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.
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.
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.
Who says you need to format your hard disk to do a clean install of Windows Vista? In this edition of my 30 days of Vista Hands On, I explain how to use an upgrade copy of Windows Vista to install a completely clean copy without wiping out your old data. The technique involves a Setup procedure that was guaranteed to cause problems in Windows XP but works just fine in Vista.
It's Patch Tuesday, and Microsoft doled out a dozen Critical and Important updates for Windows and Office via Automatic Updates. But if you're running Windows Vista, you can hit the snooze button for another month. None of those patches - not a single one - apply to Windows Vista or Office 2007. But there is a new Ultimate Extra
When you buy a copy of Windows Vista, the most important part of the purchase is the 25-character product key, which you use to activate your installation. In the first installment of my Vista Hands-On series, I explain how to use two tools - an obscure VBScript file included with all Vista editions and a free third-party utility - to find out important details about your product key.