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Introduction > Introduction - Pg. xiii

Introduction xiii How This Book Is Organized With Windows, anything can happen (and often does). So my best advice as you cross over into Windows XP territory is to expect (you guessed it) the unexpected. However, the last thing you need is to be thrown a few curve balls by the book that's supposed to be your trusted guide in this new- found land. So, to get you better prepared for the journey to come, let's bone up on some of the flora and fauna you'll be seeing along the way. First, the itinerary. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Windows XP is organized into six reasonably sensible parts. To help you locate what you need fast, here's a summary of what you'll find in each part. Part 1: "Windows XP Everywhere: A Few Things You Need to Know."--The lucky seven chapters that open the book are designed to help you get your Windows XP travels off on the right foot. Chapter 1 runs through what's new in Windows XP. New Windows users will want to start with Chapter 2, which gives you a tour of the Windows XP screen and offers some mouse and keyboard basics. From there, you learn about controlling programs (Chapter 3), working with windows (Chap- ter 4), dealing with documents (Chapter 5), working with files and folders (Chapter 6), and installing and uninstalling programs and devices (Chapter 7). Part 2 "Windows XP at Home."--Using a computer at home, we tend more toward the fun end of the computer spectrum. (Yes, there is a fun end.) With that in mind, I structured Part 2 to cover some of the more fun features that can be found in Windows XP. This includes working with pictures (Chapter 8); using scanners and digital cameras (Chapter 9); creating images with the Paint program (Chapter 10); working with music, videos, and other multimedia (Chapter 11); and creating digital movies (Chapter 12). For good measure, I also show you an easy way to share your computer with other family members (Chapter 13). Part 3 "Windows XP at Work."--This part is short but sweet (assuming that using Windows at work could be described as "sweet," that is). The three chapters in Part 3 cover workaday tasks such as using Windows XP's writing programs (Chapter 14), sending and receiving faxes (Chapter 15), and using Windows XP's notebook computer features (Chapter 16). Part 4 "Windows XP on the Internet."--There are plenty of days when it seems that our computers are just one giant communications terminal. Electronic communication in all its forms is a huge part of our daily lives, and Part 4 devotes no less than seven chapters to Windows XP Internet and communications goodies. You'll learn step-by-step how to get connected to the Internet (Chapter 17), how to surf the World Wide Web with Internet Explorer (Chapters 18 and 19), how to exchange Internet e-mail with Outlook Express (Chapters 20 and 21), how to participate in newsgroups (Chapter 22), and how to send those newfangled instant messages that everyone's talking about (Chapter 23). Part 5 "Windows XP at the Shop: Customizing, Maintaining, and Troubleshooting."--Like people living in row houses who paint their doors and windowpanes to stand out from the crowd, most Windows' users like to personalize their computing experience by adjusting the screen colors, changing the background, and performing other individualistic tweaks. The first three chapters in Part 5 show you how to perform these customizations in Windows XP. You'll learn how to customize the desktop (Chapter 24), the Start menu and taskbar (Chapter 25), and the My Computer program (Chapter 26). Thanks to higher-quality parts and improved manufacturing, modern computers are fairly reliable and will often run for years without so much as an electronic hiccup. However, that doesn't mean some disaster--be it a nasty computer virus, an ill-timed power failure, or some other spawn of Murphy's Law--can't strike at any time. The other three chapters in Part 5 can help you to prepare for problems. You'll get the goods on using Windows XP's collection of system maintenance tools (Chapter 27), backing up your precious-as-gold data (Chapter 28), and troubleshooting common Windows problems (Chapter 29).