Book Reviews

Missing for a Reason?

The missing manual that should have never been found.

Most of the readers of this magazine and definitely anyone with an MCP should find this book at best elementary and at worst insulting. The author of Windows 2000 Pro: The Missing Manual states that this book is geared to the "advanced beginner" or the intermediate PC user but also claims to have sections for the "advanced PC user."

It would have been helpful for the author to share what she defines as advanced users because the "Power User" sections were weak to say the least. My favorite "power user clinic", said with great sarcasm, was a section on "Speeding up Virtual Memory" where the author explains to "advanced users" what virtual memory is and how to adjust the virtual memory allocation. My thoughts while reading this section focused on why anyone with local administrative rights on their machine would not already understand what virtual memory is and (being an "advanced user") why they would need this explanation.

This books starts with the opening screens of Window 2000 Pro and covers printing, file shares, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, creating dial-up connections and VPNs, hardware troubleshooting, account creation and finally installing Windows 2000 Pro The installation section glosses over most of the installation process of a clean installation from a boot CD or floppy and makes the installation process seem as if it consists of only five steps: insert the CD and turn on your computer, accept the license agreement., select enter, chose a file system, select enter and then the setup wizard will run. She suggests that the "network administrator" can help you with this process. I can just imagine that "network administrators" around the world will be very appreciative of that reference that they can help newbies install Windows 2000 Pro on their machines.. The author's descriptions, one of which she cited the key differences between Windows 2000 Pro, Server, Advanced Server and Data Center Server, were offensive. She glossed over much of the detail in search of a simplistic explanation. The description of the differences between Windows 95 and 98 with Windows 2000 Pro would, if someone who had never experienced Windows in any format in a "networked environment", lead the reader to think that Windows 95 and 98 users can not log onto a Windows NT or Windows 2000 network or that they will only find Windows 2000 Pro in a Windows 2000 Domain and never in a Windows NT domain. Such oversights can be confusing to someone who buys this book with the desire to learn about Windows 2000 Pro because it is about to be deployed in his or her work environment. However, to be fair, there are worthwhile sections for the absolute beginner, which discusses Outlook Express, Internet Explorer, and files. There is also a nice (albeit simplistic) explanation of the differences between NTFS and FAT. Unfortunately, the tone of the book reverts back to citing inadequate information. The worst and arguably the most dangerous description is in an "up to speed" section called, "How to Identify a (Virus) Hoax". The author instructs readers to look for language that they may or may not be able to identify as being false. She continues that the hoax usually "cites someone's alleged expertise or claim that the warning originated with IBM, CBS News or some other reputable source" The author would have been more informative if she had offered readers a list of the many sites where they can check the validity of a Virus. Overall I think this book has very limited use, if any at all. The information contained within is so cursory that readers' time would be better spent reading the online help that the author is so critically denounces. At least the online help is more accurate in its information.

About the Author

Yolanda R. Reid, MCSE, CCNA, works closely with Win2K, Windows NT, and BackOffice products. As an employee of USI, her specialty is enterprise systems and designing Win2K infrastructures.

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