New book: Optimizing Windows 7 Pocket Consultant


We are pleased to announce that William Stanek’s Optimizing Windows 7 Pocket Consultant (ISBN 9780735661653; 208 pages) is now available for purchase!

Keep reading to see the table of contents and an excerpt from the introduction.



Chapter 1 Customizing the Windows 7 Interface
Boosting Your Desktop IQ
     Optimizing Interface Performance
     Mastering Desktop Essentials
     Stretching the Desktop
Making the Start Menu Work for You
     Customizing the Programs List
     Customizing the Important Folders and Tools List
Making the Taskbar Dance
     Putting the Taskbar Where You Want It
     Customizing Taskbar Appearance
     Pinning Programs to the Taskbar
     Using Flip Views and Jump Lists

Chapter 2 Personalizing the Appearance of Windows 7

Customizing Basic Interfaces
     Personalizing Menus
     Personalizing Control Panel
     Fine-Tuning Control Prompts
     Creating an Alternate Control Panel View
     Creating a Dedicated Administrator Command Prompt
Optimizing Desktop Themes, Screen Savers, Backgrounds, and More
     Selecting and Tuning Themes
     Fine-Tuning Windows Aero Colors
Customizing and Creating Your Own Desktop
     Choosing and Configuring Your Screen Saver 
     Configuring and Creating Your System Sounds 
     Customizing Your Mouse Pointers 
     Saving Your Custom Themes and Creating
     Theme Packs 
     Customizing Your Displays
Customizing and Safeguarding Your User Account
     Changing Your Account Name 
     Changing and Creating Account Pictures 
     Changing Your Account Type 
     Creating, Storing, and Restoring Your
     Account Password

Chapter 3 Customizing Boot, Startup, and Power Options
Customizing Your Computer’s Firmware Interface
     Getting to Know Your Computer’s Firmware Interface
     Accessing and Setting Your Computer’s Firmware Interface
     Tracking and Configuring Power On and Resume
Customizing Startup and Boot Configuration
     Fine-Tuning Startup and Recovery Settings
     Changing Your Computer’s Boot Configuration
     Performing an Advanced or Safe Mode Boot
     Customizing Boot Configuration with the BCD Editor
Resolving Restart or Shutdown Issues
     Recovering from a Failed Resume
     Forcing Your Computer to Shut Down
     Repairing a Computer to Enable Startup

Chapter 4 Organizing, Searching, and Indexing
Exploring Your Computer in New Ways
     Address Bar Tips and Techniques
     Keyboard Tips and Techniques for Windows Explorer
Customizing Windows Explorer
     Fine-Tuning Folder Views 
     Customizing Folder Options
Searching and Indexing Your Computer
     Windows Search Essentials 
     Understanding Localized Searches
Fine-Tuning Windows Search
     Customizing Search Options 
     Performing Advanced Searches with Filters 
     Searching by Kind or Type of File 
     Searching Using Date-Related Filters 
     Searching Using Size-Related Filters 
     Saving Your Searches
Indexing Your Computer
     Customizing Indexed Locations 
     Including or Excluding Files by Type 
     Resolving Indexing Problems

Chapter 5 Optimizing Your Computer’s Software
Diving Deep into Software Installation 
     Understanding and Tweaking User Account Control 
     Understanding Autorun and Tweaking AutoPlay 
     How Windows Installer and Program Compatibility Work 
     How 64-Bit Software Works 
     Installing and Running Your Software
Making Software Work Like You Want It To
     Making MS-DOS and 16-Bit Software Work 
     Controlling Software Availability 
     Using Windows XP Mode 
     Resolving Compatibility Issues
Managing Installed Software.
     Choosing Default Programs 
     Reconfiguring, Repairing, and Uninstalling Software 
     Viewing and Managing Running Programs

Chapter 6 Tracking System Performance and Health
Tracking Relative Performance
     Understanding Your Computer’s Relative Performance Levels 
     Improving Your Computer’s Relative Performance Levels
Checking Current Performance Levels
     Tracking Applications and Processes 
     Tracking Performance and Resource Usage
Event Logging and Viewing
     Digging into the Event Logs 
     Resolving Performance Issues with the Logs

Chapter 7 Analyzing and Logging Performance

Resolving Failures and Reliability Issues
     Checking for Problems That Are Affecting Performance 
     Analyzing Reliability Issues That Are Affecting Performance 
     Diagnosing and Resolving Problems with Troubleshooters 
     Examining Resource Usage in Detail
Recording and Analyzing Performance Data
     Logging Performance Data 
     Choosing Counters to Monitor 
     Identifying Performance Bottlenecks

Chapter 8 Optimizing Performance Tips and Techniques
Optimizing Power Management Settings for Performance
     Selecting and Using Power Plans 
     Creating and Optimizing Power Plans 
     Resolving Power Problems That Are Affecting Performance
Maintaining Performance with Updates
     Fine-Tuning Automatic Updates 
     Resolving Update Problems
Optimizing Performance: Final Tune-up Suggestions
     Disabling Unnecessary Services and Features 
     Fine-Tuning Virtual Memory 
     Fine-Tuning Data Execution Prevention 
     Enhancing Performance with ReadyBoost 
     Cleaning Up Your Disk Drives 
     Checking Your Disks for Errors 
     Optimizing Disk Performance




Introduction (excerpt)


Welcome to Optimizing Windows 7 Pocket Consultant. Over the years, I’ve
written about many different Windows technologies and products, but one
of the products I like writing about most is Windows itself. When you start working
with Windows 7, you’ll see at once that this operating system is visually different
from earlier releases of Windows. What won’t be readily apparent, however, is
just how different—and that’s because many of the most significant changes to
the operating system are under the surface. These changes affect the underlying
architecture, not just the interfaces—and they were some of the hardest for me to
research and write about.

     In this book, I teach you how features work, why they work the way they do,
and how to customize them to meet your needs. I also offer specific examples of
how certain features can meet your needs and how you can use other features to
troubleshoot and resolve issues you might have. In addition, this book provides tips,
best practices, and examples of how to fine-tune all major aspects of Windows 7.
This book won’t just teach you how to configure Windows 7; it will teach you how
to squeeze every last bit of power out of it and make the most of the features and
options it includes.

Who Is This Book For?

Optimizing Windows 7 Pocket Consultant covers all editions of Windows 7. The book
is designed for the following readers:

· Accomplished users and information managers who want to know more
about the operating system
· Administrators, help desk staff, and others who support the operating system
· Developers who develop applications for the operating system and want to
know how to optimize core components

To pack in as much information as possible, I had to assume that you have basic
networking skills and a basic understanding of Windows 7. I also assume that you
are fairly familiar with Windows commands and procedures as well as the Windows
user interface.

How Is This Book Organized?

Speed and ease of reference are essential parts of this hands-on guide. This book
has an expanded table of contents and an extensive index for finding answers to
problems quickly. Many other quick-reference features are included as well, including
quick step-by-step procedures, lists, tables, and extensive cross-references.

     Part I, “Optimization Essentials,” focuses on fine-tuning the operating system’s
appearance and performance. No “Hello” and “Welcome” stuff here. You’ll roll
up your sleeves and dive right in to the good stuff while also learning how to
personalize the operating system.

     After you have customized the interface and appearance, Optimizing Windows 7
Pocket Consultant
takes you through the process of optimizing core components.
In Chapter 3, “Customizing Boot, Startup, and Power Options,” you’ll learn how
to fine-tune boot, startup, power on, and resume. In Chapter 4, “Organizing,
Searching, and Indexing,” you’ll learn how to optimally organize the documents,
pictures, music, and other files on your computer so that you can not only get to
them quickly but also view and work with them quickly. In Chapter 5, “Optimizing
Your Computer’s Software,” you’ll learn about managing and maintaining your
computer’s software with an emphasis on performance and problem resolution.

     After you’ve fine-tuned the interface, appearance, and core components, you’ll
want to track system health and performance to ensure that your computer runs
optimally—that’s exactly what Part III, “Fine-Tuning Performance,” covers. Here,
you’ll dig in and dive as deep as you want to into tracking, analyzing, and issue

Other Resources

Although some books are offered as all-in-one guides, there’s simply no way one
book can do it all. This book is intended to be used as a concise and easy-to-use
resource. It covers everything you need to perform core optimization tasks for
Windows 7, but it is by no means exhaustive.

As you encounter new topics, take the time to practice what you’ve learned and
read about. Seek additional information as necessary to get the practical experience
and knowledge that you need.

I recommend that you regularly visit the Microsoft website for Windows 7
( and to
stay current with the latest changes. You may also want to refer to Windows 7
Administrator’s Pocket Consultant for more detailed information on management,
maintenance, and problem resolution.

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