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Windows 7 Starter Edition limits netbook designs

Last week, Microsoft dropped its plan to enforce a three-concurrent-app limit on Windows 7 Starter Edition — the version of the new OS that will be preinstalled only on small PCs, such as netbooks.

Microsoft is still expected, however, to restrict netbook hardware configurations that are eligible for Starter Edition pricing, which means your choices for cheap netbooks may be hobbled — at least in the near term.

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Shavlik, Secunia top Windows Update alternatives

If you followed the instructions in my May 21
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to build new systems without installing the trouble-prone Windows Genuine Advantage app, you may want to patch your PC using something other than Windows Update, which offers again and again to install WGA.

My favorite third-party software update service is currently the Shavlik Patch Google Gadget, although Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector is a worthwhile alternative.

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Get all security patches without WGA nightmares

If you’re a legitimate Microsoft customer, you can download and install all the Windows updates you need without running Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) and exposing yourself to the false positives it’s become known for.

In today’s article, I explain how to install Windows XP and upgrade it with every available security fix and many optional updates as well, without ever installing WGA.

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Two big reasons why you’ll like Windows 7

If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so difficult to manage and share files in Windows, you’ll be delighted with two significant new features in Windows 7.

These new capabilities, called Libraries and Homegroups, make finding files and connecting with resources on other PCs so easy you’ll think you’re using a Mac!

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ISPs assist in cutting off file-sharing users

Internet service providers are cooperating more and more with copyright holders to crack down on illegal downloading and peer-to-peer file-sharing.

Some of the changes are due to strict new piracy laws, but others appear to arise from sheer self-interest on the ISPs’ part.

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Gmail accounts hacked via unpatched hole

Exploits allowing hackers to break into Gmail accounts are likely to occur, if they’re not already circulating, after security researchers released details of a hole that Google has reportedly declined to patch.

There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of using a webmail account, but it appears that the usual tricks won’t solve the Gmail problem until Google fixes the software.

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Windows Genuine Advantage is still genuinely bad

Microsoft’s system for validating Windows before users can download most updates continues to be a problem for legitimate customers and for Internet security as a whole.

Despite claims of offering better security, Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) serves only Microsoft’s marketing interests — but you can eliminate the need for WGA if you know the trick.

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Dell and HP balk at replacing bad Nvidia chip

An old urban myth claims that the microprocessors used in PCs and other consumer electronics are designed to fail within days or weeks of their warranty expiration.

For tens of thousands of people who bought Dell and HP notebooks whose motherboards fried — often a few weeks after their warranty expired — there’s nothing mythical about it.

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No reason to rush your upgrade to IE 8

Microsoft touts Internet Explorer 8 as a big improvement over previous versions of the browser in terms of security, speed, and compatibility.

While that’s basically true, the inevitable new-release glitches — which are already appearing — suggest you should wait at least a month before upgrading.

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Run a Conficker removal tool before April 1

Computers infected with the infamous Conficker worm will start scanning the Internet for instructions this April Fools’ Day, and the results won’t be a funny joke.

I’m publishing a special news update today to correct some misinformation that’s been circulating and to give you a 1-2-3 approach that should cure most Conficker infections before April 1.

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