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XP update throws some for a loop

This blog was updated at 9:30 a.m. PDT with information from Microsoft about the cause of the glitch.

Owners of some AMD-based computers are finding that the move to Windows XP Service Pack 3 has sent their systems into an endless reboot cycle.

"While the root cause of this issue is complex, it results from OEMs improperly placing a Windows XP image created for an for Intel-based computer onto machines with non-Intel chipsets," Microsoft said in a statement. "Microsoft issued guidance to OEMs advising them to only load Windows XP images onto like hardware in … Read more

Featured Freeware: GIMP

The volunteer developers of The GIMP have been working hard to develop a polished, user-friendly, and freely distributed image editor. Available for Windows and Mac users, and in a portable edition for the PC, the separated palette windows may disturb those users who are used to more traditional layouts. Still, your comfort level should grow exponentially as you discover how pain-free the program is.

One of the most powerful general-purpose image editors around, the GNU Image Manipulation Program is eminently comparable to Photoshop. Older features include channels, layers and masks, filters and effects, tabbed palettes, editable text tools, and color … Read more

Featured Freeware: Pando

Emailing large attachments has never been easy, but Pando for Windows and Mac combines P2P tech with a clean interface to make sharing files or folders as large as 1 GB a cinch--and free.

Circumventing FTP servers, online storage, and tertiary e-mail accounts, Pando either generates a link for instant messages and Web pages, or e-mails your recipient a tiny attachment. When you click that attachment or link, Pando connects to its server and downloads the "package," as the Pando people call the contents of your attachment. You even have 14 days to grab the "package" … Read more

First Look: AVG Anti-Virus Free 8

Seventy-five million downloads can't be wrong, right? Phenomenally popular security program AVG Free has upgraded to Version 8, and Editor Seth Rosenblatt takes a first look at the revamp.

New features include a blessing of a new interface that's clean and easy to use, LinkScanner to minimize the risk of clicking on dangerous links during searches, and more.

Featured Freeware: Gspace

This highly recommended Firefox extension takes the small pile of gigabytes that the Google folks throw at you for your Gmail account and turns them into a drive with storage and music-playing capabilities.

Accessible via a toolbar button or from the menu bar, Gspace opens a new tab with an FTP-style interface. You can transfer files by highlighting them and hitting the directional arrow. Drag-and-drop is not available, but the plug-in is still replete with goodies. Uploading a file sends an e-mail with it attached to your Gmail, so you can create Gmail's native filters and folders to keep … Read more

Killer Download: Switching apps with class

As you may know, I use both Mac and Windows PCs at work and write software reviews for both. In my experience, each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, but both can be extremely powerful if you have the right software. To me, it's not about picking which platform is the best, it's about finding the software you need to get the job done.

One of the great additions to the Mac OS in recent iterations is the visual program and document management system called Expose. On a Windows machine, you probably switch apps by using the trusty … Read more

Featured Freeware: Avast

If you're into freeware antivirus and antimalware apps, chances are you're running either AVG Free, Avira Antivir, or Avast. Avast Home Edition guards your PC and the network with multiple shields that scan executables and files. You can select parameters for scanning, and even choose wildcards to exclude specific file types. You can adjust the sensitivity level for the program's detectors when it comes to scanning downloaded files, instant messages, e-mails, and a host of P2Ps. Its efficient interface opens up window after window to tweak its settings to your liking, for novice to advanced-level protection.

Though … Read more

Featured Freeware: ManyCam

ManyCam is the freeware tool users who need their Webcam for more than one chat program simultaneously. It creates a "virtual" Webcam that replicates your currently installed camera. It then lets multiple applications access the video stream without conflict.

ManyCam is compatible with Yahoo, MSN, CamFrog, PalTalk, ICQ, Skype, YouTube, and more. Once you've installed it, you need to set ManyCam as the primary input for program that you want to use. It'll automatically start when activate your Webcam through that program. The application includes a bunch of gimmicky features that let you change aspects of … Read more

CNET Top 5: Worst downloads of 2008 (so far)

2008 is nearly halfway over, which means that poor CNET senior content manager Peter Butler has reached deeply into the trash heap to pluck out, shake off, and crown with glory the most useless downloads published this year. He's handed the best of the worst over to CNET Executive Editor Tom Merritt for show and tell. Hey, even truly horrendous software deserves its moment of shame fame.

OpenOffice 3 beta: More compatibility, new features

Sun Microsystems has released the first beta for 3 for Windows and Mac. The new version of OpenOffice, which is a popular open-source competitor to Microsoft Office, looks to offer users improvements on every component from interface to features to behavior.

OpenOffice now natively supports OS X, so Mac users won't have to install the X11 module before running the suite. Full Vista support is also included in the beta, and didn't cause any problems during light testing. Notably, OpenOffice 3 includes filters for the new Microsoft Office document formats such as DOCX and XLSX as … Read more