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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource
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...
Published on September 4, 2009 by Travis Gafford

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121 of 136 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Secrets? No - More a nicely done general introduction to Win 7
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...
Published on October 3, 2009 by Dave


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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource, September 4, 2009
By 
Travis Gafford (Southern California, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (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!
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121 of 136 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Secrets? No - More a nicely done general introduction to Win 7, October 3, 2009
By 
Dave "Dave" (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
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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.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great learning guide and resource for Windows 7, October 10, 2009
This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
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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.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable reference guide on Windows 7, October 3, 2009
By 
Marty B "Marty B" (SF Bay Area, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
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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.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific all-in-one resource for Windows 7 users, September 27, 2009
This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
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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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive information for all level of readers, October 17, 2009
By 
Pikmin (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
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I have been using Windows 7 since the release candidate (free). Most people say Windows 7 is a "fix" of unpopular Vista, which I think it's probably true, but it is not just that. There are several new features in Windows 7 that this book tells you. Focus on the paragraphs within "secret icon" box which show little-known facts of Windows 7 and information rarely documented by Microsoft. For example, if you do not like Internet Explorer 8, you can remove it from Windows 7 (yes, you can do it! find it on page 791).

Here are the good points of Windows 7 Secrets.
* Comparisons and differences between numerous versions of Vista and Windows 7 and which version is the best suited for your scenario. Even Microsoft web site lacks of such information.
* Detailed information of bundled Windows 7 programs and touch-aware applications. Windows 7 opens a new era of using your finger to interact with your screen.
* How to make the computer more secure, less annoying User Account Control, manage your home network (it's called HomeGroup), and Computer Health Monitoring. This book discusses the integration between Windows 7 and Windows Home Server in depth.
* Windows 7 is really an entertainment center. I have been using Linksys Media Center Extender connected to the Windows 7 Ultimate with high def cable card subscription for the past month but I find new tips and tricks from this book regarding media center. Read how to rip your DVD into every possible media formats using third party software.

My last comment is about the reader level. In my opinion, this book is not limited to intermediate and advanced readers. Some sections, such as Browsing the Web and Windows Live Services, are simple enough for my grandmother! So if you consider yourself a computer novice or inexperienced, this book is good for you to get started.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most of what you need to know... and then some., October 16, 2009
By 
Troy Edwards (MANCHESTER, NH USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
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This book will serve as a great reference for when you have a "hey, I want to", or "but how do I" moment. I've already hit a snag or two there (Really Paul, not one page on using the built in burner program for burning data?), but for the most part, it has been fairly complete.

There are also a lot of other good tips on things, such as how you can work with your "Libraries" directory. It's not the type of book you're going to read cover to cover, but keeping it handy, and dipping in once in a while has been fruitful.

My only complaint is how Microsoft bent the book is. The title is "Windows 7 Secrets", not "Microsoft Secrets". Yet for every software/hardware solution you might need, this book goes right to Microsoft, even when there are better solutions. Way too much time is spent on the Zune and it's supporting software, when 90% of the people reading this book will own an iPod.

Bottom line though, is that this book will help make your Windows 7 experience smoother. I have been using Windows 7 since December of '08, and I was able to find several time savers that I didn't know about.

Also, for other tips and Windows news, Paul has a weekly podcast that is pretty good, and both authors have good websites.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I almost never bought....., September 20, 2009
By 
Brent Burzycki "bburzycki.org" (Danville, Ca United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
So I never ever purchase computer books - or technically any books to try to learn new technology. I have a tendency to just dive in and go for it.

I have listened to Paul and Leo on their Podcast for years now and finally broke down with Windows 7 and purchased the book (all 8 lbs of it - thank you amazon prime for free shipping)

So I dove into the book and it is great to see that Paul does not mince words and maintains the same air he does on the weekly podcast. I like the tell it like it is content delivery and when I read a book like this I want to be told all the cool things or have a way to just get to the important items and this books layout does this by clearly makring the tips and secrets vs. joust general topic information.

Well worth the money - even if it was just for the sections on UI tips and tricks - and this is coming from someone who have been using Windows 7 since the first Beta.

Well done Paul.... you deserve to take some time off for putting together an actual helpful book that is actually full of information people can use vs. just an author that pats themselves on the back chapter after chapter. Plus the inclusion of links to content that will be updating as we push toward the release date is even more helpful.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A IT Library Must, September 21, 2009
By 
This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
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As a ground floor pre-tester I went through all the trials and issues involved with testing Windows 7 over the past few years. So when I say this book is a must for those not only testing the release candidate or looking to replacing Windows Vista and/or Windows XP. First, let me give Microsoft a plug for programming and excellent operating system. Now for Windows 7 Secrets. The book is a great ready reference for the IT guys and novices planning to install Windows 7 on their machine(s). Basically, all you need to know about Windows 7 and the difference between most of the features and function of Vista and/or XP in one terrific reference. It is loaded with chapters on everything from making you boots faster, fixing and sharing digital pics, home networking/sharing and security stuff, organizing files, aero desktop capabilities, and snapping floating windows to the left and right sides of the desktop. These items are just some of the hundreds of tips and secrets contained in Windows 7 Secrets - a great read/reference for experts and novices moving to Microsoft's new Windows 7 OS. Get it before October 22 2009 and be ahead of the game.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Secrets V Bible, May 6, 2010
By 
FingerPainter (Perth Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Windows 7 Secrets (Paperback)
I bought Win 7 "Secrets" and Win 7 "Bible" at the same time. I have found "Bible" to be the reference I turn to most often. The index is better, it goes into subject matter in greater depth, it covers more aspects of Win 7, it is written with the assumption that you already have a good working relationship with previous versions of Windows and don't need old stuff re-hashed. "Secrets" has several irritating mannerisms - it puts diagrams on one page and the associated script on the next page - it mentions a subject and then says "...we will cover this later..." with no page ref as to where the 'later' is! Both good books but one is usefully better than the other.
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Windows 7 Secrets
Windows 7 Secrets by Paul Thurrott (Paperback - September 8, 2009)
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