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Tune Up Your PC in a Weekend 2nd Edition
by Faithe Wempen
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Faithe Wempen, maven of beginner guides to Microsoft products, rounds out the In a Weekend series with Tune Up Your PC in a Weekend. The book talks up to PC users who have a bit of knowledge--it assumes you're pretty resourceful and won't balk at terms like BIOS and TweakUI, for example--but it also explains those terms and concepts in language that is eminently accessible.
The basics of how your hardware functions lay the groundwork for the lessons, which are organized catchily (but perhaps a bit tritely) as the mornings, afternoons, and evenings of one weekend--lucky you if you have the luxury of an errand- and obligation-free weekend. The book talks you through why you need to take care of a few things, like backing up your files, before you do any tuning up. There's a good troubleshooting section in case you're having problems. Don't expect to breeze through it, though--it's arranged prosaically--no quick reference lookups here. (Moreover, the index is fine if you have a solid technical vocabulary.) There is plenty of information about Windows you can't get from Microsoft, because no one wants you to have it, about hidden files and how to make changes to the Registry. Granted, you could wreak havoc in your system if you hit one wrong key, but Wempen diligently teaches you how not to. You're expected to have all your system assessment completed and any problems fixed by Saturday afternoon. Good luck.
Next you'll tackle the heavy stuff--enhancing the performance of your PC and (if necessary) doing a clean reinstall. You'll learn how to do everything from defragmenting your hard disk; configuring virtual memory; eliminating unnecessary, space-hogging programs; and compressing a disk to managing your shortcuts. Scheduling basic recurring maintenance tasks is addressed too.
Sunday morning will have you busily planning upgrades to your system. Do you need a new hard disk? If so, what kind? How about other peripherals, your plans for storage, your modem, printers, scanners, and so on? There's a helpful guide that shows how to buy these products, and then of course a lengthy Sunday afternoon session on how to install and configure your peripherals once you've gotten your hands on them.
The process of actually doing the tune-up has been laid out for you and is probably more time-consuming than the title of the book lets on. If you're PC-astute and are driven to succeed, you might be able to do it. At any rate, the project will be fun and challenging with this book at your side. --Teri Kieffer
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