Known Issues

VirtualBox is an impressive VM contender

My Mar. 27 lead story described Microsoft’s Virtual PC and VMWare’s VMWare Player as virtual-machine software that PC users should consider — but there’s a great alternative to both. A few readers recommended VirtualBox, and my tests show that this open-source upstart includes the best features of both of its competitors.

Read More »

Reader tips on portable computing flow in

In my Mar. 20 article, I described techniques for putting an entire Linux OS on a flash drive, which is almost like having a pocket computer that can run many of your favorite applications.

I mentioned some limitations and presented a warning, but readers have come to our aid with insights on protecting and using your diminutive computer accessory.

Read More »

You have another few months to acquire XP

In the Mar. 6 issue, I explained how to find a Windows XP system before retail and OEM sales of XP get yanked from the shelves on June 30 of this year.

But system builders who cater to small businesses can still get XP until January 2009, which gives users who want to avoid Vista one more way to get their mitts on a Windows XP system.

Read More »

OEM licenses for XP are nontransferable

Mar. 6
article on buying systems with XP preinstalled stated that your XP license lets you remove the operating system from one machine and install it on another.

But that’s only true if you bought a retail copy of Windows XP, not a version that came preinstalled on your PC.

Read More »

Sizing up your boot drive’s pagefile

Feb. 28
article discussed ways to save space on your Windows drive when you have multiple hard drives or partitions.

You can save even more space by shrinking the Windows pagefile on the boot disk, as long as you don’t care about preserving some complex debugging data.

Read More »

Ultimate gets less support than XP Media Center

Feb. 21 story reported that Microsoft considers Vista Ultimate, an upgrade from Vista Home Premium and Vista Business, to be a “consumer product,” reducing the company’s support for Ultimate to a maximum of 5 years rather than 10.

What’s confusing to buyers is that Microsoft does give a full 10 years of support to another consumer product: Windows XP Media Center Edition.

Read More »

Dual-booting XP deletes Vista restore points

Feb. 14
article explained how to set up a Vista machine to dual-boot between that OS and Windows XP.

But booting to XP on a dual-boot system has the negative side-effect of deleting any Vista restore points, in addition to all but its latest backup file, and a Registry workaround is required to prevent this.

Read More »

Labs provide alternatives in evaluating suites

Feb. 7
article explained that the WSN Security Baseline summarizes the top ratings of several respected computer publications, but it is only a starting point for those who want to do their own research.

One reader responded with an impressive list of independent labs that evaluate security software and publish the results online.

Read More »

Positive reviews for Norton raise readers’ ire

I wrote on
Jan. 24
that Norton Internet Security 2008, a Symantec product, now has the greatest number of Editors’ Choice awards of any security suite, and therefore has replaced the ZoneAlarm suite in the WSN Security Baseline.

This story touched a nerve for a significant number of readers, who have had bad experiences with Symantec and its products in the past.

Read More »

Leaving MSN may be easier than you think

Some readers of my
Jan. 3 and
Jan. 17
articles on the shrinking appeal of MSN Premium asked what they might lose if they canceled Microsoft’s for-pay service, which is now duplicated by features in the company’s free Windows Live and Windows itself.

The facts show that fears of losing one’s e-mail address or dial-up access are groundless.

Read More »