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Part I The Basics 5
1 Getting Started with Windows Vista 7
2 Saving and Printing Your Work 31
3 Managing Files 45
4 Viewing and Finding Files 59
Part II Communication 71
5 Getting Wired for Communication 73
6 Sending and Receiving Email 85
7 Browsing the Internet 103
8 Ensuring Security and Privacy 127
9 Sending and Receiving Faxes 139
10 Setting Up Windows Vista on a Home Network 149
Part III Digital Media 163
11 Playing Music, DVDs, and Games 165
12 Working with Photographs 183
Part IV Customizing Your Computer 201
13 Customizing Windows Vista 203
14 Setting Up Programs 221
15 Customizing Email and Working with Contacts 233
16 Setting Up Windows Vista for Multiple Users 245
Part V Maintaining Your PC 263
17 Safeguarding Your Work 265
18 Improving Your Computer’sPerformance 279
19 Upgrading Your Computer 293
20 Upgrading Windows 307
Part VI Windows Special Features 319
21 Using Windows Accessory Programs 321
22 Using Ease of Access Features 343
If you are new to Windows Vista or to Windows in general, this is the book for you. In easy-to-understand language and with step-by-step explanations, this book examines all the key tasks for using Windows Vista.
Windows is an operating system. You don't need to know the hows and whys of an operating system. You just need to know there is one, and that the operating system is like the behind-the-scenes manager who takes care of all the basic computing tasks, such as saving your work, printing a document, starting a program, and so on.
Therefore, you need only to learn how to perform these basic actions once. That is, after you learn how to print, you follow the same basic steps to print in all Windows programs. After you learn how to start a program, you can start any program. After you learn how to move or resize a window, you can perform this action for any window.
You'll find that learning how to use Windows is the same thing as learning how to use your computer.
Introduced in 2007, Windows Vista includes a major overhaul to the interface from the desktop to the content windows (called Explorers). The programmers have attempted to make the interface easier to use, more consistent, and more intuitive.
Finding files has also been a big priority with this version. Starting with the Instant Search feature included on the Start menu and throughout Vista's Explorers, and including special Search Folders, Windows seeks to make finding documents and all kinds of information (music, movies, email messages, and so on) easier.
Security has also been enhanced and emphasized. Not to scare you off, but as computers become more popular the dangers and the need for caution have become more important. You need to protect against viruses, someone getting your personal information (called phishing), someone installing a program on your computer without your permission, someone spying and tracking what websites you visit, and more. Windows Vista includes features to address each of these security concerns; it also offers updates so that new threats are taken care of as soon as possible.
In addition to design changes and security upgrades, you find other fun and useful features built-in to Windows, including the Windows Photo Gallery, an updated Media Center, a partnership for online music purchases with MTV (called Urge), and more.
If you are entirely new to Windows, you don't have to worry about these changes. If you are upgrading, you'll find it easy to see and work with the many changes and upgrades.
To use Windows, you need to know the basic terminology used for common actions:
You can personalize many features of Windows so that it is set up the way you like to work. That's one of the benefits of Windows. For consistency, though, this book makes some assumptions about how you use your computer. When working through steps and especially when viewing the figures in this book, keep in mind the following distinctions:
Caution - Some computer displays will not display Vista's new Aero interface; this interface gives Windows a transparent or glass-like look. If your computer doesn't support Aero, you'll see the same screens and dialog boxes only they will look slightly different from the images captured for his book. Virtually all of Vista's features still function in the same way (with the exception of Flip3D and live thumbnail previews), so don't worry!
This book is divided into six parts, each centered on a certain theme. The book builds on the skills you need, starting with the basics and then moving to more complex topics or lesser used features, such as accessibility. You can read the book straight-through, look up topics when you have a question, or browse through the contents, reading information that intrigues you.
This section provides a quick breakdown of the parts.
Part I, "The Basics," explains all the key tasks for using your computer. If you read only this section, you have enough skill knowledge to perform most basic computer tasks. This part covers understanding the Windows desktop and starting programs (Chapter 1), saving and print your work (Chapter 2), managing files (Chapter 3), and viewing and finding files (Chapter 4).
Part II, "Communication," includes six chapters, each devoted to a particular Windows communication feature, including getting set up for communication (Chapter 5), sending and receiving email (Chapter 6), browsing and searching the Internet (Chapter 7), ensuring security and privacy (Chapter 8), sending and receiving faxes (Chapter 9), and setting up Windows Vista on a home network (Chapter 10).
Part III, "Digital Media," centers on the various ways you can use Windows as an entertainment medium, including playing music and videos and working with photographs and movies.
Part IV, "Customizing Your Computer," explores the many changes you can make to how Windows operates. As you become more proficient, you'll find that you might want to change certain Windows elements, such as adding a desktop image (covered in Chapter 13 with other desktop customizing options), adding new programs (Chapter 14), customizing email and Internet (Chapter 15), and setting up Windows for multiple users (Chapter 16).
Although you don't need to know the ins and outs of computer maintenance (the topic of Part V) as a beginner, you'll find that you do need a reference and guide for the various maintenance tasks. Some tasks are especially key, such as securing your PC and your data (Chapter 17). Other tasks you use less often, but might want to refer to. Topics in this part including improving performance (Chapter 18), upgrading your computer (Chapter 19), and upgrading Windows (Chapter 20).
The final part, Part VI, "Windows Special Features," examines what the part's name implies: Special features for special situations. This part includes chapters on the many Windows accessory programs (Chapter 21) and accessibility options for those with special needs (Chapter 22).
Enjoy your learning journey!
There are cautions, tips, and notes throughout this book.
Caution - A caution will tell you to beware of a potentially dangerous act or situation. In some cases, ignoring a caution might cause you significant problems—so pay particular attention to them!
Note - A note is designed to provide information that is generally useful, but not necessarily essential for what you're doing at the moment. Some are similar to extended tips—interesting, but not essential.
Tip - A tip is a piece of advice—a little trick, actually—that helps you use software or your computer more effectively. Tips can also help you maneuver around problems or limitations.
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