Welcome to Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide. As the author of 63 books, I’ve
always wanted to write the kind of how-to book that anyone—regardless of his or
her skill level—could read from cover to cover and walk away with a wealth of
knowledge about the subject at hand. O’Reilly is the first publisher to let me write a
computer book for anyone and everyone in my own unique style, and the result is
the book you hold in your hands, which I truly hope you agree is one of the best all-
around guides to Windows Vista on the market.
As the author of two other Windows Vista books and a user of Windows Vista since
its earliest beginnings, I bring a unique perspective to this book—the kind of per-
spective you can gain only after working with a product for several years. Long
before there was a finished product called Windows Vista, there was a beta product,
and before that there was an alpha product that most people outside of Microsoft
don’t even know existed. From these early beginnings, the final version of Windows
Vista slowly evolved until it became the finished product that is available today.
As you’ve probably noticed, there’s more than enough information about Windows
Vista on the Web. There are tutorials, reference sites, discussion groups, and more to
help make it easier to use Windows Vista. However, the advantage to reading this
book instead is that all of the information you need to learn Windows Vista is orga-
nized in one place and presented in a straightforward and orderly fashion. This book
has everything you need to customize Windows Vista, master your digital media,
manage your data, and maintain your computer.
But wait, there’s more, because there are plenty of other Windows Vista books avail-
able. Other books introduce and simplify Windows Vista, or provide quick starts or
step-by-step guides, or promise to teach even dummies how to use Windows Vista.
In this book, I don’t pretend anyone is a dummy and I don’t just teach you the steps
you need to follow; I teach you how features work, why they work the way they
work, and how to customize them to meet your needs. You’ll also learn why you
may want to use certain features of the operating system and when to use other fea-
tures to resolve any problems you are having. In addition, this book provides tips,