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You probably are anxious to get started with your 24-hour Windows XP tutorial. Windows XP is an exciting operating system by Microsoft, a completely revamped operating system from the Windows 9x and Windows Me operating systems that have been in use for many years. Windows XP uses the Windows 2000 code base as its foundation to provide a more stable and robust environment.

This book's goal is to get you up to speed as quickly as possible. Take just a few preliminary moments to acquaint yourself with the design of this book described in the next few sections.

What's New with Windows

Different, better, and still the same best describes how Windows XP compares to previous versions of Windows. Despite the similarities, Windows XP has some major differences that you should know about ahead of time so you can use it the way it is supposed to be used. Microsoft designed Windows XP so that you can concentrate on using your software and hardware rather than concentrate on using Windows XP.

Windows XP improves upon the Windows 9x interface that has become the standard. If you are new to the Windows environments—perhaps because you upgraded from a Mac operating system—consider yourself fortunate! You are about to be impressed. Following are some of the Windows XP key features:

  • The Internet's online environment is more closely associated with the Windows desktop.

  • Windows XP provides extensive support for multimedia and digital imaging.

  • The Start menu is more operational and hides little-used programs until you're ready to access them. The items you need are always at your fingertips. You can make menu changes on-the-fly without messy dialog boxes.

  • Advanced system tools, such as the automatic update of Windows system files when they become damaged and a rollback feature that enables you to return to a more stable point in time, help protect your computer files and monitor your hardware.

  • Improved hardware support features enable you to attach new devices, such as FireWire cameras, into your computer without having to set hardware switches or determine appropriate interrupt settings.

  • Windows XP continues the tradition of online support and provides firewall protection from unauthorized access into your computer.

  • Windows XP does most of the setup work for you when you want to network another computer to yours.

  • You can monitor newsgroups and make postings from Outlook Express's common interface.

  • Your desktop now becomes an online access tool that lets you access Internet Web pages as easily as you access your own PC's files.

What This Book Will Do for You

Although this is not a reference book, you'll learn almost every aspect of Windows XP from the user's point of view. This book does not take up your time with those many advanced technical details that most of you will never need. I know that you want to get up to speed with Windows XP in 24 hours, and this book fulfills its goal.

Both the background and the theory that a new Windows XP user needs are presented. In addition to the background discussions, this book is practical and provides almost 100 useful step-by-step To Do tasks that you can work through to gain hands-on experience. The To Do tasks guide you through all the common Windows XP actions you'll need to make Windows XP work for you, instead of you working to use Windows XP.

Can This Book Really Teach Windows XP in 24 Hours?

Yes. You can master each chapter in one hour or less (by the way, chapters are referred to as "hours" in the rest of the book). Although some chapters are longer than others, the material is balanced. The longer chapters contain several tasks, and the shorter chapters contain background material. The balance provided by the tasks, background, and insightful explanations and tips make learning Windows XP fresh at every page.

Conventions Used in This Book

A question-and-answer section ends each chapter to reinforce ideas. This book also uses several common conventions to help teach the Windows XP topics. Following is a summary of the typographical conventions:

  • The first time a new term appears, the term is italicized.

  • Commands and computer output appear in a special monospaced computer font.

  • Words you type appear in a boldfaced computer font.

  • If a task requires you to select from a menu, the commands are separated with a comma. For example, this book uses File, Save As to select the Save As command from the File menu.

In addition to typographical conventions, the following special elements are included to set off different types of information to make them easily recognizable:


Special notes augment the material you are reading in each hour. They clarify concepts and procedures.


You'll find numerous tips that offer shortcuts and solutions to common problems.


The Caution sections warn you about pitfalls. Reading them will save you time and trouble.


Take some time out of your 24-hour tutorial to sit back and enjoy a more in-depth look at a particular feature. The coffee break sidebars are useful for exploring unusual Office XP features and uses and show you additional ways to utilize the hour's material.

Who Should Read This Book

Although this book is geared toward beginning computer and Windows users, advanced users will find it handy as well. Readers rarely believe that lofty claim for good reason, but the design of this book and the nature of Windows XP make it possible for this book to address such a wide audience. Here is why: Windows XP is a major improvement over the previous versions of Windows because of its secure, stable structure as well as its ease of integration into the networking, multimedia, and Internet's online technology. If you do not yet use the Internet, you'll pick up Internet skills faster with Windows XP due to the online efforts that Microsoft put into Windows XP.

Those of you unfamiliar with windowed environments will find plenty of introductory help to bring you up to speed quickly. This book teaches you how to start, exit, and manage almost every aspect of Windows XP. This book talks <ItoI> beginners but does not talk down to beginners.

For those of you who presently use Windows 9x and Windows Me, this book also addresses you. Here is how: This book has several sidebars that explain how a specific Windows XP feature improves on or replaces a Windows 9x feature. With your fundamental base of Windows 9x understanding, you'll appreciate the new Windows XP features. Windows XP is similar to Windows 9x, so you will feel comfortable learning Windows XP. However, Windows XP has more than enough new features to keep Windows 95 and Windows 9x users interested and happy for a long time.

What to Do Now

What are you waiting for? Turn the page and get started on your 24-hour tutorial!

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