Windows Vista Unveiled by Paul McFedries

Windows Vista Unveiled

  • Author: Paul McFedries
  • Softcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Sams(Jun 9 2006 12:00AM)
  • Book dimensions: 9.1 x 7.0 x 0.8 inches
  • ISBN: 0672328933
  • ITBookworm score: 5.0 /5

Score Reasoning

This is an excellent survey of the new OS. I can’t think of anything else I’d like to see.


I really liked this book. If the author’s goal is to get you excited about upgrading to Vista, it worked. I had read some of the new features before, but never anything really in detail. This book goes into enough detail to tell if you’d really benefit from moving to Vista. Not only are you introduced to the new features, it also shows you how to use many of them, and even tells you how some of them work. Don’t get me wrong… it’s just a survey of the new OS, and it will in no way be considered an admin or deployment guide, but it is excellent for managers or high-level IT people who are looking to make the move. It’s got plenty of screenshots to show you what’s going on, and it spares no words in getting the point across. Nice work.

Who is this book really for?

This book is technical enough for IT people to not be bored, and friendly enough to be understood my many end users. It’s for anyone who’s looking to understand the new features in Vista and to see if an upgrade is right for them.

Writing Style

The style is straightforward and to the point. It’s not boring or exciting. However, it’s just such an interesting topic, you won’t be bored. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down.


For the most part this is a solid book. I’ve abused it pretty well and it’s holding up pretty well. It probably won’t be a resource you’ll use for months to come, but it is put together very well.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: An Overview of Windows Vista

This is just what it sounds like. It’s just a quick survey of the most important new features you’ll find, and it kind of sets the tone for the rest of the book. It also has a cool little blurb on how the codenames get chosen. It talks about GUI features, metadata, performance, etc. It’s really a nice glance into what the OS has to offer.

Chapter 2: Moving to Windows Vista

Here you go over some system requirements, and the versions of Vista. You then get into some specifics of how to prepare for Vista, and the upgrade process. In all, it should make you aware of what it will generally take to upgrade so you should be able to develop a deployment strategy.

Chapter 3: The Windows Vista Interface

This is probably the coolest chapter of them all. They’ve put a lot of work into the new GUI, and this chapter outlines a lot of them and gives some pretty good examples. It even explains how to work with some of the new file management stuff, and the taskbar and the new 3D features. It’s really fun because most of the excitement in getting a major new upgrade like this is being able to look at all the new pretties. It does a good job at getting you excited about an upgrade.

Chapter 4: File System Improvements

What can I say about the new file system except wow. Don’t get me wrong… I really wish they’d managed to get WinFS in this release, but it’s a really nice interim release with plenty of new features. So here you get some pretty good coverage on storing metadata and the new desktop search. It gives some good examples of how you can use the new desktop search to your advantage, and even some limitations so you know what it won’t do for you. Next you get into grouping files and stacking files, and selecting multiple files, etc. There’s a pretty good section on shadow copy and what they call transactional NTFS. It finishes off with an explanation of XPS.

Chapter 5: Vista Performance and Maintenance

For those of you who are getting sick of Windows crashing, and have slowly degrading performance, you’ll love this chapter. It goes into specifics of the faster startup, sleep mode, and superfetch. It then goes into a bunch of specifics on tons of different features for this topic. You will walk away with a very good understanding of what it can and can’t do, and whether an upgrade will be a good option for you… which it probably will.

Chapter 6: Security Enhancements in Windows Vista

Here are start out with the control panel security settings, and then moves directly into security center features. They’re both pretty quick discussions. You then move directly into windows firewall and how to configure its features. Spyware and windows defender are covered next it’s thorough enough to get an idea of what features exist. Next you get directly into IE7’s new features and how to work with it. The discussion is actually pretty decent and you should walk away with a pretty good understanding. You also get into file system and registry security as well as other things, but I’ll leave you to discover those yourself. They’re pretty good.

Chapter 7: Mobile Computing in Windows Vista

All things mobile are discussed here. Power settings, resolution, tablet PC features, etc. There are lots of good things for the mobile user.

Chapter 8: New Networking Features

There’s nothing earth shattering here. It walks you through setting up networking features in the new networking center. It’s a necessary read for a lot of admins, but it’s all pretty straightforward.

Chapter 9: Digital Media in Windows Vista

Walks you through the new windows media 11, and the picture viewers, and editors, etc.

Chapter 10: Windows Vista and Gaming

All things gaming.

-Sean McCown,


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