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Tweak It and Freak It: A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way [Paperback]

Paul McFedries
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Book Description

March 27 2009 0789738228 978-0789738226 1

Tweak It and Freak It

A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way

 

Hundreds of millions of people use Windows every day, and it’s a safe bet that some of them would not describe themselves as happy campers.  Regardless of skill level, most people have something they dislike about Windows, and they often have a whole laundry list of Windows gripes. “Why can’t Windows do this rather than that?” “Why does Windows do X instead of Y?” “Wouldn’t it be great if Windows could do Z?”

 

Most people think Windows is set in stone, but it isn’t! Strip off that veneer and a whole world comes into view, one that’s hackable, moddable, tweakable, customizable, and personalizable. This book shows you the tools and technologies that anyone can use to hack almost every aspect of Windows, from startup to shutdown, from the interface to the Internet, from security to scripting.

 

•    Speed up your tired PC with a fistful of easy-to-do, but oh so powerful tweaks!

•    Tired of looking at the same old Windows day in and day out? So are we! That’s why we show you how to give Windows a makeover!

•    Want to be more productive at work or home? This book is full of productivity tweaks that not only make Windows more fun to use, but also save you tons of time.

•    Create custom backup routines that safeguard your precious data.

•    Tighten the security of your PC and your network to stop would-be thieves in their tracks.

•    Dual-boot Windows XP and Vista on the same machine, or dare we say it, run MacOS on your PC!  We won’t tell.

 

Paul McFedries is a passionate computer tinkerer and Windows expert. He is the author of more than 60 computer books that have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. His recent titles include the Sams Publishing books Windows Vista Unleashed, Second Edition, and Windows Home Server Unleashed, and the Que Publishing books Build It. Fix It. Own It. :  Networking with Windows Vista, Formulas and Functions with Microsoft Excel 2007, Tricks of the Microsoft Office 2007 Gurus, and Microsoft Access 2007 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.

 

CATEGORY:  Windows Operating System

COVERS:  Windows Vista and XP

USER LEVEL:  Beginning-Intermediate

 


Product Details


Product Description

About the Author

Paul McFedries is a full-time technical author who has worked with computers in one form or another since 1975 and has used Windows since version 1. He is the author of more than 60 computer books that have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. His recent titles include the Sams Publishing books Microsoft Windows Vista Unleashed, Second Edition, and Microsoft Windows Home Server Unleashed and the Que Publishing books Networking with Microsoft Windows Vista, and Build It. Fix It. Own It. A Beginner’s Guide to Building and Upgrading a PC. 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. Please feel free to drop by Paul’s personal website at www.mcfedries.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction

Introduction

In this Introduction

  • Who Should Read This Book?
  • Conventions Used in This Book

Hundreds of millions of people use Windows every day, and it’s a safe bet that some of them would not describe themselves as happy Windows campers. Regardless of skill level, most people have something they dislike about Windows, and they often have a whole laundry list of gripes. “Why can’t Windows do this rather than that?” “Why does Windows do X instead of Y?” “Wouldn’t it be great if Windows could do Z?” Scratch the surface of most Windows users and you’ll come upon a seething cauldron of unmet needs, unrequited desires, and unending frustration at being stuck with Windows the way it is.

However, a funny thing happens when you tell people that it doesn’t have to be this way, that they don’t have to put up with the out-of-the-box Windows experience: An initial skepticism soon gives way and their eyes light up with an almost forgotten feeling—hope. Specifically, the hope that they really can make Windows smarter, safer, faster, more flexible, and more aligned to their needs.

    The secret behind this hope? Tweaks, tweaks, and more tweaks! Most people think that Windows is set in stone, but that apparently solid surface is really just a thin veneer that Microsoft slaps onto Windows to ensure that new and fumble-fingered users don’t get into trouble. Strip off that veneer and a whole world comes into view, one that’s eminently tweakable, moddable, hackable, customizable, and personalizable. Within this world lie tools and technologies that anyone can use to tweak and tune almost every aspect of Windows, from startup to shutdown, from the interface to the Internet, from security to scripting.

Tweak It and Freak It!

Tweak It and Freak It: A Killer Guide to Making Windows Run Your Way is your guide to this tweakable Windows landscape. With a lighthearted and lightly irreverent tone, and with a bare minimum of jargon and technical claptrap, this book takes you through hundreds of useful, unique, and easy tweaks designed to improve Windows Vista and Windows XP. The key words here are useful, unique, and easy:

  • Useful—Any monkey can, say, reverse the interface shadows, but what’s the point of doing that? In this book, if a hack doesn’t help you get your work done, solve a problem, or make Windows more secure or reliable, it didn’t make the cut.
  • Unique—There are lots of Windows tweaks available on the Internet and in other books, so you certainly don’t want another conglomeration of the same old Registry hacks. Instead, this book presents a fresh collection of tweaks that include many custom hacks that I’ve built over the years.
  • Easy—A tweak that takes you an hour to implement and yet saves only a few seconds a day isn’t much of a tweak. This book focuses on tweaks that you can implement with a few steps, or with easy-to-understand plug-and-play scripts.

My goal with this book is to empower you to take a hands-on, do-it-yourself approach to tweaking Windows. In the end, you’ll no longer have a version of Windows that Microsoft thinks you should have, but rather a tweaked and tuned version that suits the way you work and play.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book is aimed at Windows users who have a gripe, a beef, or an ax to grind and are looking for ways to overcome their Windows woes and shortcomings with targeted, easy-to-implement tweaks and tune-ups. This book will also appeal to curious users who want to travel down different Windows roads, rebellious users who want to thumb their noses at standard-issue Windows techniques, and power users who want to get the most of Windows.

To that end, this book includes the following features:

  • A focus on practical, useful tweaks rather than mere tricks.
  • Tweaks for both Windows Vista and Windows XP.
  • Icons that show you which operating systems the tweak works with and the difficulty level of each tweak.
  • Unique tweaks, many of which have never been seen before.
  • Explanations of key concepts for novice users.
  • In-depth coverage of the inner workings of each hack for more experienced users.
  • A friendly and lightly humorous tone that I trust will make you feel at home with the subject and keep boredom at bay.

Conventions Used in This Book

To make your life easier, this book includes various features and conventions that help you get the most out of this book:

Steps

Throughout the book, I’ve broken many building, upgrading, and repairing 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

Commands and their syntax use the monospace font, too. 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 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.

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 offer a better understanding of the task.



Tip - The Tip box tells you about 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 those traps and pitfalls.


Online Chapters

I had such a good time writing this book that I actually ended up writing too much! Way too much, in fact, but that’s not a problem in this day and age because what wouldn’t fit between the covers of the book can easily fit between the covers of my website. And that’s just what I’ve done: Six of this book’s chapters are available online at my site. Just point your favorite web browser to http://www.mcfedries.com/TweakItFreakIt.

These files are also freely available from Que Publishing at http://www.informit.com/title/0789738228. There, you’ll also find information on Que’s other products.


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tweak It and Freak It Aug. 20 2009
By Tami Brady HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Personalize your PC. Make your email more productive. Save time while surfing the Internet. Keep your personal information safe from hackers.

Tweak It and Freak It is an amazing resource. Like other books of this type, the author shows the reader step by step how to optimize their computer. Then, it goes further to show how to truly personalize your system: be that ensuring that your children are safe online, improving email productivity, quickening start up times, or reducing those annoying animated gifs. This book also makes a special effort to show little things that can be done to improve security from potential hackers or prying eyes.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful if you're somewhat experienced... Aug. 10 2013
By Sam I Am - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
First, "Tweak it and Freak it" is specific to Windows XP and Vista, with far more emphasis placed on users of Vista. Most of what I read was helpful, with a few specific instances where I disagreed with the advice provided. Author Paul McFredries touts Windows Defender (a Microsoft product, which is available free with Vista) as a "top of the line antispyware program." The XP version is called Microsoft Security Essentials. While I am currently using one of these free Microsoft programs, there are high-profile critics, including "The Tech Guy" Leo LaPorte, who considers Microsoft's "free" security software programs to be less than ideal, but better than using nothing at all.

The "Vital Performance Tweaks" in Chapter 1 were extremely useful, specifically tips about maximizing the Visual Effects options, and the directions provided to make these changes were clean, simple and useful.

The author completely lost me in Chapter 16,"Speeding Up Your Web Surfing," with his suggestions to modify the Windows registry by adding keywords you use often in web searches. I know my way around a computer, networks and the internet, but I couldn't make sense of these instructions.

The tips about using Defrag in Chapter 24 will probably be most useful to more inexperienced computer users.

I would consider this book to be useful for computer users with a moderate amount of hands-on experience with operating systems. Tweaking the Windows registry can be fatal to your PC if you don't know what you're doing, so this definitely is not the right book for skittish or inexperienced computer users.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK!!! April 26 2010
By Marsha Queen of Amazon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had discovered this gem quite by accident!!! As listed, the book was in EXCELLENT condition & was received promptly. I would most definitely buy from them again!!! :)
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