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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Great FREE tip for Windows XP users: Subscribe to Woody Leonhard's no-charge electronic newsletter on Windows at http://www.woodyswatch.com/windows/index.asp. Every week, you'll get up-to-the-nanosecond news and tips about Windows XP, unfiltered, unvarnished, unofficial, and incredibly useful.
Great not-quite-free tip for Windows XP users: check out Woody Leonhard's Windows XP All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies®.
It's more than 700 pages of equally useful stuff, covering every nook and cranny of the massive Windows XP: basics, customization, the Internet, Internet Explorer, MSN, hardware, multimedia, home networking -- even running AOL under Windows XP.
When something's good about XP, Leonhard says so. When Microsoft's fouled up, he tells you that, too. As he puts it, "The Truth is out there. But it ain't in the documentation."
It is in here. Where else would you discover that Microsoft included Backup software in Windows XP Home, but didn't include Restore? Sheesh.
Windows XP All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies® manages to stay consistently easy (and funny) throughout, while still uncovering all sorts of gems that most casual Windows XP users would never find on their own.
For example, there's a full chapter on finding the stuff that's buried on your hard drive -- including some pretty slick techniques using wildcards, and some neat tricks Windows XP's search feature can do when it's looking for multimedia content. Speaking of searching, Woody shows you how to change Internet Explorer's default web search engine to Google, so you actually might find what you're looking for.
Thankfully, the book doesn't take you painfully through every dialog box of every applet. Instead, it tells you the stuff you don't already know. How to transform the Windows calculator into a scientific calculator (great for high school math and up). How to use WordPad to edit Microsoft Word documents without scrambling them hopelessly (very useful in a pinch, if you haven't bought Microsoft Office). How to install Windows XP's built-in fax application (bet you didn't know there was one: Microsoft doesn't install it by default. How to maintain contact lists in Windows XP's Address Book (maybe you don't need Outlook after all).
Oh, and check this out: Woody tells you how to cheat in Solitaire (and how to hide the new Spider Solitaire instantly so the boss won't know you're goofing off -- just press the Esc key).
Of course, you're too busy messing with Windows XP's advanced digital media tools to be playing Solitaire anymore, right? This book contains a full section (the publisher calls it a separate "book") on multimedia. Jammin' with Windows Media Player 8 (have you tried listening to Internet radio yet? Woody shows you how). Working with Windows Movie Maker. Printing photos from the My Pictures folder.
Upgrading hardware? Buying certified Windows XP-compatible gear should go a long way towards keeping you out of trouble. But maybe not all the way. Woody shows you how to install your new printer in the event Windows doesn't notice you've attached it; how to choose the right digital camera; even how to set up your home network. Speaking of networking, there's a chapter on protecting your computers (and privacy) against the bad guys: what's a hoax, what's serious, and what to do. You'll discover how to encrypt your email, and the No. 1 rule if you think you've been hit by a virus: don't reboot!)
If you're not a PC expert, aren't looking to become one, but still want to have a great experience with Windows XP, this is the book for you. (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 Jerseybased 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.