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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out is the XP guide for power users. A lot of books tell you they're full of undocumented tips and great ideas. This one really is.
In 1,240 pages, Bott and Siechert have the room to cover both Windows XP Professional and Home Editions in incredible depth, and they take full advantage of it. And even though this book is from Microsoft Press, authors Ed Bott and Carl Siechert pull very few punches.
For example, Windows XP Home Edition's "reduced" file sharing features have been widely lamented; Bott and Siechert show you that you can evade the limitation, and set individual file and folder permissions to your heart's content, simply by rebooting in Safe Mode. Similarly, you can evade Outlook Express' refusal to send certain file types (because they've been abused by virus authors). If your recipient is running XP, just use the new Windows Messenger instant messaging feature instead.
Lots of books will remind you to run the Upgrade Advisor before you install Windows XP. This one reveals that some device drivers that won't install onto a new XP system will work perfectly fine if you install them on Windows 2000 and then upgrade to XP. Lots of books lament Windows XP's anti-piracy Activation feature. This one tells you to back up the Wpa.dbl hardware fingerprint file, so you can avoid reactivation if you need to reinstall Windows XP on a system that was previously activated. (The authors also suggest holding off on activation for at least a week, until you're sure everything's running right. Common sense, sure -- but we haven't seen that advice elsewhere!)
Thus far, we've talked primarily about Windows XP's "controversies." But Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out is equally strong on coverage of the powerful new Windows XP features that make upgrading so attractive. For example, you'll learn how to make the most of the new Windows Media Player 8 (from skins to playlists to add-ons for MP3 ripping to backing up your media licenses). There's a full chapter on organizing and editing images using the Scanner and Camera Wizard, Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, and other new tools.
Thankfully, the authors realize you know how to browse the Web and focus their Internet Explorer 6 coverage on advanced features, such as: sharing your Favorites folder, customizing your privacy settings, and changing the default search engine built into Search Companion.
The book concludes with more than 300 pages on system maintenance, recovery, networking, and administration. Absolutely authoritative, utterly invaluable. (Bill Camarda)
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. He served for nearly ten years as vice president of a New Jersey–based marketing company, where he supervised a wide range of graphics and web design projects. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.