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 9X and Windows 2000/XP, which among them power the vast majority of PCs. For the first time, this edition includes limited coverage of Linux-related hardware issues. The coverage is limited not because we think Linux deserves or needs less complete coverage than Windows, but because we're still Linux newbies. Some of what we've written about Linux issues will no doubt be obvious to experienced Linux users, but may be helpful to those who, like us, are just starting to migrate to Linux. We use eight primary systems?desktops, notebooks, and servers. Three of those are now running Linux exclusively. We expect that proportion to be reversed by the time we finish the next edition of this book.