Some months ago I had the pleasure of reviewing the first edition of author Mike Halsey’s Out of the Box series on Windows 8. Now, with the release of the updated Windows 8.1 operating system Mr. Halsey has published ‘Windows 8.1 Out of the Box’ which will help you make the most of the original features of Windows 8 plus the new and updated features of Windows 8.1.
Visually the book’s cover is very similar to the original volume but if you look closely, you will notice that the cover image is a new one that reflects some of the new features of Windows 8.1. The book is an easy read. Mr. Halsey has the rare ability to convey his advice in as few words as possible which keeps his books small and easy to read even for those who are not technically inclined.
Beginning appropriately with the new Start Screen, the book explains the difference between the Start Screen and the Desktop and how to find new Apps in the Windows Store online using the Store tile on the Start Screen.
The Charms Menu and the Apps Bar are both new features in Windows 8.1. You will learn exactly what they are, what features they provide and most important, how to access them.
Many functions that we’re used to performing in previous versions of Windows are very different in Windows 8.1 leaving a new user a bit lost and confused. With the help of this excellent step-by-step guide, you learn how to:
· Setup and use a picture password
· Use Update and Recovery to backup all your files
· Create a Recovery Drive
· Use the Windows Recovery Environment
· Use System Restore to rescue Windows when it misbehaves
· View 2 Desktop Windows side-by-side
· Customize the Start Screen and make tiles larger or smaller
· Connect to other computers and devices in your home to share files and printers
· Connect Windows and your Xbox using the Xbox SmartGlass
· Find and view all your Apps in Windows 8.1
· Switch between running Apps and Windows 8.1
· Many more common tasks vital to the average user
Although the reader is expected to have a basic knowledge of using a mouse and a keyboard and at least some basic experience with using a computer, no special skills or abilities are required. The focus of the book is to highlight the functions and tasks that most users will find the most helpful as they make the transition to Windows 8.1. Instructions are written in simple English that is easy to understand and follow on your own. Special Tips and Warnings are prominently displayed when a special feature can be utilized or a pitfall can be avoided with the prober warning or caution.
Author Mike Halsey is a Microsoft Windows Expert and a technical beta tester for Microsoft with many years of experience in IT support. He is also the author of ‘Troubleshooting Windows 7 Inside Out’ for those like myself who are still contentedly using Windows 7.
'Windows 8.1 Out of the Box' is available directly from the publisher, O'Reilly Media, in the softcover edition for about $10 and an e-book edition for about $8. You can buy both the softcover and ebook editions together for the great price of only $10.99. The book is also available on Amazon in the softcover edition for under $10 and a Kindle edition for under $6. Barnes and Noble lists the paperback and Nook editions at similar pricing.