InformIT, Upgrading and repairing PCs, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Hardware and Windows Tips of the Day, Number 1 of a New Series

I’ve just completed my “30 Hardware and Windows Tips in 30 Days” series at, the umbrella website for Que Publishing, Peachpit, and other book imprints in the Pearson Education family.

Most of these tips are self-contained, but a few of them are ‘to-be-continued’ two-parters. I’ll be featuring a hardware and a Windows tip each day over the next couple of weeks.

Hardware Tip of the Day

Have problems with slow writing speeds with some types of DVD or CD media? Poor system stability? Problems with your CD or DVD drive recognizing new types of media? The solution is simple: get a firmware upgrade for your DVD drive.

Windows Tip of the Day

Tired of Windows Update rebooting your system at the worst possible times? Don’t like removing updates you never asked for and never wanted anyway? Put yourself in charge of Windows Update (XP, Vista).

Tune in tomorrow for another hardware and another Windows tip.


Speaking of Windows, you can now preview my forthcoming book Unleashing Microsoft Windows Vista Media Center. It’s available as a Rough Cut from the InformIT website. A Rough Cut is an unfinished version of the book that gives you an opportunity to see how the book is progressing. You can preview the book online or via PDF or preorder the book – all at a significant savings off the cover price.

Books, MaximumPC, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Discover the Difference in Home Networking in Vista

The home networking chapter from my book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed: an Insider’s Guide to Supercharging Windows Vista is now available online.

Windows Vista’s networking features are among the biggest changes compared to Windows XP, and this chapter will help you understand how to master new features like the Network Center, network mapping, setup and management of wireless networks, helping Windows XP and Windows Vista coexist on a single network, and network troubleshooting. Whether you’re already using Windows Vista or planning to take a look at it this year, it’s a must-read.

Windows Vista

Time to Take a Second Look at Windows Vista

If you’ve been waiting for a good reason to try Windows Vista, Service Pack 1 (now available in its Release Candidate version) is that reason. It provides huge improvements in reliability, performance, and features. I’ve been running it for about a month on my laptop (a two-year old single-core Turion 64) and it’s solid, reliable, and faster than before.

If you’re considering taking Windows Vista for a spin (you can grab a 30-day trial of the Enterprise edition that runs under Virtual PC 2007), check out these new articles available at

Microsoft, Offbeat, Technology history

Question: What do Mach 10, Booster and Bob Have in Common?

Answer: they’re three of the most obscure products developed by a certain West Coast technology company:

  • Mach 10 was a processor board upgrade for the IBM PC
  • Booster was a mouse, clock, and memory upgrade for the IBM PCjr
  • Bob was a short-lived friendly front-end for Windows 3.1 and Windows 95

And that company was Microsoft (or, as in early ads, MicroSoft). With Microsoft founder Bill Gates riding off into the sunset this week after his final keynote address at CES, I figured it was time to rediscover some of Microsoft’s strangest products ever. Have other nominees? Let us know.