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Windows 8 Secrets by Rafael Rivera, Paul Thurrott

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Read This First

In October 2009, I participated in the Windows 7 launch at the World Forum in the Hague, Netherlands. It was easily the most beautiful theater I’ve ever spoken in, and while I have many memories of that all-too-short trip to Europe, one stands out.

After my talk, I was signing copies of Windows 7 Secrets for attendees and I received a wonderfully blunt question that forever altered the book you’re now reading.

“If Windows 7 is so easy to use,” a bespectacled Netherlander asked as I signed my name, “then why is your book over a thousand pages long?”

Time stood still for a moment while I pondered this question. And though I replied, “To be fair, it’s padded with screenshots,” to laughs, the question hung in my mind for some time to come.

In my defense—our defense, since Rafael is of course my willing partner in this crime against both trees and those who would safely read before going to sleep—I have always taken the position, both in my writing for the SuperSite for Windows and in the Secrets books, that Windows isn’t a standalone “thing”; it’s the center of a vast ecosystem of related and connected products and services. That is, nobody buys Windows for Windows, per se. They buy Windows because of its promise of compatibility with the hardware, software, and, increasingly, services that they use and trust.

With Windows 7, that meant applications like those in Windows Live Essentials—which weren’t technically included “with” Windows 7 but were very much required ...

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