Top Story

Microsoft evades promise of Vista Ultimate Extras

The Microsoft Corp. in January released Vista Ultimate, the priciest
version of the company’s new operating system, with the promise of additional downloadable “Extras,” available only for the top-of-the-line product.

Months later, buyers of Vista Ultimate have seen no new Extras since the mere
handful that were offered around the initial Vista

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Svchost.exe gets worse before it’s fixed

Problems with an important Windows component, svchost.exe, can
consume up to 100% of CPU time.

Now, a beta release of Windows Live Messenger threatens to spread the problem to
even more users, unless their systems are patched soon.

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Practice ‘safe surfing’ with public Wi-Fi signals

You see them everywhere your Wi-Fi laptop goes: unprotected wireless signals
offering "Free Internet Access" or "Free
Public Wi-Fi."

But connect to them and you’ll be disappointed. In a few cases,
you may even have your computer hacked. Here’s the scoop on how to protect

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A crusade against bad EULAs

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? 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

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,
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

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

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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Help Fred Langa discover North America

Our esteemed editor, Fred Langa, is taking a much-deserved sabbatical to ride his
motorcycle coast-to-coast across the U.S. and back through Canada —
and YOU can win a day with him, free.

Every subscriber, free and paid, can enter to win one of Fred Langa’s
patented Housecalls, with the master himself riding up to optimize
your PC, scan it for viruses, and more.

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