Some aspects of this book could be better, such as the part of the networking chapter that calls for an Ethernet hub without noting that a switch, though possibly more expensive, would do the job better, without any additional hassle. The networking coverage also does an inadequate job of explaining how to share a cable modem or DSL connection among several computers. This is a serious shortcoming, and we're getting to the point in our evolution as a society of computer users at which we can assume that everyone knows what the "Cancel" button does and would rather read about the newer, more exciting things that Windows XP can do. Even the dummies aren't that dumb anymore.
But that said--and Rathbone does confine a lot of the really elementary stuff to a skinny introductory chapter--this book is a boon to people who aren't familiar with Windows XP or its immediate predecessors (including Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me). It's also great for people who have learned a little about Windows on the job or from their kids, and want to expand on what they know. --David Wall
Topics covered: Microsoft Windows XP for people completely unfamiliar with the operating system and other recent versions of Windows. Coverage includes how to run programs, move and delete files, connect to the Internet, and use applications like electronic mail programs, Web browsers, and multimedia players.