Windows XP Service Pack 2
It's finally here. Get up to date with your bonus XP Service Pack 2 CD and 72 page Instant expert guide, free with the October issue of PC Authority
Get Organised! Keep track of schedules and plan your day down to the smallest detail.
Note: Although the image on the CD Contents page denotes TaskTimer as a trial version, this is in fact a fully working program valued at $298.
East-Tec Eraser Essentials
Protect your privacy by removing all evidence of deleted files and online activity.
WinGuard Pro 2004 Free Edition
Lock down your computer with this free utility. Encrypt files and protect Windows programs while away from your computer.
QuickBooks Premier 2004
Test drive the latest award winning accounting software from Quicken.
Due to files being inadvertently excluded from the CD, the Quicken trial does not install. PC Authority apologises for the inconvenience. To obtain a copy of the trial please email CD@pcauthority.com.au with your mailing details and a replacement CD will be sent out as soon as possible.
Drivers and updates
Keep your PC up to date with the latest virus definitions, spyware update and the latest NVIDIA and ATI graphics drivers.
CS Fire Monitor 1.4.4
Error Messages For Windows
PC Wizard 2004
Startup Control Panel
101 Killer Apps for your Pocket PC is a handy reference freeware and shareware book for users of Pocket PC PDAs. It's quite comprehensive, but very application biased.
Like Samsung, Aopen’s trump card is their ridiculously low price; a CD writer at $49 is pretty hard to beat.
Apacer's Handy Steno HT202 is one of the largest USB sticks reviewed, but its physical size belies some great performance and features.
Despite sitting in third place for write speeds and fourth overall for the read portion of our testing, this drive has a couple of trump cards up its sleeves.
BenQ's U-Disk 256MB shares a similar slide-USB port as the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium Labs Winner -- this keeps the unit fairly small and pocket-friendly.
Designed with portability in mind, this notebook is slim, sexy and versatile, enabling basic office usage, DVD playback or even some weekend gaming.
Although boasting the lowest average access time in the roundup at 12.2ms, looking at this drive's graphs, we notice a few more hiccups along the way than its big brother the 400GB Deskstar 7K400.
At almost double the capacity of the other products in our roundup, this 400GB disk is big and fast, but unfortunately comes with an equally sized price tag.
Like the ASUS CRW5232AS, the Imation drive is slightly shorter than standard full length optical drives by approximately an inch, making it ideal for small form factor cases.
Right up there with the best of the USB keys, the Imation USB 2.0 Swivel Flash Drive represents excellent value for money for the 256MB capacity.
Iomega's Mini USB drive is one of the more feature-poor memory keys reviewed however there is free software available for download from the Iomega website.
Strongest in the performance stakes, this drive managed to take fourth place for burn speed and second place for disc read time.
The Kingmax comes with a great deal of memory (512MB), and is priced at only $160 which makes it one of the most affordable memory keys on a strict price/capacity basis.
While hard disk drive speed is commonly one of the last considerations when putting together a new machine, its importance is more than just a place to store your files and operating system.
Capacity? Value for money? Who's got what? Read on to find out who has the best marriage of both.
With no sign of the end of the format war coming to pass anytime soon, prices continue to fall and we’ve got the latest models to take a look at.
This month we’ve taken 12 of the fastest optical drives, run them through their paces and sorted the award winners from the less than impressive performers.
Gauging a USB memory key's value is a fairly simple procedure, right? They plug into any available USB 2.0 port and off you go, however it isn't as clear-cut as that.
Store it in your pocket. PC Authority takes fifteen USB drives for a spin around the block.
Lexar have made a name for themselves in portable storage and Flash memory, and have in the past year been releasing a wide range of USB memory keys onto the market.
The most expensive DVD burner we received, it makes sense it would also be the best featured.
The number two Phillips head screwdriver is a powerful beast. I remember, as a wee lad, watching my father encounter a problem and reach straight for the little green handled wonder, with its chrome steel shank.
Finishing in line with the WD2000 SATA, the two jostled places and they both offer a trade off. The WD drive performs marginally better, a 0.8ms lag separating the two.
The Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Digital DVDXRW1248-069 was the clear winner out of all of the DVD burners we tested in this roundup. It had the performance, the features, and the value for money to easily stand out.
MSI's MegaCache is not the fastest performer on test but is a standout product in this roundup for many reasons, but one in particular above all: it's got a whopping -- absolutely whopping -- 1.5GB storage capacity for a portable USB disk.
Much more efficient at reading CDs than writing them, Optorite took second place in our read tests, pipped by the Imation by a mere three seconds.
Although lacking the additional functions of some of the more expensive burners such as the ability to write at the faster 16-speed, burn DVD-RAM or pack 8.5GB onto a single dual layer disc - what the Optorite does is provide all the basic DVD plus and minus burning you’re likely to need without having to fork over a sizable fistful of cash to do it.
A little slower than its 12x and 16x counterparts, this is another DVD-RAM supportive drive and it ships with three RAM discs and a copy of Nero Express to have you up and burning right out of the box.
Designed for the curious enthusiast or habitual tinkerer looking to push the boundaries of knowledge, PC Toys has projects to suit the interests and skills of readers from all walks of life.
The extremely small PQI Travelling Disk 2.0 U190 comes with a large 256MB capacity but at a price around mid-range for the 256MB keys tested.
The only 64MB key tested here, the I-Disk Tiny is a marvel: this key looks inexplicably like it's all USB plug.
Project Arcade, subtitled Build Your Own Arcade Machine, takes a shot at being the definitive guide to sticking a PC into a wooden cabinet for the single purpose of playing retro arcade games. It's a big task, and author John St. Clair almost gets there.
Another facet of life is undergoing a similar change - dating. People have been meeting and falling in love via the internet since before the web was invented.
Second most expensive, Ricoh’s MP5316DA burner really has something to crow about, packing all the major DVD standards in DVD+/-RW support as well as dual layer functionality.
Ritmo's Smart 256 is a plain looking key with very little else in the pack aside from a lanyard and a USB extension cable.
Leigh Dyer shows you how to free your ASP.NET applications from Microsoft's grasp with Mono
One of the plainer drives, it lacks a front audio adjustment dial or headphone socket, but does deliver on fast CD writing without too much damage to your wallet.
Samsung’s claim to fame with this drive is it’s slightly above average value for money score; priced at just $199 it represents good value and was only beaten by both award winners the Mitsubishi and Optorite for cost.
The SanDisk Cruzer Micro is the antithesis of the Labs Winner Cruzer Titanium: it's extremely slow.
The Cruzer Titanium from SanDisk is the second most expensive USB key we tested, and is beaten only by the MSI MegaCache.
Up against some very tough competition, Seagate's Barracuda 7200.7 managed to take out the coveted Labs winner award this month with its fantastic attributes.
Shintaro's Pocket Disk is a fairly plain USB key -- it doesn't feature a write-protection switch but it does have password protection -- handy for keeping data safe.
The concept of fitting normal PC hardware into a tiny package has been proven to work and small form factor (SFF) systems are now commonplace.
While it's not the fastest memory key we tested, the Microvault USM128B has scored impressively high for all of our rankings.
Another high-priced memory key from Sony that is saved from the gallows by impressive speed and features.
DDR2 is here, but there's more to it than meets the eye. Tim Dean takes a look at the good and bad of tomorrow's memory.
I'm currently in the market for a new car. My 1977 Datsun 260Z, the current much-loved but abusive incumbent, has quite simply gone on the fritz one too many times (or ten too many if you listen to my friends and family). By the repair bill from the last few years, you'd be forgiven for thinking I owned a Collins class submarine.
The Spam Letters is a sometimes humorous, frequently hilarious, and all-the-time puerile collection of email correspondence between the author Jonathan Land, and everyone's favourite netizens: spammers.
The only IDE drive we received for testing, it's also the cheapest drive at $240 and works out to a reasonable $1.20 per gigabyte.
Narrowly edged out of the winning position by the extremely capable Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 drive, this drive has plenty to crow about.
Another drive to feature both SATA and Molex power connectors on the rear of the unit, this drive offers both backwards compatibility with suitable motherboards and future native SATA power supplies.
Every expert has a toolkit. Tim Dean takes you through the 10 tools any Windows expert cannot live without. So, to give you a head start, here are PC Authority's
top 10 tools for the ultimate Windows user.