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

Windows Media Center meets cable TV in HD

Six months ago, after years of waiting, I finally had a chance to switch my Media Center setup over to a fully digital, cable-compatible, high-definition configuration. How has it worked out? Let's just say you'd have to pry the Media Center remote from my cold dead fingers. In this post and the acccompanying image gallery, I show you how I assembled this system and how well it's working. I also tackle the question of whether this type of system is right for you.

April 4, 2008 by


The Vista license "loophole" that isn't

Software licensing is often hard to understand. But that's no excuse for so-called Windows experts to deliberately publish sensational stories that turn the facts upside-down. The editors of one popular Windows newsletter are telling their readers that it's perfectly OK to violate the terms of the Windows license agreement. They're wrong.

April 3, 2008 by


MaxWin to supersize Windows

Yesterday, I wrote about Microsoft’s efforts to reduce the size of the Windows kernel as part of its MinWin project. Early today I learned of a top-secret parallel development effort being run by a separate group at Microsoft. The hush-hush project is called MaxWin, and if my sources are correct you’ll see it soon. I've got details on how you get on the beta program, but hurry: the program closes at 11:50PM tonight.

March 31, 2008 by


Is MinWin really the new Windows 7 kernel?

Many of the articles and blog posts I've read about Windows 7 in recent days mention MinWin, usually following up with the observation that it's the new lean kernel that's going to be at the heart of Windows 7. I think this conclusion is wrong. If you don't believe me, go back and watch the eight-minute video snippet that got this all started last fall. Too busy to spare eight minutes? No problem - I've transcribed the relevant parts here.

March 31, 2008 by


What Microsoft can teach Apple about software updates

I was stunned and angry when I saw Apple Software Update offering Safari 3.1 for Windows, with the check box obligingly selected and the Install button awaiting a click. Apple's defenders say it's no big deal that an update mechanism intended to deliver security fixes has been co-opted to help Apple with its ongoing hostile takeover of the Windows desktiop. I think Apple is dead wrong in the way it’s gone about using its iPod monopoly to expand its share in another market. Ironically, an excellent model for how its update program should work already exists. It’s called Windows Update, and it embodies all the principles that Apple should follow. See for yourself with this image gallery.

March 24, 2008 by


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


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


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


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


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

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