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Preface > How This Book Came to Be

How This Book Came to Be

Back in early 1995, I was using a beta (pre-release version) of Windows 95 on my machine. Only a few hours after installing it, I became aware of the extent to which the previous version of Windows (Windows for Workgroups 3.11) had stunted my machine. A well-designed operating system can unleash the power of the hardware on which it runs, just as a poorly designed operating system can make you want to throw all of your expensive hardware in the thresher. Windows is a little bit of both those extremes.

Now, not being the complacent type, I immediately started compiling a list of questions and complaints about the operating system, some of which had solutions and some of which did not. This was the start of the Windows 95 Annoyances web site, which turned out to be one of the very first web sites devoted to Windows 95. Later, in the summer of 1995, other pre-release users began writing me with their own questions and complaints, and even with occasional solution to the problems I hadn't yet solved.

As readers' requests for information and additional solutions became more diverse, so did the web site. The site quickly evolved from a simple list of annoyances, to an extensive collection of tips and tricks, and then to a more general support center for Windows 95. I then wrote the book Windows Annoyances for O'Reilly in 1996/97, followed by Windows 98 Annoyances in 1998, and Windows Me Annoyances in 2000/01. As these books were written and released, the web site was expanded to include other versions of Windows, and now, as Annoyances.org, serves as the home for all of the Annoyances books, the ever-increasing collection of online tips-&-tricks, and several very popular threaded discussion forums.

Just as Windows XP is a substantially different product from Windows 9x/Me, this book is much more than just an update to its predecessors. Windows XP Annoyances is a completely new volume, containing many more solutions, more undocumented secrets, and more troubleshooting information than any of the previous three books, presented in what I hope you'll find to be the same clear, straightforward format.

Note that before finishing Windows XP Annoyances, I wrote Windows XP in a Nutshell along with Tim O'Reilly and Troy Mott. Although it's also about XP, it's a dramatically different book than this one. If you're looking for a thorough reference to everyone's favorite operating system, I encourage you to check it out.

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