Stories by Preston Gralla

Best Vista downloads

Looking for software to get the most out of Windows Vista? As yet, there hasn't been a flood of great downloads designed specifically for Microsoft's latest operating system. But that didn't stopped us from searching high and low for the best free Vista apps available -- and we've come up with 20 real keepers.

New Vista firewall fails on outbound security

Microsoft has touted Windows Vista as giving significant security improvements over Windows XP, and it offers the Windows Firewall, with its new two-way filtering feature, as one reason for that better security.

Windows Vista: 15 reasons to switch

Windows Vista is almost here. To anyone who has been sitting on the fence over whether to upgrade to Microsoft's new operating system, I'll say it loud and clear: It's time to make the jump. There are plenty of reasons to leave Windows XP and install Vista, and below are my top 15 favorites.

Wireless hot spot protection

Wi-Fi hot spots in airports, restaurants, cafes and even downtown locations have turned Internet access into an always-on, ubiquitous experience. Unfortunately, that also means always-on, ubiquitous security risks.

Internet Explorer: Top dog for good reason

Common wisdom holds that it takes Microsoft three versions to perfect a product. That's not quite the case with Internet Explorer -- it's taken Redmond all the way until version 7 to get it right. But now that IE7 is here, there's little reason to use any other browser.

Computing in the cloud

Amazon.com is making a big bet, but it's not on selling books, CDs or holiday gifts. Instead, it wants to sell you all the processing power you can eat. Rather than competing with your local bookstore, it's taking on the likes of IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

Just say yes to Internet Explorer 7

It's been a long time coming, but Internet Explorer 7 is here at last. If you're dying to get your hands on the new browser, you can go download it right now, but there's really no need -- IE7 will soon come knocking on your door.

Things to love about networking in Windows Vista

Vista is the first version of Windows created for a world where networks and wireless access are ubiquitous. One of Microsoft's goals in creating Windows Vista was to take advantage of that constant connectivity.

Microsoft releases interim Vista build

Microsoft has released an interim build of Windows Vista to 100,000 Customer Preview Program (CPP) participants. The new build is also available on TechBeta, TechNet, TAP and MSDN.

Microsoft plans sweeping Vista test plan

Microsoft Tuesday unveiled the details of its sweeping plan to get Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1) into the hands of millions of new testers and released final pricing for the operating system.

Web services in action

Web services may be the latest hot topic of conversation, but for many companies, that's all the technology amounts to -- talk. Not so for four pioneering companies where Web services are already in operation and paying big dividends. We talked with IT managers at these organizations about how they've learned to exploit the technology by reusing Web service modules and better integrating their own internal business processes with those of external partners.