Windows Vista Administration: The Definitive Guide

 Brian Culp

Publisher O'Reilly
ISBN 9780596529598
RRP £30.99
Reviewed by Mehmet Hurer MBCS CITP CEng
Score 10 out of 10

Windows Vista Administration The author claims there are several reasons why this book is better than any other Vista book currently available: the fact that he is an experienced trainer and consultant who has worked for Microsoft for several years; the timing of the book being such that it is based on a live version of Vista (whereas several other books to hit the streets first may have been based on beta versions); the book being targeted at a high-level audience (so there is no in-depth technical discussion on any Vista’s key features); and finally that it having been well written and presented using jargon-free English.

Having read the book I strongly agree with the claims made by the author.

The book starts by introducing the five different versions and features of Vista (plus some variants I had never heard of before).

Networking is discussed pretty comprehensive, covering all the key areas to a sufficient level of detail to allow configuration and troubleshooting, including IP v4 and v6, DHCP and DNS, sharing resources, domains and workgroups, and wired and wireless configuration.

I didn't know there was so much to system start-up, shutdown, performance configuration and memory management until I read these chapters in the book.

The 'working with hardware' chapter covers a broad range of topics, including device installation, enhanced device manager, printer management and deployment, and disk management. Similarly, 'working with software' covers manipulation of Window's components, application installation and start-up, and handling application compatibility challenges.

Personalisation of Vista is also discussed i.e. how to control the Start menu and taskbar, the desktop and the display. Vista’s speech and handwriting functionality is presented, along with how to configure them. For mobile users, synchronisation with mobile devices is also discussed.

The various options available for deploying and upgrading Windows across an enterprise are described, including troubleshooting and user data migration.

I was surprised to see a chapter dedicated to Internet Explorer 7, until I realised how little I new about the new browser I had installed on my PC six months ago. As well as the general configuration and features of the IE7, features specific to Vista are also presented, such as parental control integration and a secure protected mode.

I was impressed with the coverage of security: not only does it occupy a significant proportion of the book, the author does a grand job of introducing the topic by presenting some key security concepts before discussing the features available in the Vista environment.

The book concludes with some troubleshooting hints and general tips.

The book is illustrated throughout with screen shots and a clear set of instructions on how to configure and use the key features of Vista. By the author’s own admission this is not intended to be an in-depth reference guide covering all of Vista's features, so if you are a fulltime Windows administrator you may need to supplement this book with a more detailed technical reference guide. However, for most home and business users this book should fit the bill perfectly.

Further information: O'Reilly