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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.

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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.

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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.

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Make your computer dual-boot Vista and XP

It’s getting harder to buy a new computer with Windows XP installed and — after Microsoft stops selling XP on June 30, 2008 — it will become nearly impossible.

Fortunately, you can have your XP cake and eat your Vista, too, by setting up your system to boot between the two operating systems.

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Symantec uninstaller may not finish the job

Like most Windows software, Norton security products, published by the Symantec Corp., come with an uninstall option to remove the software from your computer.

Unfortunately, neither Symantec’s bundled uninstaller — nor a little-known, special utility from the company — removes every single thing.

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Symantec edges out ZoneAlarm in Security Baseline

Symantec’s security suite has gained more first-place awards from respected test labs than the well-known ZoneAlarm suite, pushing Symantec into the top spot in our WSN Security Baseline.

We publish the baseline and update it whenever our analysis of the recommendations of leading PC publications and Web sites changes.

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MSN drops parental controls for paying customers

MSN Premium, Microsoft’s suite of paid Web services, is dropping some parental controls and recommending that its users switch to the company’s free Windows Live equivalents instead.

If this pattern continues, MSN Premium will be left with absolutely no services that aren’t provided free in Windows Live or Microsoft Windows itself, a situation I described in a
Jan. 3

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Give XP the performance tools of Vista

Windows Vista has an all-in-one window for monitoring the health of your system and tweaking its performance — but what if you use XP, not Vista?

With just a couple of downloads and a few drags and drops, you can add a Vista-like performance center to Windows XP.

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Microsoft charges customers for free services

Thousands of customers are paying almost $120 USD per year to Microsoft for an Internet subscription service that includes e-mail, security, and other features.

But Microsoft gives away almost identical services absolutely free in Windows Live and the Windows operating system itself, while neglecting to inform those who pay through the nose.

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MagicJack promises dirt-cheap phone calls

Making phone calls over the Internet is nothing new, thanks to well-known providers like Skype and Vonage.

But a simple USB device from an upstart, MagicJack, promises to bring voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to the masses for as little as $20 USD per year.

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