Author: Mike Halsey
Publisher: Microsoft Press, 2010
Aimed at: General users of Windows 7
Pros: Good advice for how to be prepared
Cons: Lacks explanation
Reviewed by: Harry Fairhead
Well yes things do go wrong with Windows 7 now and again and when they do it is nice to have a book that will help you sort them out.
In this case, however, the book is strong on telling you what to do but without really explaining why. Large parts of it are also more focused on stopping trouble happening rather than troubleshooting Windows 7. This is a good idea, but is it really what you are looking for in a book that claims to be about fixing problems not stopping them happening in the first place?
The whole of Part 1 is about prevention and it starts off with installing Windows 7, setting up the firewall, Windows Defender, security in general. how to backup and restore, disk cleanup , managing users and virtualization. All very good but not really about troubleshooting. It also mostly tells you what is good for you without any explanation - for example page 7 gives a list of partition sizes without discussing anything about what a partition is or what the advantages and disadvantages are of using them. There is a lot of good advice in this part of the book but the presentation is patchy.
Part 2 is about quick fixes - whatever this means. Chapter 9 is called Annoyances and it is at last basically about troubleshooting software and hardware problems - not many topics are covered and the selection is fairly random. After this chapter we are back to more general matters - viruses and malware, system restore, safe mode and drivers
Part 3 is called Technical Fixes - I'm not at all sure what the rest of the earlier fixes were, untechnical fixes? This is probably the best part of the book if you really do have a WIndows 7 problem because it outline how to go about finding the source of the problem. It explains all sorts of technical topics such as the diagnostic tools and advanced repair methods.
Part 5 is Disaster Recovery and this is really what most of the book has been about. In this section here we look at what to do if you didn't prepare for the disaster by making a backup. It covers topics such as RAID restore, restore from another PC, using Linux to boot the system, proprietary rescue tools, and what to do about a broken encrypted filing system.
The final part of the book is power utilities, only it isn't. Really its mostly about the registry and firewalls with a little about configuration and troubleshooters.
In many ways the whole philosophy of this book is make your system redundant by backing up and installing in such as way that recovery is easy. It really isn't about solving specific problems that you might have with Windows 7, more about finding your way around the tools that can help you solve problems on your own. Of course in the real world it is usually easier to simply reinstall and if that doesn't work it's time to start swapping hardware.
Recommended but only if you are not looking for a book that actually solves your specific Windows 7 problems.