Welcome to Windows 7 All-in-One For Dummies — the no-bull, one-stop Windows 7 reference for the rest of us.

Step right up to the ab-so-lute-ly best-est Windows ever! Gorgeous graphics! Stranglehold security! Unsurpassed productivity! Audacious applications! And the greatest-est compatibility Windows has ever seen.

Ah, Phineas Barnum would've been proud.

Microsoft has been touting all those supposed improvements in the latest version of Windows for years: "seamless" graphics (whatever that means); rock-solid security (in yer dreams, Redmond); leaps and bounds in productivity enhancements (ever try to remove Antivirus 2009?); and peaceful coexistence with older hardware and programs (yeah, sure). Sometimes I think that the Microsoft marketing droids ran a global search-and-replace operation on their old ad copy, turning the term Windows 98 or Windows NT into Windows 7.

Every version of Windows gets a little better than the preceding version. Usually. (Okay, we won't talk about Windows Me — or Vista. Yes, Vista draws a Bronx cheer in most circles. I said usually, eh?) But this time it looks like Microsoft has come up with a somewhat better-looking, marginally more secure, and substantially more compatible improvement on its previous version of Windows.

That's not all. In Windows 7, the search function works — which is more than I can say about Vista or XP. The Windows 7 backup program is worthy of the term backup. Networking — after you get used to strange new concepts such ...

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