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"Windows XP Hacks, Second Edition": Windows XP--Bend it, Twist it, Make it Your Own

March 10, 2005

Sebastopol, CA--With the release of Windows Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows XP has changed. Microsoft describes SP2 as one of the most important service packs ever released, because "It's all about security." And so is a new edition of Preston Gralla's popular book Windows XP Hacks (O'Reilly, $29.95). Just released, this second edition is completely revised, updated, and expanded to cover all the new changes brought on by SP2, and XP-based programs and services like the Google Desktop, MSN Desktop, Search, and Gmail. It has enhanced security coverage throughout and a new chapter devoted to the topic, as well as dozens of new hacks.

Mentioning "hacks" and "security" in the same breath may confuse some people. This isn't a guide for "crackers." O'Reilly's Hacks Series is reclaiming the term "hacking" for the good guys--innovators who explore and experiment; unearth shortcuts; create useful tools; enhance, customize, and optimize their computers to do things that the average user may not know their computer can do. Author Preston Gralla says readers of Windows XP Hacks will "be able to get into the guts of the operating system, and bend it to their will, as well as take advantage of dozens of related services, software, and features. What good is an operating system, after all, if you can't bend it, twist it, and make it your own?" Gralla's book lives up to that promise. In this new edition, Gralla presents 120 detailed tips that will make your coworkers say, "How on earth did you do that?"

Windows XP Hacks isn't for newbies; it's for power-users and those who are not afraid to get beneath XP's interface, discovering and wielding hidden commands and controls, little known tricks, and command-line wizardry. Even those who have been hacking Windows systems for years will find a wealth of new tools here that they can use to improve the performance of their PCs.

Each hack is a clear, concise stand-alone solution, so you don't have to read the book straight through. You can dip into it, hack one or two things that matter most to you, put the book back on the shelf, and you'll have gotten your money's worth. Or you can work your way through enough hacks to make your neighbors pay homage, your co-workers think you're a genius, and your kids think you're cool.

"Because of the operating system's greater stability, those who work under the hood of XP can concentrate on actually getting work done and making the OS more effective, rather than trying to fix its shortcomings," Gralla says. "With the richer interface and greater support for graphics and multimedia, you can more easily change the way the operating system works and looks. And, because the OS offers a variety of tools for recovering from errors, you can hack to your heart's content without worrying that you'll damage the OS beyond recognition."

Windows XP Hacks, Second Edition shows power-users and wanna-be XP jockeys how to do the following and much more:

  • Secure your system by enabling the new Windows Firewall, enhancing wireless security, and avoiding new phishing exploits
  • Solve SP2 upgrade problems and speed up system performance
  • Surf anonymously, securely, and without ads--and kill pop-ups
  • Play with new digital media features and formats, including Windows Media Player 10, BitTorrent, iTunes, and Ogg Vorbis
  • Get the most out of new web software and services, like Firefox and Gmail
  • Search your desktop with Google Desktop Search and MSN Desktop Search
  • Make your PC work like a Mac
  • Run instant Linux under Windows XP without installing any files on your computer
  • Use the new wireless client and stop moochers from stealing your bandwidth
  • Make phone calls over the Internet with Voice over IP (VoIP) or connect to the Internet with your Bluetooth phone
  • Whether you want to speed up your PC, customize XP's interface, hack your wired and wireless network, make better use of email, use the Registry to bend the operating system to your will, or use XP for countless other useful tasks, it's all here in Windows XP Hacks, Second Edition.

    Praise for the first edition:

    "This is not a specialist book in any one area, but it is an excellent way of learning more about Windows XP and how to make it work for you rather than the other way round. The instructions are easy to follow and don't leave anything out."
    --Tim Smith, Personal Computer World

    "The Hacks Series is an outstanding example of the innovation that has become a hallmark of O'Reilly...The language of this particular title, Windows XP Hacks, is not overly technical, making it suitable for novices interested in mastering the WinXP operating system...If you run WinXP make a point of looking at this title; it is worth a visit to your local bookshop. A must for libraries."
    --Major Keary, PC Update

    "This is probably the single most valuable book about Windows XP you'll ever come across...The author managed to condense some of the best tips I've come across and no, you can't find them all online. Windows XP Hacks will enable you to get the most out of your XP box and pretty quickly too, since the organization and cross-referencing of the hacks is excellent. All in all, a great reference guide and learning tool. O'Reilly strikes again with another impressive title that deserves a place on your bookshelf. Go and get it now, it's well worth the price."
    --Mirko Zorz, Help Net Security Review

    Further reviews of the first edition of Windows XP Hacks can be found here.

    Additional Resources:

    Windows XP Hacks, Second Edition
    Preston Gralla
    ISBN: 0-596-00918-6, 548 pages, $29.95 US, $41.95 CA
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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