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Windows 7: The Missing Manual

Manufacturer: O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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I can honestly say that Windows 7 is Microsoft's best version of Windows to date. It provides an excellent PC experience with speed and simplicity, but it also includes plenty of advanced features as well. And unbelievably, more new functionality has been added. As with past versions, Windows includes a comprehensive Help facility, complete with an Internet-supported knowledgebase, but not one piece of printed documentation is included. If you're like me, you like to have an actual printed manual to hold in your hands and leaf through at your leisure. Reading through Help files is boring and tedious, unless you're looking for a very specific topic. I like to have an actual book that I can read from cover to cover and then later refer to as a reference. Windows 7: The Missing Manual by David Pogue aims to fill that need.

Windows 7: The Missing Manual
Published by O'Reilly Media, Windows 7: The Missing Manual is a book that shows you the ins and outs of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. The book is geared towards all reader levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. And according to the publisher, the book teaches you about "The new features, such as... the pop-up taskbar; libraries and jump lists; Internet TV; touch-screen gestures; Aero Peek, Snap, and Shake. If Microsoft wrote it, this book covers it." And at a whopping 887 pages, I can safely say no feature goes unturned in this massive tome. To be honest, I have not read the entire book yet... I'm about halfway through, but I've definitely skimmed and looked up various topics in the remaining half and every time I read a section, I learn something new.

Inside Windows 7: The Missing Manual
While this book can definitely be used as a reference, it's actually designed to be read from cover-to-cover just like any good book. You may be thinking that reading a self-dubbed "manual" about a computer operating system would be utterly boring, but rest assured that if you're interested in learning more about your Windows 7 PC, you'll enjoy reading this book. Windows 7: The Missing Manual is divided into eight major sections, as follows:
* The Windows 7 Desktop
* Windows 7 Software
* Windows 7 Online
* Picture, Music, & TV
* Hardware & Peripherals
* PC Health
* Networking & Homegroups
* Appendices

Section one provides five chapters covering everything from the Desktop and Start Menu to organizing files and getting help. Section two talks about all the different software apps that come included with Windows 7. Section three shows you how to connect to the Internet, stay secure online, and use the various online-related apps. Section four covers anything and everything you can do with media files in Windows 7. Section five explains working with hardware, such as printers, USB devices, and more. Section six helps you to keep your PC clean with the various maintenance features. Section seven guides you through setting up your own Windows network and sharing files between PCs. And finally, section eight includes four appendices covering installation, registry editing, missing features from previous versions, and a master list of keyboard shortcuts.

Overall, the book covers the following major topics:
* navigating the desktop, including the fast and powerful search function
* taking advantage of Window's apps and gadgets, and tapping into 40 free programs
* surfing the Web with Internet Explorer 8, and learning the email, chat, and videoconferencing programs
* recording TV and radio, displaying photos, playing music, and recording any of these to DVD using the Media Center
* using your printer, fax, laptop, tablet PC, or smartphone with Windows 7
* beefing up your system and backing up your files
* collaborating and sharing documents and other files by setting up a workgroup network

The Book That Should Have Been in the Box
As a tech geek, I know that I can learn a lot about Windows 7 just by using it. But there are plenty of people out there that either just don't have the knack for technology or don't have the time to go prodding and poking around to find what they need. And even with my geeky talents, it's not possible for me to figure out everything about the new OS on my own. Hence, Windows 7: The Missing Manual really is written for all the Windows 7 users out there. The book is huge and filled to the binding with major amounts of knowledge, but it's written in a way that will keep you entertained and interested. I highly recommend this book and can safely say that anyone who uses Windows 7, should buy Windows 7: The Missing Manual.

For more information: Windows 7: The Missing Manual
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