Top Story

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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More on the Vista upgrade secret

I revealed in my Feb. 1 article that you can buy the “upgrade” version of Windows Vista and
clean-install it to any hard drive, with or without a preexisting version of
Windows XP or 2000.

This renders the more expensive “full” version of Vista unnecessary —
and many of my readers have provided additional information about why
this upgrade trick works.

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Get Vista upgrade, never pay full price

Many people are upset the fact that the economical, “upgrade” version of
Vista won’t accept a Windows XP or Windows 2000 CD-ROM as proof of
ownership. Vista Upgrade is said to install only to a hard disk that already has
XP or 2000 already on it.

But I’ve tested a method that allows you to clean-install the
Vista upgrade version on any hard drive, with no prior XP or W2K installation
— or even a CD — required.

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Beware of unexpected holiday gifts

now you’ve opened your presents and you’re playing with your new tech
toys — but don’t let the Grinch spoil your holiday season.

Let’s take a quick look at some flaws that Microsoft hasn’t yet patched,
and which people may use to try to scam you this season.

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