Windows Vista - The Definitive Guide

William R. Stanek

Publisher O'Reilly
ISBN 9780596528003
RRP £35.50
Reviewed by Patrick Hill CEng MBCS CITP
Score 9 out of 10

Windows Vista: The Definitive Guide Each new arrival from the Microsoft Windows stable is generally accompanied by a slew of new titles, each attempting, with varying degrees of success, to help us get to grips with Microsoft's latest offering.

Windows Vista is no exception and this book proudly announces itself as 'The Definitive Guide' and 'The One Vista Book You Will Always Use'.

Lofty titles are wont to disappoint, but this book is something of an exception. Between the covers are around 900 pages containing a mass of information, organised into logical, task-oriented sections. Each section covers sufficient background to enable the reader to understand why things work the way they do, and what, if anything, is different between Vista and previous Windows incarnations.

This is important, because, as the author explains, Windows Vista is dramatically different to previous Windows operating systems, and familiar concepts may be subtly different within Vista.

Each task is described by a click-by-click guide, and. technical descriptions are pitched at the computer-literate reader, but are not overly dense.

The scope of topics covered by the book is broad enough that it is likely to satisfy the requirements of most users. The five parts of the book cover the Vista user interface, data and media management, networking, system management and advanced topics such as the Windows boot environment.

Detailed 'how-to' guides range from topics such as UI optimisation, using Media Player and Movie Maker, to performing back-ups, setting up networking, understanding Windows security policies and working with the boot configuration.

In addition, a number of sections dealing with problem diagnosis and resolution provide help when things go wrong. The book aims to be comprehensive, however, one can't help thinking that a reader who needs step-by-step instruction in changing the appearance of the mouse pointer, for example, is likely to be nonplussed by the later description of OSI, IPsec, VPN and so forth.

Because there is lots of 'how-to' detail, I found that the structure of the book did not lend itself to cover-to-cover reading - but this is not really what this book is about. Rather, this book is about is providing a handy, informative and authoritative reference that helps users accomplish useful tasks using Windows Vista. The content is supported by a detailed index. Overall, the book does seem to live up to its subtitles.

Further information: O'Reilly