Drivers, Applications and Printers

Windows 9x and 2000 are Plug and Play compliant which means that most device drivers are installed automatically. If a device is not detected, use the "Add New Hardware" control panel. This will launch a wizard that will build a database of drivers to choose from. If your device is not on the list, you can choose the "Have Disk" option and install a driver provided by the manufacturer. The image below shows this window from a Windows 98 system.


Windows NT is not PnP compatible, which means that drivers have to be installed using an installation CD from the manufacturer or using the specific control panel for the type of device.

Often, device manufacturers release updated drivers to correct bugs and provide added functionality. In Windows 9x/2000 drivers can be updated from the Device Manager by selecting the device, clicking the properties button, clicking the driver tab and then the update driver button. This will launch the "Update Device Driver Wizard".


In Windows, applications can either be installed by using running an installation program provided with the software(usually SETUP.EXE or INSTALL.EXE) or they can be installed using the "Add/Remove Programs" control panel. Utilities that are bundled with Windows can be installed and removed using the "Windows Setup" tab in the "Add/Remove Programs" control panel. Non-Windows application can usually be installed by copying the file(s) to the hard drive.

There are many ways to launch applications as follows:
Click Start > Programs and select the application
Click Start > Run and enter the path to the executable file
From Windows Explorer, browse to the location of the executable file and double-click it
From My Computer, browse to the location of the executable file and double-click it
If a shortcut exists on the desktop or elsewhere in the file system, it can be double-clicked
Printers are installed using the "Add Printer Wizard" which can be launched by clicking on the "Add Printer" icon in the Printers control panel. An option will be presented to install the printer as a local or network printer. If the printer is attached directly to the computer or it is a Windows NT/2000 computer acting as a print server, the choice will be local. If there is a print server already configured for the printer, then the network option will be selected and the shared printer will need to be located. Another way to install network printers is to locate them in the network neighborhood, right click on the printer and select install. If the printer is to be shared, File and Print Sharing must be enabled and the printer must be shared.

Printer properties can be accessed by going to the Printer control panel, right clicking on the printer and selecting properties.
The Basics
An operating system is a program that is loaded into the computer on boot up that is responsible for running other applications and provides an interface with which to interact with other programs. This interface can be command line based like DOS or Unix or can include a Graphical User Interface(GUI) such as Windows operating systems.

Operating Systems can be divided into 2 groups: Single-process and multiprocess. Single process operating systems are capable of working on 1 task at a time while a multiprocess OS can work on several processes at once by breaking tasks into threads. There are several terms related to multiprocessing systems that you will need to know as follows:
Multitasking - This is the ability to work on several different tasks at a time. This is accomplished by switching back and forth between the tasks. There are a few different types of multitasking:
Task Switching - Allows for multiple applications to be run at the same time. The window that is in the foreground is the active window while the other applications run in the background. Used in Windows 3.0.
Cooperative Multitasking - Applications can control the system resource until they are finished. When the hourglass is displayed on the screen, you would be unable to perform any tasks until the system had finished the task that it was working on. If a task caused faults or other problems, it would cause the system to become unstable and force a reboot. Used in Windows 3.x.
Preemptive Multitasking - Applications are allowed to run for a specified period of time depending on how important the application is to the operation of the system(priority basis). This means that even though you may see an hourglass on the screen, you can still launch or use other application at the same time. If a particular task is causing problems or faults, that application can be stopped without the system becoming unstable. Used in Windows 9.x.
Multiuser - This is similar to multitasking and is the ability for multiple users to access resources at the same time. The OS switches back and forth between users.
Multiprocessor - Having multiple processors installed in a system such that tasks are divided between them.
Major Windows Components
There are several major components that are essentially the same in most versions of Windows(9x/NT/2000) that you should know how to get to and use.

Windows Explorer is the utility used for file management functions in Windows operating systems. It can be used to move, copy, rename, delete files and browse through the directory. Explorer displays the file structure in a hierarchical tree. The figure below shows the explorer interface.

There are several ways in which explorer can be launched including right clicking "My Computer" and selecting explore or clicking the "Start" button and selecting run and type in "explorer". For the exam, you will need to know how to navigate and use Windows Explorer.

The "My Computer" icon is located on the desktop and allows you to browse through the file structure and set many of the file and folder properties. When My Computer is opened, you will see a window similar to the one shown below.

One of the most important parts of My Computer is the folder options that can be accessed from the view menu. Folder options has 3 tabs where various setting can be configured as follows.

The general tab allows you to configure how folders and files appear. These include web style, classic style and customized settings. The web style causes Windows to behave like a web page using single clicks to open items instead of double-clicks.

The View tab allows you to set a variety of file and folder options. One of the most common of these is to check the "Show All Files" radio button in order to allow hidden files to be shown. You should be familiar with these settings for the exam.

The File Types tab allows you to control which applications open specific file types. This is otherwise known as associations which can also be controlled by using the WINFILE.EXE program.

Shortcuts can be created when browsing the file system from the file menu and selecting "new" then "shortcut". They can also be created in Windows Explorer or by right clicking a file and selecting "Create Shortcut" from the drop down menu. New folders can be created in the same manners.

The Windows Control Panel is where most hardware, software and networking settings are configured. The control panel is shown below. You will need to be familiar with using the control panel for the exam and know the various ways to access them. For example, the Network control panel can also be accessed by clicking on the Network Neighborhood and selecting "Properties" and the Display control panel can also be access by clicking on the Desktop and selecting "Properties".

The System Properties control panel is one of the key control panels that is used to configure the systems hardware settings. Windows 95/98/2000 System Properties contain a portion called "Device Manager" that can be used to update device drivers, modify IRQ and I/O settings and troubleshoot hardware conflicts. A red "X" next to a device denotes that the device is either disabled or is experiencing a conflict. Windows NT did not include a Device Manager which is shown below. Windows NT/2000 system properties are where user and hardware profiles are configured.

Note that you can also get to the System Properties by right clicking on the "My Computer" icon and selecting properties. In Windows 2000, the Device Manager looks slightly different and can be accessed via the Computer Management Console. Device Manager can be navigated using the arrow keys if the mouse is not working. In the image above, you will also see the Performance tab. This is where file system, virtual memory and graphics settings can be configured.

The desktop is the first "screen" that you see after Windows loads. All of the icons on the desktop are shortcuts to other files and applications. You should be familiar with the Desktop and know that it is actually located in C:\Windows\Desktop. Below the desktop is the taskbar that contains toolbars, the start menu and displays active windows.

The start menu is the starting point for most tasks that are performed on a Windows computer and is pictured below.

You will need to know how to navigate the start menu and which items can be accessed from here. Also make sure that you know how to use the "Run" feature in the start menu and how to bring up a command or DOS prompt from here. In Windows 9x, you would type COMMAND and enter. For Windows NT/2000 the command would be CMD.

There are a number of keyboard shortcuts to know:
CTRL + ESC - Brings up the startmenu which can then be navigated with the arrow keys. Many keyboards have a Windows key that performs the same function.
ALT + ESC - Cycles through currently open windows.
ALT + TAB - Displays a menu of open applications that can be cycled through by continuing to hit the tab key.
SHIFT - Will bypass the autorun feature on a CD.

Windows Issues

This section will discuss some of the more common Windows errors and how to resolve them:
Windows Protection Errors - This typically is caused by the type or speed of the RAM installed in the system.
Bad or Missing COMMAND.COM - This means that the OS is unable to locate the file COMMAND.COM. To fix this problem use the make sure that the necessary boot files are located on the hard drive. If not, boot with the startup disk and enter the command SYS C:\ which will copy the system files to the hard drive(Windows 9x only).
HIMEM.SYS not loaded - Check the CONFIG.SYS file and make sure that the line Device=C:\HIMEM.SYS exists and that the path specified to the file is where the file actually is.
Error in CONFIG.SYS line XX - This error is usually caused by a syntax error in the CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT file where XX will be the line number that the error occurred.
Operating system not found - A common cause of this error is booting a system with a non-bootable floppy in the floppy drive. It can also be caused by missing boot files. To correct this, boot with the startup disk and enter the command SYS C:\ which will copy the system files to the hard drive(Windows 9x only).
General Protection Faults(GPF) - Can be caused by software or hardware. GPFs can be caused by damaged core files which may need to be replaced or by a corrupt registry which can be restored from backup. They can be caused by running an application that is not designed for the operating system you are using. The Dr Watson utility will write information about these errors to DRWATSON.LOG which can be viewed for more information.
Illegal Operation - Usually caused when 2 or more application attempt to use the same memory space. Incorrectly installed applications and software bugs. Try reinstalling the application and if the errors persist, check with the software vendor for patches/updates to the software.
System locks up - Typically, this is caused by an application that is hung and can be corrected by ending the task. To end a task press CTRL + ALT + DEL and find the application that is not responding. ALT + F4 can also be used to close active windows. In Windows NT/2000 the CTRL + ALT + DEL or CTRL + SHIFT + ESC keys can be used to access Task Manager.
Application will not start - Make sure that the file that is executed has a .EXE, .BAT or .COM extension. If attempting to run the application from a shortcut, make sure in the shortcut properties that the path to the application is correct.
Printing Issues

Print Spooler is stalled - Go to the spool folder which is located in C:\Path to system files\spool\printers directory and delete all files in this location and resend any incompleted print jobs.
Incorrect print drivers - Having an incorrect driver can cause any number of problems from pages coming out as garbled ASCII text to not having access to the full range of features available for that printer. Drivers can be updated by going to the Printers control panel, right clicking on the printer and select properties.
Out of memory - Print jobs have to be spooled to hard disk space. If there is not enough hard disk space available this error will occur. Try freeing up hard drive space or move the spool folder to a drive with more free space.
Other Troubleshooting Tools
Throughout this guide we have discussed many of the Windows troubleshooting tools. Below is a list of the ones that haven't been covered yet.
MSINFO - Used to view installed devices and drivers. - Windows 9x
HWINFO - The Hardware Diagnostic Utility is located in C:\Windows\HwInfo.exe and there aren't any shortcuts to it by default. In order to run this utility you need to append a /UI switch. This "tool" was run during your initial install of Win98 and created a record of various hardware settings, drivers, file sizes & dates, memory ranges, resource allocation, etc. - Windows 98 only
Dr Watson - Will generate an error log when certain types of errors occur. This information can be accessed by typing drwatson in the run dialog box. - Windows 3.x/9x/NT/2000
ASD.EXE - Automatic Skip Driver Agent identifies devices that can cause Windows 98 or Windows Me to stop responding (hang) when you start your computer, and then disables them so that they are bypassed when you next restart your computer.
Maintenance Wizard(TUNEUP.EXE) - Allows you to schedule maintenance utilities such as defrag and scandisk. - Windows 98
Signature Verification Tool - Microsoft "Signs" drivers which means that they are approved to work on a particular operating system. This tool checks files and informs you whether or not they have been signed by Microsoft. - Windows 98
Event Viewer - This tool is a log of system, application and security events(successes and failures). Can be used to obtain more information about system and application errors. - NT/2000
SCANDISK - The ScanDisk utility inspects the hard drive for errors and corrects them. The standard test will inspect files and folders while the advanced test will also checks the disks physical surface. ScanDisk is run automatically on startup when the system detects that the system was not shut down properly. Scandisk is available in DOS 6.x and Windows 9x.
There are several different categories of viruses as follows:
File infector viruses - File infector viruses infect executable program files such as .com and .exe files. The can infect other files when an infected program is run from floppy, hard drive, or from the network.
Boot sector viruses - Boot sector viruses infect the system area of a disk known as the boot record.
Master boot record viruses - Master boot record viruses are memory resident viruses that infect disks in the same manner as boot sector viruses. The difference between these two virus types is where the viral code is located. These can often be fixed by using FDISK /MBR.
Multi-partite viruses - Infect both boot records and program files.
Macro viruses: These types of viruses infect data files and are the most common. With the advent of Visual Basic in Microsoft's Office 97, a macro virus can be written that not only infects data files, but also can infect other files as well.
There are 2 other types of attacks that are common via the use of Trojans and Worms as described below:
Trojan Horse - These are files that claim to be something desirable but are destructive and cause loss or theft of data. Trojans are different from viruses as they do not replicate themselves like viruses do.
Worms - These are programs that replicate themselves from system to system without the use of a host file.
Most viruses are spread via email and the internet, but can also be spread via removable media(i.e. floppies) or across a network. Anti-virus software should be used to protect against virus threats and "clean" files when a computer does become infected.


MS-DOS Structure
Disk Operating System(DOS) is a single user single-process operating system that uses a command line interface known as a DOS prompt. Files with .COM, .BAT and .EXE can be executed from the prompt. The following is a list of DOS system files in the order that they are called during the boostrap process:

IO.SYS - Located in the Root and defines basic Input/Output routines for the processor. Is Hidden and Read Only. This IS required for OS start-up. IO.SYS runs MSDOS.SYS, CONFIG.SYS and then COMMAND.COM.
MSDOS.SYS - Located in the Root and defines system file locations. Is Hidden and Read Only. This IS required for OS start-up.
CONFIG.SYS - Located in the Root and automatically loaded by MSDOS.SYS. This loads low level device drivers for hardware and memory drivers such as HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE. Other drivers include ANSI.SYS, DISPLAY.SYS, KEYBOARD.SYS, PRINTER.SYS and DRIVER.SYS which assigns drive letters to floppy drives. CONFIG.SYS is not required for OS Start-up.
HIMEM.SYS - Controls Extended Memory management in the extended memory area. Located in C:\DOS and is not required for OS start-up.
EMM386.EXE - Controls Expanded memory in the upper memory area. Located in C:\DOS and is not required for OS start-up.
COMMAND.COM - This is the command specifier. It is responsible for the command prompt and contains all the internal commands such as DIR, COPY, and CLS. Located normally in the Root directory but can be located elsewhere and specified in the Autoexec.bat with a "SET COMSPEC=". This carries no attributes and is required for OS start-up.
AUTOEXEC.BAT - Located in the Root and automatically executed at start-up. Runs Programs (Prompt, WIN, CLS etc) and set commands (Path, Comspec etc..). Also calls other batch files. This is not required for OS Start-up.
The DOS interface is a command line prompt at which commands are entered and can utilize wildcards such as the asterisk(*). Many of the DOS commands are internal which means that they are stored in COMMAND.COM. The external commands are supplemental utilities. The following list explains the most common commands and utilities.
MEM - Shows the amount of memory in the system, how much is being used, how much is free and other useful memory information.
DIR - Shows the contents of the current directory.
CD - Change directories. For example, "cd \windows\system32".
COPY - Copies a file from one location to another. Example: COPY C:\windows\desktop\file.txt A:\. This would copy file.txt from the desktop to the floppy drive.
XCOPY - This command is used like the COPY command, however, it copies all files and subdirectories to the new location.
ATTRIB - Used to display and change file and folder attributes. Example: ATTRIB +H file.txt. This would change file.txt to be a hidden file. The various attribute options are hidden, read only, system and archive. You would set a file to hidden either for security reasons or to prevent users from deleting it. Read only is used when you wish to prevent users from modifying the file. System is reserved for system files.
VER - Displays the version of the operating system being run.
SETVER - If the SETVER command is loaded in CONFIG.SYS, the SETVER command displays the version table and reports a DOS version number to programs or device drivers for backward compatibility.
VER - Will display the version of the operating system that is running.
FORMAT - Used to mark tracks and sectors on a hard drive and create a file system. When using the format command, everything on the drive is erased. Can also be used with floppies. If used with the /s switch the boot files will be copied to the disk.
FDISK - A utility used to partition hard drives and repair the MBR.
MKDIR - Make Directory. Used to create a new directory as in the following example: MKDIR files. This would create a new directory called files.
SYS - Transfers system files to another disk.
MSCDEX - Provides access to the CDROM. Typically, this is loaded by the AUTOEXEC.BAT.
EDIT - Runs the MS-DOS Editor which is an ASCII text editor that can be used to edit CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files.
DEL(ERASE) - Deletes specified files from the hard drive.
SCANREG - Runs the Windows Registry Checker which checks the registry for errors and allows you to backup and restore the registry.
DOS file names must be unique in the directory that they are located, can be 8 characters or less and contain a 3 character extension. DOS names cannot contain punctuation marks. The asterisk(*) and question mark(?) can be used as wildcards in DOS. DOS includes a couple of keyboard shortcuts that can be used. F1 will type in the previous command entered 1 character at a time. F3 will enter the previous command with one keystroke.

Memory Management

First 640k is Conventional Memory
640k to 1024k is Upper Memory
Above 1024k is Extended Memory
HIMEM.SYS is loaded in CONFIG.SYS as the first driver to manage the Extended Memory are and to convert this to XMS (Extended Memory Specification). The first 64k of extended memory has been labelled High Memory (HMA). DOS can be put here by putting DOS=HIGH in CONFIG.SYS.
EMM386.EXE is loaded in CONFIG.SYS after HIMEM.SYS has been successfully loaded. This is used in the hardware reserved 384k of space in upper memory (640k-1024k) and creates EMS(Extended Memory Specification).
Virtual Memory relies upon EMS (therefore EMM386.EXE) and uses hard disk space as memory.
SMARTDRV.SYS is a disk caching program for DOS and Windows 3.x systems. The smartdrive program keeps a copy of recently accessed hard disk data in memory. When a program or MSDOS reads data, smartdrive first checks to see if it already has a copy and if so supplies it instead of reading from the hard disk.
File Systems
The following are common hard disk configurations.
Partition - A partition is a portion of a physical hard disk. A partition can be primary or extended
Primary Partition - This is a bootable partition. One primary partition can be made active.
Extended Partition - An extended partition is made from the free space on a hard disk and can be broken down into smaller logical drives. There can only be one of these per hard disk.
Logical Drive - These are a primary partition or portions of an extended partition that are assigned a drive letter.
Volume - This is a disk or part of a disk that is combined with space from the same or another disk to create one larger volume. This volume can be formatted and assigned a drive letter like a logical drive, but can span more than one hard disk. A volume set can be extended without starting over, however to make it smaller, the set must be deleted and re-created.
There are various management tools that can be used to configure drives. The Disk Management MMC is a snap-in for the Computer Management Console in Windows 2000. You can create partitions, volume sets, logical drives, format disks, etc. NT 4.0 had a similar tool called the "Disk Administrator". DOS and Windows 9x utilize the FDISK utility.

When discussing Windows file systems you need to understand what File Allocation Tables(FAT) are. FAT is a table that an operating system maintains in order to map the clusters(the smallest unit of storage) that a file has been stored in. When files are written to a hard disk, the files are stored in one or more clusters that may be spread out all over the hard disk. The table allows Windows to find the "pieces" of your file and reassemble them when you wish to open it.

There are several different types of file systems that are explained below:
FAT16 - FAT16 table entries are 16 bits in length limiting hard disk sizes to 2GB. Note that even if the OS supports larger partition sizes, the BIOS must also support logical block addressing(LBA) or the maximum partition that you will be able to create will be either 504 or 528 MB.
FAT32 - Created to allow more efficient use of hard drive space and allowed for partitions up to 8GB using 4KB cluster sizes. In order to format a drive as FAT32, the "Large disk Support" must be enabled when starting FDISK. FAT32 is not compatible with older versions of Windows including Windows 95A and NT. In Windows 9.x, the CVT1.EXE can be used to convert FAT16 partitions to FAT32.
NTFS4 - NTFS4 is the file system used by Windows NT that provides increased security and reliability over other file systems. On an NTFS partition, you can't boot from a DOS boot disk - this is one of the security features of NTFS. Additionally, a floppy disk cannot be formatted as NTFS. For this reason it might not be a bad idea to have a small partition formatted FAT so that you can boot into DOS for recovery purposes. In order to convert a FAT partition to NTFS, NT includes a utility called convert.exe.
NTFS5 - This is the native file system for Windows 2000. NTFS5 has many new features as follows:
Encrypted File System(EFS) - Windows 2000 NTFS volumes have the ability to encrypt data on the disk itself. Cipher.exe is a command line utility that allows for bulk or scripted file encryption.
Disk Quotas - Provides the ability to set space limitations on users on a per volume basis.
Defragmentation - Windows 2000 now includes a disk defragmenter that can be used on NTFS partitions.
Volume Mount Points - Provides the ability to add new volumes to the file system without having to assign a drive letter to them. This feature is only available on an NTFS partition using dynamic volumes.
Compression - In Windows 2000 files, folders and entire drives can be compressed by right clicking on the item to be compressed and selecting "properties" and then "advanced".
The convert.exe utility can be used to convert a FAT or FAT32 partition to NTFS.
HPFS - Stands for High Performance File System and is used with OS/2 operating systems. This file system can only be accessed by Windows NT 3.51 and OS/2.
Windows 9x operating systems also employ VFAT which is a protected-mode FAT file system that prevents DOS and the BIOS from accessing resources. VFAT is the replacement for SMARTDRV.SYS and uses a driver called VCACHE.

Operating System Supported File Systems
Windows 3.x FAT16
Windows 95A FAT16
Windows 95 OSR2 FAT16, FAT32
Windows 98 FAT16, FAT32
Windows 98SE FAT16, FAT32
Windows NT 4 FAT16, NTFS
Windows 2000 FAT16, FAT32, NTFS

In addition to the disk administration utilities previously mentioned, information about a drive can be displayed by right clicking the drive in My Computer or Windows Explorer and selecting "Properties". In a Windows 9x system, a window like the one below will appear.

Here you can view the amount of used and freespace on the drive, the capacity and the file system. The tools tab provides access to defragmentation, scandisk and backup utilities in Windows 98. Windows NT/2000 contain these items as well as a few additional. The 3rd tab is for sharing the drive and setting permissions on it so that it can be accessed across the network.

Backing up drives allows you to recover your data or even the entire system if a catastrophe occurs. There are several different types of backup:
Full - copies all files and marks them as being backed up.
Incremental - copies only files created/changed since last full backup and marks them as being backed up.
Differential - copies only files created/changed since last full backup and doesn’t mark them as being backed up.
Daily - copies only files created/changed today and doesn’t mark them as being backed up.
In DOS backups can be run with the BACKUP command. There are several switches that can be added to the command.
/S - Forces all files and subdirectories to be backed up.
/M - Only modified files are backed up.
/D - Backs up files modified after a specific date.
/T - Backs up files modified after a specific time.
The Windows 98 backup utility can be accessed via Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Backup and also via right clicking on a drive in My Computer and selecting the tools tab as previously mentioned.

There are several different hard drive utilities that can be found in the various versions of Windows that are listed below:
CHKDSK - This utility is run from a DOS prompt and recovers lost allocation units on a drive that can occur when an application or the system are ended unexpectedly. The /F switch converts the lost units into a format such that the units can be viewed and deleted. Can be found in all versions of windows.
SCANDISK - The ScanDisk utility inspects the hard drive for errors and corrects them. Scandisk is available in DOS 6.x and Windows 9x.
DEFRAG - Reorganizes data on the disk for optimal disk performance. In DOS this utility was run from a DOS prompt. In Windows 9x and 2000 this utility can still be run from a prompt or can be accessed at Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Defragementer. Windows NT did not come with a defragmentation utility.
DRIVESPACE - This utility for windows 9x offers many of the same features as NT's disk administrator including compression, formatting and drive information.
Installations and Upgrades
All new Windows installations start with using FDISK(or 3rd party utility) to partition the drive followed by a reboot and then the formatting of the drive.

Windows 98 New Installation
In order to install Windows 9x the following minimum hardware requirements must be met. The system must be at lease a 486DX, 66MHz processor or higher, 16 MB RAM, VGA Video adapter and display, 225 MB free FAT16 hard disk space or 175 MB free FAT32 hard disk space.

Unlike Windows 95, Windows 98 does not have to be installed over another operating system such as DOS and does not require access to a FAT16 partition.

The typical method for installing Windows 98 is to boot the computer from the installation CDROM. This requires that the system's CDROM drive is bootable and that the BIOS is configured for this. First Scandisk will be run and if no errors are found, the GUI portion of the setup process will begin which includes the following stages:

Preparing to Run Windows 98 Setup
Collecting Information About Your Computer
Copying Windows 98 Files to Your Computer
Restarting Your Computer
Setting Up Hardware and finalizing Settings
Upgrade from Windows 3.x to Windows 95
This upgrade is performed by running Setup.exe located on the installation CDROM. When you upgrade from Windows 3.x to Windows 95, you'll find that settings in protocol.ini, system.ini, and win.ini are used to create the Windows 95 Registry. These files and any files with the .GRP extension are saved for backward compatibility.

Upgrade from Windows 95 to Windows 98
This is typically the easiest upgrade and involves loading the Windows 98 CDROM and executing setup.exe. This will lauch the setup program that will go through the same stages as for a clean install, however, any usable information that is available from Windows 95 will be used during the upgrade. Note that CMOS antivirus software can cause an upgrade to fail during the 1st stage of the installation process. Information about failures can be found in the SETUPLOG.TXT file. If Windows 98 is installed to a directory other than the Windows directory, all previously installed applications will have to be reinstalled.

For more in depth resources for Windows 9x installations, click here

Windows 2000 New Installation
For Windows 2000 Professional, the hardware requirements are:
133 MHz or higher Pentium-compatible processor
32MB of RAM minimum(64MB recommended; 4GB maximum)
2GB hard drive with a minimum of 650 MB of free space(Additional free hard disk space is required if you are installing over a network).
Windows 2000 Professional supports up to 2 processors.
For Windows 2000 Server the hardware requirements are:
133 MHz+ Pentium-compatible CPU.
128 MB of RAM minimum (256 MB recommended; 4 GB maximum).
2 GB hard disk with a minimum of 1.0 GB free space. (Additional free hard disk space is required if you are installing over a network.)
Windows 2000 Server supports up to four CPUs.
Before beginning any installation, you should check the Hardware Compatibility List(HCL) at Microsoft's website to make sure that your components are supported. If you have items that do not appear on the list, you should contact the manufacturer to see if they have updated drivers.

If you have a computer that will boot from the CD, then this is probably the way to go, otherwise you will be creating 4 setup disks using the makeboot.exe utility on the installation CDROM. Just like the NT 4.0 installation, we will start with the text based portion of the setup. You will be presented with an option to press enter to install Windows 2000. After you press enter you will read the license agreement and press F8 to accept. You will now be presented with a list of all of the disks and partitions that are on the system. Like NT 4 installation, you will have the option to create a new partition or select an existing one to install onto. Press C and you will arrive at the option to select NTFS, FAT or leave it the way it is. Files will be copied to your disk. After a reboot, the GUI based portion of setup will begin.

Windows 2000 is Plug and Play. The first portion of the GUI setup will detect your hardware and install drivers for it. Next you will have the option to select the locale for the computer. Then you will enter your name and orginization followed by the license key. After you click next you will be prompted for the licensing mode and will have the option of per seat or per server. Next, you will enter the computer's name and an Administrative password. Now you will see a list of services that you can choose to install. This will obviously vary depending on which services you will need to use on your network. Now you will be prompted to enter the date and time zone. The services that you selected in the previous step will now be installed. Now you will have the option to select whether you want typical network settings or want to specify custom settings and configure them accordingly. Now the install will finish and the machine will be rebooted.

Listed below are the possible upgrade paths:

Current OS: Upgrade to:
Windows 95 Windows 2000 Professional
Windows 98 Windows 2000 Professional
Windows NT Workstation Windows 2000 Professional
Windows NT Server Windows 2000 Server
There is no direct upgrade path from Windows 3.x

For more in depth information about Windows 2000 installations, click here

Dual Booting Windows 9x and Windows 2000
Note that Windows 9x is incompatible with drives/partitions formatted with NTFS and will not recognize them. The following information assumes that Windows 9x is already installed on the system. When you insert the Windows 2000 CD-ROM, you should be prompted that the CD contains a newer version of Windows and will ask if you would like to upgrade the existing OS or install a new copy. You will want to select new copy or else the existing operating system will be overwritten. The installation program will begin copying files to the hard drive and will then need to be rebooted.

Next, your drives and partitions will be displayed and will be prompted to select a partition to install Windows 2000 onto. If you select the same partition as the one that Windows 9x is installed on, make sure that you select the option to keep the existing file system intact instead of formatting it, otherwise you will lose the Windows 9x OS.

If you choose to install the operating systems onto different partitions, make sure that the Windows 2000 is not NTFS if you wish to be able to access that partition from Windows 9x. Furthermore, make sure that the boot partition is not formatted with NTFS or else you will not be able to boot into Windows 9x.

The function of a network is to share resources between computers. In order for this to happen the computers must be able to "talk" to each other which is accomplished with the use of protocols which are essentially a set of "rules" that govern communication over a network. Computers must be configured with a common protocol in order to be able to communicate. Below are some of the most common protocols:
IPX/SPX - The fastest routable protocol and is used on Novell Netware networks.
TCP/IP - TCP/IP is the most largely used protocol as it is the foundation for communication over the internet.
NETBEUI - The NetBios Extended User Interface is a non-routable protocol that establishes connections between computers with the use of NetBIOS.
HTTP - Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and is the set of rules for exchanging files and multimedia on the internet. HTTPS denotes that it is a secure connection.
SMTP - Stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and is used to reliably send mail over the Internet.
POP3 - This is the Post Office Protocol and is used for the receiving of email.
Protocols such as TCP/IP can be configured in the network properties window shown below.

Most networks are governed by a network operating system(NOS) such as NT or Windows 2000 Server. The servers are responsible for providing and denying access to resources with the use of shares, rights and permissions for the various users. In order for a resource to be accessed across a network, it must be shared first. There are a couple of different ways to create shares in Windows. From a command prompt the SHARE command can be issued in the following format - SHARE \\computername\directory - this format is known as the Universal Naming Convention(UNC format). Shares can also be created by right clicking on a resource and selecting sharing in My Computer or Windows Explorer. Once a drive is shared permissions can be set to control access to its contents. Users that have access to the shared resource can "Map a Drive" to it so that it appears as a local drive in my computer. When mapping the drive make sure that the "Reconnect at logon" option is checked, otherwise the mapped drive will disappear when the computer is rebooted. The computer that the drive is mapped to, must be powered on and connected to the network for this to work. In order to connect to a share, the network must be set up correctly and the user must have appropriate permissions to access the share.

Computers are given unique names to help identify them on the network. In Windows 9x the computer name can be up to 15 characters long and cannot use spaces. In Windows 2000, the name can be up to 63 characters and should only contain letters, numbers and hyphens.

Name Servers
Name servers such as WINS and DNS are used to make finding resources on large network easier without having to memorize IP addresses. They provide a more "friendly" way of locating things.

WINS is used to register NetBIOS names and resolve them to IP addesses for both local and remote hosts. If a WINS server is configured, then name resolution requests are sent directly to it and in turn the WINS server will send the IP address to the requesting client.

The internet used to use a hosts file to resolve IP addresses to host names or domain names. The internet grew to the point where the administration and the traffic needed to maintain this file became unbearable and DNS was born. The way DNS works is very similar to calling information. You call them with a name, they check their database and give you the phone number. Nameservers are distributed into tiers called domains.

TCP/IP Utilities
Telnet - Provides a virtual terminal or remote login across the network. The remote server must be running a Telnet service for clients to connect.
Tracert - By sending out ICMP packets, it determines the path taken by a data packet to reach it’s destination and can help determine at what point a network connection is now longer active.
WINIPCFG - Displays current TCP/IP configurations on the local workstation for Windows 9x computers.
IPCONFIG - IPCONFIG displays the TCP/IP configuration on the Windows NT computers. The /all switch will display more in depth configuration information. The /release and /renew options can be used to update DHCP settings.
FTP - Used for transferring data across a network from a server to a client.
PING - Uses ICMP to verify a connection to a remote host by sending echo requests and "listening" for replies.
FTP - Stands for File Transfer Protocol and is a method of transferring files between 2 machines.
NSLOOKUP - This utility is used to enter a host name and find out the corresponding IP address and is often used for troubleshooting DNS problems. Reverse lookups can also be performed.

The internet is essentially many networks connected together. Users then connect to the internet using either dial-up networking or newer digital technologies. In either case, these services are provided by an Internet Service Provider(ISP). The ISP also will assign your computer a unique IP address and provide email and Newsgroup services.

Root Level Domains - The top of the tree.
Top Level Domains - These are divided into different categories. Com, net, mil, edu, org and gov are the most common.
Second Level Domains - These domains make up the rest of networks as all sub-domains are categorized under this heading. So if you visit Intel's site, you are visiting the sub-domain Within many other sub-domains may also exist.
Hosts - Hosts are the final level in the hierarchy as they are the individual computers that occupy or comprise a domain and are where the web pages are located.
IP addresses are resolved to domain names using DNS as previously discussed.

Boot Environment
This section will contain facts that you will need to know about booting the various operating systems. The boot files for the various operating systems has been covered already in Domain 1.0.

When booting DOS, there are a couple of boot options that can be used to modify the boot process:
F5 or Left SHIFT - This will bypass the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files.
F8 - Processes CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT one step at a time with confirmation required between steps.
For Windows 9x
F8 or Left CTRL
- Displays the Windows startup menu for Windows 9x that contains boot options such as Safe Mode. Safe Mode is a startup mode in which minimal drivers(mouse, keyboard and VGA display) are loaded and is used to troubleshoot boot and display problems.
F5 - Boots directly into Safe Mode.
For Windows NT
VGA Mode
- The BOOT.INI file is responsible for the Windows NT/2000 startup screen that lists the operating systems available to boot into and VGA mode. VGA mode will only load standard VGA display drivers and is used for correcting a situation when a driver conflict occurs that prevents normal boot.
Last Known Good Configuration - This option is presented 2nd and if the space bar is pressed, the system will load system configuration information from the last successful boot. This option is used for fixing problem that arise after installing a new device driver.
For Windows 2000
- Brings up the Windows 2000 Advanced Options menu which contains several choices as follows: Safe Mode, Safe Mode with Networking, Safe Mode with Command Prompt, Enable Boot Logging, Enable VGA Mode, Last Known Good Configuration, Directory Services Restore Mode and Debugging Mode.

Creating Boot Disks
DOS boot disks are created by using the command format a: /s. You should also copy SYS, EDIT, CHKDSK, FORMAT and FDISK onto the floppy.

In Windows 9X, you have the option to create a startup disk when installing the system. If the system is already installed and you need to create Windows 95 start disk, open the "Add/Remove Programs" control panel, select the "Startup Disk" tab and clickon "Create Disk". This disk will include ATTRIB.EXE, COMMAND.COM, SYS.COM, FDISK.EXE, FORMAT.COM, EDIT.COM, SCANDISK.EXE, IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS and REGEDIT.EXE. Windows 98 startup disks are made in the same manner and include all of the above files and also OAKCDROM.SYS(CDROM driver) and EXTRACT.EXE(for uncompressing CAB files).

Windows NT boot disks can be made from the installation CD using the WINNT.EXE /OX command. For windows 2000, this can be accomplished by using the MAKEBOOT.EXE utility. Windows NT/2000 also utilize an Emergency Repair Disk which is used to repair the user account database(SAM) and the registry in case of a failure. In NT this can be created during installation or by using the RDISK utility. In Windows 2000 this can be done during installation or by using the backup utility.

Log Files
Windows 9x log files are:
BOOTLOG.TXT - This file is created during the first boot after setup. The creation of a new BOOTLOG.TXT can be done by hitting F8 at startup and choosing "Logged" mode. The previous copy of BOOTLOG.TXT will be renamed to BOOTLOG.PRV. This log shows the boot process steps and whether they were successful or failed.
DETLOG.TXT - This log shows the steps performed in detecting the system's hardware and is created anytime that hardware detection occurs such as during installation and when adding new hardware components.
SETUPLOG.TXT - This file is created during installation of Windows 9x and records all the options chosen during setup.
Windows NT/2000 Structure
Windows NT and 2000 are 32 bit operating systems that run in 2 different modes which are kernel(protected) and user. Applications use Application Program Interfaces(APIs) to pass threads between the 2 modes. User mode provides no direct access to the system's hardware. The subsystems of these operating systems are outlined below.

WIN32 -- This subsystem handles support for 32-bit windows applications and is also known as the Client/Server subsystem. This subsystem has the following features:
32-bit architecture
Multiple execution threads are supported for each process
Memory Protection - each Win32 application is separated and protected from other applications
OpenGL - Support for 2D and 3D graphics cards
2GB nonsegmented address spaces are assigned to each application
NT/2000 supports DOS applications via VDMs(Virtual DOS Machines). A VDM is a Win32 application that creates an environment where DOS applications can run. It does this by making the NT Workstation resemble a DOS environment and tricks the DOS applications into thinking that they have unrestricted access to the computer's hardware. NT can only support DOS applications that use VDDs(Virtual Device Drivers) to intercept the applications calls to the computer's hardware.
NT/2000 also supports Win16 applications with the use of a DOS application called WOW(Windows on Windows). WOW runs within a VDM that runs as a 32-bit process. If a Win16 application crashes it will only corrupt the WOW, but will not affect the rest of the NT operating system.
In addition to the above, Windows 2000 also adds the Plug and Play Manager and the Power Management Manager

The boot files used by NT/2000 are completely different than Windows 9x and are listed below:
BOOT.INI - Specifies boot defaults, operating system locations, settings and menu selections.
BOOTSECT.DOS - A file located in the system partition that allows the option to boot into another operating system such as Win98 or DOS.
NTDETECT.COM - Hardware detection program that is located on the root of the system partition.
NTLDR - File that loads the operating system and is located on the root of the system partition.
NTOSKRNL.EXE - The executable file.
OSLOADER.EXE - This is the OS loader for RISC based systems.
NTBOOTDD.SYS - File used when the system or boot partition is located on a SCSI drive and the BIOS is disabled.
The registry editors included with Windows NT/2000 include Regedt32 and Regedit. For Windows 2000, the Regedt32 tool should be used while Windows NT can use either. Most of the registry(the static items) are contained in hive files which are located in the \WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG directory. The 5 hives are SAM, security, software, system and default.

In Windows 2000 most system administration tasks are performed in the Computer Management Console that contains all of the various Microsoft Management Consoles(MMCs) in one location.

Windows 2000 filenames can be up to 215 characters long and cannot contain the following: <>\/?*"|

Windows 2000 supports PnP while NT does not.

Windows 9x Structure
Windows 95 and 98 are 32-bit operating systems. Windows 95 had 2 releases - The FAT16 original release and later OSR2 which utilized the FAT32 file system, added personal web server, Active Desktop and several other new features. Windows 98 had 2 releases as well - The original version and Windows 98 Second Edition(SE). Below is an outline of the boot process and the files involved.
POST - Hardware tests
Plug and Play Configuration -Windows 9x is a Plug and Play(PnP) operating system. In order for PnP to work, the BIOS, hardware and operating system must all be PnP compliant.
Master Boot Record - The MBR is located.
IO.SYS - This file loads drivers and executes CONFIG.SYS, MSDOS.SYS and COMMAND.COM
Windows core files are loaded
WIN.COM - This file begins the loading of Windows 9x system files.
KERNEL32.DLL/KERNEL386.EXE - These files contain the core operating system and is responsible for loading device drivers.
GDI.EXE/GDI32.EXE - These files are responsible for loading the basic GUI or graphical user interface.
WIN.INI - Along with WINFILE.INI and SYSTEM.INI, these files provide backward compatibility with older 16-bit applications and are not required in order for 32-bit applications to run under Windows 9x. Most of the functions of these files are now stored in the registry files.
The startup folder is checked for applications to load on startup.
Windows 9x also replaces many of the DOS start-up files such as IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS and COMMAND.COM with newer versions. Most of the functions of the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files are now handled by the new IO.SYS file, although entries in CONFIG.SYS will take precedence over entries in the IO.SYS file.

Windows 9x supports long file names up to 255 characters. Duplicate filenames(8.3 format) are assigned for backward compatability(i.e. DOS). This is done by taking the 1st 6 characters of the filename adding a tilde and then a number. For example, VERYLONGFILENAME.EXE would become VERYLO~1.EXE.

Windows 9x Core Components
The Windows 9x family of operating systems are made up of 3 core components:
Kernel - OS foundation that provides error handling, virtual memory management, task scheduling, and I/O services.
User - Responsible for the user interface and handles input from hardware devices by interacting with device drivers.
GDI - Responsible for what appears on the display and other graphics functions.
Windows 9x Registry
The registry is a hierarchical database that contains the system's configuration information. The registry is made up of 2 files that are located in the Windows directory:
USER.DAT - Contains information about system users.
SYSTEM.DAT - Contains information about hardware and system settings.
The registry can be accessed with the utility REGEDIT.EXE which allows you to edit and restore the registry settings. The Windows 95 registry is backed up everytime the machine is booted. The backup files are called USER.DA0 and SYSTEM.DA0. Windows 98 backs up SYSTEM.DAT, USER.DAT, SYSTEM.INI and WIN.INI as .CAB files that are stored in in the hidden Windows\Sysbackup directory.

Windows 9x Virtual Machines
Windows 9x utilizes preemptive multitasking for 32-bit applications and cooperative multitasking for older 16-bit operations. Some of these applications require complete control of the system's resources and will not run properly under Windows 9x so the Virtual Machine Manager creates a special environment for these application known as a virtual machine in which the applications can be given the resources that they need.

MSCONFIG - Windows 98 comes with a utility called MSCONFIG.EXE that provides an easy way to edit the config.sys, autoexec.bat, win.ini and system.ini files. This manager also provides the ability to back these files up, modify the start-up environment and configure advanced troubleshooting settings.

SYSEDIT - Provides very similar functionality as MSCONFIG and allows the 4 files plus PROTOCOL.INI to be edited. It also provides a search function and Works in Windows 95/NT/2000.

A+ Test Information

Here are the topics covered by the exams:

You should be aware that although the test is split into two parts there can be duplicate questions on each exam. If you take the core exam first you may be asked additional core questions in the Dos/Windows exam, and vice versa. In the simulation tests on the previous page you may notice I added cross questions because of this fact.


Boot files
Io.sys msdos.sys

Last Dos version before Win 95 ver 7 was Dos 6.22

Common Commands:
Dir shows the directory files in a folder
Switches for Dir /s searches subdirectories /p pauses between pages
|more does the same for other commands as /s
/d for date /w for wide page horizontal

Attrib This command shows and allows changes to file attributes
+ - H Hidden, +- R for Read only, +- System, +- A for archive

ren- renames a file
move - moves a folder or renames a folder
copy- copies a file
xcopy- newer version of copy that has additional switches

Copies files and directory trees.

XCOPY source [destination] [/A | /M] [/D[:date]] [/P] [/S [/E]] [/W]
[/C] [/I] [/Q] [/F] [/L] [/H] [/R] [/T] [/U]
[/K] [/N]

source Specifies the file(s) to copy.
destination Specifies the location and/or name of new files.
/A Copies files with the archive attribute set,
doesn't change the attribute.
/M Copies files with the archive attribute set,
turns off the archive attribute.
/D:date Copies files changed on or after the specified date.
If no date is given, copies only those files whose
source time is newer than the destination time.
/P Prompts you before creating each destination file.
/S Copies directories and subdirectories except empty ones.
/E Copies directories and subdirectories, including empty ones.
Same as /S /E. May be used to modify /T.
/W Prompts you to press a key before copying.
/C Continues copying even if errors occur.
/I If destination does not exist and copying more than one file,
assumes that destination must be a directory.

/Q Does not display file names while copying.
/F Displays full source and destination file names while copying.
/L Displays files that would be copied.
/H Copies hidden and system files also.
/R Overwrites read-only files.
/T Creates directory structure, but does not copy files. Does not
include empty directories or subdirectories. /T /E includes
empty directories and subdirectories.
/U Updates the files that already exist in destination.
/K Copies attributes. Normal Xcopy will reset read-only attributes.
/Y Overwrites existing files without prompting.
/-Y Prompts you before overwriting existing files.
/N Copy using the generated short names.
You won't need to know all these switches, but look them over for the more popular ones.

Doskey- Allows you to use the arrow keys call up previous commands you have used in DOS so you can re-execute them. This is a TSR.

TSR- Terminate and stay resident. This is a program that loads in DOS or Windows and stays in RAM so it can be used more quickly when needed.

Format- Formats a hard drive
Switches /S adds system files to mae it bootable /Q quick format, just erases the FAT entries, /U erases everything and low level formats the drive by putting 0's across every track, /V volume label allows you to name the volume.

Fdisk- Partitions a drive. This has to be done before a drive is formatted. You can create physical drives and logical drives.
If you have one hard drive and one drive letter this is a physical drive. If you have one hard drive and tewo letters then the first is a physical and the second is a logical.
If you have 3 partitions on one hard drive then the first is physical, the second is logical, and the third is an extended partition.
To delete these you must do it in reverse order. You cannot delete a physical partition until the extended is deleted followed by the logical.

Fat 16- max is 2 gigs
Fat 32- max is 2 Terabytes
NTFS- NT partition. No known max.
HIMEM.sys is the extended memory manager

EMM386.sys is the expanded memory manager and utilizes extended memory to simulate expanded memory
sys files go in config.sys and com/bat files go in autoexec.bat

You must load HIMEM.sys before you can specify DOS=HIGH. You must load HIMEM.sys and EMM386.sys before you can specify DOS=UMB


WIN 3.x is a GUI shell on top of DOS.

The 3 core component files for Windows - Kernel file, user.exe, & GDI.exe

The most important system initialization files are win.ini and system.ini (control.ini, progman.ini, & winfile.ini are the other 3)

Minimum hardware requirements:
W3.1 286 2 MB RAM
W3.11 386 4 MB RAM
W95 386DX 4 MB RAM
WNT4 486/SX 12 MB RAM

To install windows 3.x run setup.exe.
Switches /A for diskless, /I ignores the hardware

To install Win 9x run setup.exe
/N ignores network card

When booting:
Hit F8 to get the safe mode prompt menu
Hit F5 to ignore the start up files

The registry is made up of two files: User.dat and System.dat
User.dat keeps track of individual users who have logged into the computer
System.dat has all the software settings.
Without these files Windows will not boot.

Modemlog.txt holds the log that you can use to troubleshoot any modem problems.

IRQ # Device
0 System timer
1 Keyboard
2 Cascade to IRQ9.
3 Com ports 2 and 4
4 Com ports 1 and 3
5 Usually available. Sometimes LPT2.
6 Floppy drive
7 LPT1
8 Real time clock
9 Video display adapter
10 Available
11 Available.
12 Available or PS2 mouse
13 Math coprocessor.
14 Primary IDE controller
15 Secondary IDE controller.

DMA- This is used to bypass the processor for faster access by going into RAM. It stands for Direct Memory Access.

DMA Device
0 Available
1 Available
2 Floppy drive
3 Available
4 2nd DMA controller
5 Available
6 Available
7 Available

It's important to know some basic port addresses. Usually you only get tested on Com ports, but you should be ready.
Port Base address

COM1 h3F8
COM2 h2F8
COM3 h3E8
COM4 h2E8
LPT1 h378
LPT2 h278

Motherboard types:

ISA- 8 or 16 bit expansion slots
Eisa- Also allowed 32 bit cards that had a deep slot for the longer pins.. Both types of cards plug into the same slots.
Vesa- AKA Vesa local bus. Had an additional row of pins that allowed 32 bit cards. The cards all can plug into the same slots but the 8 or 16 bit cards did not take advantage of the extra row of pin slots.
PCI- 32 bit expansion slots that are smaller than the previous 32 bit slots. They have a different amount of pin and cannot have ISA type cards plug into them.

The most popular board is a combo of ISA and PCI slots.
AGP are video card types.

Upper memory (reserved memory) 960KB - 1024KB Motherboard bios 768KB - 960KB Bios and Ram buffers
First 64KB of this memory can be used for page frames when Expanded memory driver is loaded. 640KB - 768KB Video ram

Conventional memory 0 - 640KB Conventional memory Used to load DOS (in first 64KB), run programs, load drivers, TSRs

Laser printing process- Mainly you just have to memorize the order of laser pritning, and types of problems that occur when one of those processes go bad. Usually there are about 5 questions on this.

Cleaning EP drum is cleaned with a rubber blade before it can take on a new image
2 Conditioning The EP drum is given a negative charge of approximately -600 Volts by the primary corona wire
2 Writing A laser beam is used to write to the EP drum, causing the dots on the drum to loose some of the negative charge and become relatively positively charged.
3 Developing A toner is transferred from the toner cylinder to the EP drum by attracting to the area of the drum that has relative positive charge.
4 Transferring The transfer corona wire charges the paper with a high positive charge. The EP drum turns as the paper passes under It, pulling the toner into the paper. A static charge eliminator prevents the paper from wrapping around the drum.
5 Fusing The paper passes between the heated fuser roller and the rubber roller, the toner is melted and pressed into the paper. The heated roller reaches the temperature of about 180 degrees Celsius. The temperature sensor on the fuser roller will shut down the printer if the temperature gets dangerously high. Finally the excess toner is scrubbed of the paper by the cleaning pad
6 End of cycle The paper with the final image is rolled out of printer. The eraser lamp is turned on near the surface of the EP drum, causing the drum to loose it's charge

Cable type Connectors Maximum length
Modem cable RS - 232 DB-9F, DB-25M 25 feet
Modem cable RS - 232 DB-25F, DB-25M 25 feet
Printer cable DB-25M, Centronics 36 10 feet

Modem commands Command function
ATA Answer
ATD Dial
ATH Hang up
ATZ Reset

Additional generic information
Power supply wires - yellow=+12v, blue=-12v, red=+5v, & white=-5v
80386 operates at +5v
80486DX first to operate at +3.3v
The spots where the bus connectors are located are called - adapter slots
PCMCIA cards - Type I - memory 3.3 mm, Type II - modems and adapters 5 mm, Type III - removable HD 10.5 mm
USB can support up to 127 devices and has a 12 Mbps data rate
Accessible memory is the lesser of the amount that can be installed on the system and what is addressable by the microprocessor
Non-parity memory does not provide correction or error detection
What is the fastest device you can access data in a PC - cache RAM
What is the slowest device you can access data in a PC - floppy drive
SDRAM can be accessed as fast as the motherboard speed
L1=processor cache (internal)
L2=motherboard cache (external)
A battery on the system board provides power to CMOS when the computer is off in order to keep configuration information
Interface cables - floppy-34 pin, IDE-40 pin, SCSI-50 pin, & SCSI Ultra wide-68 pin


8088 8 bit
8086 16 bit
80286 16 bit
80386sx 16 bit
80386 dx 32 bit
80486 sx 32 bit no coprocessor
80486 dx built in co processor
80486 dx2- runs twice the speed
80486 dx3 runs 4 times the speed
Pentium 32 bit with 64 bit bus
Pentium Pro 32 bit with 64 bit bus with a larger L1 Cache
Pentium 2,3, and 4- 64 bit with 64 bit bus
Celeron - Pentium processor without MMX to make more affordable.
MMX- Multi media extensions, allows better video and graphics

OSI Layers

Application-provides a set of interfaces for apps to access network services.Where packet creation begins., and gateways perform protocol conversions.

Presentation- Converts data into a generic format

Session- Enables two parties to have communication called a session and provides synchronization

Transport- Manages transmission, where the data is broken into packets

Network- Handles addressing and translates logical add and names into physical ones.

Data Link- Send data frames from Network layer to Physical layer, houses NIC driver, responsible for error-free data

MAC-checks for errors in frames and obtains frame addresses

LLC-manages data link communication, defines use of SAP (Service Access Points),

Physical- Converts bits into signals and vice versa

Raid levels

Raid 0 stripe w/out parity also called volume sets, fastest

Raid 1 mirroring and duplexing, slow

Raid 5 Disk stripe w/parity, medium

IEEE 802 standards

802.1 Internetworking

802.2 LLC

802.3 CSMA/CD Ethernet, 1500 bytes max, 1024 max nodes on UTP, 543 rule on COAX 30 max nodes

Token Bus
Token Ring, 4K size max., 260 nodes using STP or UTP
Fiber Optic
Integrated Voice and data
Network security
Demand priority, VG anylan 100
Device association

Physical- TDR oscilliscopes, rep, hubs

Data Link Layer- Adv cable testers, NIC bridges

Network- Adv cable testers, routers

Transport Adv cable testers gateways

Sessions, Presentation, Application- Gateways

Media 100 meters = 328 feet

Thicknet, 10base5 500 meter limit 50 ohm rg8 rg11 aui transceiver connection and vampire taps 10mbps 100 nodes max 300 per 5 segments 3 populated

Thinnet 10base2 185 meter limit 50 ohm BNC rg58 10mbps 30 nodes max 90 nodes per 5 segments 3 populated 5-4-3 rule – 5 trunks, 4 repeaters, 3 pop segments max entire trunk length no more than 3035’, ¼ inch thick, RG 58\U solid copper, \CU military, AU stranded wire, RG 59 broad band, can’t mix \U & \ AU in one segment

UTP 10-100mbps, STP 16mbps 10baseT 100 meter limit rj45, rj11 Cat 1-5

(UTP most susceptible to emi) 3 nodes 1024 per min cable is 8’

RG-62 Arcnet 93 ohm, 2000 feet max. on star top\1000 feet on bus top

Fiber Optic FDDI 1000 meters no emi 100mbps to 2gbps 10baseF 3 nodea 1024 per


WAN technology


frame relay

T1 1.54 mbps

T3 45 mbps

ATM Asynch transfer mode

Sonet Synch optical network

SMDS switched multi meg data service

ISDN 128 kbps

Switched 56

FDDI Fiber


UTP cable categories, 100 meter distance

cat1 voice only

cat 2 voice and data 4 mbps

cat 3 voice and data 10 mbps

cat 4 voice and data 16 mbps

cat 5 voice and data 100 mbps

protocols not routable;

Network layer


protocols routable:

network layer





XNS Xerox


NNTP-used for news groups on internet

Transport Layer-provides guarantee of packet delivery

ATP Apple Transaction

NetBios-net beui



Application Layer

AFP Apple talk file transfer


NCP Netware core protocol shell

SMTP Simple Mail transfer protocol part of tcpip for transferring e mail

SNMP Simple Network management protocol tcpip for monitoring network devices





star bus-most common used with a hub

star ring

DID-direct inward dialing sends a signal down the line identifying which number was called

testing equipment

Oscilloscope-measures signal voltage and attenuation

used with a TDR to discover shorts, bends, breaks and loss of signals

network monitor-examines packets and tracks traffic

protocol analyzer-used most often to test available band width

advanced cable tester-tests physical condition of cable, beaconing, late collisions, and message frame counts

SQL translates data requests into a form a user can read

backup types

differential- backup data that has been changed and doesn’t mark it has been backed up

incremental-same as above but does mark archived bits

daily- just does files that changed that day without marking bit

repeater-can convert media types like thinnet to UTP\forwards storms\physical layer\doubles media length

bridge-MAC or data link layer connects differing networks (Ethernet to Tokenring) and topologies (Coax to UTP). used to segment networks, forwards storms

router-connects protocols that are routable like TCPIP to IPX, segments networks, filters storms

routing tables- static-manual input, dynamic-done by router

brouter-best of both router and bridge

gateway-connects dissimilar emails, and mainframes to NT server, typically a workstation

switching hubs-can segment a network address, filter storms, goes directly to address, aka intelligent hubs

cable types

1.STP-1200 feet, 2400 feet with repeater

2.Voice and data grade-1200 feet, 2400 feet w/repeater

3.Voice only-uses media filters to reduce noise and convert cable connectors, 600 feet, 1200 feet w/repeater


5.Fiber optic-1KM patch cable


8.carpet cable


PDL-page description language; constructs text and graphics

Mobile computing- uses cellular, packet radio, satellite stations



Token passing-token ring, token bus, FDDI

Demand-100 VG any LAN allows highest request to be serviced first if there is contention

types of connections

T1-1.54 MBPS, 24 channels 64 kilobytes

T3-45 MBPS =28 channels of T1

ATM- requires high levels of expertise to install, special band width and hardware, broadband, analog, video and voice, 155-622 MBPS, 53 byte cells


ISDN- 128 KBPS, 2-64 KB B channels, 1-16 KB system D channel


preemptive- OS takes control of CPU

non pre emptive-processor doesn’t take control of CPU, task has control


share level-assigns a password to a share anyone can use ( WIN 95, WFW)

user level- must have password and user name (NT server and W/S)

poledit.exe- Policy editor allows you to edit the registry files system.dat and user.dat.

This portion of the exam is one that is very difficult to outline in a study guide and is where your experience is really being tested. There are far too many different errors and solutions to be written here. We have included some general troubleshooting information and common problems for various components, however, this is by no means a comprehensive list. This is where your on the job experience will help you out a great deal.

Below is a list of useful tools for hardware troubleshooting:

Standard and Phillips Screwdrivers - various sizes
IC ROM Puller - For upgrading BIOS chips
Multimeter - A necessary tool for troubleshooting electrical issues such as the power supply. It can also be used to do a resistance test. When performing this test make sure that the power to the system is unplugged.
The following table shows the readings that you should see for various multimeter tests:

Test Good reading
Speaker Resistance 8 ohms
Fuse Resistance 0 ohms
Capacitors (DC) 5V (most of them)


Some components of a PC are field replaceable and some are not. Common Field Replaceable Units (FRUs) are below:
Floppy Drive
Hard Drives
Video Adapter
Sound Card
Network Card
Power Supply
CMOS Battery
Beep codes vary depending on the manufacturer of the BIOS. Below are some of the common beep codes for an Award BIOS.

Beep Code Meaning
1 long System memory failure
1 long then 2 short Video controller failure
1 long then 3 short Video controller failure
Continuous Video or memory failure

Below are the IBM error code families and the component that the error code relates to:
Error Code Family Error Type

1xx System board errors
2xx Memory (RAM) errors
3xx Keyboard errors
4xx Monochrome monitor errors
5xx Color monitor errors
6xx Game control adapter errors
7xx 8087 or 80287 math coprocessor errors
9xx Parallel printer adapter errors
10xx Reserved for parallel printer adapter
11xx Asynchronous communications adapter errors
12xx Alternate asynchronous communications adapter errors
13xx Parallel printer adapter errors

Lost BIOS password - Most newer motherboards have a jumper that can be used to clear the CMOS memory. Typically this involves opening the PC, changing the jumper to a special setting, and then booting the PC. If the memory has been cleared, you power the PC down and put the jumper back to its previous position
System clock is not keeping correct time - This is typically caused by the CMOS battery failing or running low voltage. Usually, replacing the CMOS battery will fix this.
System locks up consistently a few minutes after power up - This is usually associated with a failed processor fan or general overheating. Boot the system with the case off and see if the fan is running. If not, the fan and likely the processor will need to be replaced.
System appears completely dead (no visible activity during power-up) - Check the external power cable and make sure that it is plugged into a working outlet and securely plugged into the unit. Next, make sure that the on/off switch is set to "On" and that the 110/220 switch is set to the appropriate setting for your location. Verify that the internal power connection from the power supply to the motherboard is firmly connected. A multimeter can be used to narrow determine how far the power is getting. Start at the outlet and work your way inside. Finally, remove all unnecessary components from the motherboard to see if one of them is overloading the power supply.
Front panel lights come on and the power supply fan runs, but no other activity is present - Try swapping out the power supply. If this doesn't fix the problem, remove all unnecessary components from the motherboard to see if one of them is overloading part of the power supply.
There are 2 types of memory errors:
Soft-memory errors - These are occasional strange behaviors that can usually be cleared by rebooting.
Hard-memory errors - Caused by a hardware failure related to the RAM and will usually display a message on the screen or create a beep code. Can be isolated by removing memory chips 1 at a time.
System locks up while counting RAM - Usually requires that the processor be replaced
Keyboards can have a variety of symptoms including:

No characters appearing on the screen
6 beeps on boot
A 301 error code
Keyboard is locked - Unlock It error message
Keyboard Error - Keyboard Test Failure
KB/Interface Error - Keyboard Test Failure

The most common causes for these problems is:

Incorrect keyboard type in BIOS or Windows
Keyboard not properly connected
Blown fuse in back of keyboard



Cursor skips around or gets stuck - This is usually caused by dirt and lint inside the mouse that needs to be cleaned.
Doesn't move at all - Can be a configuration error caused by an IRQ or address conflict, conflicting device drivers loaded in autoexec.bat and config.sys or can be caused by a hardware failure. If none of these are causing it, it is likely a problem with the port on the motherboard.

There are a variety of problems that can occur from mis-configured drivers and settings. When possible, verify that the correct drivers are loaded and check for IRQ and memory address conflicts
Screen goes blank after a while - This is usually due to Power Management settings in the BIOS
The screen flickers - Usually caused by the refresh rate being set too low.
The output on the screen is garbled or looks like a bunch of moving lines - This is most often caused by setting the resolution, color depth or refresh rate at a higher level than the monitor supports. To correct this, press F8 on boot and select "Safe Mode" from the menu. Set the display settings to appropriate levels.
No display at all and you suspect hardware - Make sure that the monitor is plugged into a working outlet. Make sure that the contrast and brightness settings have not been turned all the way down. Make sure that the monitors signal cable is properly connected to the PC and that the video card is properly seated in the slot.
Floppy Drives:
The floppy drive will not read any disks - Check for IRQ and memory address conflicts. Make sure that the internal power cable is connected from the power supply to the drive. Verify that the FDD cable is properly connected to the motherboard and the drive and that the pin 1 orientation is correct. You can also narrow down the problem by swapping out the drive and cable one at a time to determine if the problem is with one of them.
The system will not boot from the floppy drive but works fine after boot - This is usually caused either by a problem with the floppy or by an incorrect boot sequence in the BIOS
Hard Drives:
Make sure that the drive is properly connected and using the correct pin 1 orientation.
Make sure that there is only one device connected to the cable that is configured as master.
There are a variety of problems that can occur from mis-configured settings. Verify that the correct drive settings are reflected in the BIOS settings. Common error messages that can occur when these are incorrect are "Drive Type Mismatch" and "Invalid Media Type".
Check for IRQ and memory address conflicts in Windows.
The system will not boot. If booting from a floppy, the drive can be accessed from a DOS prompt - This usually indicates that the boot files are missing or corrupt. Change directories to the A drive (with the boot disk inserted) and type SYS C: to restore the boot files.
From a DOS prompt, you receive a "Boot Disk Failure" or "Missing ROM Basic Interpreter" error message when trying to view the contents of the hard drive - Try restoring the master boot record by using the FDISK utility as follows: FDISK /MBR.
If all configuration settings are correct and the drive cannot be accessed after booting with a boot disk and an "Invalid Drive" or Invalid Drive Specification" error message appears, the disk will need to be formatted and reconfigured.
If the EIDE or IDE controller is dead and is hardwired to the system board, an IDE or EIDE controller expansion card can be used without having to replace the motherboard.
If it is a SCSI drive, make sure that the hard drive is using a unique SCSI ID on its chain and that proper termination is in place.
Make sure that the drive is properly connected and using the correct pin 1 orientation.
Make sure that there is only one device connected to the cable that is configured as master.
Make sure that the drive is configured correctly in the autoexec.bat for a line similar to C:\MSCDEX.EXE /D:mscd001 /L:%CDROM% and config.sys for one like device=aspicd.sys /D:mscd001.
If the CD tray has become jammed and will not open, use a paperclip or other long thin item into the tray release access hole.
If the EIDE or IDE controller is dead and is hardwired to the system board, an IDE or EIDE controller expansion card can be used without having to replace the motherboard.
If no sound is heard when playing a CD, make sure that the sound card is properly configured and that the cable is connected between the CD-ROM and the sound card.
"Data error reading drive C:" or "Sector not found" error messages consistently occur - This is typically caused by a dirty drive that needs to be cleaned.
Check for I/O and IRQ conflicts
You may need to configure a modem initialization string using the AT Command Set.
Check configuration settings such as disabling call waiting or dialing a 9 first for an outside line.
Refer to ISP instructions for advanced configuration options such as flow control, parity, etc.
Make sure that the correct driver is loaded for the modem.
As with any component, make sure that it is properly seated and all cables are correctly attached.


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