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About this Book

Most of what you’ll need to know about this book is covered in chapter 1, but there are a few things that we should mention up front.

First, if you plan to follow along with our examples, and complete the hands-on exercises, you’ll need a virtual machine or computer running Windows 7 or later. You’ll need at least 2 GB of RAM, and 10 GB of free disk space. You could also use Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. Whichever you use, you’ll need to be able to log on as the computer’s Administrator. One more decision: do you want to go with the free SQL Server Express Edition or another edition of SQL Server. We cover that in more detail in chapter 1, and it’s an important decision that will impact how you move through this book.

Second, be prepared to read this book from start to finish, covering each chapter in order. Chapters are short, meaning, as the title says, you can read a chapter on your hour lunch break. (You don’t have to, but each chapter takes about 40 minutes to read and digest, giving you time to enjoy your sandwich.) The human brain can absorb only so much information at once, and by taking on SQL Server in small chunks, you’ll learn faster and more thoroughly.

Don’t feel the need to read ahead. A chapter a day will give you time to read and practice what each chapter shows you.

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