XP Exasperation

Windows XP Annoyances provides a smattering of troubleshooting tips.

When was the last time you were really, truly annoyed with something? Perhaps it was even someone who had you wound up. Maybe it was a Monday, and you were on your way to work. You spilled coffee down the front of your white shirt and realized you left your briefcase at home, right next to your wallet and the one sock you forgot to put on because the power was off when you woke up. To top it off, you're operating on minimum sleep, due your neighbors' weekly karaoke jam that ended at roughly 3 a.m.

OK, maybe these kinds of things don't annoy you. Perhaps you get annoyed with your Windows XP workstation not shutting down fast enough. Maybe its because your Start Menu icons change rapidly. While there's no book for curing your Monday-morning annoyances, there is some help for your XP anxiety. O'Reilly's Windows XP Annoyances may be just what you need.

As soon as I got my copy of the book, I perused the Table of Contents. The first thing I noticed was that it looked more like an overall guide to computer operating systems and hardware basics, rather than a book that comes off as a sort-of XP "tips and tricks" book. As I read through the book, it became blindingly apparent that this book is more of a general hardware and operating system troubleshooting book, with a smattering of XP hints and tweaks mixed in. Some are hints that apply to the entire line of Microsoft Operating Systems, while some are actually XP-specific.

This book seems to appeal more to those who have minimal experience in troubleshooting their own technical problems—an experienced troubleshooter would probably only find themselves skimming through this book for traces of XP tweaks. I had a couple of "annoyances" with this book, the first being the structure of the book. The chapter that dealt with installing Windows XP was at the end. One would think that you'd want to install the operating system before attempting to customize it. I also was expecting much more from the "Tinkering Techniques" chapter. My idea of tinkering isn't cleaning up the desktop or changing the way the task bar looks.

Overall, the book contains a variety of good information. From simple visual enhancements and searching the registry, to a short section on scripting, this book has a little something for everyone. More technically sound readers may find the information to simply be rehashed troubleshooting topics. However, even techno-geeks can discover some things about XP they may not have known. Kudos to David Karp for putting together an easy-to-understand book.

Individuals looking to become savvy troubleshooters will find this book offers a great deal of useful information to help them overcome all of their own XP "annoyances." Now if there were just a book that could help us deal with stressful Mondays and annoying neighbors, we'd just about have everything covered.

About the Author

Ryan D. Misch, MCSA, MCSE, MCT, i-Net+, is a consultant and trainer for STL Technology Partners in Bloomington, Illinois. In addition to his current Enterprise Server Support assignment, Ryan has been training other consultants and technicians on Windows 2000/XP.

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