Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Windows Vista: the Missing Manual 220

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-it-comes dept.
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.
Windows Vista: the Missing Manual
author David Pogue
pages 848
publisher O'Reilly Media
rating 9
reviewer John Suda
ISBN 0596528272
summary The only reference source you'll need to learn Microsofts 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 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.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Windows Vista: the Missing Manual

Comments Filter:
  • by cpearson (809811) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @02:54PM (#18015448) Homepage
    Will the book come with weekly updates?

    Vista Help Forum [vistahelpforum.com]
    • by physicsnick (1031656) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @02:56PM (#18015470)
      Only if you pass O'Reilly Genuine Advantage. *hides*
      • Only if you pass O'Reilly Genuine Advantage. *hides*
        Yup.. and if you don't pass ORGA test the book will grow arms, legs and start throwing chairs at you.

        Oh.... And you can come out of hiding now... your book passed the ORGA test this time.
    • True (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:56PM (#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?

      • That's the first time in a long time that I've read a slashdot post that made me almost pee my pants...

        Thanks for that, Anonymous Coward!
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) *
        Now we're talking. As much as I'm glad this Pogue guy can get paid writing this book, but goddamn, we're talking about an operating system that costs hundreds of dollars. Microsoft should be ashamed that their shiny new OS needs an 800+ page book for people to use it effectively.

        And this is only the start. Now, I need a list of services I can turn off, ways to make Vista perform as well (or dare I hope, better?) than XP, and instructions for turning off every bit of DRM support.

        Then I'll pick up that dis
  • DVD Maker? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Frequently_Asked_Ans (1063654) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @02:54PM (#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.....
  • Surely too soon? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mccalli (323026) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @02:55PM (#18015466) Homepage
    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
    • by master_p (608214)
      It doesn't have to be...Vista has lots of problems already.
    • Well, one thing's for sure, Vista itself is premature, or it was released prematurely. Microsoft is already working on SP1 and trying to ship it later this year. A service pack in the same year of release. Ouch.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SEMW (967629)

        Well, one thing's for sure, Vista itself is premature, or it was released prematurely.
        How d'you figure that when it was in beta for over one and a half years? That's three seperate complete releases of Ubuntu in the time Vista's been in beta/RC!

        Re the SP1 thing, IIRC from what I've read that's a combination of bringing Vista up to date with the by-then-released Longhorn Server and pacifying the "Don't upgrade till SP1!" crowd; but I could be wrong.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Zonnald (182951)
        You mean like OSX 10.0 (March 2001) and 10.1 (September 2001) - that's what? Six Months? 10.3 in Aug 2002 - what, only 11 months from last "Major Release". Not even considered a patch.
        So let's look at that (patches or updates, as they are called at Apple) 10.0.1 April 2001 10.0.2, 10.0.3 in May and 10.0.4 in June.
        What about Linux (let use the often sited Ubuntu as example)
        Ubuntu [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by abb3w (696381)

      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?

      O'Reilly usually has several books that come out. The "Missing Manual" series tells you the stuff that the manufacturer ought to have put in a user manual (if they could afford to hire tech writers as competent, independent, and forthright as Pogue... who's been playing with the beta builds and probably an advance copy of the final build). There's also the "Anno

    • Yeah, it's not like 2 years of beta testing would find those things.

      The sad thing is, I can't figure out if I'm being sarcastic or not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @02:58PM (#18015502)
    ...Do you want to read it?

    Yes/No?
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:17PM (#18015758) Homepage Journal
      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!

      • by davidsyes (765062)
        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?
      • by E-Lad (1262) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:49PM (#18016164) Homepage
        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).
    • I can't help feeling that the tone of these UAC jokes is very generous. Personally, I'd have gone for a more traditional:

      Windows Vista detected.
      (A)bort, (R)etry, (F)ail?

  • 64-bit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @02:58PM (#18015520) Homepage Journal
    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"?
    • by EXMSFT (935404)
      When XP first shipped, it did indeed have a 64-bit version. But it was only for the Itanic. X64 support isn't technically in "XP" itself, but rather it was added to Windows Server 2003 SP1, which shipped support for a client version as well, the one you linked to. A minor point, but one I thought was worth mentioning.
  • by Stormx2 (1003260) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @02:59PM (#18015532)
    "You scumbag you maggot! You cheap lazy faggot! New OS your ass and thank god its your last!"
  • What a perfectly cromulent essay!
  • by Kensai7 (1005287) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:00PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dave562 (969951)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rrohbeck (944847)
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Zebra_X (13249) *
        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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Foolhardy (664051)
          Unfortunately, not all the help is good. The new backup program (sdclt.exe) includes two silly and obvious limitations (that the old ntbackup.exe didn't), namely the requirement to have admin privileges to backup your own files, and the inability to put the archive just anywhere (e.g. the same hard drive or a USB flash drive). The backup program has hyperlink style help buttons for exactly those questions, but they both redirect to a general FAQ about the backup program that doesn't actually include those q
    • by EXMSFT (935404)
      You're kidding, right? 95% of consumers never crack the documentation that comes with software. Not shipping a manual is better for the environment (and of course saves Microsoft money, too). In the end, Microsoft will publish a book on Vista too. For the rare consumer who would actually take the time to crack it, good deal. For the rest of the world, it's several million unread "books" that won't be thrown away.
  • 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 oper
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ktappe (747125)

      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.
    • by gardyloo (512791)

      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.
  • by LibertineR (591918) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:08PM (#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."

    • by LibertineR (591918) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @04:10PM (#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.

  • 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...

  • Unless youre a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek,
    Who the hell else reads /.?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ryan Amos (16972)
      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.
  • "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.
  • 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.
  • by mybecq (131456) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:24PM (#18015836)
    You are attempting to read a book review about Windows Vista on Slashdot.

                                    Cancel or Allow?
  • Largely pointless (Score:2, Insightful)

    by David Horn (772985)
    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 no
    • by Feanturi (99866)
      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.
    • 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. :)

      • by gardyloo (512791)
        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 (Score:3, Funny)

    by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:26PM (#18015860)
    Vista has been out in general availability for 2 weeks and you already lost the manual?
  • GUI changes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:28PM (#18015886) Journal
    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PCM2 (4486) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @04:02PM (#18016328) Homepage

      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.

      • 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.
      • by jgrahn (181062)

        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?

        No, it just indicates that they believe they can get away with not providing one.

        I have no experience of any MS OS later than W2k, but the so-called context-sensitive help there is worthless. For me it has been a waste of time three times out of four. It's just a bunc

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by MetalPhalanx (1044938)
          First off, I'm not an MS fan in any way. With that out of the way:
          Considering you don't have any MS OS experience past W2K, perhaps you shouldn't make comments on how bad the help system is in an operating system released 7 years later. From what I've seen (and heard from many others) the Vista help has been greatly improved.

          Perhaps you should try it before bashing it. If they shipped without an manual, either it's a grave mistake on their part, or maybe they actually have improved the help function to
    • by tshak (173364)
      Either we didn't put enough features in Vista, or we put in too many. Oh, and the same author has a 725 page manual for OSX [oreilly.com].
  • Sidebar (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AndrewNeo (979708)
    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)
  • Apostrophe? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ThePolkapunk (826529) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:33PM (#18015948) Homepage
    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NC-17 (411446)
      They were most likely slashed out by some web app.
      • by pilkul (667659)
        Twenty bucks says that he wrote the review in Word, which inserted nonstandard "smart quotes" instead of regular ASCII apostrophes, and then they were slashed out by the web app. At least they didn't appear as some crap resembling ^A~ like they sometimes do.
  • by Spacezilla (972723) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @03:43PM (#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.
  • Nobody was going to upgrade to Vista.

    I heard it here on /., so I know that must be true.
  • by JusticeISaid (946884) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @04:00PM (#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."
  • by saddino (183491) on Wednesday February 14, 2007 @04:09PM (#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]
  • 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.


    Neat, so now I can disable them tilt bits and the DRM.
  • Wasn't it David Pogue's tepid review of Windows Vista (covered on Slashdot recently) that raised accusations that he was just a Mac Fanboy? His in depth review suggests that either he's capable of being open minded and doing a great job of research, or that his "research" was aided by the close similarity between Windows Vista and Mac OS X. Of course, deciding which is true simply goes to one's own OS allegiances.

    Of course, I come down on the cynical mac fanboy side of things. That paranoid group that says
  • What's the point (Score:2, Insightful)

    by isorox (205688)
    Unless youre a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek, this is probably the only reference source you'll need to learn Microsofts Vista."

    My Fiancee is not a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek. She can use both my linux laptops, and mythtv, without any need for a manual. What is in an operating system that needs a manual? If Vista needs a manual, why doesn't it come with it? I'm sure that Office 4.3 came with thousands of pages of printed material, but now you drop a few hundered quid on
    • by SEMW (967629)
      If she's competent with Linux, you can be pretty sure she won't need a manual to use Windows...

      Besides, both Windows and Linux include help files -- a virtual, if not a printed 'manual'. Also, I've never used it, but some posters above have said that context-sensitive help in Vista is greatly improved on that in XP.
  • <p>
    I have never YET used Vista, nor have I seen this particular book. But I HAVE bought one of the book's (and Operating System's) predecessors. By that I mean to refer to "Windows 2000: The Missing Manual" (part of the same series), and I was immensely satisfied with it because it filled all the needs for immediate knowledge that I had at the time.
    </p><p>
    <b<Microsoft DOES NOT DO ANYONE ANY JUSTICE</b> when they leave out such incredibly pertinent amounts of information as I
  • by daybot (911557) *

    "Unless youre a system administrator, programmer, or uber-geek, this is probably the only reference source you'll need to learn Microsofts Vista."

    So... it's probably the only reference source you'll need unless you read Slashdot. Good story!
  • 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.
    Well that should narrow down the target audience quite nicely. I mean, the set that is the intersection of "not sysadmin and not programmer and not uber-geek and slashdot_poster is...... not on the large side.

Nothing will dispel enthusiasm like a small admission fee. -- Kim Hubbard

Working...