If you are an inveterate tinkerer—and a lot of scientists can certainly be classified as such—it's likely that you'll eventually develop a yen for customizing your PC once the pleasure of mastering off-the-shelf applications packages wears off. To satisfy that yearning, you will, of course, have to take a plunge into the workings of the operating system- DOS, in the case of IBM family machines and you'll also have to get deeper into the inner workings of user interfaces, such as Microsoft Corp.'s Windows. With a working knowledge of your operating system, you'll be able to optimize the interaction between it and your applications programs, and this is bound to save you a considerable amount of time and trouble. An additional advantage: Recovery from your mistakes, and those of your coworkers, will be much easier when you've gained a better facility with the operating system.

How deeply you'll want to...

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