8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This book almost makes me a Windows fan,
This review is from: Windows® Internals: Including Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, Fifth Edition (Developer Reference) (Hardcover)
Windows Internals, 5th Ed (WI5E) by Mark Russinovich and David Solomon, with Alex Ionescu, is a remarkable technical achievement. I read the book to better understand Windows to improve my security knowledge. I am not a Windows programmer, but I thought WI5E would provide context for some of the exploit and vulnerability information I occasionally encounter. I absorbed as much of WI5E as I could, but quickly found the scope and depth of the material to be incredible. While there is no substitute for reading source code, the explanations in WI5E come close! So many aspects of Windows are described, to such a deep level, that you might find yourself wanting to use Windows just to see WI5E's descriptions at work.
One of the best aspects of WI5E is the demonstration of "Experiments." Dozens of times per chapter the authors explain a key concept or detail by showing it at work in Windows. Sometimes they use a Sysinternals tool, sometimes they use a debugger, and sometimes they use other Windows utilities. I thought this was a great way to get readers to learn more about Windows in a hands-on environment.
Another unique feature of WI5E is the 30-page glossary. While not covering every item I might have wanted to see, it was truly helpful. I also liked the figures and tables. For example, Figure 12-2, OSI Model and Windows Networking Components, offered a great overview of how Windows components provide networking services, while Table 3-25, Components Protected by KPP, addressed a security topic that interested me.
My only suggestion for future improvement would be to give readers like myself more opportunities to see the big picture. I often felt overwhelmed and sometimes lost when reading WI5E. I think summaries (multipage if necessary) at the end of each chapter could have shown the high points or major themes of each chapter?
In any case, WI5E is an amazing book. I am astounded the authors can cover such vast swathes of Windows territory in one book, especially with plans for the 6th edition already unfolding. Bravo.