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Windows Vista: the Missing Manual

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the here-it-comes dept.

220

John Suda writes "It's been over five years in the making and its nearly perfect. No, Im 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 book is the latest, and perhaps best, in the Missing Manual series published by Pogue Press / O'Reilly Media, Inc. The Missing Manual series is the benchmark of quality for computer manuals. Unless youre a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek, this is probably the only reference source you'll need to learn Microsofts Vista." Read below for the rest of John's review.

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 and its innards have been significantly beefed up, as it is a 64 bit operating system, focused on the intermediate future of computing hardware and software.

There are so many changes in Vista that it would take perhaps a dozen pages just to provide a bare-bones description of everything. You dont get any written material from Microsoft when you buy Vista. There are digital support and help resources built in and available elsewhere for Vista, but they are not convenient to use and they are relatively limited in scope and depth. Vista, the Missing Manual, provides the information Microsoft doesnt. It covers all five North American versions of Vista. Page 6 has a handy comparison chart of each version. The beginning of every content section refers to which version of Vista the discussion applies.

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:

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.

The author notes, at every point relevant, 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.

Pogue provides an expert users 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 dont like the new or changed feature, Pogue guides you how to revert to previous iterations of the featuress, or otherwise provides workarounds.

Pogue is great at providing an expert users perspective on working with the operating system efficiently and pragmatically. He doesnt just describe a feature or function but includes tips and guides on how to be more efficient and practical with it and provides reference to other resources available for additional information or guidance. The Manual is written so that one almost feels that they are getting a one-on-one, hands-on lesson, in using Windows Vista. He represents the Alpha-geek relative you might have to help you out when you cant figure out how to do or fix something.

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. Microsoft gets more than a few slams for its many foibles, all well earned. WordPad, for example, no longer opens Word files!

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, both informationally and in advanced tips. 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. By default, the operating system generates accounts for simple users, without the ability to allow installation of new programs. 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, protected mode, drive encryption, address space randomization, and much more. That list doesnt even include a new backup program to help protect users from nonfeasance in basic computer operations (although the author recommends third-party software.)

What is most noticeable is the appearance of the desktop, windows, icons, system font (Sergoe UI), 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 Windows response to Apple Macintoshs iLife suite of media applications. In Vista, these are the Photo Gallery, Calendar, DVD Maker, Media Player 11, and DVD Maker. It adds to that group, Meeting Space, which is a collaboration program for local network users.

The Windows Sidebar is modeled after Apples Dashboard, which allows customized applets to be displayed and used. A useful cautionary note mentions that the Sidebar gadgets dont save data or configurations when closed. You must start all over again.

Mr. Pogue is an accomplished writer and computer expert having authored over 40 books, including 17 of the Missing Manual series. Hes well regarded as the weekly technology columnist for the New York Times and a correspondent for CBSs News Sunday Morning. Hes been assisted here by four other experts who contributed chapters or parts of chapters to this manual. The writing is clear, concise, and jargon free. The book provides a fair evaluation of Microsofts latest operating system and gives it good grades overall. Pogue routinely points out the areas that Microsoft has unashamedly copied from Apple Macintosh, and notes it as a good thing.

The book is organized into eight parts including a set of appendices. These include the Desktop (or user workspace), the Vista software, Online and Internet connection matters, the new Pictures, Movie, and Media applications, hardware and peripherals, PC health and 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 Vistas elements. The discussion is comprehensive and deep.

Part One explains the Desktop and whats 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. For those using older hardware which may not be up to par for Aeros graphic demands, Pogue provides a handful of suggested speed tweaks. A full 10 pages is devoted to Microsofts improved speech recognition system, including a large handful of insights from an experienced user of such software. The author is a fan of Dragon s Naturally Speaking program, but gives good reviews to Vistas capabilities.

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 Microsofts media applications to iTunes and Zune. The discussion of Media Center includes tips on managing recorded TV and setting up media hardware. 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. Pogue even provides material on energy conservation and how to configure Vista to work most efficiently for the user.

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. He describes the new Welcome Center which aggregates many of the initial configurations for a user, or for multiple users.

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 whats missing in Vista from previous Windows operating systems. It makes it easy to figure out why something youve used before cant be located and used. 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. Its worth every cent of its $34.95 price. As a small bonus, copies of shareware programs mentioned in the book are conveniently available for download at www.missingmanual.com.


You can purchase Microsoft's Vista: the Missing Manual from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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weekly updates (5, Funny)

cpearson (809811) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015448)

Will the book come with weekly updates?

Vista Help Forum [vistahelpforum.com]

Re:weekly updates (5, Funny)

physicsnick (1031656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015470)

Only if you pass O'Reilly Genuine Advantage. *hides*

True (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016254)

Man, let me tell you, this book is sorely needed.

I just installed Vista for the first time. I opened up the command line prompt (that was a challenge) and typed "man vista", and you know what it told me? Command not found. What the fuck is that?

Re:True (1)

SkaOMatic (771887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016804)

I hear that.

[Windowskey] C M D [Enter] is like 100 keystrokes too many. They should know I want a terminal up 24x7.

23.09 at amazon (0, Troll)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015460)

You can get it at amazon [amazon.com] for $23.09 (eligible for free shipping if you go over $25). (That is an associates link - if that bothers you, don't click it. If history holds true there will be a non-associates link available right quick if not already)
 
It has received very high reviews there. (bookpool has it for about 59 cents less [bookpool.com] - though you do have to buy more to get free shipping - that one is not any kind of associates link or anything-- just giving some options.)

Re:23.09 at amazon (2, Informative)

stang (90261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015586)

That is an associates link - if that bothers you, don't click it. If history holds true there will be a non-associates link available right quick if not already

Here ya go. [amazon.com]

Just use the associates link. (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016416)

<petpeeve>

Why are people so averse to using the associates link? Stoolpigeon has saved you some time and effort in going out to Amazon.com and looking the book up yourself. He is referring you to the book, and as such, deserves at least a miniscule amount of credit for it via the associates link.

Besides, it's not like you're going to pay more for the book if you buy it using his referral link than if you don't. If you click on his link, it's $23.09. If you look it up yourself, it's $23.09. If you use a non-referral link such as the one posted in your message, it's $23.09. The only difference is who gets $0.92 (4%) of that $23.09: Stoolpigeon of Amazon.com. While I don't have anything against Amazon.com, I figure they're making lots of money already, and it certainly wouldn't hurt them to fork over that $0.92 to someone for helping to sell products from their site.

I have a little-used associates account at Amazon.com. I know from experience that if you order something using a referral link, all that person knows is that the item was ordered, which is kind of necessary in order to know how much you've got coming to you. It doesn't tell you who ordered it, where they live, what their credit card number is, or anything else except that x number of item y's were bought.

So given the choice of clicking on Stoolpigeon's referral link or stang's non-referral link, click on the referral link. Not doing so is really pretty stupid and needlessly spiteful. Or else someone please explain to me why you think that Amazon.com deserves that extra $0.92 more than Stoolpigeon, especially when if it hadn't been for Stoolpigeon, you wouldn't have paid Amazon.com the other $22.17.

</petpeeve>

Re:Just use the associates link. (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016726)

Encouraging the use of associates links simply fuels the desire to evolve a response, story or otherwise imaginative tale to include another referral link.

It diminishes the content here because the post is crafted with something to gain.

Granted, this is one of the few times I have really seen a need for a direct link, but then again it isn't exactly hard to visit your favorite retailer (online or off). None the less, it is generally not needed and can be done without very easily.

A creative person can usually work their con in some way or another when there is something to gain.

DVD Maker? (4, Funny)

Frequently_Asked_Ans (1063654) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015464)

There is a lengthy list of new applications, most significantly Windows response to Apple Macintoshs iLife suite of media applications. In Vista, these are the Photo Gallery, Calendar, DVD Maker, Media Player 11, and DVD Maker. It adds to that group, Meeting Space, which is a collaboration program for local network users.

Is DVD Maker so good you had to say it twice?... I'm still not sold on it.....

Re:DVD Maker? (5, Funny)

reyalpdemannu (1054910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015482)

It's so good that they had to say it twice, it's so good.

From the department of redundancy department.

Re:DVD Maker? (4, Funny)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015526)

"Hi, welcome to the Department of Redundancy Dept. and hello!"

Surely too soon? (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015466)

Vista hasn't really been in consumer use enough to know what kind of problems people will hit in the real world. Surely this is a bit premature?

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Surely too soon? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015522)

What part of "The Missing Manual" you don't understand? :P

Re:Surely too soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015914)

It's not too soon. And don't call me Shirley.

Re:Surely too soon? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016652)

It doesn't have to be...Vista has lots of problems already.

The missing supplement... (1, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015468)

For a better operating system, see Mac OS X: The Missing Manual.

Re:The missing supplement... (1)

Rav3L0rd (1062012) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015514)

If you're really missing something, go for MacOSX or Linux ;-)

Re:The missing supplement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015556)

Better yet, FreeBSD or OpenBSD...

Re:The missing supplement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016648)

But I'm using Vista on my tablet pc. Does Apple have a tablet pc?

Or is Apple years behind in tablet technology?

I bought a used Acer Travelmate 110 and upgraded the harddrive to a 7200 RPM unit. Vista works great on it. I wish I could do this on an apple.

Re:The missing supplement... (0, Troll)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015756)

MacOSX: It just works
Windows Vista: It looks like OSX, but just DOESN'T work.

YMMV

Re:The missing supplement... (2, Insightful)

Mex (191941) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015774)

Can you run OSX on a PC?

Re:The missing supplement... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015910)

For real insight, see Mac OSX: The Missing Games. Warning: it's a thick book.

Re:The missing supplement... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015950)

I heard they're coming out with a new one: Windows Vista: The Incompatible Games

Re:The missing supplement... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016036)

Personally, I'm looking forward to PC Gaming Other Than World of Warcraft: An Obituary

Pure FUD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016384)

You could always try running TuxRacer in X

The missing security in Vista (4, Insightful)

arete (170676) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016052)

Only slightly on topic, but my Karma doesn't care - and I want as many people as possible to see this. :)

I expect a certain number of security holes in any massive software undertaking. But I couldn't let this go by without referencing a recent /. article:

http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/13/192 2237 [slashdot.org]

Which to me says "wow, MS still got it ALL wrong"

Notwithstanding a raft of smaller ones, there's basically two big security problems in Windows - 1) ActiveX et al and 2) a totally improper use of Admin/user privs.

The whole #2 problem is basically: Too damn many things make you need to login as admin to do, so it's way too easy to grant high privs to something malicious. In OS X you're never "logged in" as admin, you sudo as necessary for specific actions. Same is good practice in Linux. And in both cases, you need to do that as rarely as possible; you can do everything a user could want without being root.

But Vista apparently lets a normal user run random exes they've added to the system, (as it must be, for my definition of a "normal user") but _doesn't_ let them run anything Vista detects as an installer, no matter how unimportant the installer is. Meaning, "of course my new solitaire game needs complete and total access to my system" is par for the course. Instead of "boy, anything that needs admin privs must be VERY important and should come with a stern warning"

I HOPE that Vista has fewer problems with having apps that must-run-as-admin, and fewer problems with applications that can only be installed as admin but then can only be run by the user who installed them. (This is rampant in XP... I don't know if Vista has a "sudo" functionality the way OS X and Linux do and XP didn't, really. "run-as" doesn't have the capability of giving the files the nonadmin-user's ownership, which is the critical missing feature.)

But they've already demonstrated a continued disregard for the basic principles of privileges. *sigh*

You have opened a book... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015502)

...Do you want to read it?

Yes/No?

Re:You have opened a book... (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015758)

You are trying to turn the page. Do you want to turn the page? Yes.
Would you like to read the next page? Yes
Oops! You did not read and agree to the copyright page! Would you like to read the copyright page? No.
This book requires activation. Please enter your product activation code now: ____________________________________
Would you like to use this activation code? Yes!
Would you like to activate the book? YES!
You are trying to make notes on the page. This is not allowed. Ok
You are trying to make illegal copies of this book on your copier. This is not allowed. Ok
You are tearing your hair out? Would you like to tear your hair out? YES, YES YES YES!!!!
You appear to be insane. Would you like mental help? ARRGGHGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Re:You have opened a book... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016138)

I can sense that you are pounding your machine. Do you think I care?
My microphone indicates you are screaming at me. Do you think I care?
I detect you are attaching a Linux rogue to this LAN. Do you want to let it on?
Something is trying to inFECT me. Do you want to allow this?
You indicated no, but I am overriding. So, as a feature or as a bug?
When a stranger calls, s/he will know you're alone. Have you checked the children?

Re:You have opened a book... (4, Funny)

E-Lad (1262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016164)

You guys are pretty close...

Watch this video [youtube.com] and just imagine the security prompts if the book in that video were running Vista (ink and quill edition).

Re:You have opened a book... (1)

Phu5ion (838043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016608)

It appears that you have placed a Linux Installation DVD in your drive. Would like to read it? Yes.
You trying to run the setup program. Would you like to continue? Yes.
You are trying to install Linux. That is not allowed. OK.

Re:You have opened a book... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015880)

You have chosen to read a book. Would you like to read the first chapter?

Yes/No

You have chosen to read the first chapter. Would you like to read the first paragraph?

Yes/No

64-bit (3, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015520)

its innards have been significantly beefed up, as it is a 64 bit operating system

So was XP [microsoft.com] . What else about it is "beefy" without also being labeled "cruft"?

What did pogue have to say to billy gates? (3, Funny)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015532)

"You scumbag you maggot! You cheap lazy faggot! New OS your ass and thank god its your last!"

Mod funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016142)

Thats the exact somg that went through my head when I saw the writers name!

These foos don't know nuthing modding you a troll

http://www.pogues.com/Releases/Lyrics/LPs/IfIShoul d/Fairytale.html [pogues.com]

Re:What did pogue have to say to billy gates? (1)

woadlined (1054792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016174)

LOL Gates: I coulda bin someone Jobs: Well so could anyone - you stole my GUI from me...when I first found you Gates: I kept it with me babe - I sold it as my own - can't DRM it all alone - I bilked the chumps around you

nonfeasance? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015540)

What a perfectly cromulent essay!

Microsoft's strange manual policy (4, Insightful)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015548)

I really can't understand why MS isn't creating a good Windows manual for its OS products. A neat, home-printable pdf e-book explaining their flagship product afterall.

Re:Microsoft's strange manual policy (1)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015596)

I really can't understand why MS isn't creating a good Windows manual for its OS products. A neat, home-printable pdf e-book explaining their flagship product afterall.

Wont someone think of the MS Cerified?

Re:Microsoft's strange manual policy (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015632)

Forgot to say it should be gratis and placed online! You're right. ;)

Re:Microsoft's strange manual policy (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016592)

I love online manuals! Whenever I have problems with my network, I can just look up the answer!

Re:Microsoft's strange manual policy (2, Funny)

dave562 (969951) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015654)

If they created a manual then they couldn't see you the Resource Kit and all the various trainings. Not to mention, what would Mark Minasi do if Microsoft actually documented their software?

Re:Microsoft's strange manual policy (0, Flamebait)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015716)

Because then it would be even MORE like Mac OS X.

Re:Microsoft's strange manual policy (2, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015738)

Hey, Windows has a GUI, which is self-documenting, with very informative online help, and even AI help wizards! There's no need for documentation! :)

Re:Microsoft's strange manual policy (2, Interesting)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016268)

As I was attempting to determine what the maximum windows experience rating is for a computer, With skepticism I hit with the F1 key to see if "help" had been improved. Low and behold - I got my answer.

There were a couple other instances where help actually worked as advertised.

Who on earth would really read a manual supplied by msft?

-=-=-=-=-
Check out my new AMD FX70 system build, now with Vista. http://amd4x4.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Re:Microsoft's strange manual policy (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015958)

Because someone (probably on Slashdot) will inevitably complain that MS publishing their own manuals unfairly cuts into third party competition, naturally! See: web browsers, media players, antivirus, firewall software, etc.

Ohhh nooooo (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015600)

FTFA
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.

I do not want to be the one to try fixing what happens when general users get 'intrigued'

FTFA
Appendix C. is a short itemization of whats missing in Vista from previous Windows operating systems. It makes it easy to figure out why something youve used before cant be located and used.

If there is enough of that going on, might as well switch to Linux or Apple and get the pain over with once and for all!

Re:Ohhh nooooo (2, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015666)

I do not want to be the one to try fixing what happens when general users get 'intrigued'
Yes you do, as that's how most consultants make their livings.

Re:Ohhh nooooo (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016320)


FTFA
Appendix C. is a short itemization of whats missing in Vista from previous Windows operating systems. It makes it easy to figure out why something youve used before cant be located and used.


        Apostrophes seem to have been left out of this OS.

What? (0, Offtopic)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015634)

10 replies already and no unbiased, informed, well-mannered discussion of the relative merits of Vista vs. other OSs? Come on, Slashdot, you can do better!

Let me make a start:

Vi$ta is teh suckage!

MacOS is for wimps!

Linux roxxorz!

A better Vista manual (2, Funny)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015656)

1. Load Vista.

2. Load Dreamscape and play the cool volcano video on your desktop.

3. Say "Wow, that's nice, but my processor is pegged according to this gadget thingy".

4. Lunch time, so open 'Hold em' and kick ass at Poker while eating your sandwich.

5. When it is time to get some work done, Load VMWare and boot Windows XP.

My wife and I were very happy for many years, then we met."

I forgot the Index: (3, Funny)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016418)

For Nvidia Graphics card users:

Option A: Prozac.

Option B: Get on the floor and kick and scream, until your Computer un-crashes itself.

For Nvidia SLI owners who spent a fortune on their video subsystem:

This section will be completed upon the cessation of laughter.

For AMD Graphics card users:

It is no longer necessary to say prayers before booting your computer, when it crashes, there is a 50% chance that your boot sector will remain unscathed.

Descriptive index? (2, Funny)

iago-vL (760581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015696)

From the review:

This Missing Manual uses every bit of 827 pages (including index) to provide similar descriptive and informational material as the built-in Vista sources [....]

The index provides "descriptive and informational material"? Sounds like an odd kind of index to me...

Complete Text: (0, Troll)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015720)

I know I shouldn't reprint the whole thing in a Slashdot comment, but sometimes information wants to be free:

Use Linux.

Re:Complete Text: (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016092)

Sure, you post that, but you're really missing the real genius of the book: they managed to stretch those two words over 848 pages. Truly a magnificent achievement.

Re:Complete Text: (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016218)

Sounds like my papers in college;-) <Guiness Guys>Brilliant!</Guiness Guys>

You May Be Thinking Of Someplace Else (2, Insightful)

TwistedKestrel (550054) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015734)

Unless youre a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek,
Who the hell else reads /.?

Re:You May Be Thinking Of Someplace Else (2, Insightful)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015878)

If it hadn't become obvious years ago, slashdot is a site where managers go to stay 'current' on tech news. Sys admins and programmers only check /. so that when their manager asks them a question, they have an ample supply of snarky responses to them.

Re:You May Be Thinking Of Someplace Else (1)

TheRistoman (1062158) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016716)

Actually I check /. specifically because my manager isn't around. Wait, I'm not a sysadmin NOR a programmer. Woo hoo!

Re:You May Be Thinking Of Someplace Else (1)

Alboin (1064242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015898)

The little goblins who live under my computer.

Re:You May Be Thinking Of Someplace Else (-1, Offtopic)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016120)

Diggtards.

Take that as you please.

But DP is a Mac fanboy! (1)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015736)

Has he been running Vista in Parallels or something?

Re:But DP is a Mac fanboy! (1)

FunkeyMonk (1034108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016346)

I sincerely doubt that Master Pogue "wrote" the whole book. I suspect that Pogue is becoming a bit of a brand name... next next O'Reilly, perhaps.

Gadgets don't save config? (3, Informative)

chrismgtis (1062106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015766)

"The Windows Sidebar is modeled after Apples Dashboard, which allows customized applets to be displayed and used. A useful cautionary note mentions that the Sidebar gadgets dont save data or configurations when closed. You must start all over again."

Gadgets don't save configurations? That is a lie.

Metareview: the missing review of the review (1)

xmark (177899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015782)

Wow, great review, but it's a *bit* long.

Here's the missing metareview:

Buy this book. The author knows Vista way better than even Bill Gates does, and might even make you crack a smile now and then as you learn. Imagine that.

Instructions on an OS? (1)

BACPro (206388) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015814)

Why should you have to learn an OS.
Doesn't it just execute the programs written for it?

Or did they accidentally bundle some user programs...

Which makes me wonder... (0, Redundant)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015822)

Unless youre a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek

So, you posted this on Slashdot, where the vast majority of readers will fall into one or more of those categories, why?

the Missing Manual? (3, Funny)

mybecq (131456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015836)

You are attempting to read a book review about Windows Vista on Slashdot.

                                Cancel or Allow?

Re:the Missing Manual? (1)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016588)

Cancel.

Largely pointless (1, Insightful)

David Horn (772985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015852)

Having not actually read this book, I have the question its point to anyone besides a complete novice, for the following points:

1) Vista is actually fairly intuitive. If you have to resort to a book to figure out what WordPad or Paint is, perhaps you shouldn't be using a computer in the first place...

2) I can, possibly, slightly, maybe see this book being useful to someone without the internet. But then, why buy Vista? Any problem identified in Vista is likely to be fairly unique, and almost certainly not covered in the book. Perhaps it should really be about making the most of Google and Google Groups to find a solution?

3) Vista's built in Help is far, far better than that which shipped with XP. It actually "helps" you if you have a problem, and seems to connect to a huge online repository of articles.

4) Vista has been available to the general public for THREE WEEKS. How can you write a book on troubleshooting problems about it?

I'm sorry if this sounds so negative, but I honestly can't see the point of this book for computer professionals, particularly on Slashdot. For my grandma, maybe.

Re:Largely pointless (1)

Feanturi (99866) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016078)

If you have to resort to a book to figure out what WordPad or Paint is, perhaps you shouldn't be using a computer in the first place...

I've got news for you: Somewhere along the line, somebody let all of those people think it's their right to use one anyway. And it's your job to keep it working in spite of their willful ignorance. That makes a book like this quite necessary, and I hope it does well.

Re:Largely pointless (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016186)

1) Vista is actually fairly intuitive. If you have to resort to a book to figure out what WordPad or Paint is, perhaps you shouldn't be using a computer in the first place...

Actually, if you are using Wordpad or Paint, perhaps you shouldn't be using a computer in the first place. :)

Re:Largely pointless (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016474)

For getting lots of words down in the computer, when you're not worried about formatting (as, for example, in the vast majority of my work), Wordpad is just as good as any other lightweight word-processor.
      But, god... Paint. *shudders* My officemate often says something like, "Oh, just send that .eps with the embedded LaTeX code over here... I'll change it in Paint," and something inside me dies a slow painful death.

Only 2 week (2, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015860)

Vista has been out in general availability for 2 weeks and you already lost the manual?

Re:Only 2 week (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016840)

No silly, the manual is for all those pirated copies...

GUI changes (3, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015886)

All the windows supporters say Linux is hard and it is too difficult to learn a new GUI. And Microsoft nonchalantly changes the GUI under them, removes applications, adds applications, changes the way things work, and all of them dutifully learn new ways of doing the same old things. 827 page manual for general user who is already familiar with XP? That is insane. Companies should demand Microsoft to pay for the retraining of their employees and upgrade costs and data migration costs. But you see them line up like the harbour coolies paying protection money to Peter in Deewaar. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deewaar_(1975_film) [wikipedia.org]

But what else can they do? They so heavily vendor locked into Microsoft they have to pay the protection money. There will be no Vijay Verma for them riding into the pier to clean up the mess.

Re:GUI changes (4, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016328)

827 page manual for general user who is already familiar with XP? That is insane. Companies should demand Microsoft to pay for the retraining of their employees and upgrade costs and data migration costs.

You are making two erroneous assumptions:

  1. That the number of pages in a book is proportional to the amount of useful content it contains.
  2. That anyone needs a manual to start using Windows Vista.

Surely the fact that Microsoft does not include a manual with the product, instead providing the user with a context-sensitive electronic help system, indicates that Microsoft doesn't actually feel that a printed manual is necessary at all?

O'Reilly and Pogue say that the manual is "missing," but remember, they are biased. They are in the business of printing books.

Re:GUI changes (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016412)

You do have a valid point. The manual might not be needed it could just be a summation, you are right about that. Still I think MS changing the GUI and the users meekly accepting it without too much of a protest is at odds with the percieved difficulty retraining users in a different GUI.

Pogue (1)

bobsil1 (115706) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015930)

Pogue goes slack-jawed whenever Apple adds so much as a sticker to its products, but when MS ships an entire OS he snarkshafts them like the Appleboi that he is. Now he's trying to make money off Microsoft? Guy's got chutzpah, man.

Sidebar (2, Insightful)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015940)

The sidebar doesn't save your settings and you have to start over? I've been using Vista since pre-Beta 1 and I've never had to reset my sidebar widgets once.. (though I never really used the Sidebar until RTM, it still kept my zipcode for weather and stuff)

typo in a book review? (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015946)

Shouldn't youre have an apostrophe there, since you're is an abbreviation of you are. am i being pedantic?

Re:typo in a book review? (2, Insightful)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016244)

Yes, you are. And you forgot the link for our linguistically-challenged readers: pedantic [m-w.com] . You also forgot to capitalize a few letters. If you're going to be pedantic, at least do it properly. ;-)

Re:typo in a book review? (0, Offtopic)

grungeman (590547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016496)

I have 5 moderation point to distribute right now (actually 3 left). I intended to mod your comment, but could not find the option "pedantic". Sorry.

Apostrophe? (4, Funny)

ThePolkapunk (826529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18015948)

Perhaps before writing this review, the author should've read the missing manual for the English language. There's something called an apostrophe. I highly recommend using it.

Re:Apostrophe? (3, Informative)

NC-17 (411446) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016802)

They were most likely slashed out by some web app.

You know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18015984)

You can write the most carefully reasoned and researched, most authoritative reference manual ever written on the subject of manure, but in the final analysis, it's still just a book about crap!

Who else is here? (5, Funny)

Spacezilla (972723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016084)

Unless youre a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek, this is probably the only reference source you'll need to learn Microsofts Vista.
Good thing no one on Slashdot is any of those three things then.

Save $4.90 by buying the book at Amazon.com! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016134)

Barnes and Noble is selling this book for $27.99, but Amazon.com is only selling it for $23.09!

Save yourself $4.90 by buying the book here: Windows Vista: the Missing Manual [amazon.com] . That's a total savings of 17.51%!

Vista just came out... (1)

proxy318 (944196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016144)

and they've already lost the manual? Geez, keep track of your stuff, people!

But I thought... (1)

sheldon (2322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016230)

Nobody was going to upgrade to Vista.

I heard it here on /., so I know that must be true.

So what you're saying is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016272)

Unless youre a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek, this is probably the only reference source you'll need to learn Microsofts Vista.
I guess everyone on slashdot will need another source then.

If You Need A Manual . . . (3, Insightful)

JusticeISaid (946884) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016298)

Long ago, in a virtual software galaxy far away, one of the developers involved in the design of the Xerox Star [digibarn.com] told me, "if you need a manual to figure out how to use a computing environment, it wasn't properly designed."

Editors? Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016308)

Its as if something is wrong with this review, but I cant tell what. Maybe the editors didnt read it before posting it? Or perhaps the editors arent performing the sorts of tasks generally assigned to editors? Im not sure. Anyone else notice something wrong? I cant quite put my finger on it.

Sidebar no different from Dashboard wrt Config (4, Informative)

saddino (183491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016404)

The Windows Sidebar is modeled after Apples Dashboard, which allows customized applets to be displayed and used. A useful cautionary note mentions that the Sidebar gadgets dont save data or configurations when closed. You must start all over again.

Actually, this "warning" of losing preferences when closing gadgets also applies Apple's Dashboard: any widget removed from the Dashboard loses its preferences. The act of moving a gadget (widget) from the Gallery (Shelf) into the Sidebar (Dashboard) is what instantiaties a new gadget (widget). Persistence of configuration data is only acheived by keeping the gadget (or widget) alive. Both platforms save configuration data between logouts/shutdowns -- but for instantiated widgets (gadgets) only. Close them, and their done.

And now, some shameless self-promotion for you Vista early adopters, courtesy of lifehacker [lifehacker.com] :

Turn any web widget into a Vista Gadget
The Amnesty Generator for Windows is designed to let you convert any embeddable web site widget (including Google Gadgets) into a Vista Sidebar Gadget with very little work.

Compared to Vista's Gadget library's relatively meager 275 gadgets, Google Gadgets for your web page, for example, currently sports over 3000 widgets - meaning that if you're a fan of Vista Gadgets and you want to expand your palette, the Amnesty Generator looks like a good way to do that. If this sounds at all familiar, OS X Dashboard-lovers may remember that Amnesty Generator is also available for Dashboard [lifehacker.com] . Right now the generator still has a few kinks (particularly in the looks department), but in all it seems to work fairly well.


Amnesty Generator for Vista [mesadynamics.com]

Makes me want it (0)

thorkyl (739500) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016464)

I think I will get the book, and a copy of vista, then I can charge 200 an hour to fix it....

oh wait I do that now with XP.

A friend of mine just bought a new PC and at the counter opened the box, told the clerk he did not agree with the license and demanded a refund for the software. They thought he was crazy, so he demanded a refund on the PC and got it. three other people in line refused to buy the ones in there hands. Best part, they now have to sell the PC at a discount since its a open box...

I think XP will be around for a bit. If not we will be forced to learn it and support it.

Re:Makes me want it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18016760)

1) Your friend is a dick. He knew it came with it, and he knew what would happen if he pitched a fit in the store. He just felt like wasting other people's time.

2) Learn the difference between "their" and "there," moron.

64 bit? Not in the delivered versions (1)

techdavis (939834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18016830)

as it is a 64 bit operating system

Not in every case, according to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsv ista/editions/64bit.mspx [microsoft.com] :

64-bit media is included in the box with Windows Vista Ultimate.
The Normal shipping versions are in 32 bit, but you can order the 64 bit DVD for free after purchase.
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