Windows 7 Inside Out Deluxe Edition by Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, and Craig Stinson, might be a bit daunting for a new computer user but is nonetheless an excellent reference for those who wish to learn more about both the familiar and not so well known features of Windows 7. This hardcover book is big, heavy, and packed with more than 1300 pages of useful, interesting, and must know information for installing, managing and troubleshooting Windows 7. Although a standard edition of this book is available, the Deluxe Edition includes a companion CD with lots of goodies and several additional chapters not found in the standard edition of the book. Windows 7 Inside Out Deluxe Edition is available from Barnes and Noble online and in stock at the Bel Air, White Marsh and other Barnes and Noble stores in Maryland.
In writing this book, the authors do assume that the reader will have some experience with the subject but the material is organized in such a way that it shouldn’t be too difficult for a novice to get up to speed pretty quickly. Many sections were written with IT professionals in mind but the entire book was written by and for Windows enthusiasts.
Their Inside Out tips will give you a clearer perspective on each topic, why it works as it does and how to implement handy workarounds to combat any software issues that might arise. Troubleshooting notes, Sidebars and some Cautions will guide you through solutions to some common problems you might face.
The in-depth chapters on Installing and Configuring Windows 7, and Personalizing Windows 7, Using Internet Explorer and Adding Windows Live Programs and Services will quickly help you customize your Windows 7 installation so it looks and feels more familiar.
Many applications we have become accustomed to finding included in a Windows Operating System such as Mail, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Writer, and more, are now in the Windows Live Essentials suite instead. Some computer makers install the Live Essentials collection before a computer ships but it is also available as a free download from Microsoft. A full chapter is devoted to installing and using these ‘add-on’ programs for Windows 7.
The authors briefly cover basic features that remain unchanged and still work as expected but spend a significant amount of time and effort on anything that is new, changed or likely to present a problem or software conflict for the average user. You will also find excellent chapters on Networking, Troubleshooting and Repairing and Tweaking network connections. You may view the entire Table of Contents on the O’Reilly Media product page for the book.
I found the Appendixes section at the back of the book to be particularly interesting.
Appendix A is your guide to the different editions of Windows 7 and what features are available in each.
Appendix B deals with ‘Working with the Command Prompt,’ entering commands and correct command-line syntax and more.
Appendix C covers all the fixes that were included in Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and what issue each was intended to correct.
Appendix D discusses the Certifications that are available for Windows 7 to enhance the credentials of IT professionals. It briefly covers what the certifications are and how to prepare for the exams. It is not a study guide.
Appendix E highlights many of the useful accessories and tools that are included with Windows 7. Programs like Paint and the Calculator are familiar but those of us who skipped Vista might not have heard of the Snipping Tool, Sticky Notes or the Private Character Editor.
Even the Index shows a greater attention to detail than you will find in most books of this type. The listings are entered in words that average users might use to find a topic or problem. Listings are also cross referenced to other areas of the book when additional information is available. It really makes it easy to find what you need quickly.
This book includes such a wealth of information, it really didn’t need a CD to make it a must have reference for your computer library. The included CD is the icing on the cake. It includes:
- Full Electronic version of the book in both PDF and XPS formats.
- Resources including reference white papers, user assistance, Live Essentials and other download links, and product support to help you use and troubleshoot Windows 7 features.
- Tools includes links to tools for PowerShell, application compatibility, Microsoft Fix It, IEAK, WAIK, and Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor and much more.
- Product Information: Explore the features and capabilities of Windows 7 and learn how other Microsoft products and technologies can help you at work and at home. This includes online Win 7 product help, How-to Videos, downloads and the Windows 7 Compatibility Center and more.
- PowerShell Scripts provides more than 80 PowerShell scripts you can customize and use to configure and manage computers running Windows 7.
- Tech Support: Troubleshooting reference called ‘Before You Call Tech Support’ with things to try before you call Tech Support. The document is provided in PDF and XPS formats.
- Online Survey: Take a few minutes and complete a brief online survey to share your thoughts on the book. Your input will help make the next book even better.
Windows 7 Inside Out Deluxe Edition is a must-have reference tool for anyone who works with Windows 7. With the expert resources provided, you will transform Windows 7 from an alien landscape to a more familiar and comfortable workspace.
You will also learn how to:
- Configure and troubleshoot hardware and network connections
- Apply best practices for User Account Control and other crucial security tools
- Manage your files, folders, hard drives, backups and recovery
- Automate routine maintenance tasks with tools and scripts
- Learn to use Windows 9’s browsing and security features
- Monitor and fine-tune system health
- And much more
Windows 7 Inside Out Deluxe Edition is published by Microsoft Press and distributed by O’Reilly Media. The book is available directly from O’Reilly Media online in hardcover for $59.99, Ebook for $47.99 and both Ebook and hardcover for $65.99. They offer free shipping on orders over $29.95.
Amazon offers the hardcover edition for $37.79 and the Kindle edition is only $34.01. I’m not sure how they handle the CD content for the ebook editions that are downloaded.
Barnes and Noble lists the book as available online and in most of their local stores including Bel Air, White Marsh, Ellicott City and Towson, MD. Visit Barnes and Noble online to check availability at a store near you. The listing online shows “Paperback” which I believe is probably an error because they list the same ISBN number that is on my hardcover edition. It is available for $41.30 with free shipping. A Nook edition is also available for $40.31.