(Re)Introducing the Windows 11 Field Guide

Posted on June 27, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 20 Comments

One year ago, I announced that my next book will be the Windows 11 Field Guide. That’s still true. But now it’s finally happening.

So what took so long? Well, I was initially not very excited about Windows 11, and I put off initial publication until Microsoft improved the product via a series of small updates and, more recently, the more significant 22H2 release. And as importantly, I very much didn’t want to just take the existing Windows 10 Field Guide and just update it as needed for Windows 11. Instead, I wanted this to be a new book, written almost completely from scratch, with a new look and a new organizational structure. I also experimented with adding video content directly to the book for the first time, but I have arrived at another solution for that.

Here’s what hasn’t changed since last year:

Self-published. Like my previous several books, the Windows 11 Field Guide is being self-published, and it will be offered via Leanpub as before.

Transparent. As always, this book is being written transparently and publicly, and you can follow along, download chapter and book updates, and provide feedback as it’s written.

Price. As with the Windows 10 Field Guide, the Windows 11 Field Guide will cost $9.99, but you are welcome to pay more if you wish. Once you buy the book, you own it and get all future updates for free.

Support. I supported the Windows 10 Field Guide to address new features and other changes for 6 years (!). I can’t afford to do that for this book, but I’m still working through a more reasonable support time period. It will be at least two years.

Formats. The Windows 11 Field Guide will be available for download in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB and should be compatible with any e-reader software, including Kindle and popular web browsers like Google Chrome.

Time frame. I will be actively working on the Windows 11 Field Guide as needed throughout this year. I will publish the first pre-release, incomplete versions of the book in July 2022 and will update it rapidly.

Scope. This book will be a complete reference to Windows 11 for end-users. It will focus on what’s new and what’s changed, with a special emphasis on “Where did it go?” content for those many people upgrading from Windows 10. It will assume that most readers are already familiar with previous Windows versions and will not talk down to you.

New content. In addition to covering all the new features in Windows 11, this book will introduce new chapters related to managing a Microsoft account, command line interfaces, virtualization, and other more advanced topics.

Projected length. The Windows 10 Field Guide is about 500 pages long, but I’d the new book to be a bit shorter, hopefully around 400 pages when complete. That said, it could end up being longer, too. We’ll see.

But a few things have changed since my initial announcement, too.

New look. Leanpub has minimal style guide capabilities, but the company has made improvements, and the Windows 11 Field Guide will include a new look, with tips and “Where did it go?” sections called out more visually. I am also finally including intra-book links. So instead of mentioning that you can find out more about whatever topic elsewhere in the book, I will provide a link so you can go there directly. I’m going to continue investigating how I can make the book look more attractive. But again, Leanpub.

New organizational structure. Where the Windows 10 Field Guide was structured into less than 25 long, high-level chapters (Files and Storage, System Recovery, Mail, Photos, and so on), the Windows 11 Field Guide is structured very differently, with high-level sections (Install, Upgrade, Desktop, Multitasking, and so on), each of which can contain many, many smaller chapters. For example, the Multitasking section has separate chapters for Alt-Tab, Task View, Snap, Task Manager, Desktops, and Do Not Disturb and Focus. This may seem like a minor change, but I really like how it’s come together from an organizational perspective.

Videos. I’m not ready to announce what’s happening here, but I will be publishing a series of companion videos to the Windows 11 Field Guide. These videos won’t be part of the book per se, but will instead be a separate—but obviously related—effort. I think most people will be pretty happy with this, but the point here is to address the ways in which different people prefer to consume technical how-to content. Some prefer to read while others prefer to watch. So I’ll be doing both.

I’m actively working on the book every day now. Last week, I published the first preview of the book to Leanpub privately and I spent most of last weekend working on updating it. I won’t publish the book publicly until it is over 150 pages long and covers most of the big changes in Windows 11. This includes Setup, the Desktop, Taskbar, Start menu, Snap, File Explorer, and more. But that should happen soon.

Because the initial pre-release versions of the book will not be complete, I will include a free copy of the latest version of the Windows 10 Field Guide as well. But over time, the Windows 11 Field Guide will encompass all of that content too.

More soon.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “(Re)Introducing the Windows 11 Field Guide”

  1. dc696969

    Great news Paul - Looking forward to being able to order it!

  2. irfaanwahid

    It feels like you are inspired by the Windows 10 dev cycle.. release it in unfinished state and keep patching it with subsequent releases.

    On that note, sign me up!

  3. mattbg

    Looking forward to this. Even though I don't need a book like this to get my work done, I almost always learn about things that I didn't know about, or better ways of doing things, by reading them.

    This time will be a bit different because I can't run Windows 11 yet, partly due to the hardware requirements but also because I wanted it to be "finished" before I moved over. I've been a day 1 adopter of Windows for pretty much every prior version of Windows, so this is a first for me.

  4. philipherlihy

    I'm in, and would pay now if the option was there.

    Can I invite you to consider the download size? I just downloaded the 2021-07 version of the W10 guide, and it came in (PDF) as 171MB, which is a bit 'heavy', especially to keep on a mobile device. In electronic form it should be easy enough to reduce the images - is that something you'd look at?

    Meanwhile, keep up the good work, in this and in your news.

  5. benhaube

    Can't wait! I will definitely be ordering the book. I have bought all your Windows field guides, and I find them very useful.

  6. beta1492

    Will definitely be ordering, thanks.

  7. jbwild

    As always, bring it!

  8. dallasnorth40

    Great, I will be getting it.

  9. jnauel

    Thanks in advance for your valuable insight, sign me up too!

  10. fraXis

    Get that pre-order page up Paul so I can throw some $$$ your way. ?

  11. rbwatson0

    Shut up and take my money!!! ???

  12. Len

    Sign me up, too -- and thanks!

  13. ronh

    Sign me up!

  14. earlz

    I'm in. Thanks Paul!

  15. jake44

    I'm in for the Windows 11 Field Guide... as soon as it's available! Thanks Paul. :-)

  16. jmanzer

    Cannot wait! I use mostly macs as well but enjoy reading Windows Field Guide books. That’s not weird, right?

  17. cwfinn

    Consider this a pre-order!

  18. jdjan

    Thank you Paul. I mostly use Macs (and Windows 11 ARM via VM) these days, but the Windows Field Guide is always an essential buy and I learn a lot from it.

    Look forward to the pre-order going up.

  19. Firewalker96

    Any update when this will be out? So looking forward to the book.