Sebastopol, CA--Love it or hate it, some ninety-plus percent of computer users work with one form or another of Microsoft Windows. Windows XP is the latest version to grace our desktops, a creation that merges the two lines of Microsoft's operating systems: the DOS-based Windows 95/98/Me line with the more advanced Windows NT/2000 system core. Although it's superficially similar to earlier versions of Windows, there is plenty that is new under the surface, and on the surface as well. Sadly, the online documentation that accompanies XP makes it difficult for even power users to move beyond a surface knowledge. For serious XP users who want more from their system, Windows XP in a Nutshell by David Karp, Tim O'Reilly, and Troy Mott (O'Reilly, US $29.95) systematically documents everything they'll need to know about both Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional.
"Windows has gotten successively more complex at the same time as the available documentation has grown skimpier, " says O'Reilly. "This is the only book, despite others with titles like 'complete reference' or 'bible,' that gives thorough documentation on every user program that's available in Windows XP."
"Tim and I felt the industry lacked a true reference book on Windows XP," Karp adds. "Most Windows books are either tutorials, explaining the basics of using the operating system, or lists of 'tips' intended to release the so-called hidden functionality in the product. But what do you do if you just want to look something up? Where do you go if you want to find out how a particular program or component works, locate a setting, or just learn how to accomplish a specific task such as setting up a network or editing a video clip? Our book was set up from the very first page to be the book that sits right next to the computer, ready to answer just about any question you can throw at it."
Part of O'Reilly's bestselling Nutshell series, "Windows XP in a Nutshell" contains more information about using Windows XP than any other book on the market. Its core is an extensive reference section with detailed information on virtually every command and utility available in Windows XP. There is advice and documentation on system configuration and a comprehensive guide to every setting in every dialog box, menu and properties sheet throughout Windows XP. Cowritten by David A. Karp, the author of the "Windows Annoyances" book series and creator of the popular Annoyances.org web site, and Tim O'Reilly, founder of O'Reilly & Associates, whose books have revolutionized computer book publishing with their commonsense approach and depth of detail, the book delivers more than 600 pages of concentrated information.
Widely known for his advocacy of Unix and open source software, O'Reilly notes that some may think it is odd that he would write a book on Windows. "But in fact it's entirely consistent," O'Reilly says, "Ultimately, what interests me about open source is the way it empowers users to get more out of their computers. Windows may be a closed system, but all the more reason for good books that help users to work around its limitations."
O'Reilly adds, "'Why do you rob banks?' they asked Willie Sutton. 'Because that's where the money is.' Why did I write about Windows? Because that's where the information pain is. I started using a Windows laptop, and I was damned if I was going be like so many hackers who just complain about Windows rather than really learning how to make the most of it. I figured out how to be really productive on Windows and wanted to pass along the knowledge."
For inexperienced Windows users, the book includes a "getting up to speed" section, but the focus of the book is primarily for users who are familiar with some version of Windows and want to go deeper into the system than the average Windows user might. "As more people are migrating to Windows XP," says Karp, "those looking for XP books are no longer early-adopters. This book is for more experienced Windows users who need a thorough reference to just about every aspect of the operating system." Those who are ready to customize their systems or take on daily troubleshooting will find that "Windows XP in a Nutshell" can unlock the hidden power of Windows XP.
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