Book review: “Windows 7: the missing manual” by David Pogue

April 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm 1 comment

Windows 7 the missing manualI regularly read David Pogue’s tech columns in the New York Times and even had a chance to exchange a few mails with him. However I had never read any book from the missing manual series that David created. It’s now a done thing with “Windows 7: the missing manual”.

What stroked me first was the casual tone of the writing. I’ve rarely seen a book about computers that is so easy to read. It actually feels like you’re having a conversation rather than concentrating on reading a technical book. What I liked a lot then were the very factual explanations. David clearly tells what is great about the system but he doesn’t hesitate to mention the things that could be better. In the end it feels he’s telling the truth and it makes the book even more interesting.

Now borrowing David’s style in his column about the iPad I’ll review the book content with 2 different readers in mind.

For the beginners, I’d say the book really takes you by the hand. Everything is explained and detailed in a very understandable manner. If you’re unfamiliar with a technical topic, be sure it is explained to you first before doing anything else. Hence you never feel lost when a sequence of instructions is detailed to perform a task. You know what you’re doing why you’re doing it and which steps to follow. Once the basis of the system is covered mainly from a features and customization point of view, the second half of the book is what can bring the curious to the next level with some day by day PC administration good practices and howtos. You’re worried about configuring your network or installing a new printer driver? Don’t be the book will guide you through it.

To the more advanced users, I’d tell the book is full with the details you’ll love. Windows is a complex system it has a lot of tools and commands under the hood. There always are many ways to do each thing some ways more efficient than others. The first 4 parts are easy and fun to read. Even if you believe most of the concepts exposed are obvious, don’t be fooled. There are still a lot of details to learn from plus of course the description of Windows 7 new features. Then the second half of the book will fulfill your need for more geeky subjects and actually provides quite an extensive coverage of the system. For sure you won’t be a Microsoft certified professional system admin after reading it all (it’s not the point of the book anyway) but definitely it’ll help you do the job at home personally or even professionally  in your home / small office.

To conclude I’d say Windows 7 the missing manual by David Pogue succeeds in fulfilling both the beginners and intermediate to advanced users needs. It’s easy and fun to read so beginners won’t feel lost while advanced users will get a lot of information out of it. It’s the best book I’ve read on Windows 7 yet definitely highly recommended.

Windows 7: the missing manual
By David Pogue
Publisher: O’Reilly Media / Pogue Press
Released: March 2010
Pages: 904

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