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Microsoft Windows Xp Professional Administrator's Pocket Consultant
ISBN 0735621403 / 9780735621404 / 0-7356-2140-3
Publisher Microsoft Pr
List price $29.99
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Ounce for ounce and pound for pound, the Pocket Consultant series from Microsoft Press is one of the best-value guides around. The editors do a good job of recruiting competent authors and having them comply with well thought-out style and formatting rules. Microsoft Windows XP Professional Administrator's Pocket Consultant is one of the gems of the series. Author William Stanek has spent time working with his subject--this book wasn't rushed to market to match the Windows XP release date--and he's good at revealing its administrative procedures clearly and concisely. The book is nicely indexed, so locating the section you need takes very little effort. This book--slightly larger than a paperback novel--is ideal for a harried administrator responsible for many different software products, as well as for consultants who need to learn how to use Windows XP Professional in a hurry.
A particularly nice characteristic of Stanek's style: his skill at combining straight procedures ("Just follow these steps and it'll work") with supplementary information about options ("On the other hand, if you're doing something unusual, you might need to modify the standard procedure a bit"). As no real-life installation of Windows XP ever seems to match authors' ideas of normalcy, the supplementary information is critical. Screen shots are nicely handled as well. Their presence helps clarify what the text means, but they're not so large as to waste space. --David Wall
Topics covered: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, as system administrators need to understand it. The author explains hardware installation, permissions setting, network security zones and several kinds of network connectivity. Coverage of the particular requirements of mobile users--including VPNs and dial-up--is particularly welcome. [via]