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31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams, 2nd Edition

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31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams, 2nd Edition


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• Tear out visual calendar summarizes each day’s study topics
• Checklist highlights important tasks and deadlines leading up to your exam
• Description of the CompTIA A+ exam organization and signup process, includes how to use a voucher
• Strategies from the author help you to be mentally, organizationally, and physically prepared for exam day
• Conversational tone, making your study time more enjoyable


  • Copyright 2012
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 1-58713-260-5
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-58713-260-5

31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams

Second Edition

Ben Conry   

A Day-by-Day Review Guide for the CompTIA A+ 220-701 and 220-702 Exams

31 Days Before Your CompTIA® A+ Exams, Second Edition offers you a personable and practical way to understand the certification process, commit to taking the exam, and finish your preparation using a variety of study resources.

The 31-Day format breaks down key exam topics into 31 daily review sessions using short summaries, lists, tables, examples, and graphics. This edition includes a Study Resources section at the end of each day that provides you with a quick reference for locating more in-depth treatment of a day’s topics within relevant textbook resources.

Use this day-by-day guide to organize, prepare, and review all the CompTIA A+ objectives for the CompTIA A+ Essentials exam (220-701) and the CompTIA A+ Practical Application exam (220-702).

·         The features of the book empower you to fit exam preparation into an otherwise busy schedule:

·         Tear-out visual calendar summarizes each day’s study topics

·         Checklist highlights important tasks and deadlines leading up to your exam

·         Description of the CompTIA A+ exams and sign-up process

·         Strategies from the author help you to be mentally, organizationally, and physically prepared for exam day

·         Conversational tone makes your study time more enjoyable

Who Should Read This Book?

This book is for anyone preparing for the CompTIA A+ exams working with learning resources published by either Cisco Press, Que, Addison-Wesley, Cengage, or McGraw-Hill listed on page xxvii of this book.

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams, Day 31: Storage

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 1 and Index)

Table of Contents

Day 31: Storage 1

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 1

Key Points 1

Storage Devices 1

    Hard Drives 1

    Floppy Drives 1

    Solid-State HDD and NVRAM 2

    Tape Drives 2

    CD, DVD, and BD Drives 2

    Network Drives 3

Interfaces and Cables 3

Homework 4

Funwork 4

Study Resources 4

Day 30: Motherboards, Adapter Cards, Memory Slots, and Power Supplies 5

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 5

Key Points 5

Motherboards 5

    Adapter Card Interfaces 7

    Memory Slots 9

Power Supplies 9

RAID Adapters 11

Homework 11

Funwork 12

Study Resources 12

Day 29: Processors and Cooling 13

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 13

Key Points 13

Central Processing Unit 13

    RISC and CISC 15

00_9781587132605_fm.qxd 8/29/11 4:07 PM Page x

Processors 15

System Resources 16

Cooling Systems 17

Homework 18

Funwork 18

Study Resources 19

Day 28: Memory 21

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 21

Key Points 21

Memory 21

    RAM 21

    Speed 22

    Virtual RAM 23

    ROM 23

    EEPROM 23

    NVRAM 23

    Memory Slots 23

Homework 24

Funwork 24

Study Resources 25

Day 27: Displays, Peripherals, and Adapters 27

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 27

Key Points 27

Resolutions 27

Peripheral and Input Devices 28

    Mouse and Touchpad 28

    Keyboard 28

Adapter Cards 28

    PCI and PCIe Cards 29

    AGP Cards 29

    Sound Cards 29

    TV Tuner Cards 29

    Capture Cards 29

    NIC and Modem Cards 30

Ports 30

    USB Ports 30

    PS/2 Ports 31

    Serial Ports 31

    Parallel Ports 31

    Display Adapter Ports 32

Cables 32

    Audio Cables 33

    FireWire Cables 33

    Network Cables 33

    SCSI Cables 33

Homework 34

Funwork 34

Study Resources 34

Day 26: Operating Systems Comparisons and User Interfaces 35

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 35

Key Points 35

Operating Systems and the Layered PC Model 35

Desktop Operating Systems 36

    Apple OS X 36

    Microsoft Windows 36

    Linux 37

OS System Requirements 38

Network Operating Systems 39

The “Multi” Terms 40

GUI Versus CLI 40

    Command-Line Syntax 40

    Command Prompt Commands 41

Users and Permissions 43

Homework 43

Funwork 43

Study Resources 44

Day 25: Operating System Installation and Booting 45

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 45

The Windows User Interface 45

    GUI Utilities 45

        Windows 7 Libraries 45

        My Computer 46

        Control Panel 46

Command-Line Utilities 46

    Ping 47

    Telnet 47

    Ipconfig 47

Run-Line Utilities 48

    MSConfig 48

    MSInfo32 49

    Dxdiag 49

    Regedit 49

Operating System Installation 50

Hardware Compatibility List 50

Preparing the HDD for an OS Installation 50

    Partitioning 50

    Formatting 51

Windows Boot Process 51

Clean Operating System Install 52

Boot Modes 52

Logical Memory 53

Windows Boot Options 53

    Safe Mode 53

    Boot to a Restore Point 53

    Recovery Options 54

        Automated System Recovery 54

        Emergency Repair Disk 54

        Recovery Console 55

Homework 55

Funwork 55

Study Resources 56

Day 24: Laptops and Printers 57

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 57

Key Points 57

Expansion Devices 57

    PCMCIA Cards and PCI Express Cards 57

    Docking Stations 58

Laptops and Projectors 59

Communication Connections 59

    Bluetooth Devices 59

    Infrared Communications 60

    Cellular WANs 60

    Ethernet NICs 61

    Modems 61

Power Settings and Electrical Input Devices 62

    Autoswitching Power Supplies and Fixed-Input Power Supplies 62

    Batteries 62

    ACPI Levels 63

Input Devices 63

    Digitizers 64

    Function Keys 64

    Pointing Devices 64

Printer Types 65

    Laser Printers 65

    Inkjet Printers 65

    Thermal Printers 66

    Impact Printers 66

Local Versus Network Printers 66

Printer Drivers (Compatibility) 67

Consumables 67

Homework 67

Funwork 67

Study Resources 67

Day 23: Basic Troubleshooting and Preventive Maintenance 69

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 69

Key Points 69

Troubleshooting 69

More on Troubleshooting 70

Memory Dumps 71

Homework 71

Funwork 71

Study Resources 72

Day 22: Troubleshooting Laptops and Printers 73

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 73

Key Points 73

Cleaning Laptops 73

Repairing Laptops 73

    Common Laptop Problems and Solutions 73

        Video Ports 74

        Keyboards 75

        Wireless Cards 75

        A Lifeless Laptop? 75

        Peripheral Problems? 75

        No Video? 76

        Woeful WiFi? 76

Common Printer Problems and Solutions 76

    Managing Print Jobs 76

Homework 77

Funwork 77

Study Resources 78

Day 21: Networking Fundamentals 79

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 79

Key Points 79

LANs, WANs, and WLANs 79

    LANs 79

    WANs 79

    WLANs 79

OSI Model 80

    Simplex, Multicasting, Half-Duplex, and Full-Duplex Communications 81

Network Addressing 81

    MAC Addresses 81

    IP Addresses 82

    Subnets 82

    A Class Act 82

Really Big Numbers 83

Network Topologies 83

    Physical Topologies 83

    Logical Topologies 83

    Client/Server Networks and Peer-to-Peer Networks 84

Network Architectures 84

    The Physical Layer of Ethernet 85

    The Physical Layer of WiFi 85

Bluetooth 85

Homework 86

Funwork 86

Study Resources 87

Day 20: More Networking Fundamentals 89

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 89

Key Points 89

Network Protocols 89

Standards Organizations 90

Ports of Call 91

Wire Drill 91

Seeing the Light 92

File Sharing 92

Homework 92

Funwork 92

Study Resources 93

Day 19: Security 95

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 95

Key Points 95

Security Threats 95

WiFi Security 97

Antivirus, Spyware Removal, and Definition Updates 98

Firewalls 98

User Training and Password Policies 99

Troubleshooting Security 99

Homework 99

Funwork 99

Study Resources 100

Day 18: Scenario-Based Safety and Environmental Procedures 101

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 101

Key Points 101

Hazards 101

Fire Safety 101

Material Safety Data Sheets 102

Tools 102

Electrostatic Discharge 103

Disposing of Computer Components 103

Homework 104

Funwork 104

Study Resources 104

Day 17: Scenario-Based Communication and Professionalism 105

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 105

Key Points 105

Customer Support 105

Service Level Agreements 106

Professional Advice 106

Difficult Scenarios 106

A Geekspeak Translation Guide 107

Homework 108

Funwork 108

Study Resources 108

Day 16: Essentials 220-701 Exam Review Day 111

The Cheat Sheet Study Technique 111

Homework 111

Funwork 112

Day 15: Essentials 220-701 Exam Day 113

The Perfect Score 113

Before the Exam 113

During the Exam 113

    RTDQ 113

The Most Important Test-Taking Tip 114

After the Exam 114

Day 14: Installing Storage Devices, Motherboards, and Power Supplies 115

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 115

Key Points 115

Storage Devices 115

    SATA Installation 115

    PATA Installation 116

    Floppy Drive Installation 116

Motherboards 116

    Legacy Expansion Slots 117

    Old-School D Plugs 117

    Flashing the BIOS: A Closer Look 118

Power Supplies 118

Controller Cards 119

    Installing a RAID Controller Card 119

    Installing an eSATA Controller Card 119

Homework 120

Funwork 120

Study Resources 121

Day 13: Installing Processors, Memory, Adapter Cards, and Cooling Systems 123

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 123

Key Points 123

Processors 123

Memory 124

Adapter Cards 124

Cooling Systems 125

Homework 125

Funwork 125

Study Resources 126

Day 12: Troubleshooting Storage Devices, Motherboards, and Power Supplies 127

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 127

Key Points 127

Maintenance Toolkit 127

Safety First 128

Cleaning Solutions 128

Troubleshooting Storage Issues 128

Troubleshooting Motherboards 129

Testing Power Supplies 129

Homework 130

Funwork 130

Study Resources 130

Day 11: Troubleshooting Processors 131

A+ 220-702 Objective 131

Key Points 131

CPU Architecture 131

32-Bit Processing Versus 64-Bit Processing 131

CPUs and Legos 132

    Sockets 132

    Cache 132

    RAM 132

    Multicore CPUs 132

    The Future of 64-Bit Processing 132

    Front-Side Bus 133

Homework 133

Funwork 133

Study Resources 133

Day 10: Troubleshooting Memory, Monitors, Audio, Keyboards, and Cooling Systems 135

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 135

Key Points 135

Troubleshooting Memory 135

Troubleshooting Monitors 135

Troubleshooting Audio 136

Troubleshooting Keyboards 137

Troubleshooting Cooling Systems 138

Homework 138

Funwork 138

Study Resources 139

Day 9: Scenario-Based Troubleshooting of Laptops, Printers, and Specialty Tools 141

A+ 220-702 Exam Objectives 141

Key Points 141

LCDs 141

Laptop Hard Drives 142

Networking for Laptops 143

Video RAM 143

Hot-Swappable Devices and Not-Swappable Devices 143

Measuring Memory and Speed: When Size Matters 144

Repairing and Replacing Components 145

Troubleshooting Printers 145

    Printer RAM and Firmware 146

    Paper Jams 146

    Blank Paper 146

    Error Codes 146

    Lines and Smearing 147

    Printing Garbage 147

    Ghosted Image 147

    Serious Solutions: Laser Printers 147

    Serious Solutions: Inkjet Printers 147

    Serious Solutions: Paper Problems 148

    Toner Cartridges 148

Cleaning Printers 149

    Cleaning Inkjet Printers 149

    Cleaning Laser Printers 149

    Cleaning Dot-Matrix Printers 149

Homework 150

Funwork 150

Study Resources 150

Day 8: Operating System Commands and Directory Structures 151

A+ 220-702 Objectives 151

Key Points 151

Command-Line Switches 151

    dir 151

    xcopy 152

    attrib 153

    format 153

    ipconfig 153

    ping 154

Registry 154

System Folders and Users 155

Shared Folders and Naming Conventions 156

Mapping a Network Drive 156

Accessibility Options 156

Homework 157

Funwork 157

Study Resources 157

Day 7: System Utilities 159

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 159

Key Points 159

Administrative Tools 159

Disk Management Tools 159

    Defrag 160

    NTBACKUP 160

    Check Disk 160

Permissions 160

Remote Desktop Connection and Remote Assistance 161

Language Packs and Regional Settings 161

Disk Management and Utilities 162

System Monitor 162

Task Manager 162

Device Manager 163

System Information 163

System Restore 163

Task Scheduler 163

Homework 164

Funwork 164

Study Resources 164

Day 6: Troubleshooting Common Operating System Issues 165

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 165

Key Points 165

Operational Problems 165

    Windows Printing Problems 165

    Auto-Restart Errors 166

    Bluescreen Errors 166

    System Lockups 166

    Device Driver Problems 167

    Last Known Good Configuration 167

    Application Issues 167

    Service Fails to Start 167

Error Messages and Conditions 167

Boot Errors 168

    No Operating System Found or Missing NTLDR 168

    Not Enough HDD Space 168

    Invalid Boot Disk 168

Startup Errors 169

    Service Failed to Start 169

    Program Not Found in the Registry 169

    Event Viewer 169

System Performance and Optimization 169

    Aero Settings 169

    Index Settings 170

    UAC 170

    Sidebar Settings 170

    Startup Maintenance 170

    Background Processes 171

Msconfig 171

Change File Extension Associations 171

File Attributes 171

Virtual Memory 172

Default Disabled Windows Administrator Account 172

ERD and ASR 172

Homework 173

Funwork 173

Study Resources 173

Day 5: Troubleshooting Networks 175

A+ 220-702 Objective 175

Key Points 175

Troubleshooting the Physical Layer 175

    Exploring ipconfig /all Outputs 175

    Troubleshooting TCP/IP 176

    Other Network Troubleshooting Techniques 176

Follow the Packet 177

Mail Protocol Settings 178

    SMTP 178

    IMAP 178

    POP3 179

FTP Settings 179

Homework 179

Funwork 179

Study Resources 180

Day 4: Install and Configure a SOHO Network 181

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 181

Key Points 181

Connection Types 181

The Basic SOHO 182

The Better SOHO 183

The Hardened SOHO 183

    Network Defense 183

    Host Defense 184

    User Education 184

Homework 185

Funwork 185

Study Resources 185

Day 3: Scenario-Based Security 187

A+ 220-702 Exam Objectives 187

Key Points 187

Antivirus Software 187

Malware Types 187

    Adware 188

    Trojan 188

    Virus 188

    Worms 188

Firewalls 189

SHA and MD5 189

Encryption 189

Authentication 190

BIOS 190

Virtual Private Networking 190

Homework 190

Funwork 191

Study Resources 192

Day 2: Practical Application 220-702 Exam Review Day 193

By Any Other Name 193

Brain Dumps 193

Write Your Own Practice Questions 194

Good Answers Versus Correct Answers 194

Homework 194

Funwork 194

Day 1: Practical Application 20-702 Exam Day 195

Before the Exam 195

During the Exam 195

After the Exam 195

9781587132605    TOC    8/31/2011


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