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Book details of 'The Mother of All Windows 95 Books'

Cover of The Mother of All Windows 95 Books
TitleThe Mother of All Windows 95 Books
Author(s)Woody Leonhard, Barry Simon
PublishedDecember 1995
PublisherAddison-Wesley Pub Co
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'The Mother of All Windows 95 Books':

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
The "mother of all" conceit in the title is appropriate in this case. Implying, as it does, that this is either the only book that you will ever need, or that all other books are pale imitation is a rather dangerous position to take. After all, as Microsoft itself can attest, when you are playing King of the Hill and scramble to the top, everyone else is more than willing to push you off. This Windows 95 guide, though, does have something for just about everyone. Leonhard and Simon have a track record for producing "hacker" books: the kind of information needed by people who think "power users" are ignorant flakes. This text follows in that same line. Chapter eleven, on the Registry, is not something that many users will ever try in this lifetime. But novices are in no way left out. The content is readable and fully explained. Even some fairly technical activities are listed step by step for anyone to read and perform. The book starts with a chapter discussing whether or not you *want* to get Windows 95. As the authors point out, this may be rather odd: if you didn't have Win95, or weren't pretty committed to getting it, why buy the book? Still, given the general willingness within the work to point out the flaws in Windows 95, this chapter does have a definite booster feel to it, and isn't entirely convincing. Chapter two, on Windows concepts, presents the now usual guide to the user interface and culture of the system. It does it in a serviceable fashion, and with more background and breadth than do most similar books. The core components, or basic functions, are well covered in chapter three, with tools and accessories in chapter four. The section on Internet setup may be particularly helpful for those wanting to get onto the net but not interested in the Microsoft Network. Chapters five through seven look at add-ons and upgrades, as well as further information. Discussion of installation itself is delayed until chapter 8. This may be considered odd placement, but, as with thoughts of the need for the first chapter, it may be quite suitable given the number of readers who may have already started to use Windows 95. The material covers both the "one button" setup that Microsoft would have you believe is the only installation needed, plus some more technical information that is likely to be more realistic. Chapter nine, ten, and eleven become increasingly technical, covering start up options, the control panel, and the Registry, among other things. Appendices provide information such as the registered Windows 95 file type extensions, and the location of files on the Windows 95 distribution diskettes. There is also a contact list of computer and software vendors, slightly marred by the lack (surprising in this day and age) of email addresses. (In fact, the only email address listed other than that of the authors is for one William H. Gates the third. I am not sure whether the fact that he is listed under Gateway 2000 is an error or supposed to be a joke.) The coverage is commendably thorough. As noted, this book is not the usual partisan copy of the documentation: the "Mother" series takes great delight in finding bugs. On the way through, though, there were some topics that I didn't catch the first time. As usual, my desires with regard to computer use are fairly specialized, so I doubt that too many people want to know how to create a shortcut, or put an item on the desktop, for something that is already installed under the "Programs" item in the "Start" menu. (However, I was interested enough in Mao's seemingly promised entry for an "all other files" viewer, and I didn't even find it the second time.) Where the "Byte Guide to Optimizing Windows 95" (see reviews) is suitable for experienced DOS users moving up, the Leonhard/Simon book is applicable to a wide range of audiences from novice to advanced. Mostly, of course, to advanced. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1997

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