Yet another offering from the man who just does not seem able to stop writing technical books. William Staneks' new offering in the Pocket Consultant arena is on Windows 7. I have read, reviewed and personally used the Pocket Consultant series for a number of years in my own day job so expectations were high for this release to be equal to its predecessors.
It is important to understand where the Pocket Consultant sits in respect to other publications; Pocket Consultant books are mainly targeted at doing something such as performing one or more actions to gain a required result. This book is no different and focuses on the core topic named in the title. The expectation is that the reader has knowledge of supporting technologies such as Group Policy and Active Directory or has access to books and reference information on those subjects.
At some 600 pages, 1000 pages less than the Windows 7 Resource kit, it still contains shedloads of information regarding the administration of Windows 7. On the plus side, where the Pocket Consultant really scores in my view, is the layout of the book itself. The Chapters really are in logical sequence and match well with the lifecycle that a Windows 7 deployment would follow. For example, the initial chapters cover deployment, the next are customisation, administration, and management ending in the troubleshooting topics.
Not supplied is a CD with an electronic copy of the book which is a real shame as this does mean scanning the index regularly for references. As someone who often likes to make their own administration documents this also precludes dropping any content examples into a Word document for your own use. Hardly a fair criticism of the book but worth noting in advance if you were anticipating any free 'assistance' with your procedural documentation.
As with most of the books I review, I selected a topic to test an article - in this case it was on the local Windows 7 firewall and setting exemptions. I couldn't find any mention of exemptions despite there being numerous other categories within the index for firewalls or within the book content. Likely I looked in the wrong places - maybe. Conversely everything I tried that was in the book worked exactly as documented. The frills are totally removed from the book content leaving straight forward, plain speaking, concise guidance. This is a book that simply tells it 'as it is' and this epitomises the strength of the Pocket Book releases. It won't fit in to your pocket but it does allow you to find almost every administrative task in one place.
In conclusion, I am unsure how Stanek manages to get so much information, so quickly and so accurately but the fact that he does means that many early pitfalls that a Windows 7 administrator could fall foul of can be avoided.
I recommend the Windows 7 Pocket Consultant to administrators who are or will be involved with Windows 7 deployments, administration or support.