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A crusade against bad EULAs

By
Scott Dunn

For at least a decade, InfoWorld veteran Ed Foster has been writing about the
uses and abuses of end-user license agreements (EULAs).

What began as examples of bad service
agreements that were more funny than dangerous has become a crusade against
complicated language and outrageous requirements and penalties. I talked to
Foster about fighting the good fight.

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Is your security system up to date?

WindowsSecrets.com maintains a
WSN Security Baseline page to keep you current
on the bare minimum you need to protect your home or small-business systems against
malware.

This list is based on our analysis of the reviews and editor’s choices from leading PC
publications and Web sites, including PC Magazine,
PC World,
CNET,
and others.

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Microsoft, McAfee, Symantec charge cards repeatedly

These days, most antivirus and other security products come with a
subscription to update your virus definitions.

Signing up usually means forced automatic subscription renewal, in which your
credit card is charged every year, and it’s not easy to opt out —
but I’ll show you how.

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Driver signing is a failure for Vista

To back up its claims that Windows Vista is “the safest version of Windows ever,”
Microsoft requires developers to use digital signatures on all 64-bit drivers for
Vista.

This requirement, far from making the new operating system safer, actually does
little to stop hackers but may be partially responsible for a shortage of drivers that are needed
Vista users.

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How DEP can protect your PC

Newer processors, such as those from Intel and AMD, support a useful
feature that Microsoft calls hardware Data Execution Prevention
(DEP).

Unfortunately, it’s not enabled for all the software you may be
running. Here’s how to remedy that situation.

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Save money using OEM software

In last week’s issue, I told you how to get great prices on Windows
and other software using educational discounts. Unfortunately, not
everyone has the credentials to get these discounts.

For those lacking the academic qualifications, Original Equipment Manufacturer
(OEM) discounts offer a tempting alternative.

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How to get Windows software at half-price

Despite hacks and cracks you can find on the Web, the only
legitimate way to run Windows XP or Vista is to purchase a licensed
copy.

But you can get copies at half-price or less using “educational
discounts” — and qualifying is a lot easier than you may
think.

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Microsoft allows bypass of Vista activation

Microsoft always says it opposes “software
pirates” who sell thousands of unauthorized copies of Windows.

But the Redmond company has made things a lot easier for pirates adding a line
to the Registry that can be changed from 0 to 1 to postpone the need to “activate”
Vista indefinitely.

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Pop-up ads can land you in jail

If you find yourself the victim of pop-up ads on a computer, with
children in the vicinity, you could face decades in prison.

I wish that I was exaggerating or being sensationalistic, but for Julie
Amero this is far too real.

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Use Vista without activation for 120 days

It’s widely assumed that a newly installed copy of Windows Vista must be
"activated" before 30 days are up.

But Microsoft has built into Vista a simple, one-line command that anyone can
use to extend the activation deadline of the product to a total of 120 days —
almost four full months!

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