Windows Vista: The Missing Manual
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Product Description

Windows Vista is Microsoft's most important software release in more than a decade. It offers users an abundance of new and upgraded features that were more than five years in the making: a gorgeous, glass-like visual overhaul; superior searching and organization tools; a multimedia and collaboration suite; and above all, a massive, top-to-bottom security-shield overhaul. There's scarcely a single feature of the older versions of Windows that hasn't been tweaked, overhauled, or replaced entirely.

But when users first encounter this beautiful new operating system, there's gonna be a whole lotta head-scratchin', starting with trying to figure out which of the five versions of Vista is installed on the PC (Home, Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate).

Thankfully, Windows Vista: The Missing Manual offers coverage of all five versions. Like its predecessors, this book from New York Times columnist, bestselling author, and Missing Manuals creator David Pogue illuminates its subject with technical insight, plenty of wit, and hardnosed objectivity for beginners, veteran standalone PC users, and those who know their way around a network. Readers will learn how to: Navigate Vista's elegant new desktop Locate anything on your hard drive quickly with the fast, powerful, and fully integrated search function Use the Media Center to record TV and radio, present photos, play music, and record any of the above to DVD Chat, videoconference, and surf the Web with the vastly improved Internet Explorer 7 tabbed browser Build a network for file sharing, set up workgroups, and connect from the road Protect your PC and network with Vista's beefed up security And much more.

This jargon-freeguide explains Vista's features clearly and thoroughly, revealing which work well and which don't. It's the book that should have been in the box!

Customer Reviews:

  • Information you need
    This book gives you all of the answers you need for all levels of computer users. Excellent inforamtion and easy to read. Also amusing and light, now like a test book....more info
  • The right book to accompany any shiny new instalation of Vista
    Even though David Pogue's "Missing Manual" series isn't necessarily marketed toward programmers or system administrators, I still found the text very useful and a great addition to my O-Reilly library. For me, this book represents a condensation of the bits an pieces of "vista info" that are floating around the new OS release.

    I have to admit that I was on the fence about Vista when I received this book. I ran into trouble finding a good reliable source of raw information, so I decided to research for myself instead of reading more pro/con columns. To that end I used this as more of a reference book in order to find out how much Vista had changed from XP. To my surprise I found everything I wanted to know, and even some things I had forgot long ago.

    This is a book I would recommend to my Mom as well as any of my friends or co-workers looking to discover more about Vista. Pogue writes in such a way that any beginner can understand, and any power-user can appreciate. ...more info
  • Windows Vista, The Missing handbook
    The Missing Handbook is a great help in navigating the many complexities of Vista. It is written well and has an excellent index....more info
  • windows Vista
    This is indeed the manual that should have been included in the Vista Release. Clear instructions for introduction, use and advanced features of Vista....more info
  • Can't imagine a better manual!
    It's been over five years in the making and it's nearly perfect. No, I'm not referring to Microsoft's vast new operating system named Windows Vista, but to the reference book "Windows Vista: the Missing Manual," by author David Pogue. The Missing Manual series is the benchmark of quality for computer manuals. Unless you're a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek, this is probably the only reference source you'll need to learn Microsoft's Vista.

    Vista is the long-awaited successor to Windows XP and it is a major overhaul and upgrade of that operating system. It was designed primarily to address long-standing security issues with XP and its predecessors, but it also has a vastly new look and feel graphically and in operating features. It comes with a large number of new programs and features.

    This Missing Manual uses every bit of 827 pages (including index) to provide similar descriptive and informational material as the built-in Vista sources, but provides much, much more:

    One. Beyond mere description of features and functions, the book explains and evaluates all of the major (and many of the minor) changes from Windows XP to the new Vista. The introductory chapter itemizes all of the most important changes providing perspective on what Microsoft has done with the new operating system. It also highlights some of the more significant interface changes - the new search tool, the revised Start Menu, and the new "ribbon" bar.

    Two. The author notes the options a user has in either using a new Vista feature, or in reconfiguring the operating experience to return to pre-existing features and the aesthetic elements of Windows XP and earlier versions of the operating system.

    Three. Pogue provides an expert user's perspective on the value of the changes and new features in Vista. Some things are improvements and upgrades; others are rated as inferior to what was before. If you don't like the new or changed feature, Pogue guides you how to revert to previous iterations of the featuress, or otherwise provides workarounds.

    Four. Pogue is great at providing an expert user's perspective on working with the operating system efficiently and pragmatically. The Manual is written so that one almost feels that one is getting a one-on-one, hands-on lesson, in using Windows Vista. There is good reason that Pogue has been described as one of the "world's best explainers."

    Five. Beyond all of the information, guidance and perspectives, Pogue has a great writing style. The writing is sprinkled with wit, sarcasm, and good-natured humor, extremely rare for a computer related book.

    Six. The author writes for multiple levels of need and understanding. He details the basics of Windows Vista for beginners, provides richer material in breadth and depth for intermediate users, and a good amount of material useful for power users. There are many sidebars sprinkled throughout called "Power Users Clinic" which offer more technical tips, shortcuts, and information to PC veterans.

    There is a lot new to Vista. The most important, if not the most noticeable, are the security enhancements. Microsoft now has a user account control which limits installation of new applications to a "user" who has administrative permissions. There is a full page of FAQs just regarding the user account control.

    A major security upgrade is "service hardening" which prevents access to the all-important system files by outsiders or unauthorized users. Other new security elements are the Windows Defender program designed to prevent spyware installs, a phishing filter in Internet Explorer, parental controls, drive encryption, address space randomization, and much more.

    What is most noticeable is the appearance of the desktop, windows, icons, system font , and interface features. These are all redesigned to take advantage the vastly enhanced graphic capabilities of Vista referred to as "Aero". The Start Menu has been redesigned to be easier to use. The conventional menu bar for the desktop and most application windows has been replaced with a content-based ribbon bar.

    There is a lengthy list of new applications, most significantly Window's response to Apple Macintosh's iLife suite of media applications. In Vista, these are the Photo Gallery, Calendar, DVD Maker, Media Player 11, and DVD Maker.

    Mr. Pogue is an accomplished writer and computer expert having authored over 40 books, including 17 of the Missing Manual series. The writing is clear, concise, and jargon free. The book provides a fair evaluation of Microsoft's latest operating system and gives it good grades overall.

    The book is organized into eight parts including a set of appendices. These include the Desktop (or user workspace), the Vista software, Internet connection matters, the new Pictures, Movie, and Media applications, hardware and peripherals, PC maintenance, and networking with Vista. The page layout is clean. The book is filled with hundreds of screenshots and numerous step-by-step instructions on nearly all of Vista's elements.

    Part One explains the Desktop and what's new, including the Welcome Center, Start Menu, and the greatly enhanced search tool which graces every window and the desktop itself. It now offers natural language searching for the first time. A full 10 pages is devoted to Microsoft's improved speech recognition system, including a large handful of insights from an experienced user of such software.

    Part Two contains most of the material on the new programs and the improved programs - Internet Explorer and its new RSS capability, tabs, and search bar, Mail (the Outlook replacement), and the Control Panel, which now contains at least 50 icons for mini-applications, wizards, links, and folders. Chapter 8 provides an applet by applet description. Dealing with the Internet with Internet Explorer and Mail comprises most of Part Three. There is a comprehensive section on connecting to the Internet with the growing number of methods-cable, DSL, dial-up, WiFi, cell, etc.

    The media applications are covered in detail in Part Four including comparisons of Microsoft's media applications to iTunes and Zune. Part Five deals with the fax, print, and scan functions and hardware related matters. Especially interesting are the printer tricks and the section on laptops, tablets, palm tops and hand-recognition software.

    For maintenance, troubleshooting, and problem solving, there is a trio of chapters in Part Six covering disk maintenance and repair, the new "dynamic discs" feature, compression and encryption, and backups. Geeks may be interested in knowing how to uncover the hidden controls for the new improved firewall.

    Part Seven covers the basics of accounts and networks. There is a lot new in Vista, especially in regard to its "separate users" architecture. The difference between workgroup and domain networks is explained clearly. Sharing and collaboration functions are explained and there is a comprehensive and deep section on remote control using a multitude of methods.

    The appendices are great. Appendix A. discusses the installation of Vista in a comprehensive, systematic manner, from pre-purchase and installation considerations, to making decisions about upgrades or clean installs, to dual booting.

    Appendix B. is cheekily titled "Fun with the Registry" and is an introduction, with examples, to the notorious registry which is carried over from XP and predecessors. Most authors writing for this level of reader tend to avoid discussion of the registry, but Pogue provides just enough material to intrigue the intermediate user.

    Appendix C. is a short itemization of what's missing in Vista from previous Windows operating systems.

    Appendix D. is a master list of keyboard shortcuts for both the operating system and its major applications, like Internet Explorer 7, and the new Windows Mail.

    There is no wasted space or text in this book. It's worth every cent of its $34.95 price. ...more info
  • "Windows Vista - The Missing Manual" a Book You Really Need
    Windows Vista is a complete overhaul to the Windows operating system that took over five years to complete. It includes an all new user interface and major improvements to security. With the all new look, new programs, new explorers five different versions it is a lot to fathom. But you get on screen help but no manual. I personally still want and need a book to sit down and study. I found Windows Vista - The Missing Manual the solution for me. I don't have Vista but worked with the beta product and found that the manual walked me through the changes that impacted me. It has also given me the incite necessary to determine which version of Windows Vista I eventually will use.

    The book published by O'Reilly is written for advanced beginners or intermediate computer users. For beginners it includes "Up to Speed" articles and for advanced users there are the "Power Users' Clinic" highlights. The Missing Manual's over 800 pages comprise eight parts and four appendixes.

    I found the "Where'd It Go" appendix an excellent reference. It shows you where the old features you were used to using are hidden in Vista. Part One covers the "Vista Desktop" showcasing several new features. It prepares you for what you might see when first starting Vista.

    We have all heard about the Aero interface and the book clearly explains the features. I was interested in the new Sleep feature. This is a two step energy conservation feature. For the first 15 minutes all of your open programs and settings are saved in Ram. So restarting only takes a matter of seconds. After 15 minutes the full Sleep mode starts. At that point like Hibernation the image is saved on the hard drive and it takes longer to restart, but is still much faster than a full start up.

    The new Lock feature also has a potential for excellent benefits in the workplace or a home with children. When you leave the computer just turn the lock on and it will require log on to reactivate. In addition, I found the description of the new fast system wide Search interesting. Some of the new features in the Start Menu Search should become evident through use, but things like using Vista's criteria search are not self evident and I was glad to learn about them from the book. The book even suggested that with the new folder search features maybe deeply nesting folders isn't necessary. However, I doubt I could give that up.

    Part One - "Vista Desktop" of the Missing Manual walks you through using the Vista desktop and fully customizing all of its features to suit your needs. It even shows you how Vista will let you go back to the old classic Windows XP look and feel. Windows Explorer is covered here. Since I personally use Windows Explorer for managing, organizing and opening my myriad of files I studied this chapter closely. I found the detailed descriptions of the windows panes enlightening. The information available in the details pane is incredible. I like the idea of using tags. And with my tendency to create a very detailed folder hierarchy, I found the books descriptions of Vista's Windows Explorer sorting, grouping, stacking and filtering options valuable.

    Since there are a lot of improvements and changes in Vista, it is important to be able to get help. And the Missing Manual contains an entire chapter to help understand the new Vista Help system. I use Help features in Windows and application programs often and found the descriptions of the help screens and various methods of gaining help and assistance very useful.

    These topics were all included in the Basics and Desktop section of the manual's first 186 pages. Just this information on how to set up and get along with Vista and the Appendix on "Where Did it Go" are well worth the cost of the manual. But he manual also includes much more.

    Part Two - "Vista Software" explains the programs, gadgets and freebie software included with Vista. Here you read about installing, opening, managing and uninstalling application programs. Although the book addresses Windows Vista, it provides information you use while using an application. Like using dialog boxes to open and save files. You also see how to use cut, copy and paste commands to move information between programs. Drag and drop and export/import are also covered.

    The applications provided with Windows Vista are each discussed. I remember when I got my current desktop computer and was shocked when it started adding strange things to my documents. If I had read about Speech Recognition, (It was turned on in my version of Office.) I might have figured out what was happening with less concern. I was intrigued with the text to speech capabilities of Vista. The new Sidebar and each gadget are explained. For people who don't use Outlook's calendar, the new Windows Calendar may be valuable, and you find all you need to take advantage of the tool in the manual. Another new tool worth noting is the Snipping tool. Each of the freebee goodies even the games is described in the manual. But for you game enthusiasts, you don't get instructions on playing the games.

    Vista's presentation of the Control panel is new. An entire chapter is devoted to the applets included in the Control panel. It explains each and even shows how to get back to the classic view.

    Part Three - "Vista Online" explains using Vista online. Here you learn how to configure network connections, use Windows Mail and surf the web with Internet Explorer 7. The Internet Security Center, Windows Firewall, Windows Defender and the Phishing Filter are all covered. You read how to configure and use Vista's features to protect your data and computer. Since my new laptop is wireless, I closely read the information on hotspot security and home wireless networking. But I then skipped the parental controls discussion.

    Part Four - the "Media Center" has over 100 pages are devoted to Pictures, Movies and Media center. Since many of us are into digital photography, the chapter on the Windows Photo Gallery is interesting. Photo gallery imports your photos from your camera or computer. Lets you organize, tag and rate them. After completing any required editing, you can then share the pictures as prints, slideshows or on CDs/DVDs. I already have applications that do these functions so did not try the Windows Photo Gallery. Nevertheless, the descriptions and instructions in the manual are clear and straightforward. There are also chapters on Windows, Media Player, Movie Maker and DVD Maker, Media Center rounding out this part of the manual.

    Part Five - "Hardware and Peripherals" covers faxing, printing and scanning as well as working with other peripherals. Installing printers and using them to print from programs and the desktop is discussed. If you think this is too basic skip that part and take a look at controlling printouts and fancy printer tips. For the more adventurous the manual discusses ports, jacks and installing cards in expansion slots. Troubleshooting tips and using the Device Manager are explained.

    Part Six - "PC Health" discusses Windows Vista tools that can be a great benefit to the knowledgeable computer user or a potential door to Pandora's Box. Computer maintenance and tweaks are described. I have used third party software to partition my computer's hard disks for years. So read with interest the disk management chapter on partitioning, compression and encryption.

    Part Seven - "Vista Network" covers setting up user accounts and networks, domains and network sharing. These 100 pages cover using user accounts so multiple people can safely use the same computer without impacting each other's settings and data. You also learn how to set up a working network to share files and peripherals as well as a network connection. There is even a chapter on remote control of your computer.

    Part Eight includes the appendixes. I already mentioned the appendix on "Where'd It Go?". But there are also appendixes on Installing Windows Vista, Fun with the Registry (That is a scary thought.), and a Keyboard Shortcut List.

    So Windows Vista - The Missing Manual does contain something for everyone. It is a great book to read and excellent reference. If you are planning to upgrade to Windows Vista, the book can help you make the right choice and ease the transition.
    ...more info
  • Good and usually simple
    Had the XP book before - very helpful - makes life a lot easier - still occasionally have to turn to the web for help - still great buy!...more info
  • Readable, skimmable, and browsable
    There are two aspects of this book to review -- its content and organization, and the software it describes. Vista contains kernels of every type of software you could possibly want. If you want to really do sophisticated operations whether in video editing, music, digital photo editing, multi-platform file utilization, file indexing, security, or any number of those other "gee whiz" things we're now using computers for, you'll still need dedicated third-party software. But to find what Vista has to offer and make the most of its features this book is an invaluable assistant.

    The content and organization of the book is really nice. It's readable, it's skimmable, it's browsable. You can approach this book from whatever angle you wish, as a chair-side reference, as a thorough discussion of whatever topic you choose, as an instruction manual, or for tips and tricks that are not intuitively obvious. It serves well, regardless of how you want to use the book. You can read it like a child reads "The National Geographic Magazine" by just looking at the pictures and reading the captions, but the writing doesn't talk down to the reader like the "Idiot's Guide to..." series.

    Highly recommended.

    Reviewed by Larry Goss
    SW Indiana PC Users Group
    ...more info
  • Another Gem from Missing Manuals - Windows Vista
    It's almost like you need a written manual, but they've become extinct. Just like the dinosaur! But, what can you do when you need help? But a Missing Manual title for your program and solve your problems. You can even read it in parts and learn new tricks to do things you would never know what and how to do.

    Missing Manuals, don't ignore the benefits of Pogue's series. When you need help you can avoid an Internet search and look at a written index. What a relief? Buy it and you'll agree with me. No doubt!!...more info
  • Excellent resource for novices through mid-level users
    This is the second book in the Missing Manual series I've gotten my mitts on (the iPod one being the first) and I'm extremely impressed with the series so far.

    This book does a great job of covering topics that everyone from novice through experienced mid-level folks can use. The format, writing style, and layout make the book easy to browse through, and the great table of contents and nicely done index make it fine as a reference.

    The content ranges from basics such as how to tweak your system's appearance to more technical topics like delving in to the search infrastructure in Vista. There's also an entire section of five chapters guiding you on details surrounding networking in Vista, plus there's a separate appendix dedicated to details on installing Vista. If you're feeling very frisky there's yet another appendix on "Fun with the Registry." The section on Vista's multi-media capabilities is particularly well done and has given me some very interesting ideas for ways to better use my Vista-based home systems.

    I think the book does a great job of filling in gaps for newbies to mid-level users. Advanced users probably won't get much out of the book, but the depth of content is sufficient enough to keep everyone else happy.

    Put another way: I've got access to scads of Vista-related material through Microsoft courtesy of my MVP status and my company's Gold Partner relationship. I'm keeping the book around as a handy guide. It's that useful!...more info
  • everything you want to know
    I am impressed. This book is 100 times better than vista for dummies. This book is pretty easy to understand and gives you every detail imaginable. I have read bits and pieces so far, and really feel like I am utilizing Vista far more already. You can't go wrong...more info
  • Here's the missing Manual
    This is a great reference book. They're right, it should have been in the box. A must have to save time figuring out the little quirks Vista has. Very easy read....more info
  • helping beyond what you would expect
    My review is simply a 5 star rating. It more than did the job. thanks Richard A G. ...more info
  • A much needed manual
    I purchased this book for a friend and he told me that it was very helpful...more info
  • excellent
    still reading, but great so far.
    Much better to have a book to look at....more info