Top Story

Nine must-have freeware apps rise to the top

The “best freeware” lists published by Web sites and magazines frequently trumpet dozens of programs, but the results reflect the subjective opinions of just one or two testers.

To find the best of the best, I compared roundups of “great” freeware conducted recently by four reputable publications to find the programs that were endorsed by at least three of the reviews.

Read More »

Flash ads bearing malware plague popular sites

A Flash-based advertisement that appeared last week on the USA Today site downloaded malicious code to users’ computers, generating erroneous warnings of a malware infestation and offering a phony solution.

The Flash vulnerability is so widespread that such “malvertisements” may be present on thousands of sites, but there are measures you can take to reduce your exposure.

Read More »

Outages cast doubts on MS online services

With the recent public betas of Office Live Workspace and Microsoft Online Services, the Redmond company is ratcheting up its efforts to deliver the power of MS Office — or at least a portion of it — to the Internet.

But Microsoft’s ability to offer software as a service (SaaS) has come under fire due to server outages and bugs that have plagued the company’s online services in the last several months.

Read More »

It’s official: upgrade hack included in Vista SP1

The new Service Pack 1 version of Windows Vista allows end users to purchase the “upgrade edition” and install it on any PC — with no need to purchase the more expensive “full edition.”

The same behavior was present when Vista was originally released, but the fact that the trick wasn’t removed from SP1 suggests that Microsoft executives approved the back door as a way to make the price of Vista more appealing to sophisticated buyers.

Read More »

XP virtual computing avoids dual-boot complexity

It’s possible to have Vista and chow down on your XP cake, too, if you apply a free — for now — virtual machine.

If you’re stuck with a Vista PC, but you really prefer using XP, I’ll show you how to set up XP as a virtual machine on Vista, plus some tricks you can use to get the most out of this setup.

Read More »

Carry an entire operating system in your pocket

Running applications from a USB flash drive on a public computer is convenient but exposes you to malware and other limitations of the host PC.

By installing a Windows-like version of Linux on a flash drive, you can take a complete operating system wherever you go and work in a safe, secure environment, even in an Internet café.

Read More »

How to fix that gizmo you dropped in the loo

It happens to everyone: one moment, you’re talking on your cell or dialing up a tune on your MP3 player, and the next, you’re staring down at your gadget in a toilet, a puddle, or worse.

If your portable electronic device gets dropped or submerged, is there anything you can do? Fortunately, the answer is yes.

Read More »

Get yourself an XP system while you still can

With Windows XP scheduled to disappear from store shelves on June 30, time is running out to buy a computer with that venerable OS preinstalled.

As manufacturers stop producing XP drivers, finding hardware that still supports XP is becoming a challenge, but I’ve produced one last shopping guide for you before the clock runs out.

Read More »

Save space when using two drives or dual-booting

You may be able to free up some valuable space if you’re using two disk partitions, using two physical drives, or dual-booting between XP and Vista on the same machine.

I’ll show you several steps you can take to eliminate duplicate files and get more out of your disks.

Read More »

Microsoft cuts Ultimate licenses for volume buyers

During most of 2007, buyers of Microsoft’s volume-licensing bundle were allowed to run one copy of Vista Ultimate on each machine covered by the arrangement.

Microsoft quietly changed this policy, however, and now allows businesses to get only one Vista Ultimate product key for every 100 copies of Vista Enterprise they purchase.

Read More »