Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: January 2007
Pages: 426

Fast-paced and easy to use, this concise book teaches you the basics of Windows Vista so you can start using this operating system right away. Written by "New York Times" columnist, bestselling author, Emmy-winning CBS News correspondent and Missing Manuals creator David Pogue, the book will help you:

  • Navigate the desktop, including the fast, powerful and fully integrated desktop search function
  • Use the Media Center to record TV and radio, present photos, play music, and record all of these to a DVD
  • Breeze across the Web with the vastly improved Internet Explorer 7 tabbed browser
  • Become familiar with Vista's beefed up security, and much more
Windows Vista is a vast improvement over its predecessors, with an appealing, glass-like visual overhaul, superior searching and organization tools, a multimedia and collaboration suite, and a massive, top-to-bottom security-shield reconstruction. Every corner of the traditional Windows operating system has been tweaked, overhauled, or replaced entirely.

Aimed at new and experienced computer users alike, Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual is right there when you need it. This jargon-free book explains Vista's features quickly and clearly -- revealing which work well and which don't.

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O'Reilly's Window's Vista for Starters: the Missing Manual

By Carol

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual:

A Review: "O'Reilly's Windows Vista For Starters". Book donated to Northern Neck Computer Users Group 2008

Buying a new computer with Windows Vista seemed like a huge challenge for a person with limited computer skills. I was very happy to win "O'Reilly's "Windows Vista For Starters" at the monthly NNCUG meeting. Thank you so much for all your donations.

Windows Vista has come to us whether it or we are ready. The new look, drivers for 12,000 components, better security, managing your pictures and music all seem overwhelming at first glance but following the manual with the step by step instructions and illustrations will certainly help.

This publication illustrates some good points for the new Vista : the "sleep mode", a sensible solution to turning the computer off during the day or night when you're not using it continuously; the "search" from the start menu ; burning CDs and DVDs "live file system", a new format letting you use cheap CD-R as many times as you like.( This works only in Windows XP or Vista leaving out Mac and older Windows programs. However, the old "mastered" format is still available). The book points out an excellent feature which lets programs crashing end without shutting down the computer and losing all unsaved data. It explains how parental controls can be made easier.

"The Missing Manual" books are the best on the market for beginners as well as others who purchase a new program. They are easy to read and the illustrations make the challenge almost fun.

Carol H.


Windows Vista for Starters

By dieny

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual:


'O Reilly Media Inc., Publishers

Reviewed by Dieny Vonk

As a member of CoSNUG, the Colorado Springs, CO Senior Network Users Group, I was given the opportunity to review this book and since I just bought a new computer with Windows Vista on it and all I had used before was Windows XP, I thought this was a great opportunity to learn about Vista while writing a review at the same time. By systematically working through the book I took the time to read and try out all the new stuff chapter by chapter and these are my comments:

Chapter 1 _ The Very Basics

The basics resemble the Windows XP basics which I've used for a long time. The book emphasized the right mouse button feature which I tried and found very useful. Clicking the right mouse button on anything from icons to folders to pictures on the web and many more brings up a shortcut menu which leads to handy functions I never knew existed and which easily let you manage what you're doing. Although this feature is available in Windows XP, I never used it the way I do now. As the book says, the possibilities in Windows Vista are endless, literally, and it's a matter of figuring out what you need the most and skipping the rest.

Chapter 2 _ Welcome Center, Desktop and Start Menu

The Welcome Center lets you quickly access various functions. The one I was interested in was transferring files and settings from my old computer to the new. It meant downloading the Windows Easy Transfer software and the process worked very well; however, the end result was not spectacular. All the programs transferred to the new computer but were mostly not usable. For example, three years of Turbo Tax files could not be accessed and the data in Quicken 2002 stopped with the year 2004. Needless to say I found it more frustrating than helpful. I resolved to reload programs and transfer through the LAN I had established earlier.

The sidebar feature is kind of fun and I decided to populate it with my specific info and start using it. I think the two most useful new features are the instant search command right from the start button and the sleep mode feature which lets you pause the computer and come back exactly to where you left off.

Chapter 3 _ Files, Folders and Windows

This chapter presents an incredible amount of information on windows controls and how to organize and again, the possibilities are endless. I decided not to try to absorb all of it at once but as I continue using Vista, I'll keep trying some new ways of organizing things and figure out which methods work best for me.

Chapter 4 _ Searching and Organizing Your Files

With the new search feature from the start menu you can search everything, not only file names, but file contents as well. Typing in just part of a word will provide you with search results. If it's not what you want, just keep typing in different clues. You can search files as well as programs, favorites, history and communications, such as email. You can end any search with the esc key. The "Search the Internet" feature opens your web browser and searches the Web.

This chapter also covers burning CD's and DVD's in UDF format as the factory default in Vista. This new format it easier to use; it works more like a floppy disk which means you can just drag files onto it and you don't have to burn to the disk. You can still select the old mastered format if you prefer it. I look forward to trying this feature out. Too much fun to be had with this new system!!

Chapter 5 _ Interior Decorating Vista

The title of this chapter says it all; you choose what you want for your wallpaper, screensaver, sounds, mouse and start menu. A handy change I found under FAQ was going to a larger print size which was one of the most helpful. I chose the next level up and it got rid of the real tiny stuff on my new laptop.

Chapter 6 _ Programs, Documents and Gadgets

This chapter is pretty straight forward, basics about opening, closing, saving programs and documents. You can learn a lot here but also probably already know much of it from Windows XP.

I've heard many people complain about the UAC (User Account Control) pop-up, which pops up any time you try to change, add, delete etc. a program and I agree it's a bit annoying. The book gives instructions for turning it off, but I've decided not to do that because, as the book also points out, the feature is there for a good reason. To me the security is more important than the inconvenience and hey, you get used to it.

Most programs have the import/export features on their drop down menus (click the right mouse button) which is pretty handy for transferring large files and databases.

Chapter 7 _ Music, Photos and Videos

Windows Photo Gallery is neat and easy to use. When you first open it, you see all the pictures on your computer. You can choose "import from camera" to transfer pictures into photo gallery from your camera and this basically dumps everything that's on your camera. You can then run an initial slideshow to see all your pictures full size and from that point edit and delete what you don't want, name your pictures and further organize them. One great feature is that you can always revert to your original, even months or years later. Picture Gallery also makes it easy to shrink the size of your pictures for emailing. You can also make a slideshow movie by arranging pictures, adding music and credits and saving it as a digital movie. There is much to learn and play with here.

Windows Media Player has changed somewhat compared to XP but it is still great for keeping your music library, burning CD's and what Windows Vista Media Player does best is play DVD's.

Chapter 8 - Getting Online, Securely

This chapter covers topics like broadband connections, wireless networks, dial-up connection, connection management, internet security, hot spot security and parental controls, all worthy subjects to be studied and used as needed. The internet security portion of this chapter is very reassuring. Vista's built-in security is much higher than in Windows XP and there are good tips on what not to do for security reasons. To make adjustments check security center for current settings and make desired changes.

Chapter 9 _ Internet Explorer 7

Much on Internet Explorer is the same as in Windows XP but what stood out as new or at least a feature I did not know, is RSS which either stands for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication. Each abbreviation explains one aspect of RSS _ either its summarizing talent or its simplicity. RSS technology lets you subscribe to feeds: news, blogs and podcasts. With Internet Explorer 7 you no longer need a special RSS reader program. The book describes how to sign up for these RSS broadcasts and it is something I will have to try soon. The advantage of this type of access to news and podcasts is that you won't have any streaming advertisements and pop-ups. More new things to learn!

Tips for better surfing also bear experimenting with. Some are: bigger text/smaller text, zooming, saving pages, printing pages and turning off animation. This is followed by several pages on phishing filter, privacy and cookies, and pop-up blocker; good stuff to check out.

Chapter 10 _ Windows Mail

Since I do not use Windows Mail, I skipped this chapter.

Chapters 11, 12, 13 and 14 cover a variety of hardware, help and various functions such as backing up, system restore and Windows Update, a nice reference as needed.

Chapter 15 _ Accounts and Logging On

This chapter describes in detail how to set up and use various accounts and setting up passwords for different users and it explains how to log on.

Chapter 16 _ Setting up a network and sharing files

This is the chapter I had been patiently leading up to. I wanted to network our two laptops and also share files on these computers. I wanted to gain an understanding of Vista before attempting this. As I already said under Chapter 2, I was able to create a wireless LAN and transfer software and files from the old to the new computer but the resulting transfer was very unsatisfactory. I figured out how to share files but I definitely need to refine that process as well and then learn how to synchronize files. I can't say this process was a snap but by persevering and referencing the book, I created an understanding of how to work the various pieces. Fine tuning with the help of Chapter 16 is still ongoing.

The book does a good job of explaining Vista and is easy to follow. There is so much information though that reading through it once does not mean you'll know it all or remember everything and I plan to keep it handy as a reference manual to be used as needed.


Windows Vista For Starters, The Missing Manual

By Darry D

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual:

Since shortly before Windows Vista arrived and began to overtake other Windows operating system versions, there have been a lot of books published - all of which claim to tell you "all you need to know."

This is one book that fulfills that promise.

There are splashier, drawing- and photo-filled books, but this 385-page book cuts to the bottom line in telling and in showing you what you really need to know to use this operating system.

The 16-page index, alone, is worth the price of this book because it lists the key concepts and tasks a user needs to know and links you directly to the page or pages that will make that information useful.

There is no fluff in this book; only the facts and tasks needed to become a master at using this new operating system.

The illustrations and reproductions of screens are focused upon showing you what you need to see to understand the word descriptions surrounding them.

This knowledge-filled manual should be on every serious Windows Vista user's shelf with its well-worn pages revealing new concepts and better understanding every time the user opens it.

If you want cartoons and pretty pictures, buy a colorful book.

If you want to expand your horizons and your understanding of the power offered by Windows Vista, buy this book.

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