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, Appearances, Books, Windows Vista

Owensboro's GOTIT! Vista Questions, That Is.

Many thanks to the men and women who attended my talk on Windows Vista SP1, “What’s In It for Business?” yesterday at Owensboro’s Colby’s Restaurant. The Greater Owensboro Territory Information Technologists (GETIT) asked a lot of great questions about Windows Vista and SP1. Some also purchased my new book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed – a great gift for Vista users.

Both GOTIT and its sister organization in Evansville, GETIT, sponsor outstanding speakers on technology issues monthly. Check out upcoming events at the GETIT/GOTIT information page hosted by the Evansville Public Library’s website.

Windows Vista

Windows Vista SP1 RC's Up For Grabs – Get It Now

Windows Vista users: 

If you’re looking for a way to…

  • Get your hands on over 450 updates and hotfixes
  • Improve reliability and performance
  • Make your system more secure

… you need Windows Vista SP1 RC – today! You can use it until the final SP1 release comes along, and this near-final release provides a lot of relief for nagging Windows Vista problems. Find the links you need here.


Get yourself up to speed on Vista or help a Windows newbie out – pick up a copy of Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed today. It’s available at, and has recently received a 5-star review:

I have just finished this book, and was very impressed with how it opened my eyes to Vista…I would recommend this book to anyone new to Vista.

Books, MaximumPC, Tech news, Windows Vista, Windows XP

On the Windows Beat…

I’ve been working hard on a couple of new Windows projects lately:

And, in addition to those, I’ve also been covering the Windows beat at Maximum PC’s website. If you haven’t dropped by lately, here’s what you haven’t seen yet:

  • Learn how to protect yourself from Windows Vista’s activation problems
  • Find out what reviewers think about Windows Vista’s backup, Windows Live Photo Gallery, and Windows Movie Maker HD utilities
  • Discover why your Windows XP system downloaded the performance-robbing Windows Desktop Search, and how to banish it – for good.
  • Find out how to protect your Windows XP system from the Mailto URI threat in Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader.
  • Learn how to become an unofficial beta tester of Windows Vista SP1 by making a few simple changes to your system.
  • And, on the brighter side, find out how the Atari 2600 VCS (now 30 years old!) inspired today’s booming console and PC gaming industry.

Discover how Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker and Windows Photo Gallery work together to make Windows Vista the most compelling multimedia platform for Windows yet. Get Mark’s new book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed: an Insider’s Guide to Supercharging Windows Vista. It’s available at, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, and other fine bookstores.

Appearances, Books, MaximumPC, Windows Vista

Talking Windows Vista…in Evansville

I’ll be speaking to the Greater Evansville Territory Information Technologists (GETIT) group on Wednesday, October 3 from 11:30AM to 1:30PM:

Windows Vista: Hardware Hog or Multimedia Maven?

Browning Events Room B
Evansville Vanderburgh Central Library

200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Evansville, IN 47713


  • Why Windows Vista needs more powerful hardware than previous Windows versions
  • How Windows Vista makes digital photography, music, and video easier to manage and more fun
  • The benefits of other new features included in Microsoft’s latest operating system.

If you’ve never seen Windows Vista in action before, it’s the perfect opportunity to see how it works, what makes it different, and how it’s better than previous Windows versions. You don’t need to be an IT “propellorhead” to drop in, and attendance is free. Bring lunch, or stop in the newly reopened library cafe and pick up a meal.

I’ll have copies of my new book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed: An Insider’s Guide to Supercharging Windows Vista and other recent books available at special prices, and I’ll be signing books too.

I’ve been using Windows Vista daily for over a year and writing about it and other Windows topics for Maximum PC’s website, so I’m ready to answer your questions. I hope to see you there!


For more information about GETIT and Owensboro’s sister organization, GOTIT, see the GETIT page at the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library website., Books, MaximumPC, Tech news, Windows Vista

Digging Deeper to Solve Technology Annoyances

In several of my recent articles at the Maximum PC website, I’ve put on my investigative journalism cap to find out what’s behind the headlines of some major stories:


For more no holds barred analysis, see what I think about the new and improved features in Microsoft Windows Vista, and how to use them better, in my book Maximum PC Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed: an Insider’s Guide to Supercharging Windows Vista. It’s now available at, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, and other fine bookstores.

Books, MaximumPC, Windows Vista

Maximum PC + Me + Vista = My New Book

It’s finally here! (And coming soon here!)

What is it? My newest book, Maximum PC Guide to Microsoft Windows Vista Exposed.

Read it to discover:

– How to perform a clean install using a Vista upgrade DVD

– Why Windows Vista Ultimate protects your data better than other editions

– How to protect your children from unsuitable websites and media (and how not to)

– What you need to make Windows Vista and Windows XP share nicely on the same network

… and much, much more!

It’s based on the final release of Windows Vista and Windows Vista Ultimate Extras, so it’s an up-to-date reference to what’s new, what’s improved, what’s great, and what needs work in Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate editions. Enjoy!

Check out Chapter 8 on Windows Media Player 11 free.

MaximumPC, Windows Vista

Windows Vista Updates with Gamers (and Everyone Else) in Mind

In an era in which operating system updates are delivered ‘to your door’ by Windows Update and similar online services, it’s fair to say that modern operating systems are truly ‘works in progress.’ Windows Vista is no exception.

Several recent updates are worth checking out. The first two are especially useful if you play PC games. You might have already received these updates via Windows Update, but if not, you can follow the links to install them manually:

  • If you’re using two graphics cards with NVIDIA’s SLI or ATI’s CrossFire dual GPU configuration, Windows Vista might not be using the second graphics card. Fix this problem and get the 3D performance you paid for with the update discussed in Knowledge Base article 936710. You can request this update and receive a link to it via email. To learn how, see my Maximum PC blog posting Hotfixes by Email – Just What the Windows Doctor Ordered.
  • 3D games based on DirectX 9 and earlier DirectX versions use a lot more virtual memory address space under Windows Vista than under Windows XP. As a result, you may experience crashes while playing your favorite games. Microsoft has updated the virtual memory manager for Windows Vista to solve this problem. See Knowledge Base article 940105 for details. To request a link to this update, see Hotfixes by Email – Just What the Windows Doctor Ordered.

Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or not, you’ll want to get your hands on the next two updates:

  • Fix various performance and reliability headaches with the update discussed in Knowledge Base article 938979. The update can be downloaded directly from the article.
  • Fix various compatibility headaches with the update discussed in Knowledge Base article 938194. The update can be downloaded directly from the article.

To find out if you’ve already received these updates, open the Windows Update icon in Control Panel and review your system’s update history. If you still need some of these updates, fire up your browser and get downloading!, Windows Vista

Get the Rest of the Story – at

I’ve been blogging regularly for several months at as well as elsewhere. If you haven’t caught my blog yet, here’s what you’ve been missing:

  • How to use the Windows Vista Recovery Environment (unlike Windows XP’s Recovery Console, it works – and you will understand what it’s doing)
  • How to help Windows XP and Windows Vista share folders with each other
  • How to find out how much working RAM Windows has, and why you may need to add more than you think for adequate performance
  • Coverage of Windows Vista Ultimate Extras: useful added features, tools, and (let’s be fair) a bit of additional eye candy as well especially for Vista Ultimate users

Thankfully, it’s not too late to dive in. Enjoy!