When it comes to "how to" articles there's a wealth of free material available online. With the growing popularity of blogs, a myriad of people are eager to share their hacks with the world. The problem with all this wealth of information is finding the good stuff, tailored to your needs, and being sure it actually works as you expect it to. Enter the "Big Book of Windows Hacks" which aims to provide quality tips related to the Windows OS.
About the author
Preston Gralla is the author of more than 30 books and has written for major national newspapers and magazines. A well-known technology expert, Preston has also appeared on many TV and radio programs and networks, including CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. In addition, he's won a number of awards for his writing, including Best Feature in a Computer Magazine from the Computer Press Association.
Inside the book
With 188 hacks, this book offers over 630 pages of practical advice that spans over a plethora of topics. You'll learn how to hack the registry, deal with networking, e-mail, system performance, security, and much more. Despite the rather large number of pages, the book is not that heavy and quite easy to manage.
The chapter dedicated to security offers some sound advice regarding rootkits, spyware, firewalls, encryption and VPNs. Gralla also made sure that backup gets good coverage and teaches you how to take advantage of what Windows offers as well as some basics related to what media to use and why to backup in the first place. The only thing I think was missing was an overview of free tools that will serve as an addition to what Windows has to offer. Let's be honest, in some areas the Windows OS really lacks when it comes to features, in others it doesn't perform well in the first place. Users should be made aware of the software alternatives that can make their experience better.
The target audience for this book are mainly novice users and those who haven't explored their operating system beyond the basics before. There's plenty of interesting stuff to go around but don't be afraid, to help you implement some of the hacks Gralla complements the text with a variety of screenshots. The layout is excellent and the cross-referencing of hacks makes it very easy to find what you're looking for fast.
Although you are certainly welcome to treat this book as any other and read it from cover to cover, each presented tip can stand on its own. Given the depth of the covered topics, this is a very interesting reference guide for anyone that wants to get the most out of their Windows-powered computer.