Paul McFedries is the president of Logophilia Limited, a technical writing company. He has worked with computers in one form or another since 1975 and has used Windows since version 1 was foisted upon an unsuspecting (and underwhelmed) world in the mid-1980s. He is the author of more than 50 computer books that have sold over three million copies worldwide. His recent titles include the Sams Publishing book Windows Vista Unveiled and the Que Publishing books Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2003, Tricks of the Microsoft Office Gurus, and Microsoft Access 2003 Forms, Reports, and Queries. Paul is also the proprietor of Word Spy (www.wordspy.com) a website devoted to tracking new words and phrases as they enter the English language.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T. S. Eliot
My goal in writing Microsoft Windows Vista Unleashed is to cover the good, the bad, and, yes, even the ugly of Windows Vista. In particular, I give you complete coverage of the intermediate-to-advanced features of Windows Vista. This means that I bypass basic topics, such as wielding the mouse, in favor of more complex operations, such as working with the Registry, maintaining and troubleshooting your system, networking, and getting around the Internet.
I've tried to keep the chapters focused on the topic at hand and unburdened with long-winded theoretical discussions. However, there are plenty of situations in which you won't be able to unleash the full power of Windows Vista and truly understand whatgoing on unless you have a solid base on which to stand. In these cases, I'll give you whatever theory and background you need to get up to speed. From there, I'll get right down to brass tacks without any further fuss and bother.
All writers write with an audience in mind. Actually, I'm not sure whether that's true for novelists and poets and the like, but it should be true for any technical writer who wants to create a useful and comprehensible book. Here are the members of my own imagined audience:
Also, to keep the chapters uncluttered, I've made a few assumptions about what you know and what you don't know:
To help you find the information you need, this book is divided into six parts that group related tasks. The next few sections offer a summary of each part.
Part I takes your basic, workaday Windows chores and reveals their inner mysteries, allowing you to become more productive. After an initial chapter on what's new in Vista, topics include the myriad ways to get Windows Vista off the ground (Chapter 2), how to use Windows Vista to work with files and folders (Chapter 3), getting the most out of file types (Chapter 4), installing and running applications (Chapter 5), working with user accounts (Chapter 6), dealing with digital media (Chapter 7), using Contacts, Calendar, and faxing (Chapter 8), and Vista's mobile computing tools (Chapter 9).
The chapters in Part II get your advanced Windows Vista education off to a flying start by covering the ins and outs of four important Vista power tools: Control Panel and group policies (Chapter 10), the Registry (Chapter 11), and the Windows Script Host (Chapter 12).
In Part III, you dive into the deep end of advanced Windows work: customizing the interface (Chapter 13), performance tuning (Chapter 14), maintaining Windows Vista (Chapter 15), troubleshooting problems (Chapter 16), and working with devices (Chapter 17).
Part IV shows you how to work with Windows Vista's Internet features. You learn how to get the most out of a number of Internet services, including the Web (Chapter 18), email (Chapter 19), and newsgroups (Chapter 20). I close this part with an extensive look at the Internet security and privacy features that come with Windows Vista (Chapter 21).
To close out the main part of this book, Part V takes an in-depth look at Windows Vista's networking features. You learn how to set up a small network (Chapter 22), how to access and use that network (Chapter 23), and how to access your network from remote locations (Chapter 24).
To further your Windows Vista education, Part VI presents a few appendixes that contain extra goodies. You'll find a complete list of Windows Vista shortcut keys (Appendix A), a detailed look at using the Windows Vista command prompt (Appendix B), and a batch file primer (Appendix C).
To make your life easier, this book includes various features and conventions that help you get the most out of this book and Windows Vista itself:
Throughout the book, I've broken many Windows Vista tasks into easy-to-follow step-by-step procedures.
Things you type
Whenever I suggest that you type something, what you type appears in a bold monospace font.
Filenames, folder names, and code
These things appear in a monospace font.
Commands and their syntax use the monospace font as well. Command placeholders (which stand for what you actually type) appear in an italic monospace font.
Pull-down menu commands
I use the following style for all application menu commands: Menu, Command, where Menu is the name of the menu that you pull down and Command is the name of the command you select. Here's an example: File, Open. This means that you pull down the File menu and select the Open command.
Code continuation character
When a line of code is too long to fit on only one line of this book, it is broken at a convenient place and continued to the next line. The continuation of the line is preceded by a code continuation character (¬). You should type a line of code that has this character as one long line without breaking it.
This book also uses the following boxes to draw your attention to important (or merely interesting) information:
Note - The Note box presents asides that give you more information about the current topic. These tidbits provide extra insights that give you a better understanding of the task. In many cases, they refer you to other sections of the book for more information.
Tip - The Tip box tells you about Windows Vista methods that are easier, faster, or more efficient than the standard methods.
Caution - The all-important Caution box tells you about potential accidents waiting to happen. There are always ways to mess things up when you're working with computers. These boxes help you avoid at least some of the pitfalls.
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