Much has happened this month and Microsoft is once again the centre of attention. First up is our cover feature. If you’ve got Windows XP or Windows Vista then this will provide some serious help, our expert tips will give you some great ideas, save hours of your life and reduce frustration.
By the time you read this Microsoft will also have released Windows Vista Service Pack 1. Unlike the last major Service Pack release (Windows XP Service Pack 2) this is more of a bug fix than an Operating System upgrade.
We’ve also got two notebooks in from Lenovo. First up, there’s the new IdeaPad Y510 which, by now, many people will have seen advertised on TV. Lenovo has shrugged off its stuffy and boring image to produce a fantastic and exciting notebook that would fit happily in any home or office. And if that doesn’t fire your engines, try the codenamed ‘Kodachi’ X300 13in ultraportable.
Also check out our Real Trouble in Virtual Worlds feature. With so many people taking the term ‘Second Life’ rather too literally, what are the implications when your ‘pretend’ online representation, or avatar, gets robbed, raped or murdered? Is every depravity or traditional crime allowed in these increasingly life-like virtual realms?
We really appreciate your feedback and there’s rarely enough space to print a fraction of it. As such, from now on we’ll print the overflow weekly on our Brand New Website! Be sure to have a look at www.pcauthority.com.au Not only will it act as an archive to the main magazine but there’s lots of exclusive and interactive content there too. As ever, let us know what you think!
What's in the mag?
• 100 XP & Vista Expert Tips
• Lenovo Notebooks
• Vista Service Pack 1
• Super Light Laptop Review
• Real Crime: Virtual Worlds
What's on the disc?
• Retro Games megapack
• Avira AntiVir Personal Edition Premium
• Ashampoo Multimedia Pack 1
• PC Tools Firewall Plus 3
Climb the steps all the way to Windows guru status with our invaluable selection of tips and shortcuts for XP and Vista.
This notebook is the winner of our Light Laptops roundup. It's solid in every area rather than outstanding in one, and very attractively priced.
An HDMI-equipped board ideal for small media-centre systems
A great set of features and plenty of power, but the price is very high for this ultraportable.
A highly usable all-round security suite, but ultimately a strong runner-up rather than a new champion.
Find out how fast your broadband connection really is – and how to get the most from it – with these essential tools.
A friendly suite for the less-experienced user, but technical types may find it limiting.
Can 'crimes' committed online, such as theft or murder, get you in trouble with the police? Davey Winder investigates.
A superbly easy-to-use and feature-laden compact camera that’s well worth the price. Same titanium shell as before, with a lowlight ability.
A superbly easy-to-use and feature-laden compact camera that’s well worth the price.
Canon’s first hard disk-based AVCHD camcorder gets it mostly right, with a good level of features and the best image quality we’ve yet seen from the format.
Improved handling of templates, tracing, text and layers along with new table support, but ultimately X4 disappoints
A stunning and feature-rich LCD, but there are a few issues with the panel itself
External hard disks are a great way to add storage. We test 13, from sub-$130 portable drives to mighty terabyte desktop units.
A much-hyped console epic comes to the PC, but unlike others that have made the move this deserves its press.
The 9600 GT redefines the mainstream graphics market, offering high-end power at a mid-range price. At this price we want one.
A light and well-built business choice, but despite the low-voltage CPU the battery life disappoints
A great value camcorder that’s capable of some decent results.
Like Volvos of old, Lenovo was a solid, reliable and unexciting name. Up until now. The business-masters have turned out a very desirable, stylish and powerful laptop.
A new way forward for ultraportables, combining an incredible low weight with unrivalled ergonomic excellence
Portability is key for these light laptops. We test six featherweights from just $1486 to more than $2500.
It's a close race between this draft-n Vista Media Extender and the Xbox 360 for getting HD video to your TV. If you watch video from your Vista PC, read on.
A clever, convenient little drive that you can carry around with you in your pocket.
Disappointing ergonomics, but the blend of power and battery life makes it very good value.
Big, brash and versatile, but for top-end PCs only. Enthusiasts will love it.
This recommended broadband tool earns our respect and takes labs honours.
A stylish mobile way to access the web, but it’s crying out for mobile data capability.
A creepy, original and innovative horror adventure. Also, Frictional Games has fixed the weird control system.
We were unconvinced by the orange and brown livery of Seagate’s towering desktop drive, but for the miniature version the company has toned things down. It’s still brown, but the orange glow is restricted to the front of the unit and its simple low-profile shape is far easier to like.
Several manufacturers this month have sought to distinguish their products through design. None, however, has gone so far as Seagate to challenge our expectations of an external hard disk.
Sound quality is crisp, with a deep, tuneful lower end and, despite questionable looks.
Optimize your broadband connection with this handy freeware application, even if you use Vista.
A latency monitor that can generate handy graphs about your broadband connection.
Fast, stylish and crammed with features, but you’ll need a fat wallet to afford it
Use the power of servers scattered all over the world to your advantage.
The man behind Ultima tries to reinvent the online RPG and partially succeeds with this robust MMO.
A useful little NAS box with plenty of features and a compelling price.
Powerful and well featured, but the ergonomics and battery life let it down.
A handy application that simulates a real VoIP call to diagnose your broadband problems.
A splendid bit of design that will please the most commited enthusiast, and a godsend for artists on a budget.
A solid, assured drive with plenty of interfaces and enough style to justify the price.