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Preface

Preface

This, the fourth edition of The Little PC Book, is the most ambitious rewrite to date. That's because it's based on a completely new operating system, and although Windows XP draws some of its inspiration from its predecessors, it is also remarkably different.

Previous versions of this book were aimed primarily at novice PC users, and though novices will still have no trouble understanding the book, this edition is aimed at a much broader audience—those who are new to Windows XP. And that, of course, is just about everyone. So even if you're an old hand at Windows 98, Windows Me, or Windows 2000, read on. There are plenty of new things to learn.

The Little PC Book is divided into four parts:

Part 1: Getting Oriented introduces you to the world of PCs. Here you'll learn just what people mean when they talk about “Windows,” “IBM compatible,” and “applications.”

Part 2: Working with Windows XP gives you the rules of using Windows XP, Microsoft's new operating system. You'll learn how to give commands, open applications and files, create multi-user accounts, and carry out the other basic tasks that will help you control your PC and get your work done.

Part 3: Cool Things You Can Do with Your PC tells you how to use your PC to do all kinds of great stuff: play and record digital music and movies, edit digital photographs, create greeting cards, pay your bills online, play games, and choose the software that's right for you.

Part 4: Exploring the Internet shows you how to use Internet Explorer and other tools included in Windows XP for surfing the Web. (If you have earlier versions of Windows, don't worry, you can explore the Net, too.) This section covers email, Internet security, America Online, and a tour of the World Wide Web.

The book is designed to make finding the information you need as easy as possible. To make it easy to learn the jargon that clutters the world of computers, I've boldfaced new terms as they're introduced. Any time you see a boldface term, you can look it up in the glossary at the end of the book.

Now, before you go any further, take note: This book covers Windows-based PCs, not Macintoshes. (If you want to know the difference, go to Chapter 2.) If you've gotten this book by accident and want to know about Macs instead, you can return the book to Peachpit Press and exchange it for a copy of The Little Mac Book (Peachpit's address is on the copyright page).

You should also know that I've assumed that the readers of this book will be using Windows XP or upgrading from an earlier version of Windows. (If you don't know what that means, turn to Chapter 4.)

Ready? OK, let's get started.

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