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Learn to troubleshoot and repair the leading operating systems on the market. Ex.___
More than a test prep - it's perfect as an out of the classroom hands-on tutorial. Ex.___
Master and pass the A+ Exam while picking up the knowledge needed to transcend the classroom. Ex.___
Written by the team who trained 1200 Compaq employees for the A+ exam!
Covers the new 2001 Core A+ and Windows modules!
A great A+ study guide and a great technician's reference in one book!
A+ Certification and PC Repair Guide, Second Edition is more than a great A+ exam preparation guide: it's an outstanding day-to-day reference for every PC technician and support professionalregardless of experience! Top A+ trainers Pete Moulton and The Moulton Company cover every objective required by the January 2001 update of both CompTIA's A+ exams and present more useful informationand more challenging sample questionsthan ever before!
A+ Certification and PC Repair Guide, Second Edition delivers practical, real-world coverage of every new A+ exam objectivewith more sample exam questions, more detailed answers, and complete "study break" reinforcement sections in every chapter. Use it to get certified fast... then, refer to it every day, for the accurate, concise solutions you need to succeed as a technical professional!
Personal Computer Components and Subsystems
1. PC Components and Subsystems.
Hardware Components. Main Chassis. Mouse. Keyboard. Video. Printers. Scanners. Video Camera. Microphone and Speakers. Software Components. DOS Components. Windows Components. Windows NT Features and Components. PC Boot Process. The role of CONFIG.SYS. The role of AUTOEXEC.BAT.
PC Component Replacement Summary. Removing and Adding FRUs. Removing the Chassis Cover. The Pin One Rule. Main Logic Board. Disk Drives. Power Supply. CPU Chip. Random Access Memory. Device Controllers and I/O Cards. Common PC Reassembly Mistakes. Hardware Configuration Parameters. Common I/O Port Addresses. Standard IRQ Settings. Upper Memory Used by PC Hardware. PC Direct Memory Access Channels. I/O Cabling and Connectors. Peripheral Port Connector Types and Cabling. Serial versus Parallel Cables. Selected Cable Pin Connections. Installing IDE/EIDE Fixed Disks and CD-ROMs. Master versus Slave Designation. IDE Devices Per Channel. Installing and Configuring SCSI Devices. Bus Termination Basics. SCSI Types. Device Addresses. Cabling. Typical Switches and Jumpers. Installing Common Peripheral Devices. Keyboards and Mice. Video Card and Monitor. Modems. Upgrading Your PC. RAM. Fixed Disk. Display. BIOS Upgrades. CPU. CPU Cache Memory. Troubleshooting and Problem Resolution. Determining the Source of Problems.
Power On Self-Test. Audio Beep Error Codes. Video Error Messages. IBM Numeric Error Codes. Diagnosing Error Symptoms and Problems by Subsystem. Power Supply. Main Logic Board. CPU. RAM—Random Access Memory. Video and Monitor. Keyboard and Mouse. Sound Cards. Communications. Slot Covers. Troubleshooting Tools. Troubleshooting Diskettes. Multimeter. Spare Parts or “Swap Until You Drop”. Troubleshooting Procedures and Practices. Problem Isolation and Determination Procedures. User Questions.
Preventive Maintenance Products and Procedures. Cleaning Compounds. The PC Cleaning Process. PC Power and Other PC Operating Environment Hazards. Power Problems and How to Spot Them. Surge Suppression. Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS). Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). Storing Electronic Components. Safety Procedures for High Voltage and Laser Equipment. Laser Safety. High Voltage Components and Safety Procedures. PC Power Supply Safety. Monitor Voltages and Safety. Hazardous Waste Disposal. Batteries. CRTs. Laser Toner Cartridges. Solvents. Other. Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Procedures. ESD Damage. Protecting from ESD. Common ESD Environments.
CPU Chips and Their Operating Characteristics. Intel CPU Chips. Other CPU Chips—AMD, Cyrix, Motorola, and Alpha. Random Access Memory. Types of RAM. RAM Operating Characteristics and Parameters. Main Logic Boards. Types of Main Logic Boards. MLB Components. PC Bus Architectures. ISA. EISA. VESA Local Bus or VL-Bus. Micro-Channel Architecture Bus. PCI. Small Form-Factor PCI. Hot-Pluggable PCI. Advanced Graphics Port Bus. PC Card or PC-MCIA Bus. Zoomed Video. USB. IEEE 1394 or FireWire. CMOS Setup. Basic Settings. Advanced Settings. Passwords and Security. Exit.
Printing Concepts, Components, and Operation. Laser Printers (Page Printers). Inkjet Printers. Dot Matrix Printers. Paper Feeders. Printer Connections and Configurations. Parallel Port. Serial Port. LAN. Infrared Link. Resolving Common Printer Problems. Paper Feed and Output. Paper Jams. Error Indications. Print Quality. Safety Considerations. Printer Servicing and Preventative Maintenance.
Laptop Configurations and Components. LCD—Liquid Crystal Display. Battery. AC Adapter. PC Card Bus—Type I, II, and III Cards. CD-ROM Drives. Docking Stations. Fixed Disk Drive. Networking Cards. RAM. Common Laptop Problems. Dropping the Computer. Temperature Extremes. Exposure to X-rays. Unexpected Configuration Problems. Windows Configuration Problems. Power Management Problems. Damage to Connectors. Display Problems. Clocking Problems.
LAN Concepts. Data Format Compatibility. Networking Compatibility. Types of Local Area Networks. Network Interface Cards. Network Protocols. Full versus Half Duplex. Network Cabling. Peer-to-Peer versus Client-Server Networks. Windows 3.11. Internet Access. Installing and Configuring Network Interface Cards. Jumpers. Software Setup. Board versus IP Address. Network Problem Manifestations. Reduced Capacity—Bandwidth Loss. Data Loss. Reduced Performance—Slow Networks.
DOS Functions. PC System Management. Disk Management. File Management. Managing Applications. DOS Components. Key System Files. IO.SYS. MSDOS.SYS. COMMAND.COM. CONFIG.SYS. AUTOEXEC.BAT. ANSI.SYS. HIMEM.SYS. EMM386.EXE.
Windows 3.x Functions. Managing Applications. Managing Disks and PC Components. Managing Files. Printing. Windows 3.x Components. Driver Programs. Dynamic Link Libraries. The Kernel. GDI.EXE and USER.EXE 527 Resource Heaps. Key Windows 3.x System Files. INI Files. WIN.INI. SYSTEM.INI. USER.EXE. GDI.EXE. WIN.COM. PROGMAN.EXE and PROGMAN.INI. KRNLxxx.EXE. PIF files.
Windows 3.x versus Windows 95/98. Windows 95/98 Functions. Managing Disks and Files. Managing PC Components. Managing Applications. Managing Printing. Networking. Administrative Functions. Windows 95/98 Components. Device Drivers. Virtual Machine Manager. Installable File System. Windows Core Operating System. Windows 95/98 32-Bit Shell. DLLs. EXEs. The Registry. Windows 95/98 Key System Files. SETUP.EXE. IO.SYS. MSDOS.SYS. COMMAND.COM and TOEXEC.BAT. REGEDIT.EXE. SYSTEM.DAT. USER.DAT. WIN.COM.
File System Basics. Binary versus Text Files. File Naming Conventions. File Attributes. DOS File Operations. Editing TXT and BAT Files. Launching Programs. Windows File Operations. Windows 3.x File Manager. Disk Management Procedures. Partitioning. Formatting. Repairing. Defragmenting. Disk Management Utilities. FDISK. FORMAT. SCANDISK. The FAT System and Directories. DEFRAG. SYS.
Types of Memory. Conventional. Extended Memory (XMS). High Memory (HIMEM). Upper Memory Blocks (UMBs). Expanded Memory (EMS). Shadow ROM. Virtual Memory. CONFIG.SYS Memory Control Statements 676 Memory Conflicts and Their Resolution. DOS versus Windows Memory Conflicts. General Protection Faults and Illegal Operation Errors. Resolving Windows Problems. System Monitor. System Resource Meter. MEMMAKER. HIMEM.SYS 689 SMARTDRV. EMM386.EXE and Upper Memory Blocks 693 PC DOS Memory Setup.
Operating System Installation Procedures. File Systems. Disk Preparation. DOS Installation. Windows 3.1x Installation. Windows 95/98 Installation. Software Upgrades. System Requirements. General Upgrade Procedure. DOS to Windows 95/98. Windows 3.1x to Windows 95/98. Booting Procedures. Booting DOS. The Windows 3.1x Boot Process. The Windows 95/98 Boot Process. Loading and Adding Device Drivers. Device Drivers and Windows 3.1x. Device Drivers and Windows 95/98. Windows Configuration. Changing Installed Options. Installing and Configuring Printers. Launching Windows Applications.
Common Software Error Messages. Safe Mode. Incorrect DOS Version. Missing Operating System. Error in CONFIG.SYS Line xx. Bad or Missing COMMAND.COM. Bad or Missing HIMEM.SYS. Missing HIMEM.SYS. Swap File Error Messages. Cannot Find a Device File Needed to Run Windows. Resolving Frequent Software Problems. Application Program Errors. System Freezing or Application Programs Hang. Low Resources. Missing Floppy or CD-ROM. Invalid Working Directory. Critical Hardware Errors or the “Option will not function” Message. Application Does Not Load or Start. Cannot Log onto Network. DOS and Windows Utilities. FDISK.EXE—Fixed Disk. SCANDISK—Scan Disk Files and Directories. DEFRAG.EXE—Fixed Disk Defragment. MEM.EXE—Memory Check Program. ATTRIB.EXE—Change Attributes. EXTRACT.EXE—Cabinet File Extraction Tool. EXPAND.EXE—File Expansion Tool. EDIT.COM—The Microsoft Text Editor Program. SYSEDIT.EXE—System Configuration Editor. MSD.EXE—Microsoft Diagnostics Program. The Control Panel—System—Device Manager. MSINFO32.EXE—MS System Information. ERU.EXE—Emergency Recovery Utility. Tweak User Interface—Tweak UI. MKCOMPAT.EXE—Make Compatible Utility. Viruses and Virus Protection. Viruses versus Trojan Horse/Worm programs. Sources of Viruses. Detecting Viruses. Virus Removal Procedure.
LAN Networking Functions. Disk Sharing. File Sharing. Print Sharing. LAN Types and Cards. Ethernet. Token Ring. ATM. ARCnet. Configuring for Internet Access. Dial-Up Configuration. TCP/IP. The World Wide Web (WWW). Universal Resource Locators (URLs). HyperText Markup Language (HTML). HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP). File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Domain Names (Web Site Designations). Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Email.
Communicating with the Customer. Face-to-Face. Telephone Communications. Understanding Customer Problem Descriptions. Verbal and Nonverbal Cues. Helping with Problem Identification. Communicating at the Appropriate Technical Level. Establishing Customer Rapport. Professional Conduct. Punctuality. Avoiding Conflicts. Responding to and Closing Service Calls. Handling Customer Complaints. Empathy for Customer Problems. Sense of Urgency. Flexibility.
PCs and Y2K. BIOS Compatibility. Operating System Compatibility. Applications Compatibility. General Y2K Protection. Other PC Tales. Tools in a Pinch. What Happens When?
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+ Certification is an entry-level certification for supporting and operating Personal Computers. A+ certification is accomplished by successfully passing an A+ Core Hardware Exam and an A+ Operating System Technologies Exam.
The worldwide networks of Prometric (Thomson Learning) and Virtual University Enterprises (VUE) administer the tests. Registering for the tests can be accomplished online or by calling Prometric or VUE.
Prometric can be contacted by calling:
The web sites for Prometric are:
http://www.prometric.comThe main Prometric web site.
http://www.2test.comThe online registration site for Prometric administered exams.
VUE can be contacted by calling:
The web sites for VUE are:
http://www.vue.comThe main VUE web site.
http://www.vue.com/comptia/comptiaexam.htmlThe online registration site for VUE administered exams.
Anyone can become A+ certified. The A+ exams are targeted for entry-level computer support personnel with 6 months' experience working with PCs. There are no restrictions to taking the A+ certification exams. The only requirement is that the A+ candidates pay the examination fee.
A+ exams are available worldwide in Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. CompTIA Certification Customer Service answers questions at (630) 268-1818.
Both A+ exams test your knowledge of PC hardware and software. The A+ exams contain situation handling (about 25 percent), factual (about 50 percent), and component identification questions (about 25 percent). Situation handling questions ask things like, "If these were the sample directions, then you would do what?" Factual questions test on the facts, like identification of COM port IRQs, for example. Component identification questions ask the test-taker to identify what kind of a connection a 9-pin D-shaped male connector is, for example. All questions are multiple-choice with one correct answer. The test is not linked to any vendor-specific products but rather broadly covers PC hardware and software knowledge.
The exams provide four or more responses that best complete a statement or answer a specific question. The wrong answers are responses that someone with little knowledge or skill is likely to choose. The wrong answers are generally plausible responses to the questions.
Kinds of test questions used include:
The A+ exams have been periodically revised and have recently been changed to an adaptive test format. They have also been updated to reflect new PC hardware and software.
In July 2000 the A+ certification exam was changed to an adaptive test format. The adaptive format was first available worldwide in English. An adaptive format exam tailors itself to the test taker's ability. The testing results are as reliable and valid as a conventional exam. Adaptive tests have the advantage of testing knowledge by using fewer questions. With the Adaptive A+ exams, questions cannot be reviewed once you have completed answering them. There is no going back to review and/or change answers on previously answered questions.
Candidates who did not complete both portions of the A+ exam prior to the switch to the adaptive test could still become A+ certified by taking one conventional format exam and a second adaptive format exam.
The adaptive format exam highlights include the following:
CompTIA has revised the A+ exam objectives and content. The revised content exam was launched January 2001. This exam and A+ certification remains the same until the objectives and content are again revised. Since this is the first major content revision since 1998, it is likely that this exam and content will be used for the next few years. The code for the A+ Core Hardware exam is 220-201; the code for the A+ OS Technologies exam's code is 220-202.
The A+ Core Hardware exam measures basic Personal Computer (PC) or microcomputer systems knowledge and competencies, including:
|Installation, Configuration and Upgrading||- 30%|
|Diagnosing, Troubleshooting, and Repairing||- 30%|
|Preventative Maintenance||- 5%|
|Basic Networking||- 10%|
The A+ Operating System Technologies exam focuses on Windows 9x, Windows ME and Windows 2000 Professional Edition and covers:
|Operating System (OS) Fundamentals||- 30%|
|Installation, Configuring and Upgrading||- 10%|
|Diagnosing and Troubleshooting||- 30%|
The original revision of this A+ book was developed around the 1998 A+ certification exams. Generally, the basic core hardware exam information for the January 2001 adaptive test was covered by the original version of this A+ certification book. Updates are needed to reflect the most current hardware components. This newly revised book updates the original A+ certification book version by including new information covered on the January 2001 revised A+ certification exams. This introduction highlights those changes and how they match up to the latest A+ certification exam.
This book is not like other A+ books that emphasize A+ exam questions and answers. There are more A+ sample questions and answers for each chapter, and explanations for some answers are provided to enhance reader comprehension. The original sample questions have been improved upon by adding questions that are derived from questions appearing in the new A+ exam. Consequently, the book may be used to study for the new A+ exams. However, the book goes beyond simple A+ test preparation. It is meant to be a general PC survival, operating, troubleshooting, repair, and maintenance reference book.
Some changes in PC and microcomputer systems are relentless. For example, CPU chips capabilities increase about every 4 months while their prices continue to decline. In the original version of this A+ certification book, copper technologies were just over the horizon. Today they are in full production with the new Intel Pentium 4 CPU chips. New technologies have greatly increased disk drive storage capacity while reducing disk drive prices.
In other cases changes are more measured. The Windows user interface has evolved significantly from Windows 95 into Windows ME with the most notable change made as Windows 98 SE (Second Edition) moved to Windows ME (Millennium Edition). However, the Windows ME user interface is very similar to the Windows 2000 Professional Edition interface. This interface and the movement to Windows 2000 and on to Windows XP are likely to remain stable for the next several years. The new exams no longer test on DOS and earlier operating system versions, but rather test on Windows 9x (this would include Windows ME), Windows 2000, and Windows XP.
This A+ certification book is structured like the A+ exams. Table A details the book and describes what areas it covers in preparation for the A+ Core Hardware Exam.
|Chapter||Chapter Title||Exam Areas Covered|
|1||PC Components and Subsystems||Configuration as part of Installation, Configuration, and Upgrading|
|2||PC Installation and Upgrade||Installation and Upgrading as part of Installation, Configuration, and Upgrading|
|3||Troubleshooting and Problem Resolution||Diagnosing and Troubleshooting|
|4||Maintenance and Safety Practices||Preventative Maintenance|
|5||CPUs, RAM and Main Logic Boards||Motherboard/Processors/Memory|
|7||Laptop PCs||Configuration and Upgrading as part of Installation, Configuration, and Upgrading|
|8||LANs and Communications||Basic Networking|
Similarly Table B identifies how the book covers the A+ Operating System Technologies Exam.
|Chapter||Chapter Title||Exam Areas Covered|
|9||DOS Architecture||AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS, and Command Prompt Procedures as part of Operating System Fundamentals|
|10||Windows 3.x Architecture||WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI Reference parts of Operating System Fundamentals|
|11||Windows 9x/ME/2000 Architectures||Operating System Fundamentals|
|12||Disk Navigation and Management||Partitioning/Formatting/File System parts of Operating System Fundamentals|
|13||DOS and Memory Management||Memory Management parts of Operating System Fundamentals|
|14||Software Installation, Configuration||Installation, Configuration and|
|15||DOS and Windows Software Problem||Diagnosing and Troubleshooting|
|Diagnosis and Resolution|
Although knowledge of DOS and Windows 3.x are no longer part of the A+ exam objectives, the commands, disk preparation, and Windows program support structures (WIN.INI and SYSTEM.INI) are still used by Operating System software today. Some commands and functions have changed in minor ways, but basic functionality has largely remained the same.
Chapter 17, on Customer Satisfaction, is not tested as part of the newer A+ exams. They focus more on technical competence rather than people skills. We have retained Chapter 17 because we feel that handling the customer is part of every PC support person's job.
Chapter 18 has been modified to remove the Y2K materials that, as we thought, were largely over-hyped by the media. The other tales remain.
This book should provide a good foundation for any basic PC and A+ certification course. When combined with the study break exercises, it should provide sufficient knowledge and experience for anyone to pass the A+ exam. Included in this version is over two years of experience answering PC user questions from our radio and TV shows. This makes the revised book useful as a general PC hardware and software configuration, installation, troubleshooting, upgrading, and maintenance reference guide.
Since we last worked on this A+ certification book many PC developments have reached the market. These developments are reaching the market at an increasingly rapid pace, transforming PCs again into general information, entertainment and control appliances for the home. These new developments are very exciting. The trend with all PC development is to make newer PCs easier to operate, maintain and configure. The newer Windows 2000 operating system is the easiest to operate and most reliable Windows operating system to date. The Windows XP operating system will reach the market by the time this book does, and is based upon Windows NT technology (just as is Windows 2000). It is targeted at more home entertainment multimedia and other home control functions than previous versions of the Windows operating system. Microsoft and the technical press tout Windows XP as a new and more fun operating system than previous Windows versions. It is difficult at this point to say whether this is true, or if it is merely an improved Windows 2000 operating system, like Windows ME was largely a few cosmetic and functional changes to Windows 98. Regardless, the configuration and troubleshooting Windows menus and Wizards outlined here for Windows 2000 are likely to be very similar to those used in Windows XP.
The new PC developments covered in this revision are:
These developments are making it more exciting to be working with and writing about the PCs that serve us.