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

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

76 Comments

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

257 Comments

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

31 Comments

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

3 Comments 3 Votes

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

49 Comments

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

325 Comments

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

25 Comments

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

77 Comments

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

198 Comments

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

19 Comments