Reviewed: Windows 2000 Registry for Dummies

In an October 1999 visit with IDG Books in New York City, I entered the company's lobby and was instantly confronted by a stack of yellow and black "Dummies" books, the best selling computer book series of all time. But the Dummies books have also branched out into a number of non-technical subjects, including such things as wine, car buying, and even sex. Spying a stack of books titled "Antiquing for Dummies" that were heading out in the day's mail, I remarked to the receptionist, "you're all going to hell for this, you know that?" She nodded sadly and said, "Yeah, I know."

Yes, the Dummies books are out of control and I've seen some pretty bad ones in my day, including "SQL Server 7.0 for Dummies," which is easily one of the worst computer titles of all time. In fact, I declined to review it, a rarity. But Glenn Weadock's excellent "Windows 2000 Registry for Dummies" blows through my past biases and unexpectedly suggests that there's life in this old line at last. This book isn't just good, it's a winner.

Weadock clearly knows his stuff and, best of all, he knows how to translate that knowledge into a good read. The book is full of wit and humor, wrapped nicely around an incredible amount of useful information. I found myself leaping out of the chair to test things on my Windows 2000 system, the single highest compliment I can give any computer book.

You might assume that a book about something as technical as the Windows Registry could be nothing but boring, but Weadock infuses the subject with a singular charm that's impossible to miss. While the analogies and references to classic cars might confuse a few readers, I found them all to be accurate and entertaining: Often, the best way to learn something is to compare it to something else that's more well known. The book follows a logical progression from introducing the Registry toward customizing and troubleshooting the Registry, and ends up in the best part of the whole book, "The Part of Tens," where Weadock introduces two dozen well-researched Registry tricks, which are themselves worth the price of admission.

I expected this book to be a retread of prior Windows 9x and NT 4.0 Registry books, with few, if any, Windows 2000-specific tips and tricks, but I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong: The book is chock-full of Windows 2000 information, which Weadock began collecting a year and a half before Windows 2000 was finally released. The dedication shows from cover to cover.

Windows 2000 Registry for Dummies is clear, informative and entertaining. The author clearly knows his way around the Windows 2000 Registry and knows how to communicate this knowledge. As a writer, I can assure you that this is a rare and special gift. The book costs only $24.99 and I recommend it highly to any and all users of Windows 2000. This one's a winner.

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Windows 2000 Registry for Dummies
by Glen Weadock
IDG Books, 2000
ISBN: 0-7645-0489-

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