New book: Windows 7 Plain & Simple

We’re pleased to announce that Windows 7 Plain & Simple, by Jerry Joyce and Marianne Moon is now available in bookstores (Microsoft Press, 2010; ISBN: 9780735626669; 400 pages)!


With this book, you get the fast facts that make learning Windows 7 plain and simple! To give you a taste of what you’ll find in the book, here are excerpts from the book.

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

About This Book

In this section:

  • No Computerspeak!

  • A Quick Overview

  • What’s New in Windows 7?

  • A Few Assumptions

  • A Final Word (or Two)

If you want to get the most from your computer and your software with the least amount of time and effort—and who doesn’t?—this book is for you. You’ll find Windows 7 Plain & Simple to be a straightforward, easy-to-read reference tool. With the premise that your computer should work for you, not you for it, this book’s purpose is to help you get your work done quickly and efficiently so that you can get away from the computer and live your life. Our book is based on the Windows 7 Home Premium edition running on a desktop, notebook, pen-based, or multi-touch-based computer that is, or can be, connected to the Internet. If you’re running another edition of Windows 7, you can still use all or most of the information you’ll find here. However, we do talk about some features that aren’t included in either the Starter or the Home Basic edition, and we don’t deal with some additional features that you’ll find in Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.


Excerpt from Chapter 5:


In this section:

  • Changing the Overall Look

  • Enlarging Text

  • Setting Your Desktop Background

  • Customizing Your Desktop Icons, Mouse, Taskbar, Start Menu, and Folders

  • Using a Screen Saver

  • Controlling the User Account Control

  • Setting the Way a Removable Storage Device Starts

  • Using Alternative Ways of Working

  • Working in a Different Part of the World

  • Controlling Updates, Information Gathering, and Program Reporting

You can customize just about everything on your computer to make it look and work exactly the way you want. It’s fun to experiment with the various themes, and to try out the cool transparent look in windows, the taskbar, the Start menu, and other parts of Windows 7. You can create a slide show for your Desktop background and for your screen saver. You can change the size and color of almost everything; set items to open with one click instead of two; and rearrange or hide the taskbar, toolbars, Start menu, and Desktop items. You can even customize your little friend the mouse. You can use a single window in which to open all your folders, or use a separate window for each folder; and you can choose the details—date, author, and so on—that you want to be shown in your folder windows. If you sometimes work in a different language, you can switch the layout of your keyboard to that language, and you can add clocks to check the time in other cities or countries. If you have problems with your vision, hearing, or manual dexterity—or if you just want to try a different way of working—the Ease Of Access Center presents an array of alternative tools you can try. You can also control just how much information you share with Microsoft, and you can control when and how you update your computer’s software.



Excerpt from Chapter 10:

Using Voice and Sounds

In this section:

  • Controlling the Volume

  • Controlling the Sound System

  • Creating a Sound Theme

  • Directing Your Computer with Voice Commands

  • Dictating Text

  • Customizing Speech Recognition

  • Talking to the Mouse

  • Letting Your Computer Do the Talking

  • Creating a Sound File

  • Using Alternatives to Sound

If the sound your computer emits to signal an event—the logon or logoff sound, for example—is an earsplitting assault, relief in the form of adjusting the volume is just a click or two away with volume control in Windows 7. And, if you can’t stand the startup sound, you can simply turn it off! You can also use the volume control to keep your music and other sounds muted so that you don’t disturb the people around you. If you’d like to command your computer verbally instead of typing and using the mouse, try Windows 7’s powerful speech recognition program. We must stress how important it is to go through the tutorial so that you learn the correct commands, and so that the program can recognize your voice and the way you pronounce words. Be patient! It can take a bit of trial and error, but you’ll know it was time well spent when you can dictate letters or long documents without touching the keyboard! Instead of saving your fingers, perhaps you want to save your eyes by using the Narrator program, which actually reads aloud to you. Using your sound system, Narrator can describe items on your screen and can read blocks of text to you. But what if you can’t—or don’t want to—hear any sounds from your computer? You can set it to give you visual cues, including flashes and captions, instead.



Be sure to visit the Microsoft Learning Windows 7 Training Portal, where you can download free sample chapters (previews) as well as learning snacks and online clinics.

Comments (1)
  1. Donna Clark says:

    I desperately need help learning how to make the transition from xp to Windows 7.  Have had the computer since Christmas and still cannot navigate.  Can you help?

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