You’re running Windows XP (Home or Professional). You don’t need to learn how to point and click. But you suspect you could be doing a lot more with Windows XP. Getting the job done faster. Having more fun -- and fewer hassles. You’re right. And Woody Leonhard’s going to show you how, in Windows XP Timesaving Techniques for Dummies.
Leonhard’s been sharing his Microsoft expertise for years: His free Windows and Office email newsletters now reach more than 510,000 readers every week. Now he’s brought together some 600 pages of great Windows time savers into one incredibly easy book. We’re not talking about obscure registry tweaks that promise to deliver whopping 1% performance improvements but actually crash your computer. We’re talking about stuff that’s actually useful and doable.
These tips cover no less than 60 categories of tasks. You’ll learn how to customize your Windows desktop; create CDs and DVDs as quickly and effectively as possible; protect your privacy online; make the most of Outlook Express email; cope with your digital photos more efficiently -- and that’s just scratching the surface.
Leonhard focuses much of his attention on Windows XP’s improved networking features and rich media capabilities, often showing how to use Windows to do things that would’ve required costly add-ons in previous versions. (Sometimes add-ons are still required; Leonhard points those out, as well. And the book’s a gold mine of web links to deeper information: for example, complete guides to setting up your computer for multiple operating systems, or sites that contain free benchmark tools for seeing just how fast your computer is.
Take for example, the tip on getting Windows to start faster by skipping the logon screen (not for high-security environments, but handy for lots of other folks who always logon the same way to play the same games). Like a few of Leonhard’s tips, this one takes advantage of Windows XP PowerToys, which are definitely worth your time to download. (By the way, if you do need to see a logon screen -- maybe to change users -- you can always do that by pressing Shift while Windows starts.)
If you care about every last second, Leonhard also points you to Microsoft’s BootVis tool, which tweaks the boot process in all sorts of ways you probably don’t want to know about.
It’s conventional wisdom that adding memory improves performance. Often, it does -- but Leonhard also tells you when it won’t. (You could save some bucks.)
There’s also plenty of coverage here for notebook users. Leonard helps you make the most of standby and hibernate, and identifies some power-saving choices that could save you both time and battery life. There’s even a trick for deterring theft.
If you need an introductory guide to Windows XP, Leonhard’s earlier book, Windows XP All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies, fits the bill. But if you’re further along, Windows XP Timesaving Techniques for Dummies is tough to beat. 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.