You’d like a simple, easy-to-understand guide to getting the most of Windows XP. You’d like it to come from a real expert -- but without the jargon. You hate being patronized. And you’re also a bargain hunter: You want the most useful information for the fewest smackeroos. We’ve got just the book for you: Ed Bott’s Faster Smarter Microsoft Windows XP.
Bott’s been writing about Windows for well over a decade. Most recently, he coauthored the gigantic, definitive Windows XP Inside Out and Microsoft Windows Security Inside Out. These are two of the most complete, intelligent, and well-written books on Windows ever published. But, while tomes like these warm the hearts of power users and IT professionals, Faster Smarter Microsoft Windows XP is for the rest of us.
Bott begins with a quick rundown of Windows XP’s most important new features -- including its enormous reliability improvements. Chapter 1 focuses on stuff you need to know right away. For instance, there’s no more pressing Esc to evade Windows password security -- and you can also create separate accounts for everyone in your family or office, without worrying that anyone will stray into forbidden files.
You’ll learn how to use Fast User Switching, which lets your kids switch between accounts quickly, without logging off (perfect if one wants to check email quickly while the other’s downloading some monstrous media file). And if you still can’t be bothered with passwords, Bott shows how to set up automatic logons that sail right past the Welcome screen.
Bott illuminates Windows XP’s “Start menu on steroids,” then explains the differences between “Home” and “Professional” -- so you can decide if Pro is worth the extra cash (for most individuals it won’t be).
For many users, the most helpful section of Chapter 1 will be Bott’s coverage of migrating to a new PC. Some folks will want to invest in a spiffy utility like Aloha Bob’s PC Relocator to help with this. For everyone else, Windows XP will help with migrating your data and settings (though not your software, unfortunately).
Once you’ve manually reinstalled Microsoft Office, Works, and so forth, Windows XP’s nifty Files and Settings Transfer Wizard makes the rest of the job a lot easier. The Wizard’s interface can be a bit confusing, but Bott clears that up with a detailed, step-by-step walkthrough.
There’s a full chapter on installing software. You might consider that excessive -- until you see all the tips Bott presents. Did you know you can set up a keyboard shortcut to start any program you like? Or that some programs which aren’t “formally” compatible with Windows XP can be tricked into thinking they’re still running under Windows 90-whatever? Ever install some program that insists on running at startup, haranguing you with annoying messages or just taking up precious memory? Bott shows how to get it running only when you want it to.
You’ll also find a detailed chapter on troubleshooting (including Windows XP’s greatly improved System Restore feature); and another on protecting your computer’s security and your family’s privacy against spam, viruses, unwanted cookies, intruders, et al.
Then it’s on to the fun stuff -- plenty of it. You’ll find practical coverage on connecting to the Internet (via broadband or old-fashioned modem) and browsing the Web with IE 6; and using email and Windows Messenger instant messaging. Bott especially focuses on Windows XP’s rich collection of digital media tools -- showing you how to create your own CDs; play DVDs; organize images from your digital camera -- even email or Web-publish those images.
He wraps up with a step-by-step guide to setting up and running a small network with Windows XP -- wired or wireless. In particular, he explains Simple File Sharing, the easy (if somewhat limited) innovation introduced with Windows XP.
If you want fast Windows XP answers you can rely on -- with no fuss, muss, or unnecessary expense -- you want Faster Smarter Windows XP. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.