Customer Reviews: Windows 8 Administration Pocket Consultant
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on October 29, 2012
The best way to think of Stanek's Windows 8 Administration Pocket Consultant (O'Reilly Media) is to ignore the "pocket" part. At 672 pages, it's much closer to the "______ Bible" end of the scale.

And true to the Bible end of the scale, this book truly covers a huge landscape in surprising detail. As I was reading through the material, I got the feeling that this is basically an offline version of Microsoft's TechNet, a vast knowledge base (among other resources) for IT professionals. In the several weeks of using Windows 8, I've perused several TechNet articles about this-or-that. I've found a similar level of thoroughness in this book, for topics ranging from generic to highly exotic.

The difference between TechNet and this book: the latter is portable, better organized, features screenshots, and provides step-by-step instructions where possible.

This leads into my only annoyance with this book. Presumably the audience is an IT professional, or at least a power user. I often feel that the author is too thorough for this audience. He leaves absolutely no room for ambiguity. For example, in Chapter 5 there's a 13-step procedure for enforcing a certain behavior for Group Policy scripts. For 11 of those steps, the author makes sure to tell you, "Tap or click OK." As another example, almost anywhere there's a possibility to save a password (such as in a wireless network security dialog), the author adds a SECURITY ALERT informing the reader that this is a poor security practice. No wonder the book is 672 pages long.

On the other hand, I marvel at the wide variety of topics that William Stanek managed to cover in only 672 pages. I found information on how to create a master image of Windows 8. I found a detailed, 19-step breakdown of the Windows 8 startup process, along with a troubleshooting guide to it. I found a good intro to Group Policy and Offline Files, in large part covering Moskowitz' authoritative Group Policy book. I found plentiful information on BitLocker. And so much more.

All in all, while I won't be carrying this book in any pocket, I appreciate it greatly. Its 16 chapters allow the reader to become truly familiar with Windows 8 administration.
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on October 7, 2012
I wanted to get a head start on Windows 8 so picked up this book and another book. This is the better of the two and the only true "secrets" book. I've more highlight in this book in two weeks than I have for any other book before. Many secrets and insider tips. It's say administrator but anyone can learn from this.

Chapter 1 - 3 are on installing, running, configuring and customizing Windows 8. These alone are worth the price of the book.

Chapter 4 will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about how your computer starts and how to configure start up.

Chapter 5 and 6 will tell you about policies and preferences for business computers.

Chapter 7 will tell you how to create account and keep your credentials stored.

Chapter 8 will tell you how to install applications and troubleshoot when something happens.

Chapter 9 will tell you all about hardware devices and how to connect and configure them.

Chapter 10 will tell you how to get and give remote assistance, maintain your computer, resolve problems, back up and recovery.

Chapter 11 will tell you about encryption and how you can use it.

Chapter 12 will tell you how to install and manage disks, burn dvds and fix disk problems.

Chapter 13-14 will tell you about file permissions and folder sharing, offline files and disk quotas.

Chapter 15-16 are on networking and configuring your connections.

I learned more in the first three chapters of this book than I did from the whole other book. If you want to know Windows 8 left, right, up, down, and sideways this is the book. I recommend it.
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on January 2, 2013
I just received this book with great anticipation. I was very disappointed. Windows 8 is a major release, one of the most significant in Windows history, and includes significant new capabilities. Not the least of these is the new Metro environment for tablets or multi-touch devices. Searching the index for any of these terms yields virtually nothing. Some of the other most important Windows 8 capabilities (to me) are completely missing from this book. It may be a matter of expectations. However, the intended audience includes "accomplished users who are intending to configure and maintain Windows 8". I am basically a home user and have been working with Windows for several years. I consider myself at an intermediate level of expertise. I am my own system administrator and I intend to configure and maintain Windows 8. I have been reading about very interesting capabilities in Windows 8 and just installed it on two machines in my home. I was looking for comprehensive documentation on how to get the most out of the new features and capabilities offered by Windows 8. I view this book as a warmed over Windows 7--Windows XP book that reflects little to no effort to present the exciting new Windows 8 features.
For example, I want to use one of my systems as a server for robust centralized file storage for documents and multimedia files. I would also like to simplify and improve my backup for the 5 or 6 systems on my home network. And I want to use a Windows 8 machine to stream movies, video and music to my Xbox. Finally, I would like to be able to access my files when I am on vacation and traveling. So I expected a whole section on how to configure Storage Spaces and about thin provisioning and resiliency. Pocket Consultant includes nothing on storage spaces and does not even contain an index entry for the topic. Storage spaces should make striping and disk quotas, which are covered in great detail, obsolete for most home users.
I had hoped for an in depth explanation on how to best use new backup capabilities but there is no chapter on backup per se and you have to stumble on 'file history'.
The book provides no information on multimedia streaming much less any guide to configuration. There are several pages on how to configure modems for dial-up remote access, but there is only one brief mention of Skydrive. Remote Fetch is conspicuously absent. Skydrive is powerful and very useful and becomes more so via Windows 8.
I had hoped for a "best practices" approach that would guide me through implementation of the major new Windows 8 features. The author did not bother to cover many of the most attractive and significant capabilities that make Windows 8 worth the move. Perhaps this book will prove useful as a reference for more mundane Windows features in the future, but it is no help to me in configuring my systems and maximizing the power of Windows 8. I ordered and received and am perusing "Windows 8 Secrets" by Paul Thurrott. This is the book to buy.
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on April 5, 2013
I have been a great fan of Stanek's books in the past. I think this time he was resting on his laurels and repeating a lot of the generic information from his previous books. There are significant omissions' on major features in Windows 8 - for example, there is not one work on Storage Spaces but he goes into great detail, again, on RAID that most people will not use on a standard PC. Storage Spaces provides comparable disk services including building arrays with different size disks and the capability to address more than 2 TB of disk space - but not one word on this feature. There are other omissions too - as a desktop reference book it is inadequate - and his prior books have been inclusive and well written
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on March 9, 2015
I am an IT professional who likes to have a book to read and refer to. In an age of digital copies it is sometimes nice to have a book to highlight and mark pages. This is a good sized book for portability. The topics are covered well and offers step by step instruction as well as detailed descriptions of what you are doing.
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on July 27, 2014
Great companion to learning the in's and out's of Windows 8.x from the Administrative side of things. Very informative in some of the features and programs with in Windows 8.x. If you are a more advanced user and want to get the most out of Windows8.x then this is what you need.
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on January 4, 2013
I was pressured into ordering this from a fellow geek friend. Wish I hadn't as it is old fashioned in its approach and it is much easier to "google" a specific thing I want to know than search through the book. Times have changed and this type of manual just isn't what people today want to use to learn new information.
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on March 22, 2013
This guy took a windows 7 book and added a few lines and called it a Windows 8 Pocket Reference. It should be titled a Windows Pocket Reference so that folks won't think they are going to learn about Windows 8. Every section could be cloned from a Windows 7 book.

Be sure and look at the content before you buy this book. Spend your money on a real Windows 8 book.

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on October 25, 2012
This is a great resource to understand Windows 8. I bought this book the day it came out and I've read it cover to cover and have used it to set up our dev labs for testing. I used it to upgrade my desktops at work and home too. William is well known and well respected for a reason. He's a tech guru who tells it like it is and gets right into it. His writing style is clear and concise. It covers lot of ground and the layout it excellent. I recommend it. Kudos William for another book very well done.
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on January 20, 2014
let me tell you, this book.... does not cover win 8.1 so its rather useless now. unless you are stuck in a time lapse before oct 13' then its awesome. save your time and get win 8.1
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