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Book details of 'PCs Cheat Sheet'

Cover of PCs Cheat Sheet
TitlePCs Cheat Sheet
Author(s)Shelley O'Hara, Galen A. Grimes
PublishedApril 1999
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The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'PCs Cheat Sheet':

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
As the title would suggest, this book is organized for point form information and quick reference. In fact, the division of the subject into almost sixty chapters in slightly more than three hundred pages would seem to take the categorization to extremes. There are two other formatting factors that go with the cheat sheet moniker: a separation, within each chapter, of "basics" from "beyond," and material that is already highlighted for you. Part one supposedly talks about basic concepts for computers. There are chapters on computers, hardware, drives, software, setup, turning the computer on and off, the MS Windows desktop, commands, windows, and the Windows help system. The alert reader will, by now, have ascertained something the book seems to be a little coy about admitting: the book is about Windows (mostly 98) rather than computers. Let's take a closer look at some of the most vital information provided by the text, as selected by the book itself. From the "Basic Survival" section of chapter two, one of the highlighted points is that "Your computer has memory chips inside, housed on the motherboard." Now, is this intelligence really vital to the operation of a computer? Certainly not. Most computer users go for years without ever seeing the inside of their machines. Those who do pop the lid will need a lot more information than the book provides. (As well as more accurate information: most personal computers now ship with memory module daughterboards, rather than having chips directly on the motherboard.) The material is also very old: chapter three talks about the four traditional formats of floppy disks at 360K, 1.2M, 720K, and 1.44M. However, 5 1/4" drives now have to be searched out in used computer shops, and so this material is basically only of historical interest. The chapter on disk errors recommends CHKDSK, which Microsoft itself recommends against. Again, for novice users this information is unnecessary, and for anyone else it is too little. Part two looks at standard Windows program interface functions, including starting a program, switching tasks, a list of accessory programs that come with Windows 98, selecting text, cut and paste, saving, opening, closing, and printing. The operations of Explorerare reviewed in part three, including topics such as displaying objects, creating folders and selecting, copying, deleting, renaming, and displaying the properties of files. Customization of shortcuts, the Start Menu, the desktop, screensavers, Active Desktop, the Taskbar, programs, date and time, the mouse, sounds, and printers are in part four. Part five runs through disk errors, viruses, defragmentation, creating a startup disk, backup and restore, new hardware, and troubleshooting. Connecting to the net is just not as easy as part six suggests. The information in part seven will not allow you to set up a network, and is unnecessary if you just want to use one. There are a number of Windows 9x introductory books that provide clearer and faster information about how to get going. A great deal of the content in this work is irrelevant to the needs of the novice user, but not sufficient for those moving on to intermediate or advanced operation. I really can't think of any audience for which I could recommend it. copyright Robert M. Slade, 1999

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