Normally we try and focus on articles about how to customize your computer, but today we’ll take a break from that and do a book review. This is something I’ve not done before, so any suggestions or questions will be welcomed in the comments.

Book Information


  • The Good
    There’s tons of good information on backing up and restoring your computer, and what to do in the event of a problem or total system crash.
  • The Bad
    The book could have focused more on what to do in the event of a massive spyware infestation, a much more common problem for regular users. Also, there’s no mention of the How-To Geek… what’s up with that? =)
  • The Bottom Line
    This book is an excellent guide for less experienced users to keeping your computer safe and backed up. It’s really not geared towards either geeks or people unfamiliar with computers.


The book starts out with some chapters geared towards beginners: explaining basic concepts such as computer internals… hard drives, bits, bytes, processors, etc. It moves on to an explanation of how wireless works, and moves into the basics of operating systems and software.

The next section gives the reader an overview of anti-virus, spyware, firewalls and the importance of using good passwords. There’s some good information here for novices, although personally I think there could have been more considering this area is the biggest problem for regular users.

The book moves further into the area of backups, using Windows backup and system restore. This is really the best part of the book, as the author walks you through what to backup and how to automate it, as well as what you should do when your computer crashes, from System Restore down to reinstalling and restoring backups.

The final section of the book explains how to migrate from an old XP computer to your new Vista computer, using either an external hard drive or the “Easy Transfer” cable process.


This book would be helpful for that one relative that calls you all the time to fix things. You know who I’m talking about.

Getting a Copy

You’ll note that there’s an affiliate code in this link to Amazon, so if you buy with this link the author of the book will make a few extra cents on the transaction.

Just the Computer Essentials on

Profile Photo for Lowell Heddings Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
Read Full Bio »