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Book Review of:
Microsoft XP Step by Step
Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out

Windows XP in Books


Once a devourer of historical fiction and non-fiction, Rose Lynn Saenger now cannot find enough time to read about computers. 

From the February, 2002 issue of PC Alamode Magazine

Getting a new computer, for me, meant waiting literally months so that my purchase would be loaded with the newest operating system. After setting up and registering my new computer, I came face to face with Windows XP and was totally intimidated by the new interface and my initial inability to see familiar methods that I use to perform tasks. 

A scant week after acquiring my new PC, I was in Office Depot and spotted a book that seemed to be the perfect answer. And, indeed, it has been the perfect answer. The book is Microsoft XP Step by Step published by Microsoft Press and edited by Kong Cheung and Jenny Moss Benson. This book comes with a CD-ROM containing practice files that you may install on your XP machine. The book then starts with Chapter I on Getting Started with Windows XP and works through Working Efficiently, Managing Security, Adding Hardware and Software, Working with Files and Folders, Personalizing, Making Connections, Communicating, Having Fun, and Solving Problems. 

The book outlines each task on a one, two, three basis and step by step takes you through practice exercises that make the user comfortable with the new XP operating system. With the CD-ROM, it is possible to even practice tasks such as installing software and removing it. This book covers both the Home edition and the Professional edition making it useful for everyone. The book is laid out in such a way that you can go from cover to cover in sequence or you can skip around hitting the things that you need to know immediately first. I have used it both ways. I started out sequentially and then jumped back to something that I forgot as soon as I learned the next task and I have jumped clear to the back of the book to find out more about networking two computers. 

A major feature is the 38 page Quick Reference in the back of the book. This reference provides the page number of the task and very short, quick directions. The Quick Reference is printed on gray paper with highlighted directions so that one can quickly refer to a task rather than thumbing through the book, the table of contents or the index. However I use this book, it is clear, concise, and when I finish a lesson I have a good feeling about being able to accomplish old tasks in new ways.

The next book that I acquired is Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out written by Ed Bott and Carl Siechert and also published by Microsoft Press. I discovered this 1163 page gem at Barnes and Noble shortly before Christmas. Inside Out also has a CD-ROM in the back of the book that contains tools, sample scripts, batch programs, e-Book and more. As with the previous book, Inside Out deals with both the Home edition and the Professional edition of Windows XP. This book appears to be geared for a person who really wants to understand the “ins and outs” of Windows XP or for the system administrator. It contains chapters on Setup, Startup, Tune-up; Customizing Windows XP, Managing Files, Mastering Digital Media, Using the Internet, System Maintenance and Recovery, Networking, Administering a System, and an extensive group of Appendixes. The Table of Contents for this book has a blue highlight “new feature” every time that something that is new to XP is discussed. I have found this book to be very beneficial because of the in-depth approach that it takes to each task. There is more explanation and because of the additional information that is provided there are also “caution” boxes to warn some of us not to go too far.

I purchased each of these books for my own use and am reviewing them because I think of all of the books on XP that I have dealt with; these two are among the best. 

Microsoft XP Step by Step 
edited by Jenny Moss Benson 
ISBN 0-7356-1383-4
Microsoft Press
A Division of Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, Washington, 98052-6399
The listed price is $29.99, but I found mine at Office Depot for $23.99. I have also seen the book at Barnes and Noble and at CompUSA and of course it is available on line at most of the online book stores. 
Windows XP Inside Out
by Ed Bott and Carl Siechert 
ISBN 0-7356-1382-6
Microsoft Press
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, Washington 98052-6399
This book lists for $44.99, however I found it at Barnes and Noble at 20% off or $35.99 — a bit pricey but well worth the investment. I also saw this book at CompUSA and it is also available online. 

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