PC Annoyances
How to Fix the Most Annoying Things About Your Personal Computer
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: October 2003
Pages: 208

In every PC user's life, there's a point when desperate measures must be taken. Some push their PC off a pier or chuck it into a landfill. Others turn their former computing ally into a planter box. But don't give up on your PC yet--help is at hand.

This easy to read, accessible book from PC World expert Steve Bass covers the waterfront of PC gripes and gremlins, with fixes for everything from Windows glitches to browsers that won't browse. These tips and tricks are served up in bite-sized portions for quick reading and even quicker fixing.

Among the topics covered:

  • Windows--King of Annoyances! You'll learn how to kick Windows in the rear, get past glitches, take charge of the interface, live with the dreaded activation, and more.
  • Conquer your email, from Outlook to Eudora! Beat back spam, get inside info, avoid mailing lists, send big files, manage folders, and more, for a half dozen email programs.
  • Master Microsoft Office. From little-known right-click wonders to backing up the unbackable to automating data entry, you'll find workarounds for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Wrassle with hardware--and win! Learn to wake up your DSL, tame your notebook, shut up your PC's fan, save your data, and save paper.
  • Internet knots untied! Shake up IE, stop Flash, outsmart defaults, control Favorites, add the Google toolbar to Netscape, and more.
Plus, you get access to more than one hundred utilities that will help you squash bugs, enhance your email, untangle a system snarl, and much more.

If your PC has ever annoyed you (do we see several billion raised hands?), PC Annoyances is for you. With the flip of a page or two, you can fix that faux pas and have your PC purring again.

Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews


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oreillyPC Annoyances

(based on 7 reviews)

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Great book for us old goats


from Orlando, FL

About Me Home user, Old Goat willing to learn

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


    Best Uses

    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Old Goats
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly PC Annoyances:

    I am a 63 years old "old goat" and have been plugging along on a computer since I bought my first one, a IBM Aptiva w/Windows 95, via Home Shopping Network (TV).

    I know just enough to get into trouble and have managed to crash/blue screen of death two computers. My IBM and a Gateway running Windows 98.

    Now that I am retired, I decided to attempt to educate this "old goat/dog" and purchased a few books ref. to technology and computing.

    This is without a doubt one of, if not the best one that I have purchased, to date.

    It is well written and very easy to follow, providing many tips on how to navigate Windows and the net. Also provides several download sites to help avoid that wonderful "Blue Screen".

    I also appreciate the division of ISP servers into individual sections, thereby making it possible to reference the one/ones that I use without having to waste a lot of time reading non-pertinent text.

    This is a book that I would recommend to everyone, both young and old, but especially to "Old Goats" like me.


    A Great Reference Book to kept close to the computer.

    By Tom

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly PC Annoyances:

    This book is one of the best if not the best computer books that I have ever read. It can be used as manual and kept right close to the computer for reference which I'm doing. He has name the book "PC Annoyances" but this book will inform any one that has a computer from a lot of hardware and software on out to make it easy for you. It covers all aspects of the computer from A to Z. It covers Windows, many e-mail and Spam programs, Internet, Office, and Music and CD's. And the most important of the book it is very easy to understand. He has given a step by step on how to perform the different actions in the book.


    PC Annoyances Review

    By Mary Norbury-Glaser

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly PC Annoyances:

    This slender but jam packed book by Steve Bass, contributing editor of PC World magazine, will delight and inform the reader. Anyone with a grievance against some niggling "feature" that they revisit daily on their Windows OS, email, browser, Office app or PC hardware will most likely find a solution within these covers.

    Steve Bass has compiled a nifty collection of tips, tricks and downright (not so) dirty registry hacks to eliminate many of the day to day annoyances that PC users face. For such a slim volume, the number of usable solutions is nothing less than amazing.

    The chapters are laid out to cover: email with subcategories detailing application specific problems and solutions (outlook, outlook express, aol, eudora and hotmail are all represented); Windows issues; internet (browser problems, how to maximize Google and solutions to instant messaging woes); Microsoft Office tricks and tools; Windows Explorer workarounds; music, video and media tips and finally, information about solving various hardware device mysteries.

    The pages list each annoyance and associated fix with sidebars containing related figures, short tips (keystroke solutions to replace mouse action, for example), humorous cartoons and a mass of links to tools and utilities available on the internet. I hope these links don't prove to be a built in annoyance for the reader, however; at the time of this review, they should all be active and available. Over time, however...

    At first glance, I thought this book would be a reference type volume and not one to read cover to cover. However, once I started, I found it hard not to read every page, even if I was well familiar with a particular annoyance and its solution! A warning to the reader: if you use stickies or strips of paper from magazine subscription pullouts (which I do) as bookmarks then you will find that you will have referenced a lot of pages! A better approach is to sit with this book at your computer and try them out as you go.

    I would be surprised if even the most experienced PC user (which I consider myself to be) couldn't find at least a handful of solutions that they weren't previously aware of. I believe most of us know we can find the answer to a particular sticky problem by googling the web or searching a tech site but often, we need to move on and actually accomplish some work before taking the time to solve an issue not related to the task at hand. This book is the perfect companion

    Steve Bass has a conversational style of writing that will appeal to the entire range of user experience. He doesn't "dumb down" his explanations nor does he focus on newbie issues. His humor is light and does not detract from the subject of interest. The book is graphically well designed and easy to read. A perfect gift for a friend, a loved one, or even for oneself!


    PC Annoyances Review

    By Donna (Mid-Hudson Computer User Group)

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly PC Annoyances:

    You've probably seen the internet video of the man beating up his computer and finally knocking it to the floor. Or the internet video entitled "Bob Gets a New Monitor" starring Bob and his twelve-gauge shotgun. If either of these two characters could ever be you at one time or another you need to buy this book.

    "PC Annoyances..." has a lot to offer on several levels. Besides being a valuable resource, this book is fun to read, is loaded with files to download, and the author is as interesting as he makes the book itself.

    As a resource, "PC Annoyances..." has appeal for all levels of users. In the first chapter you will find out about issues with email programs such as fighting spam and how to eliminate the millions of > symbols from messages before forwarding the message for the millionth time. You will find answers to questions about attachments and how to back up email messages and address books. Although the focus is on Outlook and Outlook Express, he includes AOL, Eudora and Hotmail. I don't use any of these programs, but I still found the chapter to be an easy and interesting read. My favorite gem from this chapter is where to get a free virus removal program called Stinger. Stinger is not a substitute for an antivirus program. It's a useful tool for eliminating a virus from an already infected system.

    The next chapter addresses Windows, primarily Windows XP. Topics include advice on screen resolution, using a laptop, windows updates and service packs. Bass provides a very informative and easy to understand explanation of the "hot" topic of product activation.

    Chapter 3 deals with the Internet and includes information on browsers, dealing with those ubiquitous pop-up ads and spyware, as well as instant messaging. The focus is on Internet Explorer but Netscape and Opera are included when appropriate. My favorite part of this chapter would be the tips on using Google.

    In chapter 4 you'll read about short cuts, tips and tricks for using Microsoft Office —mainly Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. If you are a seasoned Office user, you probably won't find anything new in this chapter. However, it you are new to any of these programs, I'd be very surprised if you can't find an "a-ha, that's how to do that" in this chapter.

    The next chapter covers Windows Explorer and tips for dealing with files, folders. filenames, and file associations.

    The next to last chapter, ‘Music, Video and CDs" focuses on RealOne and Windows Media Player. Fluctuating volume and videos that won't play are addressed. Among the tidbits in this chapter are tips on mp3s and capturing video streams. I have 2 favorites from this chapter - how to turn off RealOne's message center ads and turning off SuperCookie tracking in Media Player.

    The last chapter, "Hardware," provides information about modems, DSL, AC adapters, monitors, printers, and fixing PC noises. I found the information on digital camera auxiliary power packs to be most enlightening.

    With a wide range of topics, there has to be something in this book that makes it worthwhile for you. Besides being a valuable reference when you have a specific annoyance, this book is also fun to thumb through. After the first couple of pages, you'll want to continue thumbing through to the end. Download junkies will be delighted at the quantity of addresses for numerous files, utilities, reference tools, add-ons, and patches, etc. that are found throughout the book.

    If you are not familiar with the author, Steve Bass is a contributing editor of PC World magazine. He started the Pasadena IBM Users Group in 1982 and followed that by co-founding the Association of Personal Computer User Groups. He was a licensed family therapist and met his wife while performing in a magic show.

    Thanks go to O'Reilly Publishing for providing a copy of this book to MHCUG.


    PC Annoyances Review

    By Linda Gonse

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly PC Annoyances:

    The problem with trying to tell anyone about this book is that there is so much to tell! But, the short version is, it's one of the best darned all-around pc books I've seen in a long time.

    A couple of points potential readers of all levels of expertise might want to know is that there is no "canned" tips and tricks feel to to this book. You'll find lots of things that haven't been published and passed around already. Plus, with Steve's easy writing style, you'll feel like you are sitting alongside an experienced friend at the computer and discovering these things.

    The humorous cartoons and screenshots in the sidebars allow you to read this book by flipping from here to there, or they can help lead you into related subjects right on the main text pages. It's a little like choosing an appetizer from a tray, or sitting down to a main dish.

    One of the outstanding features of the book is that all the little utility, freeware, and helper programs Steve tells you about have been gathered together and can be downloaded from one URL mentioned in the book.

    As the editor of a computer user group newsletter, I am recommending Steve's book to our group members -- for themselves and for Christmas gifts.


    PC Annoyances Review

    By Joanna

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly PC Annoyances:

    Thank you Steve!

    How can I ever repay you? I've had problems with my pc that had bothered me for years. Real headaches I could not get rid of. All amazingly solved in a few fairly simple moves after reading your book! Now that is what I call a must-buy.

    P.S. If you ever come to Greece, I want to do my famous belly dance for you as a thank you!


    PC Annoyances Review

    By Adrian Fabersheim

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly PC Annoyances:

    Finally, the book I've been looking for!!

    I'm always looking for information I can really use. Steve Bass knows what's bothering the typical PC user and has the solution. Straight to the point and easy to understand -- no techno-babble here. Bass's wit makes this a fun read.

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