A reader asks if Microsoft ever plans to support its own desktop fingerprint reader on Vista x64. This is yet another example of the little incompatibilities and annoyances that exist in the 64-bit Vista ecosystem. And when I went looking for Vista-certified biometric devices, I didn't find much.
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.
A recent Microsoft whitepaper downplays the changes in Windows XP SP3. But a closer look at that document reveals that Microsoft is about to make a significant change to its activation policy for XP. Beginning with SP3, you'll be able to install XP and use it for 30 days without entering a product key.
I was prepared to wait till the public debut of Vista Service Pack 1 release candidate next week before writing about it. But after upgrading two machines here and doing some tests, I changed my mind. If Microsoft's decision to ditch the WGA kill switch in SP1 didn't convince you, would you be interested in tripling your network file transfer speeds?
When SP1 ships sometime in early 2008, it will strip away one of Vista's most annoying features and remove one of the most persistent objections to Vista's adoption. Microsoft plans to remove the infamous "kill switch" from Windows Vista when SP1 is installed, restoring WGA to its original role as a series of persistent but nonlethal notifications. I've got the details of Redmond's dramatic reversal in policy.
How much does it cost to run a PC or a Windows Home Server 24/7? I've just completed a abttery of power management tests in my office, and the numbers surprised me. In my neighborhood, running a home server costs about $5 a month in electricity, but I can cut that bill by two-thirds just by using the default power management settings in Windows Vista.
The wise old men of mainstream tech journalism are once again repeating the conventional wisdom that Vista is slow to start up and slow to shut down. They're wrong. I provbed this with some tests last spring and I've just repeated the same tests with equal or better results. So what's the deal if you're experiencing slow startups and shutdowns with Vista? Chances are you're running into one (or more) of five specific issues. I've got the details here.
For IT professionals and computer support people, holiday travel means a flurry of ad hoc support requests. You will, of course, say yes when Mom or your brother-in-law asks for some help with a PC problem. So why not accept the inevitable and show up prepared for the job? Here's a list of the hardware and software tools I bring home for the holidays.
Almost a year to the day after releasing Windows Vista to manufacturing, Microsoft has finally released a document outlining some of the technical details behind Vista's product activation. Most of the information merely confirms what Windows experts already knew, but one detail is surprising: For the first time, Microsoft has confirmed that it limits the number of times a system can be reactivated over the Internet. I've got the details.
When Hewlett Packard called last month and asked whether I wanted some hands-on time with their new MediaSmart home server, I jumped at the chance. My biggest question was simple: Why should I buy this hardware when I can build my own server, presumably for less? After spending the last two weeks comparing the MediaSmart Server to one I built, I see the difference. If you're looking for world-class backup, along with easy remote access and digital media sharing capabilities, this machine should be on your short list.
When people complain about the redesigned user interface in Windows Vista, the poster child for the “it’s too complicated” crowd is the Network and Sharing Center. The most common complaint? It takes too many clicks to access proerties for a network connection. Here's how to set up an efficient alternative interface.