Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual
By David Progue
Recommended: Click here to fix Windows errors and optimize system performance
- Publisher: O'Reilly
- ISBN: 10: 0-596-52826-4
- ISBN: 13: 978-0-0-596-52826-3
- Price: £13.99 (UK) $19.99 (US) Recommended Price.
- Available From: O'Reilly
Book Cover reproduced with kind permission of O'Reilly Media, Inc
Locating books on Windows Vista is easy; finding one that is suitable for readers who have no technical knowledge of the operating system, is another matter.
Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual is aptly named because, to all intent and purpose, that is exactly what the book is: a manual. Many of us can well remember when manuals were part and parcel of every new PC package and explained everything from how to switch the PC on to navigating using the mouse. Sadly, these manuals have now ceased to be supplied as part of the Windows operating system; therefore it is good to know that David Progue’s book ‘Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing Manual’ is available to fill the gap.
The book itself is written for the beginner, who has no idea of what Windows Vista is capable of. It is likely the more advanced user would become somewhat bored after the first few pages, not because the book isn’t entertaining, but simply because it goes over old ground that the beginner needs to know, but the more advanced user would find elementary. The book is, as the Publisher states on the title page ‘exactly what you need to get started.’
Windows Vista for Starters: The Missing manual is divided into six main categories:
- The Vista Desktop.
- The Pieces of Vista.
- Vista Online.
- Beyond Basics.
- The Vista Network.
The Publisher, O’Reilly, in their blurb describes the book as “Warm and Witty.” While I found the text easy going I did struggle to find the ‘witty’ aspect of this book. A few silly errors, which should have been picked up during the proofreading stage did, however, make me wonder whether I was actually reading a manual meant for users of a PC or an Apple Mac. The reference to the ‘Mac’s mouse’ on page 11 really threw me!
While proofreading cannot always be 100% accurate the book does contain some silly typo’s that the proof-reader actually missed; so silly in fact that the errors stand out like a sore thumb and cheapen the quality of the book.
The books continuity between text and screenshots sadly leaves a lot to be desired. In many instances a reference is made to a particular figure (screenshot) in the text while the actual screenshot it relates to is several pages further on, making it difficult to follow the ‘plot.’
The book is primarily pitched at users of Vista Premium, but the author insists upon adding references to features, such as faxing, not available in the Premium edition; these additional features being reserved for Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. For the reader this is liable to cause considerable confusion, if not frustration. I think the books layout certainly needs re-looking at in order to give it more street cred.
Dotted throughout the book you will also find Tips and frequently Asked Questions. Again the placement of these snippets doesn’t always relate to the text or page you are currently reading. One example is the “Laptop’s Lament” on page 217. This literally has been slotted into a page referencing Windows Defender when, really, it would have been far more appropriate to site the FAQ on say, page 205, 206 or 207 – the subsection actually dealing with Dial Up Connections.
Setting aside the few ‘niggles’ Progue has done a great job of creating a step by step beginner’s guide to the workings of Windows Vista. The book is easy to read and contains a wealth of information essential to all new comers to Windows Vista. It is a book that rightly deserves a space on every novice users’ bookshelf.
- Ease of Use: 9.0
- Features: 9.0
- Value Money: 9.0
- Overall: 9.0