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Windows XP in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference [Paperback]

David A. Karp , Tim O'Reilly , Troy Mott
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 10 2005 0596009003 978-0596009007 Second Edition

Windows XP in a Nutshell, Second Edition documents everything there is to know about the world's most widely used operating system. Updated to include information on Service Pack 2 (SP2), this compact guide is the ultimate resource for IT professionals and Windows XP power users everywhere.

Written in O'Reilly's time-tested in a Nutshell format, Windows XP in a Nutshell, Second Edition cuts through the hype and delivers practical details in a no-nonsense manner. At the heart of the book is an invaluable 200-plus-page section titled Windows XP Application and Tools. In it, readers will find:

  • A list of available commands and utilities, including Start Menu accessories, command prompt tools, and hidden system administration utilities
  • A Task and Setting Index for quick access to hundreds of XP settings
  • A complete reference to XP's command prompt, including advanced commands and scripting features
Windows XP in a Nutshell, Second Edition also includes a primer on files, folders, and windows; control panels and built-in applications; how to set up a PC for Internet use; and the standard Windows rituals of troubleshooting, installation, and upgrading.

And, of course, this greatly expanded second edition also includes all the need-to-know details about the security technologies featured in SP 2, so you can better defend yourself against viruses, worms, and hackers. Readers even receive guidelines and instructions for installing SP2 on their PC, or across a network of computers.

With its wealth of tips, careful instruction, and expert advice, this must-have desktop reference is dedicated to making your time at the computer safer, easier, and more fun.

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From Library Journal

As the installed base of Microsoft's newest operating system, XP, grows, guides to its use will continue to proliferate (see also Computer Media, LJ 3/1/02). Upgraders with little previous experience will be drawn to 10 Minute Guide, which highlights changes from earlier versions and explains common tasks step by step. Small and leaving no room for background or troubleshooting assistance, this should be purchased in conjunction with more comprehensive guides, such as The Missing Manual. It provides enough background to allow new home users and upgraders to get up and running, while leaving them feeling as if they have a handle on why and how things work. Ample screen shots and sidebars further this process; recommended for all libraries. Headaches, for beginning to intermediate users, focuses on troubleshooting common XP problems and annoyances, like a too-rapid cursor blink rate. Nutshell is a reference for advanced users of home and professional editions, with an alphabetical format that allows quick lookup of functions and features within larger sections (e.g., networking, the registry, etc.). Each is useful and appropriate for larger libraries.'
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"...it's packed with useful information, tips, tricks and screenshots, all clearly explained. ... An excellent resource." Windows XP, August 2002 "This book is an essential addition to any XP enthusiast's library. Its aim is simple: to chronicle as many undocumented features as possible. It won't tell you much about things that you already know or can find out easily, but it will reveal just how deep XP goes... If you're after an introduction to XP, look elsewhere. If you want a companion to Windows XP Inside Out, or something that will appeal to someone with at least six months' XP experience, then you've struck gold." "If you want to delve deep into Windows XP, take this book with you..." - Nick Peers, PC Answers, September (Platinum Award) "O'Reilly have long had a reputation as the professional's choice when it comes to computer books, and volumes in their 'in a nutshell' series are the next best thing to an original supplier's manual. They contain at least as much information and usually in a more accessible format. And this book is no exception to the rule. At over GBP20 this book isn't cheap, but is is a comprehensive and easy-to-use guide to XP. If you only ever buy one Windows XP Book, you could do a lot worse than this one." - Ian Barker, PC-How To Windows XP, Issue 26 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars *ahem*: June 17 2004
By A Customer
it doesn't matter how good a book you have on the intricacies of Windows XP, when XP sucks compared to MAC OS X!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable resource for tweaking and using XP Feb. 15 2004
This book does a great job of covering the middle ground between a book for novices and a techie's manual. It covers the basics briefly and moves on to the details useful to an experienced Windows user. It even goes into scripting and into the Registry, topics for expert users, but that's at the end of the book so it doesn't get in the way of the things the typical reader will want to know. It's exceptionally well organized and reasonably well-indexed. The typeface is crisp -- other computer books look they were mimeographed -- and the screen captures are reasonably clear, although color would make them better. The website lists errata and changes in the 3rd edition -- a nice feature. (I have the first edition.)
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Feb. 1 2004
I found this a rather disappointing tome, given its weight. In many cases it merely lists the obvious at great length. The index is poor, and the organisation is confusing. I found the lack of tips and absence of special insights frustrating as these have been good a feature of previous reference works like Windows 95 Secrets by Livingston & Straub . I wonder at whom this bland work is really targeted. Best to look elsewhere for a main XP reference. I regretted my purchase.
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Although it was designed for audience with prior Windows knowledge, the simple language David Karp and his co-authors used in writting this "Windows XP in a Nutshell" ensured that novice enthusiasts would cope with it.
This book explored every nook-and-corner of both the Home and the Professional editions of the Operating System. The 550 pages of this book could be only a fraction of what many voluminous texts offered; still, very few of them matched the in-depth analyses that is evident here. I treasured the authoritative exposure it gave to Registry, Network Architectures, Security options, and Multimedia inputs. Every chapter of this book brims with applaudable technical expertise: on the part of its author. Anybody who is familiar with Windows XP system, (Home or Professional), would be amazed at how this book tendered revamped information on the usefulness of the Operating System's Backup and Recovery Tools. The same applies to the utilities of its Device Driver Rollback.
In conclusion, "Windows XP in a Nutshell" is a quality textbook, which would serve the needs of its readers. But, for reference purposes, I had wished that its compact information were extended a little bit. Its 550 pages could have been stretched to a dynamic 750 pages with great ease; and with no harm whatsoever!
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Sequel is Not the Equal Feb. 26 2003
I want to like this book, since I love the look of O'Reilly books, and have benefited in the past from a couple of the "Annoyances" books, and because O'Reilly is NOT Microsoft.
In fact, I already own "Windows 98 in a Nutshell". Truth to tell, I didn't use it too much, but did like the various sections. I read it and got a pretty good feel for the facilities available on a Windows system. And it was good on TweakUI and a bunch of other stuff tucked in various dark corners.
This current incarnation of the "Nutshell" series left me disappointed, though. It has a lot in common with its predecessor, and has an excellent middle section: the Alphabetical Reference to Windows Components, which is itself about 250 pages, and pretty much gives you all the programs that come with and in Windows XP, what they do, and their command-line parameters.
This is the reason to own this book. Just to take another book I have around, "Windows XP Inside Out" (a Microsoft book) for comparison: it has over 1400 pages, and covers most topics of interest exhaustively (and exhaustingly), but has no list of any sort that would allow one to browse through which programs the system offers. Occasionally, and in a very low-key way, they will refer to a program you can run to do something relating to the topic at hand. But just try to find a reference to anything resembling it in the index! Moreover, they never give a model command line for a program. This Nutshell book, then, shines in this area. It also, more or less, tells you which facilities only apply to the full-blown "professional" version, and which apply to both that and the Home version of XP.
However, the rest of the book is less useful.
Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Just-OK General Reference Dec 28 2002
Clear and well structured, it manages to miss -- or dismiss -- some XP nuances in its bias toward the "classic windows" way of doing things. There's a subtle "I-know-what's-best" tone, which plays in stark contrast to its pretensions to be authoritative. Opinions are fine, but here they serve well neither novice PC users nor power users looking to evaluate the pros and cons of new OS features. For readers in either group, a different XP desk reference might be the way to go.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for Windows XP Dec 24 2002
If you want a single source reference for Windows XP, this is it. It is written for someone who is familiar with Windows and computers, yet needs more information about the new features of XP.
The book methodically goes through all of the Windows XP features in an easy to read fashion.
There are also a lot of configuration settings that are useful, but nonetheless hard to find from Microsoft.
Overall, an excellent reference.
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