Last month I began hearing rumblings of problems with the product activation system in Windows Vista. Last week I got to see the problem firsthand. The bottom line? The simple act of updating some hardware drivers – without making any changes to the hardware itself – can result in the Software Protection Platform code in Windows Vista deciding that the system requires reactivation. Some very common drivers from some big-name hardware vendors are the cause, and a fix could be months away.
The Ed Bott Report
Get outspoken insights and expert advice on the products and companies that define today's tech landscape, from a source who knows these technologies inside and out.
Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications.
Are you experiencing odd "out of memory" errors or display problems with Windows Vista when you try to open a large number of programs or windows? Even if you have multiple gigabytes of physical memory in your Windows Vista system and you're using only a fraction of it, you can still run into this problem. It turns out the cause is more than a decade old, and the solution is as simple as tweaking a Registry key to bump up the size of the mysterious interactive desktop heap. I've got the details.
For most of last year, I was installing beta releases of Windows Vista practically every week. Since Vista's official release six months ago, I've had the luxury of being able to work with the same hardware and software for months, with the goal of setting up stable systems that are easy to use over the long term. Here's what I've adopted as my current specs for new desktop and notebook systems running Windows Vista.
I’ve been watching for the past six months as PC hardware makers deliver updated drivers to make their products work with Windows Vista. Lately, the trickle has turned into a steady stream, with some high-volume hardware companies delivering solid 32- and 64-bit updates. But there are still some rough edges to deal with.
The similarities between Vista and Windows 95 are striking: Unachievable levels of hype; a long and public beta; initial compatibility, performance, and stability problems. If history repeats itself, Microsoft will release its next Vista update in 2009 or 2010 and it will be greeted as finally delivering on the promise of what Vista should have been all along.
In the fourth installment of my series on setting up a new Dell consumer PC running Windows Vista Home Premium, I roll up my sleeves and start looking for crapware to zap. Surprisingly, there's almost none to be found, and Dell has created a simple automated routine to uninstall the handful of programs included with this PC. Have consumers won the war against crapware?
A newly released document filed with the U.S. District Court supervising the Microsoft antitrust case reveals some detals about two long-awaited Windows updates. Yes, Virginia, there will be a Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista, and there's news about the long-delayed Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, too.
I’m documenting my experience with a new Dell C521 running Windows Vista. After an initial glitch that requires an onsite service call from Dell, I'm back in business. Today's goal is to stress-test the machine using a selection of real-world applications and see how it performs under fire. How much can a $500 PC handle before it falters? The answer even surprised me.
Yesterday, Steve Jobs announced that Apple's Safari browser would be available for Windows. Analysts are asking: Why would any Windows user want or need this? Wrong question. What they should be asking is: Why does Steve Jobs want Windows users to run Safari?
I’m documenting my experience with a new Dell C521 that arrived last week. Day 1 was uneventful, as I unpacked the pieces, backed up the original hard drive and replaced it with a new larger drive, and installed a few updates. Well, uneventful except for the BIOS update I left running overnight… On Day 2, I get to put Dell's support to the test as the system is completely unresponsive.