Windows XP Annoyances provides a smattering of troubleshooting tips.
- By Ryan D. Misch
When was the last time you were really, truly annoyed with something?
Perhaps it was even someone who had you wound up. Maybe it was a Monday,
and you were on your way to work. You spilled coffee down the front of
your white shirt and realized you left your briefcase at home, right next
to your wallet and the one sock you forgot to put on because the power
was off when you woke up. To top it off, you're operating on minimum sleep,
due your neighbors' weekly karaoke jam that ended at roughly 3 a.m.
OK, maybe these kinds of things don't annoy you. Perhaps you get annoyed
with your Windows XP workstation not shutting down fast enough. Maybe
its because your Start Menu icons change rapidly. While there's no book
for curing your Monday-morning annoyances, there is some help for your
XP anxiety. O'Reilly's Windows XP Annoyances may be just what you
As soon as I got my copy of the book, I perused the Table of Contents.
The first thing I noticed was that it looked more like an overall guide
to computer operating systems and hardware basics, rather than a book
that comes off as a sort-of XP "tips and tricks" book. As I read through
the book, it became blindingly apparent that this book is more of a general
hardware and operating system troubleshooting book, with a smattering
of XP hints and tweaks mixed in. Some are hints that apply to the entire
line of Microsoft Operating Systems, while some are actually XP-specific.
This book seems to appeal more to those who have minimal experience
in troubleshooting their own technical problems—an experienced troubleshooter
would probably only find themselves skimming through this book for traces
of XP tweaks. I had a couple of "annoyances" with this book, the first
being the structure of the book. The chapter that dealt with installing
Windows XP was at the end. One would think that you'd want to install
the operating system before attempting to customize it. I also was expecting
much more from the "Tinkering Techniques" chapter. My idea of tinkering
isn't cleaning up the desktop or changing the way the task bar looks.
Overall, the book contains a variety of good information. From simple
visual enhancements and searching the registry, to a short section on
scripting, this book has a little something for everyone. More technically
sound readers may find the information to simply be rehashed troubleshooting
topics. However, even techno-geeks can discover some things about XP they
may not have known. Kudos to David Karp for putting together an easy-to-understand
Individuals looking to become savvy troubleshooters will find this book
offers a great deal of useful information to help them overcome all of
their own XP "annoyances." Now if there were just a book that could help
us deal with stressful Mondays and annoying neighbors, we'd just about
have everything covered.
Ryan D. Misch, MCSA, MCSE, MCT, i-Net+, is a consultant and trainer for STL Technology Partners in Bloomington, Illinois. In addition to his current Enterprise Server Support assignment, Ryan has been training other consultants and technicians on Windows 2000/XP.