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

Why you'll have a long wait for Microsoft's next OS

The recent buzz over Microsoft’s efforts to build a completely new OS from scratch has led to some wild speculation. As my colleague Mary Jo Foley has reported, Microsoft already has an all-star team that’s working on a next-generation operating system. It’s called Midori, and Mary Jo’s sources say it’s in “incubation,” which means it’s on a fast track to being turned into a product. But will Midori replace Windows in the near future? Not a chance. If Microsoft really does turn this project into a commercial product, I believe it will exist alongside Windows for several years, at a bare minimum. To learn why, let’s dust off the Windows history books.

July 6, 2008 by


Nothing stealthy about this Windows Update update

For years, Microsoft has occasionally updated its Windows Update client software automatically on systems that are configured to check for updates. This has been true even when Windows Update is set to simply check for (and optionally, download) updates but not to install them.

July 3, 2008 by


Microsoft Equipt: good deal, lousy name

Microsoft Equipt is a subscription-based combo of Office Home and Student 2007, Windows Live OneCare, and the cloud-based Office Live Workspace service. It worked great when I beta-tested it earlier this year, and at $70 a year for three PCs it's a good deal for most home users. So how come the only retail partner signed up is the struggling Circuit City?

July 2, 2008 by


Microsoft to ratchet IE8 security another notch in Beta 2

Sometime in August, Microsoft plans to release Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 8. Yesterday, I spoke with Austin Wilson, Director of Windows Client Product Management at Microsoft, about some of the security-related changes due in this milestone, and got a preview of the changes announced today. Here are some details about what you can expect IE8 to do to block phishing attacks and minimize the risk from ActiveX controls, among other changes.

July 2, 2008 by


Intel stays behind the curve ... again

Intel’s decision to continue using Windows XP instead of migrating to Windows Vista is being spun as a stunning rebuke to Microsoft and a rejection of Windows Vista. Except that there’s nothing new here. The same thing happened in 2002, when Windows XP was shiny and new. Corporations like Intel are always slow to roll out new Windows versions. Add in a slowing economy and a new Windows version due to arrive next year and you have all the ingredients an IT department needs to skip a version. So why is this a surprise to anyone?

June 25, 2008 by


Good Microsoft wins one

Back in April, I contrasted Good Microsoft, which released its Live Mesh service for public consumption, with Bad Microsoft, which decided to pull the plug on its MSN Music customers who had purchased DRM-protected music files from its store. It took a couple months, but it looks like Good Microsoft won that battle after a lengthy internal debate.

June 19, 2008 by


10 top Vista tweaks, part 2

As I noted in the first installment of this series, some of my favorite productivity-enhancing techniques don’t involve custom code or registry edits. Instead, they involve learning how the basic building blocks of Windows work, and then rearranging those components to cut steps out of the tasks you perform most often. In today’s installment of this two-part series, I share some of my favorite tweaks for getting maximum mileage out of Windows Search. I also explain the inner workings of volume shadow copies and how you can make better use of these automatic backups with System Restore and the Previous Versions feature. I show how to get quick access to your local and network data files by combining shortcuts in a single, easy-to-reach location, and I explain why hybrid sleep should be the default on every desktop PC.

June 17, 2008 by


10 top tweaks for Windows Vista

The best ways to enhance performance and productivity with Windows are usually fairly simple. They don’t require registry edits or custom code; instead, they involve learning how the basic building blocks of Windows work, and then rearranging those components to cut steps out of the tasks you perform most often. Vista changed some of those building blocks, and many people are struggling because they’re trying to use the new tools with the old techniques. In that spirit, I’ve put together this list of my 10 favorite tweaks to Windows Vista. In Part 1 of a two-part series, I explain how to make the list of installed programs easier to work with and how to tweak the taskbar, the Start menu, the Quick Launch toolbar, and Windows Explorer. I also cover the most important time-saving technique for any user of any computer: how to create an easy, automatic backup routine that works.

June 11, 2008 by


Windows Home Server gets a big bug fix (and much more)

Microsoft today announced that it has released a public beta version of Power Pack 1 for Windows Home Server. It’s more than a service pack, with at least two significant new features and a long list of enhancements. Forget about the new stuff, though. Every Windows Home Server user wants to know: Does this update fix the data corruption bug first uncovered late last year? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, and the delay was worth it. Here's an inside look at what you can expect from Power Pack 1 and how you can get your hands on it.

June 9, 2008 by


Fixing Windows Vista, Part 5: Faster, smarter search

In previous installments of this series, I discussed the virtues of a clean Vista install, some useful User Account Control workarounds, top tools for troubleshooting, and the wisdom of shutting off Windows system services. Today’s fifth and final installment is a little different from its predecessors. It focuses not so much on fixing what might be broken, but rather on taking advantage of a feature in Windows Vista that has the potential to transform the way you work. Through the years, I’ve tried just about every third-party desktop search utility for Windows. But I threw them all away after a few weeks of using Vista’s built-in Windows Search capability. In this post, I’ll explain how Windows Search works, how to monitor the SearchIndexer service to avoid potential performance problems, and how to speed up indexing operations on the fly. I'll also point you to an update that every Windows Vista user should install right now.

June 4, 2008 by