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Windows 7 Secrets Paperback – 4 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1080 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (4 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470508418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470508411
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 5.7 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 545,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Authors

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Go beyond the obvious and explore the secrets behind Windows 7 with this comprehensive guide. Leading authorities in the field expose the hidden functionality within the Windows 7 operating system, revealing everything from its new features and functionality to how to modify the system to work for you. These expert tips and tricks will help you gain the skills you need to quickly go from a Windows 7 user to a Windows 7 expert.

The Insider′s Guide to

  • Installing or upgrading to Windows 7 (see Chapter 2)

  • Hardware and software compatibility (see Chapter 3)

  • Personalizing and configuring Windows 7 (see Chapter 6)

  • Windows 7 security (see Chapter 7)

  • Organizing, fixing, and sharing digital photos (see Chapter 12)

  • Zune® as a digital media alternative (see Chapter 14)

  • Using tablet PCs and ultra–mobile PCs (see Chapter 18)

  • Managing e–mail and your schedule (see Chapters 21 & 22)

  • Keeping your data safe (see Chapter 24)

About the Author

The author of over 20 books, Paul Thurrott is a technology analyst for Windows IT Pro and the majordomo of the SuperSite for Windows ( He writes a weekly editorial for Windows IT Pro UPDATE (, a daily Windows news and information e–mail newsletter called WinInfo Daily News (, and a monthly column called Need to Know in Windows IT Pro Magazine. He also blogs daily via the SuperSite Blog (, posts regularly on Twitter (, and appears weekly in the highly rated and hugely popular Windows Weekly podcast with Leo Laporte (

Rafael Rivera is a software developer for a VAR 500 company, Telos Corporation, where he works on mission critical systems. He is a Certified Reverse Engineering Analyst (CREA) and takes Windows apart on his blog Within Windows ( He also regularly tweets ( Rafael was born on the same day as Windows 1.0 November 20, 1985 which many believe is no coincidence.

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12 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Donna Rose on 2 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
If you really want to tune Windows 7 and make it workable in the way that you can with XP this is not the book for you. This is a book for people who believe that Microsoft have taken the right decisions in deciding what you want to see on context menus or the start menu; believe that having little pictures all over the place is helpful; believe that by default the administrator should not have complete control and are happy to have Microsoft designed data storage structures given precedence over systems you've grown for 5, 10 or 15 years. It will not help you cut out all the unnecessary additions and processes which degrade performance and contributes virtually nothing to producing an efficient and effective business machine. For those computer professionals who want to use Windows 7 in a business environment this is not the book to buy - but then Windows 7 is not a sensible choice for business use at this stage. For the Microsoft synchofant who believes Windows 7 is a great step forward it does lift at least a small corner on the operating but you will learn more from the many forums on the net. This book has none of the power of The Windows XP Answer Book and similar products.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By I. E. Dix on 21 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
Excellent written book ,easy to reference and find easy and great tips to use the operating system called Seven. Would recommend this book has a great source of interesting knowledge for use.
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By DerekWilliamR on 28 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Thane G. Guiver on 12 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are using a PC, you will one day use windows 7. It will hapen !
Get yourself up to date with Paul's Book. Its also a very good referance book.
Great work Paul, thank you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 93 reviews
92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
Great Resource 4 Sept. 2009
By Travis Gafford - Published on
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book due to my enjoyment of Paul Thurrott and Leo Laporte's Windows Weekly podcast. The book covers virtually everything in Windows 7, and should be considered the ultimate resource/guide on the OS. This is a great tool for newcomers, as well as those who have been running Windows 7 since the beta release. Even amidst the more simple sections, such as installation, the authors manage to sneak in interesting tips and secrets that even IT Pro's might not be aware of. Snarky and subtle comments laced throughout the text and below screenshots kept me smiling as I read through the chapters. Whether you're someone who has never bothered to peer under an operating system's hood, or a Windows power user just trying to figure out what features Microsoft has added to its latest operating system, this book is a great buy!
121 of 136 people found the following review helpful
Secrets? No - More a nicely done general introduction to Win 7 3 Oct. 2009
By Dave - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am systems developer and have purchased hundreds of computer books in my life, and this one has the same problem that it seems to me all of these very large books of this type have: They are too large and heavy for the way they can be effectively used. This is most definitely not a reference book, but rather a well done general introduction to Windows 7. Due to the large number of screen captures in the book, it reads very very quickly and would be a nice book to flip through while lying in bed. But it's tedious to hold.

As for the 'secrets'... no, they aren't secrets, though if you are new to Windows and 7 specifically, there may be things that you don't know. Paul Thurrott certainly knows Windows, but this book feels just slightly dumbed-down for a general audience. I also get the feeling that the publisher required that there be 'secrets' at certain minimal intervals because some of them are almost embarassingly trivial and obvious.

If you are comfortable with Vista, this book will probably disappoint. If you are are using XP, then you may find it very useful.

But - don't buy this book if you fall into the category of someone who has been working with Win 7 (as many people have since the free beta and RC) expecting to find much.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A great learning guide and resource for Windows 7 10 Oct. 2009
By B. Wilson - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera have written an excellent guide to the new Windows 7 operating system. Windows 7 Secrets provides step by step instructions (with screenshots) on how to install and use the many features of Windows 7. The book starts out with a summary of the features of Windows 7, and then moves to a chapter on determining which of the 12 product editions of Windows 7 is right for you. This chapter informs you of the differences in the features of each product edition and informs you of the options for purchasing Windows 7. (To make it more complicated, Microsoft has Upgrade versions and Full versions of the product editions, which are discussed in Chapter 2.) There is also a big recommendation that you select the 64-bit Windows 7 rather than the 32-bit version.

Chapter 2 gives step by step instructions on how to install Windows 7. However, the authors clearly state that the simplest way to get a working copy of Windows 7 is to purchase a new PC that already has Windows 7 installed. Note that if your computer has Windows XP (or an earlier version of Windows) you can't perform an upgade installation over your existing copy of Windows--you have to do a clean install. However the authors tell you how to use the Windows Easy Transfer tool to help migrate your XP settings and documents (but not your applications) to the new operating system. Only Vista users can perform an in-place upgrade to Windows 7, but the authors recommend that you do a clean install of Windows 7 instead. One of the big secrets included in this chapter is an undocumented method of performing a clean install of Windows 7 using the Upgrade version (rather than the Full version) without having to provide a serial number or insert the set-up disk of an earlier version of Windows to prove that you qualify to use the Upgrade. Info on installing Windows 7 on a Mac is also included.

After you finish the installation, there are nearly 900 more pages that tell you how to use Windows 7. This includes information on software and hardware compatibility, the new user interface, security features, networking, digital media, games, etc etc. There are too many features to cover in this review, but I do recommend the Windows 7 Secrets book to you.

There is not a CD or DVD included with the book, but the Preface lists the websites that provide more information.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Very readable reference guide on Windows 7 3 Oct. 2009
By Marty B - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
There are a couple of challenges in reviewing a book that describes a new operating system. First, until you actually have the operating system, well, operating, a lot of the book content is pretty esoteric. As well written as Windows 7 Secrets is, some sections just cry out "Try this! You'll see what we mean!". I wasn't one of the few lucky million beta testers of Windows 7, so a lot of this book will become far more meaningful to me when Amazon ships me my upgrade to 7.

The second challenge is to concentrate on the book and not the product that the book covers. Windows 7, from this long time computer user's vantage point looks great. I skipped Vista entirely. It looked like a dud when I first saw it and had no reason to upgrade from XP. I didn't want Hollywood or the RIAA looking over my shoulder at my file collection and withheld my money from Redmond for one whole OS. I just purchased a refurbished Dell for my wife that came with the dreaded Vista OS and it's far less responsive and intuitive than XP. So as anxious as I am to install 7 on my trusty two year old Dell Vostro, it is the BOOK I'm reviewing here and not the Operating System.

Windows 7 Secrets is a huge volume - just over 1000 pages of text. There is a very detailed and well organized index that makes it easy to find your topic du jour. The book's content is well designed, too, taking you through a natural progression of selecting the right version of the operating system, installing it the way you want it, discovering what is new and unique to 7, then helping you organizing your data and programs to fit your style. There are rich sections on security, home networking, digital music and photo collections, entertainment features, and using tons of features that make computing in the new millennium better than we ever imagined.

The writing style is entertaining. Every section starts with a general top level discussion of the topic and draws you in to actually want to read the whole chapter. This ain't Elmore Leonard, but the writing is compelling and interesting. I don't know the two authors' prior work, but they have divergent opinions about their subject matter that you can discern as you read. When you read a section, then a few paragraphs later, hear a different perspective on the same topic, that is either Paul disagreeing with Rafael's point of view or vice versa. It's not distracting - it leaves with you a Fox News fair and balanced understanding of the subject matter.

The book is chock full of screen shots and charts, perhaps excessively so. (How do you think they got it to 1,000 pages?) I'm not sure why I need a half page chart that shows all the editions of Windows XP, but it is there, in a three page discussion of the evolution of operating systems that preceded Windows 7. There is a whole chapter on the Zune, for goodness sake! My English History professor would have marked me down a full letter grade for padding this much. The quantity and quality of the screen shots is impressive. This is the kind of book that I'll give to my father-in-law, as it provides excellent step-by-step procedures for accomplishing almost every new trick in the OS. That is, once I'm done with it! Nice book. Get your hands on a copy.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Terrific all-in-one resource for Windows 7 users 28 Sept. 2009
By famousdavis - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I selected this title because I'm eager to learn more about Windows 7. This book fulfills that goal. I wish I had it when I was doing some light beta testing of Windows 7. But since, as of this writing, Windows 7 is less than a month away, that's plenty of time for me to peruse the chapters of this book that will help me get the most out of Windows 7.

The book is huge, if you gauge it by the number of pages -- it's got over 1000! But the book is filled with tons of screenshots and charts, so it's actually pretty easy to read through the book. Not that this book is intended to be read cover to cover -- it's not, and the authors say that explicitly. It's meant for you to jump around, and so that's what I did to prepare this review. The book is surprisingly light for being 1000 pages, and yet the paper isn't thin.

First thing, I was surprised that this book is much more than just Windows 7. There's a chapter on Windows Home Server, which is something I've been very interested in since buying an Acer Home Server. There's also a chapter on Zune, Internet Explorer 8, Windows Live, and more. So, while the book centers on Windows 7, it covers with some level of depth companion technologies and tools that complete Windows 7 or are complimentary to it.

Reading the book is surprisingly easy to do. The writing style is very casual and straightforward. I found the language to be easy to understand and follow. The authors lace the writing with humor. For example, on describing the End-User License Agreement, they quip, "We're not lawyers, but we think it says that Microsoft exerts certain rights over your first-born and your soul." But this isn't written like a "Dummies" book, so the humor doesn't get in the way of the information they provide.

Although it says on the back cover that the intended audience is Intermediate to Advanced, I think that even a Beginner could read this book. Sure, it'd have to be a beginner who was really enthusiastic about computers and learning Windows 7, but I thought the authors didn't presume very much when they explained things.

The book has lots of "secrets" interspersed throughout. Sometimes they're things you probably know, but many other times they share information tidbits which are really helpful. When I read over the chapter on Parental Controls, I learned quite a bit of what's new in Windows 7, and how to deal with the changes to the way it works in Windows 7. When I read the chapter on upgrading to Windows 7, there was a lot of good information, including how to install a fresh, full copy of Windows 7 from an Upgrade DVD (not a Full Version), which without the "secret" it can't be done. They're not sharing hacks, rather, they're sharing how to work in ways that either aren't obvious or functionality that Microsoft has intentionally obscured. So, the "secrets" are condensed explanations of how Windows 7 works -- and having a collection of these bound and printed is a sweet way of learning this operating system.

They've got a VERY helpful chapter on upgrading to Windows 7. Very helpful explanations of the many different flavors of Windows 7, and they give their own recommendation for which version might be right for you.

A book this big needs a good index. I went there a few times and found what I was looking for.

It's not a perfect book. I've always had issues with laptops and power management, and I can't tell by reading this book if any substantive improvements have been made to the the way that Windows 7 implements power management. Their description of the differences between Power Saver, Balance, and High Performance still aren't satisfactory enough to know what, REALLY, these settings are doing. And when they covered Windows Home Server, they neglected to say that you can have only 10 user accounts (they note a 10 computer limit, but the problem I had was when I tried creating an 11th user account). So, this isn't the definitive explanation of every possible Window function and feature -- if it were, it would be a multi-volume set and no one would buy or read it.

Instead, the authors have put together a fine book that highlights all that's new in Windows 7 so you know what to expect, what's there. Skim through it to find the major functions you're interested in, and carefully read to understand those functions. They often compare/contrast Windows 7 to Vista and/or XP, so if you know how to use a PC-based Windows computer, they've reached out to you to help bring you aboard the Windows 7 juggernaut.

In short: Highly recommended!!
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