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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
The Windows 8 Inside Out isn't going to be for everyone, or it won't all be for everyone, but that doesn't mean it's not a great guide. It contains some information perfect for beginners and some that is so specialized that it may only appeal to 5% of all readers. I'd recommend that you come in with at least a little knowledge of an older version of windows if you want this book to be hassle free, but beyond that don't be intimidated by the upper end knowledge in this book. Having a few topics that you don't understand or have no interest in learning about won't take away from the more basic information that the book provides.

The book itself is divided into 5 major sections (Getting Started, File Management, Music Videos Tv and Movies, Security and Privacy, and Networking). For many users, the getting started section may be the only section that fully applies to you. If you don't care about being a power user and milking your machine for every last bit of speed I'd read the getting started section and then skim the table of contents or index for other things that interest you. Intermediate users will probably use the first few chapters in each section, but the chapters seem to get more obscure after that and probably won't apply for a majority of people.

For example Part 3 (Music, videos, tv, and movies) starts off with Chapter 14, "Music and Videos." It includes a good overview of the built in music app, managing play lists, copying CDs, editing videos with Movie Maker, etc (all conceivably things that a normal user would want to do). Part 3 ends with a chapter on creating a home theater PC. I've recently become a little bit of a home theater junkie and I thought it was an interesting and informative section to browse just in case I want to take the leap some time in the near future, but most people have no interest in integrating a PC into their living room TV setup.

It seems that all of the sections are set up this way and I for one like it. I'll read until I hit a topic or a level that either doesn't apply to me or I don't have the computer background to understand and then I'll stop, scan the table of contents and move on. Putting complex topics near the end of each section means that I don't have to jump around as much as I might if the topics were mixed without regard for complexity or obscurity.

The layout of the headings, tips and tricks boxes (called "inside out" boxes), and graphics is quite good which makes finding what you're looking for easy. I do wish that the publisher had opted for color graphics and headings if only because they're a little nicer to look at and are a little easier for me to quickly identify if I'm flipping through pages, but its not a huge deal.

What is a huge deal (and a huge plus) in terms of publisher choices was the decision to include access to a free ebook copy and several free online help videos with the print copy. I love the feel of a physical book, but the ebook is great because it's searchable. When I look at a giant manual one of the most important factors in buying is the index and table of contents because if you don't plan on reading the whole book, having a good way to find specific topics is imperative. But no matter how good an index is there are always a few "slang" terms that the author may have used in the book, but hasn't put in the index. Having a fully searchable digital copy fixes that. The ebook is also nice because it links you directly to the online videos. The videos provide a slightly different teaching style which seemed to help me understand concepts quicker than when I read the book without them. They cover many of the same topics as the text in the book and the links to them are included in those sections. If you're reading the ebook you can be watching the video in just one click and back to the book the click after that. I've found that this makes my whole learning experience less stressful because its not an extra ordeal to take a look at the extra help. The result is that I access it sooner than I would if I had to put down the book, launch a browser, type an address, etc so I spend less time frustrated and more time learning.

Overall I think this is a well put together book (and accompanying videos/ebook). It's got some complex topics and assumes that you have at least a little windows background so its probably not the book I would buy grandma to help her get going on her first computer, but it is the book I would look to as my easily searchable reference that covers the topics I need today and the things I don't even know exist yet for tomorrow.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
12-06-2012. I upgraded my two computers to MS Windows 8 PRO and wanted a good technical book that would facliitate my learning curve on Win 8 PRO. With some 40 years of technical computer experience, I didn't want a book with "no meat", so to speak, but one that had a good index, table of contents, excellent grammar, good readability, effective page spacing content and font that was not so large that the publisher was just "selling paper". I wanted information. Windows 8 Inside Out is just the right publication for the technical and semi-technical person. Even novices could get along well with this 719-page resource. The author, is a well established writer with solid technical credentials, so I was comfortable that he knew his material well. Pages 681-718 are all index. The 27 chapters are well layed out and the content flows evenly throughout the manual. Moving from topic to topic, based on your technical needs, is easy and the content well presented to avoid confusion. Great job Mr. Northrup.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love Windows 8 and I love readig books on Windows 8! :) I've read quite a few including Windows 8 Secrets (which contains no secrets) and Windows 8 Bible and Windows 8 for Dummies 10-in-1 and more. This is by far the best book! Now, I have to say the coverage here is not very in-depth on every topic; for instance, it does not mention all the features of the built-in apps like the nifty pano feature in Travel. There's also little on toast notifications. However, the book is loaded with useful tips that even a non-technie like myself can put to good use. For example, the author tells you how to create a default start screen so every user added to your computer would start off with that default template! How crazily, wildly awesome! This is also the only book among the half a dozen I've read that tells you each Win8 "Metro" app is installed separately for every user! But here's where some in-depth discussion is left off; for instance, the author tells you that this approach allows each user to manage his/her apps individually without impacting others, but does not discuss the resources ramifications. Sometimes the author makes oblique snipes at some of the silly interface things in Windows by saying things like "I find the other settings confusing" (p.128) or even something akin to "Nobody knows what this feature is or how it works." Just too funny! The networking and performance parts (Parts 5 & 6) are simply the best!! The author gives detailed yet easy to follow steps on how to handle these usually way-too-difficult tasks. Mr. Tony is the best! Finally, the author does not shy away from recommending third-party apps or programs that enhance your Windows 8 experience.

I love this book. It's packed with useful information on practically every page! I'm gonna buy a few more copies as holiday presents this year. Thank you Mr. Tony from Texas! Now would you please show a Surface tablet instead of an iPad on your Facebook page? :D
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book is a MUST READ for professionals migrating from Windows 7 to 8.

As a professional user of Windows for the last 15 years, I was ready to revert back to Windows 7 because of a rocky start using Windows 8.... until I read this book. In the first 15 pages, I learned enough to actually start using Windows 8 with speed and understanding. I think Microsoft should have done a better job of introducing new users to the subjects covered in this book. What surprises me is that when you purchase Windows 8, there is little or no documentation for this radically different front end.

The book even covers where to get a traditional "Start Menu" substitute if you can't adjust to the tiles. I give this book a 5 star rating because it took me from total frustration to complete confidence in running this new operating system. Thanks to Mr. Northrup, I'm now enjoying my Windows 8 experience.

Regards,
Rich Locus, CPA
Logicwurks, LLC
Eugene, Oregon
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I recently bought a new computer with Windows 8 and have been continuously frustrated by it. I bought a couple of books which have served me well so far, but then.....I got this one. You want to learn all about Windows 8 and not just the basic stuff, then this has got to be the most complete tome on the subject! At over 800 pages, this book is crammed with just about everything you'll need (and a lot of stuff you wont) to maneuver Win8 like a real pro. It covers everything from using apps to file management to music, security and troubleshooting and that is just a very small review of it's contents. I see this as more of a back up to the other books that may not go into enough depth of an explanation or a go to when that "uh-oh now what do I do" situation comes up, and in Win8 it comes up a lot. This is the book all new computers running Win8 should come with. It's a sanity saver!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾѾѾ Highly recommended with warm fuzzies!

I have previously read several "Inside Out" books from Microsoft Press and they have all been uniformly excellent, thorough, detailed, and evenly balanced in their coverage of a wide array of topics. This new book on Windows 8 likewise does not disappoint and offers the right amount of detail to satisfy both average users of Windows and expert power users. This book is not a "Windows 8 for Dummies" style of book, however, and its reference book layout and organization assumes at least an intermediate level of proficiency in using previous versions of Windows. As with most intermediate-to-expert level technical books, this book has an underlying assumption that you know about some of the general Windows concepts that it talks about. The first 195 pages of this book, encompassing eight chapters, are in a section called "Getting Started". But even this section assumes that you are fairly comfortable with using a previous version of Windows, and there are no beginner-level tutorials. After this "Getting Started" section, there is a "File Management" section (Chapters 9-13), "Music, Videos, TV, and Movies" section (Chapters 14-27), "Security and Privacy" (Chapters 18-20), "Networking" (Chapters 21-24), and "Maintaining, Tuning, and Troubleshooting" (Chapters 25-57). Although all of this information would also be very helpful in a business office environment (e.g. a whole Chapter 20 is devoted to using the "Hyper-V" virtual machine functionality), this book is more oriented towards individuals and home users. If you are looking to set up Windows Server 2012 (Windows 8 Server), the Windows Server® 2012 Inside Out book is great for that.

With this book being organized like a reference guide, you do not need to read every page sequentially from start to finish. The first 195 pages in the "Getting Started" section should be read through, but then you can hop around in different chapters depending upon your needs and questions. I installed my first Windows 8 Pro from a DVD last November. Prior to doing that, I had already read through a large amount of Windows 8 "survival guides" and "transition guides" that were posted on various Web sites; reading these online guides helped me immensely even before I purchased the Windows 8 Pro DVD.

My one small quibble with this book is that the much-despised Start screen of Windows 8 is not addressed until Chapter 5, while a discussion about Windows 8 apps is discussed early on in Chapter 2. For someone who is upgrading/transitioning to Windows 8, having to deal with the Start screen could be a more urgent and immediate issue than managing Windows 8 apps. For example, after I installed Windows 8 Pro last year, one of my immediate questions was: "How do I shutdown, reboot, and logoff in Windows 8?", since those functions were previously tied to the old Start menu on the desktop. Luckily, this is covered on page 113; you create two shortcut tiles to reboot or shutdown Windows. But instruction is not given on how to create a similar tile to logoff from Windows, even though you can adapt the page-113 instructions to use the 'shutdown /l' or 'logoff' Windows command to create a shortcut tile that logs you off. Microsoft also offers on their Web site a more complicated way to create shutdown/restart/logoff tiles on the Start screen using a bundled PowerShell script that you can download (I include the download link in the 'Comments' section of my review). I am still puzzled as to why Microsoft did not just include these three shortcut tiles by default in a new installation of Windows 8. If you hanker for the old Start menu that had been yanked out of Windows 8, page 119 talks about third-party apps that you can install to get the old Start menu back, and how to automatically begin at the desktop instead of landing in the Windows 8 tiled Start screen whenever you initially login to Windows 8. For many users who are accustomed to their old Windows Start menu and desktop, all this useful information should have been moved up earlier in the book, and the Chapter 2 discussion about Windows 8 apps could have been postponed to be the next chapter after Chapter 5. This book's Chapter 5 is called "Personalizing Windows 8", but much of it could be called "Transitioning to the Windows 8 User Interface".

As useful as this book is with its thorough coverage of Windows 8, a HUGE bonus is that with the purchase of this book, you also get an access code that allows you to download a free eBook PDF copy of this book! The book also describes how to access 50 how-to videos totaling several hours of instructions that are narrated and demonstrated by the author himself. Each of these short how-to videos are a few minutes in length, and they can provide even better instructions than what was written in the book, especially for people who like to learn by seeing instead of just reading. You can bookmark the Web page link containing the how-to videos to access them while you are reading the printed book. If you are reading the eBook, it conveniently contains a listing of links for all the videos so you can just click a link within the eBook to access one of the videos. All of the printed book's images are in black-and-white, but the eBook's images are in full color. So along with being far more useful than the printed book since I can quickly search within the eBook for keywords, the eBook looks nicer with its color images. And if I am already carrying a laptop/ultrabook/netbook anyway, I do not have to lug this heavy printed book around with me. I really wish that all technical books offered a free eBook accompaniment like this since it is so convenient to always have with my computer, I can quickly search through the content, and I can copy-and-paste programming code and computer commands directly from an eBook instead of having to type out what was written in a printed book.

I highly recommend this great book if you are either an average/intermediate or advanced/expert user of Windows! If you are a hardcore power user of Windows or if you are a system administrator who is responsible for maintaining Windows 8 in an office environment, this book is not a totally all-encompassing tome describing all the various aspects of Windows 8 internals or the use of Windows 8 in a corporate environment. So I hesitate to call this book the "ultimate, in-depth reference", which is the wording written on this book's cover. But then again, for most technical topics such as operating systems, programming languages, and software technologies, I often end up buying more than one book on the topic because each book has different strengths and weaknesses. But this book nicely balances the "what you need to know" information with lots of useful tips, and because it covers a lot of ground within its 700+ pages, it may be the only Windows 8 book that many people need. If you are a novice at using Windows, however, this should not be your first Windows 8 book, even though this can be the second or third Windows 8 book that you read.

Note: As with many technical books, this book has a few errors within it. At the time of this review's writing, there are 9 errors verified by the author and 3 unconfirmed errors in this book's content. In the 'Comments' section of my review, I list the link to the O'Reilly Web site where the errata for this book are listed and described. The O'Reilly Web site is also where you would go to enter the access code for downloading the eBook PDF version of this book. The errors were all reported several months ago or during last year. I can understand that it takes time to update the printed version of this book with the corrections to the errors, but these errors were still in the eBook PDF that I downloaded last month. It would be nice if the eBook PDF file could be updated quicker. I could then re-download an updated version of the eBook that had the the errors corrected.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 5, 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Finally - a book for me!

The books on Windows 8 I've reviewed have been at beginner to intermediate level. This one is for "intermediate to advanced" - since I've been using Win 8 for nigh on a year I have most of the details down.

The book is in chapter form, as opposed to the other books that dealt with one task at a time. However, it's easy to pick up the steps if you've had any experience with Win 8.

Microsoft claims that the forthcoming "Windows Blue" (now renamed Windows 8.1) will be much more than a service pack, although what little I've seen looks very similar to Win 8.0. So this book should steer you through most of the forthcoming release.

At one point I put this book down, and then re-read the page. Not because I didn't understand it, but because author Northrup writes so well. I put on my tweed jacket with the leather elbow patches (it comes with the kit called "Editing for Dummies Like You"), but I found next to nothing that could have been put in a better way. Well done!

So, if you've used any previous version of Windows for a while, this book is a great guide. I recommend it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 27, 2013
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Never had the faintest idea going from Windows XP Home Edition to Windows 8 was going to be such a "learning" experience! Took me an hour and a half trying to figure how to shut off the computer or eject the DVD drive door.

I knew I would need a book or books on this new operating system. At first I had no idea what people were talking about Charm Bars? There is A LOT to absorb to get full use of Windows 8; thankfully the author Tony Northrup has written more than 20 books and therefore should be a capable candidate to write the manual that never was. Meaning it is getting ridiculous how little documentation one gets with a new computer; I personally find the Help button often of no help.

Tony tries to explain how Windows has changed from previous incarnations and explains there is a lot of new stuff to absorb.

Security has been a priority and the book teaches one how to set up security and creating secure passwords, configure sign on options, manage multiple account levels if it is a family computer and one wants to make sure the other people don't mess things up. Even the rather complex area of malware, trojans, worms and viruses is tackled ... Including the evil topic of rootkits (some REALLY scary stuff)..

I found the layout of the book quite complete, a good index and incredible detail on many topics

A well written tome & a practical day to day task book. No need to sit down and read all 718 pages at once! It is best to tackle a small section at once, and of course if a dire emergency (say a devastating worm using your e-mail to send SPAM around the world in your name) comes up - you'll want to jump to that area of the book.

Recommended book not too technical - BUT dealing with technical issues.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I gave this book 4 star because I think most books do not write in a way that the majority of people can get the best use of information. Since I wanted to be prepared for the change over to Windows 8, I needed some heads up before receiving the new PC. I would also suggest you to go to Youtube. You will be able to see several videos on Windows 8 and that will help you as much or more than any book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is my first encounter with any of the "Inside Out" series from Microsoft Press. As I worked my through it (four months into my Windows 8 user experience), I couldn't help but think that would have gladly had the cost of this book to the cost of my operating system purchase to have such a useful reference close at hand. This is praise I usually reserve for O'Reilly's "Missing Manual" series (three days away from release as I write this). And even though I've pre-ordered Windows 8: The Missing Manual, Windows 8 Inside out could well serve as a the only Windows 8 reference volume you need.

Tony Northrup organizes the book's 27 chapters into six categorical areas:
-Getting started
-File management
-Music, video, TV and movies
-Security and privacy
-Networking
-Maintenance, tuning and troubleshooting

Even as a self-identified power user, I found this book contained levels of discussion and detail that were both new to me...and presented in a way a more casual user could digest.

In addition to the print content, this book contains links to 49 videos addressing topics in each of the six topical areas.

Further, the book contains a link and access code for a .pdf download. While it's size won;t permit emailing to your Kindle for conversion, the .pdf version is very readable in a Kindle, adding to the book's portability.

Only two minor gripes about this book. Changes in the Windows 8 interface have created a learning curve for even power users, and among the biggest squawks has been the loss of the Start Menu that we've been used to since Windows 95. The author is a little too dismissive of user criticism about this (and some of the other quirks that arrived with Windows 8). I could have done with one less reminder that I'd get used to the differences in the Window 8 interface. To his credit, he did mention some third party utilities that can restore Start Menu functionality (but didn't mention the *best* free one, "Classic Shell"). Finally, he devotes an entire chapter (albeit a brief one) to building a home theater PC. I might have preferred a chapter more focused on hardware discussions for a general purpose build.

Overall, this is excellent reference book to help power users and novices increase their comfort with Windows 8.
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