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Windows XP Cookbook Paperback – Aug 18 2005
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About the Author
Robbie Allen is a Technical Leader at Cisco Systems where he has been involved in the deployment of Active Directory, DNS, DHCP, and several Network Management solutions. He enjoys working on Unix and Windows, and his favorite programming language is Perl. Robbie was named a Windows Server MVP in 2004 and 2005 for his contributions to the Windows community and publication of several popular O'Reillybooks. Robbie is currently studying at MIT in the System Design and Management program. For more information, see Robbie's website at www.rallenhome.com.
Preston Gralla is the author of Windows Vista in a Nutshell, the Windows Vista Pocket Reference, and is the editor of WindowsDevCenter.com . He is also the author of Internet Annoyances, PC Pest Control, Windows XP Power Hound, and Windows XP Hacks, Second Edition, and co-author of Windows XP Cookbook. He has written more than 30 other books. He has written for major national newspapers and magazines, including PC Magazine, Computerworld, the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News (where he was the technology columnist), USA Today, and several others. A well-known technology expert, Preston has also appeared on many TV and radio programs and networks, including CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. In addition, he's won a number of awards for his writing, including Best Feature in a Computer Magazine from the Computer Press Association. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
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Contents: Introduction; Operating System Installation and Maintenance; Managing Hardware and Devices; Installing, Uninstalling, and Working with Applications; Customizing the Interface; System Properties, Startup, and Shutdown; Disks, Drives, and Volumes; Files, Folders, and Shares; The Registry; Processes, Tasks, and Services; Digital Media; Network Configuration; The Internet; Wireless Networking; User, Group, and Computer Accounts; Event Logs and Log Files; Security and Auditing; Performance Tuning; Backup and Recovery; Crashes and Errors; Summary of Windows XP Versions and Service Packs; Index
Windows XP Cookbook follows the traditional format for an O'Reilly Cookbook title. There's the problem, followed by a solution and discussion of the problem. There's also a "see also" paragraph that points you to more information related to the particular issue being discussed. Allen and Gralla have done some nice things with this title that definitely enhance its usefulness to a wider range of readers. First off, they realized that not everyone likes to perform a task the same way. Some want to use the graphical user interface (GUI), some want to show off their command line skills (CLI), and some want to script the whole process so that they can run it automatically. Whenever possible and wherever applicable, the authors provide all three methods for each recipe. All the script examples use VBScript since we *are* dealing with Windows. But in a great concession to the Perl junkies, there's a companion website that has all the VBScript examples done in Perl. What more can you ask for? You even get pointers to third-party software that fills a particular niche better than Windows XP does by itself.
I was a little concerned that the book would spend most of its time catering to the sysadmin crowd, leaving us "power users" wishing for more. Nope... There's a very nice mix of admin and desktop recipes, enough that both groups can feel like they've gotten their money's worth even if they don't cross over between the two. Just during my initial review, I finally found how to set the properties on a particular feature that I used in Windows 2000 but that eluded me in Windows XP. That definitely gained my attention and trust in short order...
Since I normally don't get to tweak a lot of stuff on my work computer in terms of the operating system (nor do I want to), this book will stay at home within arm's reach of my desktop machine. I have a sneaking suspicion that this book and I are going to become close friends over time...
This book is so thorough and exhaustive, it should be included with every copy of Windows XP (too bad that will never happen). Any level (and I mean ANY) of Windows XP user will be able to get something out of this book, from the greenest novice to the most experienced super user, there is a vast spread of knowledge to be shared by the authors, and there is so much it's hard to break it down into a short overview.
02. Operating System Installation and Maintenance
03. Managing Hardware and Devices
04. Installing, Uninstalling, and Working with Applications
05. Customizing the Interface
06. System Properties, Startup, and Shutdown
07. Disks, Drives, and Volumes
08. Files, Folders, and Shares
09. The Registry
10. Processes, Tasks, and Services
11. Digital Media
12. Network Configuration
13. The Internet
14. Wireless Networking
15. User, Group, and Computer Accounts
16. Event Logs and Log Files
17. Security and Auditing
18. Performance Tuning
19. Backup and Recovery
20. Crashes and Errors
Want to speed up your Internet surfing experience? Go to chapter 13 and learn how to edit/create a HOSTS file. Want to learn how to run an application as a service? Go to chapter 10 and follow the steps indicated. Want to learn how to run older windows/dos applications ideally under Windows XP? Go to chapter 4 to get this up and running.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, as the authors cover over 325 different topics and you'll keep learning over and over again.
For anyone that wants to take the kid gloves off and go towards getting your black belt in Windows XP administration, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of 'Windows XP Cookbook'. It's extremely well-written, broken up in a clear, concise manner, and it's useful for all sorts of purposes.
***** HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Like you would expect, there are many recipes for the home user. These include such tasks as speeding up your computer, ripping music, watching DVDs, etc. But where I felt this book really shined was in the realm of system administrators. Managing remote installations, troubleshooting hardware problems, managing services, and security are all covered in great detail. Again, I was very impressed by the inclusion of windows commands or VBScript files to accomplish nearly each task.
In some instances, a simple windows script command won't do the job. In those cases, the author has carefully researched tools that are available to accomplish the task. Case in point: recipe 6.9 shows you how to change your boot screen. This change can't be directly made through Windows XP, so the author provides a URL (and even price) for a tool that will do the job. The author notes where free software is available.
This is definitely the best book for managing Windows XP that I have come across. I felt it was easy to follow, well organized, and accessible to both experienced home users and network admins. I feel like I understand my computer a lot better after reading this book. I highly recommend this book to sys admins supporting Windows XP installations or home power users who just want more out of their XP computer.
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