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on 31 October 2012
The way we interact with the Windows operating system has changed. The concepts of "touch" and gestures have taken over, but not so much that the keyboard and mouse are no longer useful. Windows 8: Out of the Box is a high-level look at how touch has been integrated into Windows 8. It's not a technical book, it's aimed at all audiences from young to old, from tech-savvy to first-time users. Appealing to a wide audience is evident in the author's writing style: it is relaxed and factual - I found it very easy to read.

The Windows 8 "touch" user interface and the focus on "content over chrome" means a lot of the functionality that we're used to seeing in menus or on-screen has been tidied away. Even as an experienced Windows user, I found some great tips in this book and found out how to reach the functionality that eluded me!

Weighing in at 120 pages split over 12 chapters, makes Windows 8: Out of the Box an ideal size to keep it close to your Windows 8 laptop, tablet or PC - it's not one of those heavyweight doorstops! Each chapter is fairly short (typically about 10 pages each) and makes use of colour screenshots to provide a better explanation of the topic in hand. There are many "tips" and "cautions" highlighted in each chapter, these are easy to spot and provide some great takeaways.

The chapters focus on common "tasks", e.g. "Using Email and the Internet" or "Importing, Viewing and Editing Your Digital Photographs and Videos", etc. This is perfect if you are new to Windows 8 as many of the "how do I do..."'s are covered. I was pleased to see that each chapter includes a "Top Tips from This Chapter" summary - you can see at a glance what you'll be learning over the pages that follow. Similarly, there's good use of chapter cross-referencing. Whilst the tasks are fairly high-level, even experienced users may learn where menu options are or how to do something using touch in place of a mouse drag/click. I know I've found myself looking at a new Windows 8 application and thinking "now what?" - the answers, Mike kindly provides in this book!

One thing that I felt was missing from this book was an appendix that put the Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts in one place. There are many keyboard shortcuts explained in each chapter, however they are dispersed throughout the book. It's worth noting that this book is about Windows 8, not specifically Windows RT. Whilst there is a lot of overlap, there are a couple of chapters that are not applicable to Windows RT. You'll still get a lot out of this book if you are using a Windows RT device.

If you are new to Windows 8, you should buy this book in order to gain a good understanding of the touch interface and how to get the best out of Windows 8. If you are coming to Windows 8 from a previous version of Windows, this book is worth buying because it helps build a bridge from the land of the 'desktop' and the mouse/keyboard over to the land where touch and/or mouse gestures are important navigation aids!
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on 19 November 2012
I purchased the Kindle version of this book as a companion to help me familiarise myself with my recently acquired upgrade of Windows 8 Pro.

I am using Windows 8 on a 32bit laptop with no touch screen capabilities. I am a very experienced Windows user so really just wanted something that would tell me all about the new features and how to make the most of them. In that respect, the book just about fulfilled its purpose. For under £2, I can't complain.

What I did feel, however, was that it wasn't always that clear to me whether the book was referring to the tablet or the laptop/desktop version of Windows 8. Some of the things I tried following the instructions in the book simply didn't work and there seemed to be some inaccuracies. May be this is because I am on a 32bit version of the operating system, may be it is because some apps have been amended since the book was written. At the time of writing, Windows 8 has only been on general sale for less than a month.

For example, the book tells you to go to the People App to add alternative email accounts to the Mail App. This to me, seems just plain wrong, since this is done from within the Mail App. At least I couldn't see how it could be done from within the People App.

Additionally, clicking on the Internet Explorer Tile on the Start Screen (on my laptop) opens the desktop version of the program, not the App version. Now is this because there isn't a 32bit version of the IE10 App or because there is no IE10 App for the desktop version of Windows 8? The book doesn't make this clear, in fact it doesn't even mention anything like this. The book goes on to explain how you can save your favourite websites to the start screen. I'm guessing you have to be in the App version of IE10 to be able to do this, but of course I couldn't do it because I don't appear to have the App version.

Overall, I was happy with my purchase. The book gives a very high level introduction to Windows 8, attempting to cover both the tablet and desktop versions of the software. It doesn't take too long to read, which is what I wanted. I didn't want the Windows 8 equivalent of War And Peace. I would recommend using the book in conjunction with running Windows 8 so that you can see any inconsistencies for yourself and hopefully clarify any errors.

If you want a more in depth, advanced look at Windows 8, then I would have to say look elsewhere.
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on 3 February 2013
A great asset for the beginner. Easy to follow and most informative. I would recommend this book to anyone starting out with Windows 8.
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on 2 May 2013
I bought a laptop for my partner for Xmas he his useless with computers but he is coming up well he has learned a lot from this book
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on 25 July 2014
Very useful book, nice and easy to understand, shame windows 8 isnt
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on 22 November 2012
Good value for someone who is unfamiliar with Windows 8. A full manual would really cost more; and in my personal opinion,
would be better in a paperback form.
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