services. What's an unnecessary service? They can't tell you, so they recommend that you waste yor time with tedious trial-and-error techniques. Bad advice. I'll save you time (and headaches) by identifying four specific circumstances under which you might want to disable services to improve system performance. Read on for the full details.

May 18, 2008 by

152 Comments

Windows 7 ship date? The crowd has spoken...

Last month, I kicked off the Windows 7 release date prediction pool with my analysis on why I think Windows 7 will be released in time for the holiday buying season in 2009, picking July 29, 2009 as my entry. At the same time, I invited readers to add their guesses in the TalkBack section. This morning, I went back and tallied the vote so far. If you believe in the theory of crowdsourcing, the wisdom of the community should be able to predict this date more accurately than any individual. So, when will Windows 7 ship? The crowd has spoken. And the date is...

May 16, 2008 by

21 Comments

The key to Windows success? It's all about the drivers

The great advantage of the Windows ecosystem is that there are so many choices. That's also its biggest problem, as all those choices offer a correspondingly large chance of encountering problems from the unexpected interaction of parts that weren't designed to be used together. Problems in the Windows ecosystem get magnified during periods of transition. And the way the OEM business model works explains why some customers struggle with outdated drivers and performance problems even when a solution has been available for months.

May 13, 2008 by

274 Comments