Every copy of Windows Vista requires activation, and the default settings will do it automatically three days after you complete Setup. If you're not ready to make that commitment, here's how to disable automatic activation and use Vista risk-free for its full evaluation period.
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.
I've seen Vista's new WGA problems up close and personal, and I've got the screenshots to prove it. Why are some programs able to convince Windows that the operating system has been tampered with? Why is Windows Defender allowing them to do it? And what can you do if you're caught in the crosshairs?
Microsoft announced its new anti-piracy measures for Windows Vista last fall with an assurance that its tight integration into the operating system would reduce the number of false positives. But its own message boards tell a different story, with at least four third-party applications now known to cause validation problems and even outright activation failures.
I’m revisiting Microsoft’s Genuine Advantage program this week, in light of the introduction of a new WGA Notifications tool for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. As background, I thought it might be interesting to post a brief history of how Microsoft’s anti-piracy programs have evolved over the past 25 years.
Microsoft has just released an update to its Windows Genuine Notifications software for Windows XP and other pre-Vista platforms. Last summer's WGA release was a horror show; will the sequel be kinder to customers?
One of the smartest things you can do with a new installation of Windows Vista is to relocate user data folders to a different drive than the one that contains the Windows and Program Files folders. The advantage? By separating system files from data, you make it easy to back up and restore each. Here's how.
Metadata within a file can tell a lot about you - maybe even more than you want the world to know. A new option in Windows Vista allows you to easily zap unwanted details stored in the properties of a file. Here's how to find this feature and use it.
In Windows Vista, Boot.ini is gone. So how do you control options for a multi-boot system? You can use Microsoft's command-line tool, Bcdedit.exe. But a free third-party tool, VistaBoot Pro, is a much better choice.
You probably heard or read about the "Vista upgrade loophole." Most of the reports I've seen have the basic facts wrong. The Setup feature they're describing isn't a loophole at all. It's a perfectly legal workaround for an amazingly stupid technical restriction that Microsoft imposes on upgraders. In this installment of my Vista Hands On series, I explain exactly what's going on and how you can legally perform a clean install using an upgrade key.
If you're getting ready to perform a Vista upgrade, be on the lookout for two gotchas, both of which are related to your system drive. You'll need sufficient disk space and the right disk format. If your old PC is still using FAT32, this installment in my 30 Days of Vista Hand On series will explain how to convert it to NTFS.