Ed Bott

Ed Bott is an award-winning technology writer with more than two decades' experience writing for mainstream media outlets and online publications. He has served as editor of the U.S. edition of PC Computing and managing editor of PC World; both publications had monthly paid circulation in excess of 1 million during his tenure. He is the author of more than 25 books on Microsoft Windows and Office, including Windows 7 Inside Out (2009) and Office 2013 Inside Out (2013).

Latest Posts

DirecTV's HD tuner set to debut with Windows 7?

DirecTV's HD tuner set to debut with Windows 7?

DirecTV's HD tuner for Media Center PCs, first announced at CES three years ago, has achieved the same notoriety as Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness monster. The occasional sighting is always enshrouded in fog and mystery, and no one has ever reported spotting one of these mythical creatures in the wild. But while poking around in the pre-beta build of Windows 7, I found a signed driver for this device. Does this discovery mean this mythical creature will make its debut with Windows 7 next year?

November 8, 2008 by in Hardware

My favorite Windows Vista gadgets

My favorite Windows Vista gadgets

When I first began using Windows Vista, I dismissed the Sidebar as a gimmick. It didn’t help that the default gadgets Microsoft offered were of limited utility and that some early gadgets caused performance problems.

November 6, 2008 by in Windows

That "unlocked" Windows 7 taskbar is also unfinished

That "unlocked" Windows 7 taskbar is also unfinished

My hat’s off to blogger Rafael Rivera, who returned from last week’s Microsoft Professional Developers Conference and apparently didn’t sleep until he figured out how to unlock the flashy new Superbar interface that Microsoft showed off at PDC but didn't make available to PDC attendees. Rafael's clever hack does indeed unlock an alternate interface for Windows 7 Build 6801, but in this post I want to throw a giant bucket of cold water on your expectations. The unlocked interface is missing some key features, as I explain.

November 3, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Clearing up the Windows Live confusion

Clearing up the Windows Live confusion

The single most confusing part of the Windows 7 intro last week at the Professional Developers Conference was the part about Windows Live. Judging by the comments I’ve read and heard, many people mistakenly concluded that Microsoft is planning to deliver a suite of Internet-based applications in tandem with Windows 7. Here’s what’s really happening.

November 2, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

You've got Windows 7 questions, I've got answers

You've got Windows 7 questions, I've got answers

My first look at the pre-beta PDC release of Windows 7 inspired plenty of great feedback and questions, along with an understandable amount of confusion and apprehension. Is it really faster? Is the new desktop/taskbar UI just a fresh coat of paint on the Vista interface? What's in it for corporate customers? I’ll address some of the most common questions and comments in this post.

October 29, 2008 by in Windows

Seven questions Microsoft won’t answer about Windows 7

Seven questions Microsoft won’t answer about Windows 7

Microsoft’s news embargo on Windows 7 lifts tomorrow. Today, though, I can confidently report on a handful of questions about Windows 7 that you won’t see answered in those announcements. Want to know how many editions of Windows 7 will be released? Looking for the ship date? Wondering about whether there will be a public beta? Go ahead and ask. Just don't expect any answers. Yet.

October 27, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

OS X versus Vista, RAM division

OS X versus Vista, RAM division

Now that I have a recent-vintage MacBook for testing, I'm finally able to make some head-to-head comparisons between OS X and Vista. Because this system has a mere 1GB of RAM, I was curious to get a sense of how thrifty OS X Leopard is when it comes to memory usage. Vista gets a bad rap for demanding huge amounts of resources. Is that reputation fair or accurate? I put both systems to the test so I could see for myself. The results were surprising.

October 24, 2008 by in Processors

Adding up the Apple tax

Adding up the Apple tax

Through the graces of an anonymous benefactor, I have a recent-vintage white MacBook to use for the next few months. As a newbie Mac user, I paid special attention to Apple’s announcements of new MacBooks last week. And Microsoft paid special attention, too, as I received multiple e-mails from folks in Redmond, who wanted to make sure I know what a great value the PC platform is compared to Apple’s products. Microsoft is peddling a line about an “Apple tax,” but most of those analyses are based on the hardware cost. I’ve been paying close enough attention to know that the differences in price extend over multiple dimensions, far beyond just the initial outlay. So how much is the Apple tax, all told? In my case, it's around $500. Watch me do the math.

October 21, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

The Windows 7 name game, continued

The Windows 7 name game, continued

It is rare that you get to see a Microsoft executive tap dance and juggle at the same time, but that’s what I felt like as I read one senior executive's attempt to explain why the next version of Windows will be called Windows 7, even though it's technically version 6.1. Unfortunately, the “simple” explanation that follows fails spectacularly when you get to the part that jumps from 6 to 7. So what's really behind the name?

October 15, 2008 by in Microsoft

And the new name is ... Windows 7

And the new name is ... Windows 7

Last week I wondered whether the product currently code-named Windows 7 would get a new name for its release. The answer, made official a few minutes ago, is no. In a post at the official Windows Vista Team Blog, Microsoft VP Mike Nash announced that Windows 7 will in fact be the final name.

October 13, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

Six money-saving secrets to help stretch your tech budget

Six money-saving secrets to help stretch your tech budget

The recent collapse of worldwide financial markets has everyone on edge. If you’re like most people, tough times have you looking around at ways to cut back on spending. You might be tempted to impose a freeze on all new purchases of hardware and software, but that draconian strategy only works for so long. Sooner or later, you need to refresh old technology, either because it’s stopped working or is so slow that it’s cramping your productivity. A better strategy, in my experience, is learning to shop smarter. In today’s post, I share some of the secrets I’ve learned about how to get great PC hardware and software without breaking the bank.

October 12, 2008 by in Microsoft

Are there really too many Windows editions?

Are there really too many Windows editions?

Ask any Windows pundit about all the different versions of Windows Vista that Microsoft offers and you’ll invariably get the same response. There are too many! Consumers are confused! It all needs to be simplified! To which I say: Be careful what you wish for. The case for reducing the number of Windows versions to one or two sounds convincing in the abstract, but the argument breaks down quickly once you start to examine the details and consider how such a change would affect the way you and I buy Windows on consumer and business PCs. For starters, would you be willing to pay 17.5% more for an entry-level PC? That's just one of the problems with this idea.

October 10, 2008 by in Windows

Look who’s buying Vista Home Basic (hint: it’s not home users)

Look who’s buying Vista Home Basic (hint: it’s not home users)

Who’s buying new PCs with Windows Vista Home Basic? Judging by the name, you’d assume those OS editions would be loaded on underpowered machines for starving students and penny-pinching families. But you’d be wrong. Based on my observations of the PC market over the past year or two, I think consumers have rejected Home Basic in favor of Home Premium. But small, budget-conscious businesses have embraced the low-end OS. In one large sample I looked at, nearly three out of every five machines destined for small business included Windows Vista Home Basic. Small-business buyers are apparently able to look past that name, and PC makers are happy to accommodate them. I've got the details on this apparent trend.

October 9, 2008 by in Hardware

Will Windows 7 get a new name for its release?

Will Windows 7 get a new name for its release?

I’m reading more and more about Windows 7 lately as PDC approaches and Microsoft begins revealing more snippets of information about its most secretive product ever. In most of that coverage, I've noticed an assumption that Windows 7 is going to be the final name of the product. I’ve been guilty of leaping to that conclusion myself. But a reader asked the other day why Microsoft is calling it Windows 7, and as I worked on my response to that question, it struck me that it’s entirely possible, even likely, that the next release of Windows will get a new name before it hits the streets. Keep reading, and I’ll give you a chance to compare your prediction with mine.

October 7, 2008 by in Enterprise Software

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