This book is intended for anyone who buys, builds, upgrades, or repairs PCs in a corporate, small-business, or home setting. If you want to buy a PC, this book tells you what to look for and what to look out for. If you want to build a PC, this book explains, component by component, the key parts of a PC, describes the important characteristics of each, provides buying guidelines, recommends specific products (by brand name and model), and takes you step-by-step through building the PC. If you have an older PC, this book tells you what you need to know to upgrade it if it makes sense to do so as well as when it makes more sense simply to retire it to less demanding duties. Finally, if your PC breaks, this book tells you what you need to know to troubleshoot the problem and then choose and install replacement parts.
This book focuses on PC hardware running Windows 95/98/98SE/Me, Windows 2000/XP, and Windows NT 4, which together power the vast majority of PCs. We would also have liked to cover Linux, but we don't yet understand it well enough to write authoritatively about it. That will change. One of Robert's goals during early 2002 is to migrate his primary desktop system to Linux. By year-end 2002, we will be running Linux on many of our servers and desktops.