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Beginning with broad NT concepts and then focusing sequentially on various key systems, Solomon dissects NT with a surgeon’s care and a software engineer’s thoroughness. That’s not to say that this book is mainly about writing programs. Rather, this is the kind of guide that power users wish for, explaining why and how things happen and glossing over very little. Programmers will value the clear NT API hints.
Initially, the author talks about important NT tools (such as Performance Monitor) and concepts (such as the idea of virtual memory and how it’s mapped). He illustrates all abstract concepts with excellent conceptual drawings that make it easier to comprehend what NT is doing. A chapter on NT’s architecture explains how the system works as a whole. Later chapters focus on individual subsystems, providing extensive coverage of processes, memory, input/output, security, caches, and NT. After reading the chapter on memory management, for instance, you’ll have a solid grasp of paging and the internal settings that affect it. The book also contains experiments that guide the reader through concept-illustrating procedures. For example, readers crash their machines to see and analyze the dump log–a valuable skill. –David Wall