Sunday, July 29, 2012

16 PC Mysteries Solved!

Our digital detectives uncover the truth behind some of tech’s most baffling questions.

Why do I need administrator access for some tasks?

IPC Mysteriest's a security precaution. Windows requires you to have administrator access in order to modify or delete files, if doing so might affect other people who use the computer. This usually isn't a problem if you set up the PC yourself, since the primary account on any Windows machine is assigned administrator privileges by default; but if you need access to your PC's administrator account without a password (if you bought the PC used, for example) you could be in a pickle.

Normally, gaining administrator access in Windows when you don't know the password to the account entails either reinstalling Windows or using third-party software like the Offline NT & Password Editor to reset the password. PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector has written about this issue extensively in his Answer Line column, and you can find his advice on using the Offline NT & Password Editor to gain administrator access...

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Monday, July 23, 2012

How Can You Get Windows 8?

Will you upgrade to Windows 8? Will you get it on a new PC? On a tablet? Or do you plan to skip it as you may have skipped Vista? For those willing to dip their toes into the waters of Microsoft's drastic re-thinking of its flagship chunk of software, there are a number of options for how to actually get it. And in a poll on PCMag run back when Windows 8 Release Preview was launched, a surprising number of you want to start in with the new OS the moment it's available. For those eager beavers, along with anyone else wanting to move forward in the Windows world, we submit the following guide.

As of a couple days ago, we know exactly when you'll be able to get Windows 8—October 26. Windows head honcho Stephen Sinofsky made the announcement at Microsoft's annual sales announcement on July 18. This availability applies to both new PCs and tablets and to upgrade options.

Let's take a look at the different paths you can take to get to Windows 8 once that date rolls around, with the two primary options being upgrade versus new machine...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Microsoft could face billions in new fines over browser choice

Computerworld - European Union (EU) antitrust regulators today threatened Microsoft with more fines, potentially massive ones in the billions of dollars, after the company failed to make good on its promise to offer consumers there a choice of browsers.

The EU's chief regulator, Joaquin Almunia, talked tough. "If the facts are confirmed, [I will] use the legal instruments at my disposal to deter and to punish [Microsoft]."

In announcing the new investigation, Almunia, the head of the EU's Competition Commission, added, "If confirmed, this would have severe consequences ... and there will be sanctions."

Microsoft immediately apologized, calling the failure to offer the browser choice screen to Windows 7 users a "technical error."...

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Speed Tests: Windows 8 Vs. Windows 7

We've heard it before: The next version of Windows is going to start up way faster and run faster than the last. With Windows 7, we were told that we could expect 15 second boot times, but that sure hasn't been my experience. With Windows 8, it looks like the claims are for real: In using the Windows 8 Developer, Consumer, and Release Previews, I've noticed a huge improvement in startup times. No longer do you have to wait for nearly a minute just to log into a typical PC.

And the company has stated that it's working on reducing another big source of waiting time: Updates. If you don't use a Windows 7 PC for a week or so, chances are that you'll have to wait a few minutes for it to download and install updates, and you'll probably have to go through a second reboot. This is less of a problem for PCs that are left on all the time (to the detriment of energy conservation), which is the case for most business PCs...

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bill Gates Backs Microsoft's Surface Tablet Solo Venture

Windows 8 tablets will replace the desktop, says Bill Gates.

Former chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates knows exactly why the company seemingly punched its partners in the gut with the introduction of the Windows 8-powered Surface tablet. Even more, he thinks Microsoft has done the right thing by going solo, and that Windows 8 is going to kill the traditional PC. Whoa.

Bill Gates made this revelation on Charlie Rose Monday night as he talked about Microsoft's decision to make its own tablet. As previously reported, Surface will arrive in two flavors: x86-based featuring Windows 8 Pro, and ARM-based using Windows RT. It will feature a unique cover that also serves as a super-thin keyboard, and go head to head with other Windows 8 tablets manufactured by HP, Dell, Asus, Lenovo and others.

"I actually believe you can have the best of both worlds," he said. "You can have a rich eco-system of manufacturers and you can have a few signature devices that show off, wow, what's the difference between a tablet and a PC?"

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