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Windows XP Hacks 1st Edition

33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596005115
ISBN-10: 0596005113
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Editorial Reviews


" is an excellent way of learning more about Windows XP and how to make it work for you rather than the other way round. The instructions are easy to follow and don't leave anything out." - Tim Smith, PCW, March

About the Author

Preston Gralla, the author of more than 20 books, is also a freelance journalist and columnist. He has written for major national newspapers and magazines, including PC Magazine, Computerworld, the Los Angeles Times, the Dallas Morning News (where he was the technology columnist), USA Today and several others. A well-known technology expert, Preston has also appeared on many TV and radio programs and networks, including CNN, MSNBC and NPR. In addition, he's won a number of awards for his writing, including for "Best Feature in a Computer Magazine" from the Computer Press Association. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596005113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596005115
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,136,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Robert Stinnett VINE VOICE on April 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Users of Microsoft Windows XP often want to push the OS to its limits. Unfortunately, out of the shrink-wrap XP doesn't offer much in the way of tweaks, nor does it fully expose the power that lays underneath its graphical interface. In this revised Windows XP Hacks book from O'Reilly, you will find a wealth of information on how to tune and trick-out Windows XP (with and without SP2) and take the OS to new levels of power and performance.

The book is organized by category, such as Networking and System Peformance, and then broken down into individual "hacks" as they are called that guide you through tweaking a specific component. Often, the hacks cross-reference each other so if you are interested in doing one thing, you can easily find related topics to that change or tweak. In traditional O'Reilly fashion, each hack is also prefaced with a difficulty ranking -- so you can start out tackling the easy stuff and move up the ladder as you feel more comfortable.

The author does a good job of covering the new features, and significant changes, to Windows XP Service Pack 2. Although some may think of SP2 as merely a minor release, there are many things that have changed since the first edition of this book and they are all covered in detailed throughout the book. In addition, the author also provides a good background on each topic covered -- so you know exactly what the hack does, and why you might want to apply it.

The book is geared towards the more advanced user in mind; be warned upfront that in many places you will be asked to edit the system registry directly. However, as stated above, a difficult level will help guide novice users through some of the easier changes they can make.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book of the strength my positive experiences with the Google Hacks book and have been probably even happier with this one (if you haven't read Google hacks, go buy that one too).
To start with, even though this is an easy book to understand, if you are a new user to Windows XP or any of the newer MS OS's, go and buy another book first. If you have some experience with this OS, then go buy this. Its brilliant.
Many of the tweaks in this book are implemented by editing the registry, but that said, they are very easy to do. Some useful examples are those that speed up the booting of your PC, those that add useful commands to your right-click context menu and those that point you to some very useful 3rd party utilities.
The networking section has some very good tips and tools available, especially for those running wireless networks. There are also good tips on blocking spam, surfing with proxies and stopping popups and the like.
Its difficult to review a book that has 100 short (to the point) tips and the more I read what I have written, I am not doing this book justice. If you go to oreillys site and review the TOC I am sure you will make up your own mind.
My mind is already made up. As an experienced XP user, just a handful of the tips I have got from this book saves me a lot of time a day. I thoroughly recommend you taking a good look at this book. The tips in here will make your colleagues sit up and say 'how did you do that?'.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jase T. Wolfe on May 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a perfect example of an OK idea presented in a bad medium. Had the author chosen to make this a web site or a magazine article, I don't think anyone would object to the rudimentary information provided within. Instead, the author presents 100 "hacks" comprised entirely of overviews on quickly-dating shareware and freeware downloads, as well as step by step instructions on how to use the intrinsic Windows dialogs to change properties and settings. Little presented here could not be as easily discovered by Googling "Windows XP tips tricks", browsing popular computer magazines, or using the internal Help.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some hacks in this book are really basic:
Hack 20: Making Windows XP look like Windows 2000 again.
Hack 23: PowerDesk Shareware
Hack 86: Info on two Graphical Shareware
Hack 98: Keyboard remapping shareware
Hack 99: Using ClearType on Win XP
is this a book about "Customizing Windows XP and Shareware Info" or are they really hacks?
There is even some mis-information:
Hack 3: Claims that BootVis will speed up boot up time, while the official Microsoft website corrected the issue: boot speed up is built in and automatic and doesn't require BootVis.
Hack 92: Claims that removing DLL from RAM will let other program have access to the RAM and make the computer faster... not true: they will be removed automatically from RAM when other applications need the RAM. The "Least Recently Used" DLL will be unloaded automatically. On the other hand, if you listen to an mp3 file and close Windows Media Player, and then see another mp3 and run Windows Media Player again, it will be much faster because the DLLs are already in RAM.
This book should be more appropriately titled: Customizing, Shareware, and Hacks for Windows XP.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Amato on June 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Before I write anything else, I should make it clear that anyone telling you how to "hack" is almost certainly full of it. Downloading free software, changing the boot screen, and clicking an option in Windows Media Player cannot possibly be called "hacks." Realistically, these are just tips, but I guess saying "Windows XP Tips" ins't as sexy. "General PC Tips," is what this book should really be called due to the inclusion of so much that is neither XP-specific nor a hack.
I give this book three stars for being readable and having some useful tips that make it worth borrowing from a library. I give it maybe 2 stars for the cost of actually having to buy it (I don't think it would make a very good reference anyway).
This book is by no means advanced, as implied by the title. For example, it gives you some "security" hacks and it tells you about turning off unnecessary services, but so what? If you didn't already know what services were, how could you possibly know which ones to turn off? No mention at all of turning off DCOM and disabling it, or why you would want to do so (see (...) for why).
If you want to "Hack" your computer with XP, borrow this book and read it. Ignore irrelevant tips and suggestions of software that you don't think you would use. Then return it and go to [...] for more information. In some cases I like better because the information is more candid (e.g., "Real Player is poorly written adware/spyware," from (...).
There is no reason to buy this book. Even if your library doesn't have it, there are good, free online sources for the same information.
As a note concerning previous posts about the BootVis "hack," Microsoft lied; Bootvis does improve performance.
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