Windows 98 for Dummies begins by explaining the differences between PCs and Macintoshes and detailing the differences between clicking and double-clicking. In the process of introducing the operating system, Rathbone explains lots of incidental factoids, including what a graphical user interface is and how the Print Screen button has been given new functionality in Windows 98. He then moves on to the mechanics of window management, explaining how to maximize, minimize, and incrementally adjust the size of application windows. Other chapters deal with cutting and pasting, the accessory programs, and the details of getting DOS programs to run properly. Rathbone's prose is clear and intelligent, and a superb index helps you zero in on the facts you need in a hurry.
Throughout, this book carries the lighthearted adornment that has always characterized Dummies books. The attempts at frivolity range from clunkers (Rich Tennant's weary cartoons) to knee slappers (some of the author's quips in the text). It's always a pleasure to see a computer book that doesn't take itself or its technology too seriously.
Generally speaking, Windows 98 for Dummies stays away from networking issues. More Windows 98 for Dummies, the book's sequel, covers networking in some detail. Though LANs are sufficiently complicated to merit a second volume, it's too bad this book doesn't include any information on dial-up networking--especially since the author discusses Web surfing at some length. And Outlook Express, Windows 98's e-mail program, gets scarcely a mention in these pages. With Windows 98 more focused on connectivity than any previous Microsoft operating system, it seems improper to consign connectivity to a second volume.
You'll learn a lot from Windows 98 for Dummies if you're new to Windows 98 or to computers in general. However, the book leaves you hungry for more before long. --David Wall
"It's the most fun you'll have with a computer book." --Business Week
"Informative, friendly, conversational, and slightly irreverent.... It could help save you time and ease your frustration level." --San Diego Union-Tribune