Stories by Preston Gralla

First Look: Internet Explorer 8 beta

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 1 for developers, released by Microsoft on March 6, offers some fascinating new capabilities. For example, it introduces two new features called Activities and WebSlices that extend the capabilities of the browser by interacting with other Web sites and services.

Hands-on Vista SP1: Better but slower?

The final version of Vista SP1 focuses on under-the-hood improvements to reliability, security and performance, with very few changes made to the interface or Vista's features. Think of it as a giant, glorified set of patches and fixes rather than a clear and visible change to the operating system.

10 great free downloads for your network

Got a small network, home network, medium-size network -- even an enterprise network -- and want to get the most out of it? Then I've got good news for you: 10 free pieces of software that can make your network easier to use, troubleshoot and maintain. These freebies will help everyone from networking pros to networking newbies and everyone in between.

15 must-have Firefox tricks

What good is a browser unless you can tweak it, hack it and bend it to your will? No good at all. The more you can hack it, the better it is.

The tweaker's guide to the Windows Registry

If you plan on tweaking any version of Windows, you're going to have to get friendly with the Windows Registry, a database of information that defines how your PC works, including every part of Windows and its applications and interface. Editing the Registry is often the best way to tweak Windows. In fact, it's the only way to make certain changes.

Vista SP1 offers no features, focuses on tweaks, security

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), just delivered to a group of approximately 12,000 beta testers, offers no dramatic interface changes, nor does it add new features to the operating system. Instead SP1 focuses on improving performance, reliability and application compatibility, and it extends support to emerging hardware such as the exFAT file system that will be used by flash memory storage and consumer devices. However, SP1 does change the way Windows search works, allowing third-party programs such as Google Desktop Search to integrate more easily into the operating system.