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Book News

A valid source for quick and easy Windows information

'1001 Windows 98 Tips'
by Kris Jamsa, Ph.D.

Jamsa Press, $45.95

Review by Chris Davis

(CNN) -- While "1001 Windows 98 Tips" is exactly that -- a lot of advice -- experienced users will notice these are tips for Windows 95 as well. That works well, as author Kris Jamsa reminds you that Windows 98 is more an upgrade than a brand new operating system. So for the first 100 or 200 tips you might think the book should be called "Windows 95 Tips", but by the time you reach 600 or 700 the material involves deeper and more complex features like the explanation of what FAT32 is and how to use the Windows 98 Registry, which are two heavy subjects for the average user.

"1001 Windows 98 Tips" rivals the "For Dummies" series except "Tips" will appeal more to the experienced user who may feel a need for a little more information on the subject, or an extra source for quick and easy information. The format is simple and straightforward and easy to cross reference. There's not only a list of topic headings in the front, but an index in the back. The headings summarize clearly what the topic is about and the graphics support the explanations very well, since there is no substitute for a good example. "1001 Windows 98 Tips" lacks the cutesy features of it's rival, and this contributes to a matter-of-fact and straight-to-the-subject approach.

The tips also support each other, so when you start on a topic you are referenced to another if it is a supporting or helpful tip that either laid the foundation or background for the current subject. The author ties these subjects together for the user, so if it's confusing or you get lost you can go back to the earlier explanation for a better understanding.

The explanation that Windows 98 uses HTML in illustrating file directories via the feature Explorer to make viewing web pages and internal (local) pages possible is enlightening, but what makes the information a valuable resource is the way the author delves into topics like managing the file system and taking advantage of the multimedia features. There are explanations of maintenance functions within Window 98 that will be useful to average users who want to increase their knowledge of this powerful operating system.

Granted, "1001 Windows Tips" fails to break its information into chapters that specifically address topics -- Windows 95 carryover features, the Registry and topics that are related to Microsoft mail or Internet programs (though the last one Microsoft wishes to make seamless with the Explorer feature) could be categorized into chapters.

But wise Windows users will hold on to this book for reference to the many features that only Microsoft seems to have documentation on. "1001 Windows Tips" highlights areas that many users take for granted, yet it gives these topics the attention that's useful if they are involved in either customizing or expanding the potential of their personal computer.

Chris Davis is a systems analyst with CNN Interactive. He has over seven years experience supporting multiple operating systems and platforms.

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