The Windows Internals books have always been the most in-depth look into how the Windows Operating System works and provide valuable information for anyone developing and debugging Windows applications. I have used these books as a reference since the third edition and they have continuously gotten more comprehensive in size. The sixth edition is now split into two parts, the second part being reviewed here.
The last edition covered both Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista while this edition focuses on their successors Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. The main topics stayed the same albeit networking moved up further in the chapters than compared to the previous edition. As the changes between the underlying kernels (fifth edition: Kernel 6.0, sixth edition: Kernel 6.1) have been negligible, the individual chapters are pretty much the same. Most of the things described in the fifth edition are still applicable in the latest Kernel.
The first part of the book, which was released in March 2012, provided a general overview over the basic layout and concepts of the Windows Operating System before going into further details of dedicated mechanism and subsystems such as processes, threads, security, networking and so on.
The second part focuses on the remaining mechanism and subsystems such as the I/O system, storage and memory, file system, startup and shutdown as well as crash dump analysis. Compared to the last edition, most of the chapters are fairly similar in size as only marginal changes were made in the Kernel in these areas.
As before, this book contains an abundance of low-level technical information and thus requires a fairly solid background with native tools such as the WinDbg application. Given the technical nature, the book certainly can be a bit `dry' to read at times but books like this rather serve as a reference than being read cover-to-cover and thus this shouldn't be much of a concern.
The split into two separate parts is a logical decision based on the sheer amount of pages but it is the books only drawback at the same time. The first part was released about 6 months ago, which makes for a pretty long time between the two parts; especially since Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 have been out in the field for quite some time and are imminent to be replaced by their successors. Future editions surely would benefit from a more closely release date for the individual parts.
Overall, the sixth edition continues to be the reference for any professional developer writing and debugging applications in the Windows ecosystem. Mark, David and Alex continue to provide an excellent job in presenting the information in a logical and elaborate way including hands-on experiments.