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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall great. Keeps things simple and gets you productive fast.
In the first chapter, the book does a good job of both explaining the differences from previous versions of Windows and of not assuming any previous knowledge of Windows. We learn how to start Windows, navigate around, start apps, and shut down. The author takes the time to name each new component, such as the Charms menu, as well as to discuss how to navigate in the way...
Published 21 months ago by Philip M. White

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A basic primer
This does not pretend to be anything other than a (very) basic outline of the features of Windows 8.
As such this book does its job & gives you enough understanding to be able to start off using Windoiws 8.
Seeing as Microsoft have given Windows 8 OS for PC's such a tablet look it can be a bit daunting for users like me upgrading from XP. This booklet can help...
Published 19 months ago by Alan Dunscombe


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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall great. Keeps things simple and gets you productive fast., October 16, 2012
By 
Philip M. White (Seattle, Washington) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Windows 8: Out of the Box (Paperback)
In the first chapter, the book does a good job of both explaining the differences from previous versions of Windows and of not assuming any previous knowledge of Windows. We learn how to start Windows, navigate around, start apps, and shut down. The author takes the time to name each new component, such as the Charms menu, as well as to discuss how to navigate in the way convenient to you, whether you prefer the mouse, the keyboard, or touch.

Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, and 10 go into functionality that casual users will want. The author starts with email and the Internet, proceeds to file sharing, and discusses how to watch and listen to videos and music, viewing and editing photos and videos, and setting up protection against malware and age-inappropriate content. These sections give a nice tour of the Metro-style Apps that come with Windows 8, as well as new control panel functionality.

Chapters 4 and 9 go into the specifics of App, desktop application, and how to find, use, and organize both.

The one area that I feel should've been discussed but wasn't is how to shop for Windows 8 hardware devices. With brand-new desktop PCs and tablets running a mix of Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 RT, millions of consumers will soon need to decide what device to buy, and the decision is more difficult than ever. Even if you're set on a Windows device, you now have to consider these factors: what form-factor you want, where you plan to use it (such as home vs. work), what applications you want to run, whether you want touch functionality on a desktop PC, what screen resolution you need (since today's Windows tablets have a lower resolution than desktop monitors), and so on.

I strongly recommend researching this before committing to any brand-new Windows device.

Writing a book for a newbie carries with it some responsibility. After a while the newbie knows enough to be dangerous and puts down his books. A book like this is the best place to educate casual users about pitfalls of computing and the Internet. Mike Halsey does this admirably.

In Chapters 10, 11, and 12, the author discusses the tools that Windows provides to help protect you from data loss (through backups), malware, phishing, age-inappropriate content, and weak passwords (through picture passwords). More importantly, Mr. Halsey teaches common-sense ways to compute safely, such as to be wary of attachments and to keep backups. Many books skip these sections because heeding this advice is a chore; it's work. But it's also an investment, and it's so important that it belongs nowhere like it does in a person's first computing book.

One criticism I have is that the author doesn't justify creating a separate account for each person beyond that it separates files and Internet favorites. This sounds more like an organizational convenience than a true security benefit. Similarly, there is no discussion on account privileges, such as administrator vs. regular user. Maybe the author deemed it too advanced for people starting out with Windows. The rule of "separate accounts means separate files" is a big simplification, but in the absence of understanding file permissions, it works.

Mr. Halsey does not editorialize. Any long-time Windows user has strong opinions about how Windows should work, and I am sure the author is no exception. But he keeps it to himself. He goes with the flow. Sure, he could point out that many people consider it very limiting that Apps can be displayed only two at a time without overlap. He could argue that it's unfriendly that the only way to get Apps is through the Windows Store. He could make the point that the idea of Apps and applications coexisting will take some getting used to. Windows 8 can easily be turned into a punching bag--and has by many critics. While this would endear him to many readers, it's not what he wants his book to be.

Despite hungrily following blogs and news about, and reviews of, Windows 8, I learned quite a bit from Windows 8: Out of the Box. It was like sitting down with an expert and taking a guided tour, learning smoothly and quickly the terminology, keyboard shortcuts, and new, cool, and useful features.

For the price, I recommend this book without hesitation to anyone planning to use Windows 8 on your, your friend's, your school's, or your work's computer or tablet. It'll give you enough to become immediately productive without taking your valuable time discussing optional niceties like file permissions.

But do research what version of Windows 8 you want before buying it. You've been warned.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read coverage of Windows 8 feature use and navigation, October 31, 2012
By 
This review is from: Windows 8: Out of the Box (Paperback)
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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A basic primer, December 1, 2012
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This does not pretend to be anything other than a (very) basic outline of the features of Windows 8.
As such this book does its job & gives you enough understanding to be able to start off using Windoiws 8.
Seeing as Microsoft have given Windows 8 OS for PC's such a tablet look it can be a bit daunting for users like me upgrading from XP. This booklet can help get you going navigating around the basic functions & screens.

Considering the very reasonable cost I give it 3 stars for doing what it says it does.

p.s. for anyone interested I installed "Classic Shell"
This is a simple free programme that gives you back the missing Start Button & customisable Menu similar to previous versions of Windows, while letting you access all the new features of W8. This makes PC users upgrading from XP like me feel much more at home.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Illustrations and Well Worth The Price, October 26, 2012
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I have been uncertain about whether to update one my computers to Win 8, but my usual early adopter self got the best of me. Right now, the Microsoft download is completing, and I'm saving to ISO file, to burn to DVD, so I'll have a copy. Took advantage of the MS 39.95 special upgrade/download offer.

I just paged through this book, and am very satisfied with what I saw. It is nicely laid out and illustrated. Well worth the price, I think.

I'm pretty experienced with computers, ever since programming an IBM 360 mainframe back in the 60s with the old punch cards to process rocket propellant test data, on to the Commodore 64, and everything since, except for Macs. So, I figure I don't need much help on most things, but this book looks like it will definitely be helpful and help me get going on Win 8 more quickly. Now if the update just works without trouble (which updates usually don't in my experience, but eventually, I conquer them!)

An update: I am happy with having updated one Vista PC to Win 8, primarily for the great speed increase that resulted. Everything is so much faster. This PC has only a dual CPU and 3 GB of RAM (my Windows 7 has triple core CPU and 8 GB, and I think the Win 8 one is now faster than the Win 7 one).

The Win 8 START page is confounding though, particularly on things like trying to shut the PC down -- have to hunt for it. I sure miss the old Start button! In fact, I found a free shell that partially restores the old Start button format, while not interfering with the Win 8 UI -- go to [...] (I was a little hesitant about installing a third party shell, but didn't find any adverse comment about it, so decided to rely on Win 8 security to not let me do something I shouldn't. Pokki has their own apps, and so far, I find it a worthwhile addition to Win 8.)

The Win 8 Out of the Box book has been helpful; I had to search it to find how to shut the PC down! I intend to review it further for more tips.

The Win 8 update took a long time -- about 90 minutes or more to download the files, on hard wired DSL, about four or five hours total to get it running, but at least I didn't have to do any special troubleshooting or interventions to get it running. But, as I expected, many of my programs were not transferred, and are now residing in a folder named Windows.old. So, I've had to reinstall some of the programs I want to use, but this is a PC I mainly use for just a few things. (My other PC is loaded with many programs, that I wouldn't want to have to reinstall, but since it is a Win 7 PC, supposedly the Win 8 update would bring them all forward and would run.

I'm still trying to learn the advantages of the Win 8 UI and Start page, and other features, and I can't say that I really like it so far, but the speed improvement is great!

BTW, I've ordered a Microsoft Touch Mouse, which is supposed to work in place of a touch screen on the PC. But since ordering it, I find that a regular mouse works fairly well, and I'm not sure the Touch Mouse will let me do a lot more. Might be nice on some of the gestures.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Once again... Nicely done Mike Halsey, October 13, 2012
By 
Connie (Mount Pleasant, UT, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Windows 8: Out of the Box (Paperback)
Windows 8 Out of the Box is an expert manual for setting up and using your new operating system. Whether you are a novice or an experienced Windows user, this book will aide you in understanding how to setup and manage your user accounts, security, apps, connections and much more.
The table of contents is detailed allowing the user to search and find the right topic easily. The beginning of each chapter keys the reader into the top tips they will discover in that particular chapter. The summary at the end of each chapter will give special insight into the topic, with suggestions of alternatives to the built in features.
Particularly valuable to those users unfamiliar with Metro User Interface features, this book is a must-have and will become your new go-to book for detailed instructions and quick reference topics.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really useful starter book on Windows 8, October 30, 2012
This review is from: Windows 8: Out of the Box (Paperback)
When you run Windows 8 for the first time, I can almost guarantee that you'll be a little bit lost. So much of it looks so different from earlier Microsoft operating systems that it can be hard to know where to begin. And for that reason, books like this one are going to be a lifesaver for many users.

I've been using Windows 8 since the early preview editions were made available and, to be honest, I didn't really expect to pick up much help from this book. But I was wrong. In fact, I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that it's full of little tidbits, hints, tips and pieces of advice that were new to me. So the moral of this little story is that you can always learn something new, no matter how much you think you already know!

It's a well structured, easy to follow book, with enough screenshots at critical points to keep you on track. The author clearly knows his stuff (you sense that he knows lots more, but is just sticking to the important, starter stuff to avoid overloading you), and he writes clearly.

All in all, as my review title say, this is a really useful starter book on Windows 8.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Windows 8 Out of the Box, November 3, 2012
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For the price I was not expecting much. And I NEVER write reviews, good or bad.

But I feel an obligation to jump in here, simply because this may be the best bargain on Kindle I have come across. Easy and very interesting to read. Sat here and in one night became pretty capable with the "8" system. "8" is a quantum leap from anything in Windows to date. Forget everything you know and free up your mind. Without this book, I would have taken the easy route and just returned to my "7" machines. It can be that cumbersome and confusing when starting from scratch.

Thanks to Mike Halsey. Haven't been this excited about a book since reading Killing Kennedy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed!, January 1, 2013
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This review is from: Windows 8: Out of the Box (Paperback)
Bought my parents a new computer for Christmas ans this book was a great introduction to windows 8. It was easy to read and understand. Very user friendly!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic Book More for Tablet PCs, December 26, 2012
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This review is from: Windows 8: Out of the Box (Paperback)
I had to purchase a new laptop and everything now has Windows 8 and it is vastly different. I ordered a couple of books which this was one of them. The book is designed for beginners. As an IT expert who remembers the good old DOS 3.3 days, the book did provide me some information on what was going on in Windows 8.

I found the book to be geared more to Tablet PCs where you use the touch screen and move things with you finger and that is where Windows is going. The book will get you going to a degree and if you are totally new to Windows and you get version 8, this is a good starting point but you will want something more that goes into the deeper layers of how Windows 8 works.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative, December 24, 2012
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The digital book was written in way a novice could understand and that's important to people. The only drawback is that it can't be printed. This makes it hard to read and try the features a the same time.
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Windows 8: Out of the Box
Windows 8: Out of the Box by Mike Halsey (Paperback - October 15, 2012)
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