A+ Core Hardware CramNotes

Domain 1.0 Installation, Configuration, and Upgrading

1.1 Identify basic terms, concepts, and functions of system modules, including how each module should work during normal operation and during the boot process.

For the A+ Exam, you must be able to identify the following items:
System Board – The System Board or Mother Board is the component in which all other internal computer components are attached. Some of the items located on the System Board will be the CPU, Expansion slots, RAM slots, circuitry, and video components.
Power Supply – The Power Supply supplies the necessary power to computer components. The Power Supply converts power from an electrical outlet to power levels and a format that the computer is able to handle, such as 5 or 12 volts DC.
Processor/CPU – The Central Processing Unit is the brain of the computer. All actions performed by the computer are the result of the CPU. The CPU comes in many different types, sizes, and speeds and is contained on the System Board in a variety of attachments.
Memory – There are two types of memory in a computer. RAM or Random Access Memory is the computer short-term memory. Any time a program or document is opened, it is copied into the computer RAM. The amount of RAM in a computer assists in determining the speed and capabilities of a computer. The second type of memory is ROM or Read Only Memory. ROM is the computer long-term memory. ROM contains instructions for the computer that cannot be changed.
Storage Devices – Storage Devices come in many different sizes and shapes. Some of the more common Storage Devices are the Hard Drive, the Floppy Drive, and the CD-ROM Drive. Most computers manufactured today are equipped with the above listed Storage Devices. You are also able to add to your basic Storage Devices using Recordable or ReWritable CDs, DVDs, Tape Drives, and Zip Drives. Anything that is able to hold data is considered a Storage Device.
Monitor – A Monitor is a video output device. The Monitor of a computer displays text, graphics, and error messages. The Monitor allows you to interact with your computer, by giving you a visual representation of the actions performed using a keyboard or a mouse.
Modem – Modem is the acronym for modulator/demodulator, and is the device necessary to connect to the Internet through the use of a telephone line. A Modem is the translator of digital to analog signals, which enables the computer to send and receive information through the telephone line. Modems may be internal or external.
Firmware – Any type of software that is stored in the Read Only Memory area of a computer is considered Firmware. Firmware is sometimes distributed for printers and modems.
BIOS – BIOS is the acronym for Basic Input/Output System. The BIOS is the translator between the computer’s hardware and the Operating System. The BIOS also contains the necessary instructions used to start the computer. BIOS information is stored in ROM.
CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor, otherwise known as the CMOS contains the configuration information of a computer. CMOS information is stored in a nonvolatile area of memory. CMOS information is so important to a computer that it is backed up by a small battery when the computer is turned off. The CMOS contains information such as how many and what type of storage devices a computer contains, and the storage device boot order.
LCD (Portable Systems) – The LCD or Liquid Crystal Display is most commonly used in Portable Systems as a monitor. An LCD monitor contains rod shaped liquid crystals, which twist and turn to create different colored areas on a screen. The crystals are contained between two transparent electrodes that are parallel. When current is applied to these electrodes, it causes the crystals to move into a specified shape. Some LCD screens contain a light on the side or back to increase the contrast of the display.
Ports – There are many types of Ports contained on a computer, such as Parallel, Serial, USB, and Infrared. Ports allow you to attach peripherals to a computer with the use of a cable.
PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) – PDA’s are handheld computers that are becoming more and more popular each day. PDA’s are able to act as Electronic Daytimers, Internet Browsers, and E-Mail programs. A Desktop computer is able to download and upload information from a PDA through the use of a USB or Infrared port.
1.2 Identify basic procedures for adding and removing field replaceable modules for both desktop and portable systems.

You must be familiar with the procedures necessary to add and remove the following components for the A+ Exam:
System Board – The System Board is installed into the computer case using either screws or plastic circuit board fasteners. To remove the System Board loosen the screws or plastic circuit board fasteners and slide the circuit board from the computer case. Always remove a System Board last in the disassembly of a computer system.
Storage Device – Storage Devices are installed into the computer case by positioning the Storage Device in its place and fastening a set of screws. Storage Devices must be connected using two cables. One cable for power usually connected to the Power Supply or System Board, and the other cable being a controller cable, in which data is transferred. Always be sure to check the orientation of cables when connecting using Pin 1 as a guideline. To remove a Storage Device, disconnect the power cable, and controller cable. Loosen the set of screws holding the device in place and slide out from the computer case.
Power Supply – A Power Supply is connected into the computer using a set of screws. Once the Power Supply is screwed into place, connect the power cables to the devices inside the computer, such as the Storage Devices and System Board. Ensure the orientation of all cables is correct to prevent damage from occurring. To remove a Power Supply from the computer, disconnect all power cables, and loosen the set of screws holding the Power Supply in place. Slide the Power Supply out from the computer case.
Processor/CPU – The CPU may be installed on the System Board in a variety of fashions. Some CPU’s are installed through the use of a ZIF design, while others are installed through a SEC design. The type of CPU will determine how it is installed onto the System Board. Most CPU’s are installed by locating the correct connection, and pushing the CPU chip in place, using the greatest of care to avoid causing damage. To remove a CPU chip, you may need a chip extractor to lift the CPU out of its socket. Other CPU chips are removed by carefully lifting the chip out of its socket. Keep in mind that not all CPU’s can be removed from the System Board.
Memory – Memory is installed by locating the correct socket and gently pushing the Memory board into place. The most difficult aspect of installing memory is ensuring the correct amount and type of memory is purchased. Consult computer documentation to ensure memory requirements are met. To remove Memory from a computer, loosen the side rails, if necessary, and pull the Memory board out of its socket.
Input Devices – Input Devices such as the mouse and the keyboard can be installed and removed from the computer quite easily as these are external peripherals. To install an Input Device, connect the cable to the correct port on the computer and install any necessary software. To remove an Input Device from the computer, disconnect the correct cable, which runs from the device to the computer, and uninstall the required software associated with the particular device.
Hard Drive – Hard Drives are installed into the computer case by positioning the Hard Drive in its place and fastening a set of screws. Hard Drives must be connected using two cables. One cable for power usually connected to the Power Supply or System Board, and the other cable being a controller cable, in which data is transferred. Always be sure to check the orientation of cables when connecting using Pin 1 as a guideline. To remove a Hard Drive, disconnect the power cable, and controller cable. Loosen the set of screws holding the drive in place and slide out from the computer case.
Keyboard - Keyboards can be installed and removed from the computer quite easily as these are external peripherals. To install a Keyboard, connect the cable to the correct port on the computer, usually a serial port and install any necessary software. To remove Keyboard from the computer, disconnect the correct cable that runs from the keyboard to the computer, and uninstall the required software associated with the particular device.
Video Board – To install a Video Board into a computer, simply locate an empty expansion slot, and gently push the Video Board into place. Fasten any supporting screws to the computer case, and connect any necessary cables running inside the computer, such as a connection from the Video Board to the System Board. After you have replaced the Computer case, connect any external cables such as the monitor cable. Your final installation step is to install the necessary software. To remove a Video Board from the computer, the first step is to disconnect any external or internal cables, such as the cable running from the monitor to the Video Board, and the cable running from the Video Board to the System Board and/or Power Supply. Loosen any screws that may be holding the Video Board in place, and gently lift out of the slot using a gentle rocking motion. Remember to grasp the Video Board by the edges to avoid causing damage to circuitry.
Mouse – A Mouse may be installed and removed from the computer quite easily as these are external peripherals. To install a Mouse, connect the cable to the correct port on the computer, usually a serial port and install any necessary software. To remove a Mouse from the computer, disconnect the correct cable that runs from the Mouse to the computer, and uninstall the required software associated with the particular device.
Network Interface Card (NIC) - To install a NIC into a computer, locate an empty expansion slot, and gently push the NIC into place. Fasten any supporting screws to the computer case, and connect any necessary cables running inside the computer, such as a connection from the NIC to the System Board. After you have replaced the Computer case, connect any external cables such as the network cable. Your final installation step is to install the necessary software. To remove a NIC from the computer, the first step is to disconnect any external or internal cables, such as the cable running from the network to the NIC, and the cable running from the NIC to the System Board and/or Power Supply. Loosen any screws that may be holding the NIC in place, and gently lift out of the slot using a gentle rocking motion. Remember to grasp the NIC by the edges to avoid causing damage to circuitry.
The A+ Exam will also cover the installation and removal of the following Portable System Components:
AC Adapter – AC Adapters are used to convert AC power into DC power. Normally AC Adapters are a separate component, which may be installed by plugging in the AC Adapter to the back of the Portable System. The AC Adapter may be removed by unplugging the component from the back of the Portable System.
Digital Camera - A Digital Camera may be installed and removed from the computer quite easily as these are external peripherals. To install a Digital Camera, connect the cable to the correct port on the computer, usually a USB port and install any necessary software. To remove a Digital Camera from the computer, disconnect the correct cable that runs from the Digital Camera to the computer, and uninstall the required software associated with the particular device.
DC Controller – A DC Controller is often unreachable due to the size of a Portable System, and requires servicing to be performed at an authorized service center.
LCD Panel – An LCD Panel is often unreachable due to the size of a Portable System, and requires servicing to be performed at an authorized service center.
PC Card – The first step in installing a PC Card is to install the necessary software to configure the PC Card. A PC Card is usually installed through a PC Card Slot by gently pushing the card into place. Most PC Cards are Plug and Play compliant. To remove a PC Card from a Portable System, disable any necessary software, and gently pull the PC Card from the necessary slot. Most PC Cards are hot swappable.
Pointing Devices - Pointing Devices such as the mouse may be installed and removed from the Portable System quite easily as these are external peripherals. To install a Pointing Device, connect the cable to the correct port on the Portable System and install any necessary software. Any built in Pointing Devices may need to be disabled in order for the external Pointing Device to be used. To remove a Pointing Device from the Portable System, disconnect the correct cable that runs from the device to the Portable System, and uninstall the required software associated with the particular device.
1.3 Identify available IRQs, DMAs, and I/O addresses and procedures for device installation and configuration.

You must memorize the following IRQ, DMA, I/O tables for the A+ exam, as well as be able to identify correct procedures and configurations for the following devices:
IRQ Number Device
0 System Timer
1 Keyboard
2 Cascade to IRQ 9
3 COM 2 and COM 4
4 COM 1 and COM 3
5 Sound Card
6 Floppy Disk Controller
7 Parallel Port – LPT 1
8 Real Time Clock
9 Cascade to IRQ 2
10 Available
11 Available
12 PS/2 Mouse
13 Math Co-Processor
14 Hand Disk Controller
15 Available

 

DMA Number Device
0 Available
1 Available
2 Floppy Drive
3 Available
4 Second DMA Controller
5 Available
6 Available
7 Available

 

I/O Port Base Address
COM 1 h3F8
COM 2 h2F8
COM 3 h3E8
COM 4 h2E8
LPT 1 h378
LPT 2 h278

o Modems – Modems may either be internal or external. Internal Modems are installed using an expansion slot, and configured to use a COM port. Internal Modems are more difficult to configure than External Modems. External Modems are installed using a serial port.

o Floppy Drive Controllers – Floppy Drive Controllers are installed through the use of an expansion slot. The Floppy Disk is then connected to the Floppy Drive Controller through the use of a cable to translate instructions from the CPU and transfer data. You must ensure that the cable is connected correctly via the twist and pin 1 in order to install an operational Floppy Drive.

o Hard Drive Controllers – Hard Drive Controllers are installed through the use of an expansion slot. The Hard Disk is then connected to the Hard Drive Controller through the use of a cable to translate instructions from the CPU and transfer data. You must ensure that the cable is connected correctly via pin 1 in order to install an operational Hard Drive.

o USB Ports – USB Ports are able to support up to 127 external devices through a hub or a chain setup. USB ports are now commonly found on most computers and peripheral devices. USB supports a data transfer rate up to 1.5 Mbps.

o Infrared Ports – Infrared Ports are able to transfer data using a wireless transmission. Most new computers and PDA’s are equipped with Infrared Ports. Infrared transmission uses light frequencies, along with a transmitter and receiver to move data. Data can be transmitted to a maximum rate of 1.1 Mbps at a maximum distance of 3.3 yards.

o Hexadecimal/Addresses – The Hexadecimal numbering system uses the numbers 0 – 9 and the letters A – F to represent binary numbers. Hexadecimal numbers are often labeled with an “h” and are often used for addresses, such as I/O addresses.

1.4 Identify common peripheral ports, associated cabling, and their connectors.

You must be familiar with the following items for the A+ Exam:
Cable Types – There are many different types of cables in use with computers. Serial Cables are used in conjunction with Keyboards and Modems. Serial Cables should not exceed 25 feet. Parallel Cables are used in conjunction with Printers and should not exceed 10 feet. VGA cables are used in conjunction with Monitors, and should not exceed 3 feet.
Cable Orientation – When installing new devices, you must ensure that the Cable Orientation is correct. On some cables, a red stripe will signify pin 1 to assist in proper orientation. Other cables will only allow for proper orientation by a shape of connector, or keyed pins in the connector.
Serial versus Parallel – Serial communication occurs one bit at a time, whereas Parallel communication occurs eight bits, or one byte at a time. Serial communications are much slower than Parallel communications due to the way each cable communicates with peripherals.
Pin Connections – At either end of a cable are connectors. Connectors contain pins, which are the connections between a cable and a device. The pins allow information to pass through the cable to the required area.
The following types of connectors will be referenced on the A+ Exam:
DB-9 – A DB-9 connector is used on a serial cable or a VGA cable and may be either male or female.
DB-25 – A DB-25 connector may be used on either a serial or parallel cable and may be either male or female.
RJ-11 – RJ-11 connectors are used in conjunction with a Modem, and may be plugged into a phone jack. RJ-11 connectors are male.
RJ-45 – RJ-45 connectors are most often used in an Ethernet or Token Ring network. RJ-45 connectors are male.
BNC – BNC connectors are used in conjunction with a Thinnet network.
PS/2 or MINI-DIN – PS/2 or MINI-DIN connectors have 6 sockets and are female. PS/2 or MINI-DIN connectors are used in conjunction with a PS/2 mouse.
USB – USB connectors are flat and square. USB connectors are most commonly used with newer peripherals such as printers, and digital cameras.
IEEE 1394 – The IEEE 1394 or FireWire connector resembles a cross between a USB port and a telephone jack. IEEE 1394 ports are used in conjunction with digital video peripherals.
1.5 Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring IDE/EIDE devices.

The A+ Exam will cover the following content concerning IDE/EIDE devices:
Master/Slave
– When configuring two IDE/EIDE drives, the primary drive must be set as the Master drive through the CMOS settings and jumpers. The secondary drive must be set as the Slave drive through the CMOS settings and jumpers. The Master drive controls the Slave drives by means of a controller.
Devices per Channel – Many System Boards contain two IDE controllers. Each IDE controller is capable of holding two drives. A System Board containing two IDE controllers is capable of holding a maximum of four drives.
Primary/Secondary – System Boards, which contain two IDE controllers, have a Primary controller and a Secondary controller. Each controller is capable of holding two drives. A System Board containing two IDE controllers is capable of holding a maximum of four drives, a Primary Master, a Primary Slave, a Secondary Master, and a Secondary Slave.
1.6 Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring SCSI devices.

The A+ Exam will cover the following content concerning SCSI devices:
Address/Termination Conflicts – Each SCSI device in a chain requires a unique ID. The host adapter identifies the devices and their priority using the ID number. The higher the number, the higher the priority of the device. Hard drives are normally set to use ID 0, whereas the Host Adapter is normally set to use ID 7. When chaining SCSI devices, you must ensure that the chain has been terminated on both ends.
Cabling – The cabling used in conjunction with SCSI is dependent on the fact of internal or external connections. When SCSI devices are chained internally, devices require a single ribbon cable, and a power connection. When SCSI devices are chained externally, devices are daisy-chained together using multiple cables. External devices contain their own power connections.
Types – There are several types of SCSI devices. The type of device determines their speed, cable length, and maximum devices they are able to accommodate. Regular SCSI has a data transfer rate of 5 MB/s, a maximum cable length of 6 m and a maximum device load of 8. Wide SCSI has a data transfer rate of 10 MB/s, a maximum cable length of 6 m and a maximum device load of 16. Ultra-Wide SCSI has a data transfer rate of 40 MB/s, a maximum cable length of 1.5 m and a maximum device load of 68.
Internal Versus External – SCSI devices may be chained internally to a computer system or externally. When SCSI devices are chained internally they require one power connection to the Power Supply. When SCSI devices are chained externally, they require separate power connections.
Expansion Slots, EISA, ISA, PCI – Expansion Slots are used to connect devices to the System Board. There are several types of Expansion Slots. EISA or Extended ISA slots have both 16-bit and 32-bit slots. ISA or Industry Standard Architecture slots have 16-bit slots. PCI or Peripheral Component Interconnect slots have both 32-bit and 64-bit slots. PCI slots are able to work well with both EISA, and ISA slots.
Jumper Block Settings (binary equivalents) – Jumpers are small metal and plastic connectors that complete circuits. You are able to set jumpers to a number of different settings to complete a particular hardware configuration. Jumper settings are translated into binary numbers for the computer to interpret and remember configuration parameters.

1.7 Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring peripheral devices.

You may be examined on the installation and configuration of the following peripheral devices:
Monitor/Video Card - To install a Video Card into a computer, simply locate an empty expansion slot, and gently push the Video Card into place. Fasten any supporting screws to the computer case, and connect any necessary cables running inside the computer, such as a connection from the Video Card to the System Board. After you have replaced the Computer case, connect any external cables such as the monitor cable. Your final installation step is to install the necessary software. Use Plug and Play compliant products to ease the installation process.
Modem - Modems may either be internal or external. Internal Modems are installed using an expansion slot, and configured to use a COM port. Internal Modems are more difficult to configure than External Modems. External Modems are installed using a serial port. Your final installation step is to install the necessary software. Use Plug and Play compliant products to ease the installation process.
USB peripherals and hubs – USB peripherals and hubs are installed by connecting the device to the USB port via a cable. After peripherals or hubs have been physically connected, the appropriate software may need to be installed. Most USB products are Plug and Play compliant and do not require manual configuration.
IEEE 1284 – IEEE 1284 ports allow for faster transfer rates than Parallel Ports. IEEE 1284 implementations include, ECP or Enhanced Capabilities Port, and EPP or Enhanced Parallel Port. ECP allows for faster data transfers to Printers using a DMA channel and a buffer. EPP allows for bi-directional transfers up to 1.5 Mbps. To install a peripheral into an IEEE 1284 port, connect the peripheral via a cable and install the appropriate software. Use Plug and Play compliant products to ease the installation process.
IEEE 1394 - The IEEE 1394 or FireWire connector resembles a cross between a USB port and a telephone jack. IEEE 1394 ports are used in conjunction with digital video peripherals. To install a peripheral into an IEEE 1394 port, connect the peripheral via a cable and install the appropriate software. Use Plug and Play compliant products to ease the installation process.
External Storage – External Storage Devices may be installed through the use of a Serial, Parallel, USB, or IEEE 1394 port. After connecting the peripheral to the correct port via a cable, install the appropriate software. Use Plug and Play compliant products to ease the installation process.
You must also be familiar with the procedures to install and configure the following items in Portable Systems:
Docking Stations – Most Portable Systems are equipped with the information needed to install and configure Docking Stations. Older Portable Systems may need to have appropriate software loaded or have a configuration parameter adjusted.
PC Cards - The first step in installing a PC Card is to install the necessary software to configure the PC Card. A PC Card is usually installed through a PC Card Slot by gently pushing the card into place. Most PC Cards are Plug and Play compliant.
Port Replicators – Most Docking Stations are equipped with expansion ports or port replicators for Portable Systems. Most Portable Systems are equipped with the information needed to install and configure Docking Stations. Older Portable Systems may need to have appropriate software loaded or have a configuration parameter adjusted.
Infrared Devices – Infrared Devices are enabled by default on most computer systems. The only configuration work that must be completed is installing the appropriate software on devices planned to be used in conjunction with one another.
1.8 Identify hardware methods of upgrading system performance, procedures for replacing basic subsystem components, unique components and when to use them.

The A+ Exam may ask you to identify upgrading and replacement methods of the following items:
Memory – To upgrade system speed and performance, memory may be increased. Memory is installed by locating the correct socket and gently pushing the Memory board into place. The most difficult aspect of installing memory is ensuring the correct amount and type of memory is purchased. Consult computer documentation to ensure memory requirements are met.
Hard Drives – To upgrade system speed and performance, Hard Drives may be replaced with larger or newer components. Hard Drives are installed into the computer case by positioning the Hard Drive in its place and fastening a set of screws. Hard Drives must be connected using two cables. One cable for power usually connected to the Power Supply or System Board, and the other cable being a controller cable, in which data is transferred. Always be sure to check the orientation of cables when connecting, using Pin 1 as a guideline.
CPU – To upgrade system speed and performance, a CPU may be replaced with a newer, and faster CPU. The CPU may be installed on the System Board in a variety of fashions. Some CPU’s are installed through the use of a ZIF design, while others are installed through a SEC. The type of CPU will determine how it is installed on the System Board. Most CPU’s are installed by locating the correct connection, and pushing the CPU chip in place, using the greatest of care. Some CPU’s cannot be replaced because of the socket type. If this is the case, replace the entire System Board.
Upgrading BIOS – To upgrade the BIOS in a computer, you are able to switch the BIOS chip while the computer is turned off or you are also able to “Flash” the BIOS. “Flashing” uses a piece of software to upload new BIOS to an EEPROM chip.
When to upgrade BIOS - When installing new hardware components, you may need to upgrade the BIOS to give the CPU instructions on what a component is and how to interact with it.
The A+ Exam will also cover upgrading and replacing of the following Portable System Components:
Battery – The Battery of a Portable System may need to upgraded or replaced in its lifetime. Batteries can be upgraded to better quality such as Lithium Ion or NiMH. Batteries may need to be replaced due to a memory problem. To remove or install a battery into a Portable System, consult individual system documentation.
Hard Drive – To upgrade or replace a Hard Drive in a Portable System, consult individual system documentation for placement. To upgrade system speed and performance, hard drives may be replaced with larger or newer components. Hard Drives must be connected using two cables. One cable for power usually connected to the Power Supply or System Board, and the other cable being a controller cable, in which data is transferred. Always be sure to check the orientation of cables when connecting using Pin 1 as a guideline.
Types I, II, III Cards – There are three types of PC Cards for Portable Systems. Type I PC Cards are 3.3 mm thick and are used for Memory. Type II PC Cards are 5 mm thick and are used for Modems, or Network Cards. Type III PC Cards are 10.5 mm thick and are used for Hard Disks. The first step in installing a PC Card is to install the necessary software to configure the PC Card. A PC Card is usually installed through a PC Card Slot by gently pushing the card into place. Most PC Cards are Plug and Play compliant.
Memory - To upgrade system speed and performance, memory may be increased. Memory is installed by locating the correct socket and gently pushing the Memory board into place. The most difficult aspect of installing memory is ensuring the correct amount and type of memory is purchased. Consult your Portable System documentation to ensure memory requirements are met. Memory may also be installed by means of a PC Card.
Domain 2.0 Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

2.1 Identify common symptoms and problems associated with each module and how to troubleshoot and isolate problems.

The A+ Exam may include questions on how to troubleshoot the following components:
Processor/Memory Symptoms – Processor problems may include overheating, corrected by checking or adding CPU fans. Another problem that occurs with Processors is chip creep, which can be corrected by reseating the CPU chip into its socket correctly. Memory problems may include chip creep, corrected by reseating Memory modules in their sockets. Another problem produced with Memory may be an out of date BIOS. To correct an out of date BIOS problem, simply replace BIOS chip, or reflash.
Mouse – Mouse problems may occur due to environmental issues, such as dust and dirt, or food and drink. Correct environmental issues by cleaning the inside of the mouse using denatured isopropyl alcohol and compressed air. If problems persist, replace the Mouse.
Floppy Drive – Bad media inserted into the drive may cause Floppy Drive problems. To correct bad media problems, try a new disk or try cleaning the Floppy Drive. Floppy Drive read/write heads may also cause a problem by misaligning. To correct a misalignment problem, use a commercial tool.
Parallel Ports – The first item to check if a Parallel Port problem occurs, is whether or not the problem is actually the port, or the peripheral attached to the port. Try connecting another peripheral to the port to test. Environmental issues such as dirt and dust may cause parallel Port problems. To correct problem, use compressed air, or complete a Loopback test on the troublesome port to test the ability to transfer and receive data.
Hard Drives – Hard Drive problems may occur for three reasons, the adapter is bad, the disk is bad, or the adapter and disk are connected incorrectly. If the adapter is bad, the Hard Disk will not work and may need to be replaced or reconfigured. If the disk is bad, information may be corrupt. To repair the disk, try reformatting or replacing the disk. To correct adapter and disk problems, look at the connections between the two, and reconfigure.
CD-ROM – CD-ROM problems may be caused by environmental issues such as a dirty lens. If a dirty lens is the problem, the CD-ROM will not be able to properly read from the CD. Clean the lens using a soft cloth. If CD-ROM does not work at all, check connections between CD-ROM drive and System Board or Power Supply.
DVD - DVD problems may be caused by environmental issues such as a dirty lens. If a dirty lens is the problem, the DVD will not be able to properly read from the DVD Drive. Clean the lens using a soft cloth. If DVD does not work at all, check connections between DVD drive and System Board or Power Supply.
Sound Card/Audio – Most Sound Card/Audio problems are caused by a resource conflict. To troubleshoot a Sound Card/Audio problem, use diagnostic utilities included with the Sound Card, or check Device Manger for IRQ, DMA, I/O conflicts. A Sound Card may also need to be reseated due to chip creep.
Monitor/Video – Monitor/Video problems occur frequently because of the data cable. If the Monitor has a blue, red, or green tint, try replacing the data cable. If problem persists, look to replacing the monitor due to a faulty gun. Magnetic fields may also cause a problem in a monitor by creating “fuzzing”. To correct a “fuzzing” problem, use the degauss feature included with the monitor. A monitor may simply need to have its size or vertical or horizontal alignment adjusted using the appropriate button on the monitor. Consult individual monitor documentation for more information on adjusting alignment issues.
Motherboards – Most Motherboard problems will be caught by the POST routine. For time problems, such as a computer that cannot keep track of time, try replacing the CMOS Battery.
Modems – Modem problems may be caused by a variety of problems. The most common problems include a modem that won’t dial. A modem that won’t dial may be set to use an incorrect COM port, or is incorrectly configured. If a Modem keeps hanging up in the middle of a session, call waiting on the phone line may be interrupting. To turn call waiting off dial *70. For the A+ exam, you should be familiar with the following table of AT commands to troubleshoot and repair a modem: Command Function
ATA Answer
ATD Dial
ATH0 Hang Up
ATZ Resets Modem to power-up defaults

BIOS - A problem produced with Memory may be an out of date BIOS. To correct an out of date BIOS problem, simply replace BIOS chip, or reflash.
USB - The first item to check if a USB Port problem occurs, is whether or not it is actually the port, or the peripheral attached to the port. Try connecting another peripheral to the port to test. Environmental issues such as dirt and dust may cause USB Port problems. To correct problem, use compressed air to clean.
NIC - Most NIC problems are caused by a resource conflict. To troubleshoot a NIC problem, use diagnostic utilities included with the NIC, or check Device Manger for IRQ, DMA, I/O conflicts. A NIC may also need to be reseated due to chip creep.
CMOS - Most CMOS problems will be caught by the POST routine. For time problems, such as a computer that cannot keep track of time, try replacing the CMOS Battery.
Power Supply – A Power Supply problem is easy to spot, as the computer will not power on if the Power Supply is causing a problem. To repair the problem, replace the Power Supply. Never repair a Power Supply unless you have been specifically trained to do so.
Slot Covers – If a computer has an overheating problem, ensure that all empty expansion slots are covered with a Slot Cover. Slot Covers prevent polluted air from entering the computer, and allows for better airflow inside the computer if all slots have a cover placed on them.
POST audible/visual error codes – When you power on a computer, the Power On Self Test runs basic checks on the components inside the computer. If a problem has occurred, the POST will let you know via an audible beep or a visual code. For the A+ Exam, you must be familiar with the following POST audible/visual error codes: Code Definition
No Beep No Power due to a failed Power Supply or unplugged computer
Continuous Beeps Keyboard stuck, Power Supply not connected correctly to System Board
1 short beep Video Card Problem
1** System Board Problem
2** Memory Problem
3** Keyboard Problem
5** Video Problem
6** Floppy Disk Problem
17** Hard Disk Problem

Troubleshooting Tools – Your computer repair toolkit should include a number of common tools such as a multimeter, screwdrivers, loopback plug, chip puller, flashlight, wire strippers, a bootable disk, and an antistatic wrist strap.
Large LBA, LBA – LBA is an acronym for Large Block Addressing. LBA was used to solve early BIOS and IDE controller limitations in being able to recognize hard drives which were larger than 512MB.
Cables – Cables must always be one of the first stops in the troubleshooting process. Always ensure that a cable is not damaged, or unplugged before further troubleshooting measures are taken. If in doubt to whether a cable is bad, replace with a known good cable.
Keyboard - Keyboard problems may occur due to environmental issues, such as dust and dirt, or food and drink. Correct environmental issues by cleaning the inside of the Keyboard using compressed air. If problems persist, replace the Keyboard. If something has been spilt on the Keyboard, soak in distilled water until clean.
Peripherals – Always ensure that a Peripheral is plugged in and turned on to begin troubleshooting. Make sure the Peripheral is online if need be. The next place to check when troubleshooting a Peripheral is the documentation if any error codes or beeps have developed.
2.2 Identify basic troubleshooting procedures and how to elicit problem symptoms form customer.

The A+ Exam may test you on the following procedures when troubleshooting a computer problem:

Troubleshooting/isolation/problem determination procedures:

Define the Problem

Check the simple items in the Beginning

Make sure the problem is not part of user error

Restart the Computer

Understand if the problem is due to Hardware or Software

Determine which Hardware component is causing the problem

Determine which Software component is causing the problem

Read the Documentation

Repair

If cannot repair, ask for help

Determine whether hardware or software problem – One of the first things you should determine is if the problem is either hardware or software related. One sign that the problem is hardware related is that the problem only occurs if a certain piece of hardware is used. If you are not sure, try using Step-By-Step confirmation to boot the computer, to see exactly when the problem is occurring.

Gather information from user regarding the Environment – When going on site to troubleshoot a computer, always check the Environment of the computer. Some items to look out for are, excessive amounts of dust, or dirt, smoking around computers, food and drink around computers, and anything plugged into the same outlet as the computer or close to the computer.

Gather information from the user regarding Symptoms/Error Codes – When troubleshooting a problem; always ask the user if this has happened before and when. Ask the user if anything has been installed or changed recently. Ask the user if the problem is persistent or comes and goes. Ask the user if there were any strange symptoms before the problem occurred.

Gather information from the user regarding the Situation when the problem occurred - When troubleshooting a problem; always ask the user if this has happened before and when. Ask the user if anything has been installed or changed recently. Ask the user if the problem is persistent or comes and goes. Ask the user if there were any strange symptoms before the problem occurred.

Domain 3.0 Preventive Maintenance

3.1 Identify the purpose of various types of preventive maintenance products and procedures and when to use them.

There are very few computer components that should be cleaned using liquid cleaning compounds. Some liquid cleaning compounds that may be used are:

Denatured Isopropyl Alcohol – Isopropyl Alcohol may be used to clean printheads on a dot matrix printer or a mouse.

Demineralized Water – Demineralized Water may be used to soak a keyboard in the case of spillage.

Mildly Soapy Water – Mildly Soapy Water and a damp cloth may be used to wipe cases of computer and printer.

To clean contacts and connections use compressed air and denatured isopropyl alcohol. Always be sure to turn off and unplug all components before opening case and cleaning.

Non-static or approved PC vacuums may be used to clean the chassis, power supplies, and fans. Never use a regular vacuum inside a computer, as it will cause ESD damage.

3.2 Identify issues, procedure and devices for protection within the computing environment, including people, hardware and the surrounding workspace.

A UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply will protect against too much power or too little power. A UPS supplies continuous uninterrupted power to a computer through a battery. A surge suppressor is a device that is placed between the AC line and the computer. A surge suppressor protects a computer from power surges.

Power issues may be caused by three types of problems:

Power Quality – Power Quality includes EMI and RFI. EMI is caused by electromagnetic interference from close by appliances. RFI is caused by radio frequency interference from close by televisions or a radio broadcast antenna. Use Line conditioners to solve power quality problems.

Over Power – There are two types of power overage problems, surges and spikes. Surges last for a few seconds but may cause computer reboots. Surges may be the result of lightening or power equipment. Spikes last for a few milliseconds, and may also cause computer reboots. Spikes may be the result of faulty power transformer equipment. Over Power problems may cause major degradation to computer components over time.

Under Power – There are three types of under power problems, sags, brownouts, and blackouts. Sags are a very brief dip in voltage and may be caused by a power quality issue. Brownouts are the same as sags with a greater length. Both sags and brownouts may cause computer reboots. Blackouts are a total loss of power caused by a power failure. Under power problems cause loss of unsaved information when the computer reboots.

When removing computer components always be sure to use anti-static bags to avoid ESD damage. Always store computer components in a cool, dry area. Cardboard, nylon, plastic, wood, and vinyl are not ESD safe materials.

The A+ Exam will cover safety procedures relating to dangerous computer components such as:

High-Voltage Equipment – High-Voltage Equipment should never be serviced unless you have been specifically trained to do so. Never wear an ESD strap when servicing high-voltage equipment.

Power Supply – Trained professionals should only open Power Supplies. Power Supplies contain enough stored power to cause life-threatening shocks. Power Supplies may be inexpensively replaced. Never wear an ESD strap when servicing a Power Supply.

CRT – Trained professionals should only repair Cathode Ray Tubes in monitors. Cathode Ray Tubes contain enough stored power to cause life-threatening shocks. Never wear an ESD strap when servicing a CRT.

Several computer components must follow special disposal procedures that comply with environmental guidelines. These components include:

Batteries – Batteries contain materials, which do not safely degrade and contain many harmful chemicals. Batteries should be recycled according to your local authorities and laws.

CRTs – Check with manufacturer as you may be paid to return for recycling and proper disposal. CRTs contain lethal amounts of stored power and may implode on impact, sending shards of glass flying.

Toner kits/cartridges – Check with manufacturer for recycling instructions. Although using recycled ink cartridges is not recommended there are components of ink cartridges that may be used in the creation of new cartridges.

Chemical solvents and cans – Chemical solvents should never be disposed of through the water system. Check MSDS for instructions on how to dispose of individual chemical solvents and their cans. You may also check with local hazardous waste disposal facilities for disposal instructions.

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) – The MSDS is your step-by-step guide to safe disposal of chemical solvents. These sheets also contain instructions to follow when a lethal dose has occurred.

ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) precautions and procedures such as the following must be followed to prevent damage to computer components:

ESD is caused by static electricity. ESD may cause a slow degradation of computer components. This degradation may be displayed as erratic problems or a complete shut down of a computer system.

Some common ESD protection devices include anti-static straps, anti-static bags, anti-static mats, and anti-static spray. Humidifiers may also lessen the risk of ESD damage.

Always take ESD precautions when repairing a computer. When opening the case of a computer use an anti-static strap and anti-static mat whenever possible. Hot, and dry conditions may also be the cause of ESD damage.

Domain 4.0 Motherboard/Processors/Memory

4.1 Distinguish between the popular CPU chips in terms of their basic characteristics.

The A+ Exam may test you on the following aspects of CPU chips:

Popular CPU chips (Intel, AMD, Cyrix) – Popular CPU chips include Intel, AMD, and Cyrix chips. Intel chips include 386, 486, Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium II, Pentium III, and Celeron. Advanced Micro Devices or AMD, and Cyrix chips are Intel “clones”. The following table describes the popular Intel CPU chips:

Chip Data Bus Width (Bits) Address Bus Width (Bits) Speed (MHz) Feature
386DX 32 32 16-33
386SX 32 24 16-20
486DX 32 32 25-50 8KB Level 1 Cache
486SX 32 32 16-33 Math Co-Processor Disabled
486DX2 32 32 33-66
Pentium 32 32 60-166 Superscalar
Pentium Pro 64 32 150-200
Pentium II 64 64 233-300 32KB of Level 1 Cache, MMX Technology
Celeron 64 64 400-600
Pentium III 64 64 350-1000

Characteristics – Characteristics of a CPU chip deal with the Data Bus and Address Bus widths, their speed, and any other special features. Intel produces chips with a wide variety of characteristics. Data Bus widths can range anywhere from 32 to 64 bits. Address Bus widths can range anywhere from 24 to 64 bits. Speeds of CPU chips can range from 16-1000 MHz and special features can include Cache, and MMX Technology.

Physical Size – The Physical Size of a CPU is directly related to the number of pins that a CPU must use to connect to the System Board. The number of pins attached to a CPU may range from 273 to 387. Newer CPU chips resemble Expansion Boards rather than chips. Physical dimensions may range from 1” x 1” to 4” x 6”.

Voltage – Computer Systems use voltages that are lower than 12V. CPU chips may need voltages as high as 5V, while other newer CPU chips only require a voltage of 3.3V or 2.5V.

Speeds – The actual speed of a CPU is directly related to the width of the Data and Address Buses. Intel CPU’s have a speed range from 16 to 1000 MHz.

On Board Cache or Not – Some of Intel’s chips include a level or two of on board Cache. On Board Cache simply allows the CPU to process information faster by storing frequently used instructions and memory addresses.

Sockets – Early Intel CPU chips were placed on a System Board by means of a Socket. The CPU chips had anywhere from 273 to 387 pins to connect to the Socket. Socketed CPU chips were hard to remove and replace.

SEC (Single Edge Contact) – SEC or Single Edge Contact is the new housing for Intel’s CPU chips. The SEC CPU chips look more like an Expansion Board rather than their predecessors.

4.2 Identify the categories of RAM (Random Access Memory) terminology, their locations, and physical characteristics.

You must be familiar with the following types of RAM for the A+ Exam:

EDO RAM (Extended Data Output RAM) – EDO RAM eliminated memory wait states by avoiding steps to access memory. EDO RAM is faster than FPM DRAM, but more expensive.

DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) – DRAM stores information as charges in capacitors and thus needs to be constantly refreshed. Most computers today use DRAM because of its ability to pack memory units with a high density.

SRAM (Static Random Access Memory) – SRAM does not need a constant refresh or update like DRAM does. Information is stored in transistors as binary digits. SRAM is physically bulky compared to DRAM. SRAM is much faster than DRAM but more expensive.

RIMM (Rambus Inline Memory Module 184 Pin) – RIMM is extremely fast, up to 800 MHz. RIMM uses a 16-bit memory bus to transfer data through the computer.

VRAM (Video RAM) – VRAM is used to store data for processing by the video adapter. The more VRAM, the better the quality and resolution of the picture on the display.

SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM) – SDRAM is synchronized to run at the same speed as the system it is used in. SDRAM does not have to wait for the clock to move information and thus makes it quite fast.

WRAM (Windows Accelerator Card RAM) – WRAM is a special type of memory for Windows accelerator cards. WRAM is able to read and write at the same time. The ability to read and write at the same time is known as dual-ported memory.

Memory Bank – Some types of Memory must be installed in Banks or Sets. A Memory Bank is simply a set of Memory Modules.

Memory Chips (8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit) – On SIMM’s and DIMM’s there are Dual Inline Package Chips, otherwise known as Memory Chips. Memory Chips contain the data that is stored in Memory. Memory Chips used to be purchased in tubes or sets of 8, 16, and 32. Each DIP or Memory Chip is capable of having 1 bit of information. Depending on how many bits of memory you needed, you would need to install that many chips into your computer. Nowadays, Memory Chips are found on SIMM’s and DIMM’s in groups.

SIMM (Single In-line Memory Module) – SIMM Memory was developed because DIP chips were taking up too much room on the System Board. Each SIMM board contains many DIP chips on one side of the board. SIMM usually must be installed in pairs.

DIMM (Dual In-In line Memory Module) – DIMM Memory is a dual-sided memory chip. DIMM boards contain many DIP chips on both sides of the board. DIMM is usually installed by single boards.

Parity Chips versus Non-Parity Chips – Parity Chips contain a built in form of error checking. Parity works by adding an additional bit to a binary number to indicate any changes that have been made to a binary number while being transmitted. If there was a change in the number, the data is considered to be corrupt and is resent. Non-Parity Chips do not contain this form of error checking and data is transmitted whether it is corrupt or not.

4.3 Identify the most popular type of motherboards, their components, and their architecture (bus structures and power supplies).

You must be familiar with the following components for the A+ Exam:

AT (Full and Baby) – Full AT System Boards are considered Nonintegrated System Boards. Full AT System Boards contain all major assemblies installed as expansion cards. Baby AT System Boards are also considered Nonintegrated System Boards. Baby AT System Boards are compressed versions of the Full AT System Board. In the Baby AT Board, the processor and memory are in-line with the expansion slots. The Baby AT Board has overheating issues due to the fact that the CPU is so far from the Power Supplies cooling fan.

ATX – The ATX System Board was designed to replace the Baby AT System Board to overcome the expansion slot limitation and the overheating problems. The ATX System Board has the processor and memory slots at right angles to the Power Supply, overcoming both the overheating problem, and the limited expansion slot problem.

Communication Ports – Communication Ports include Serial, Parallel, USB, and IEEE 1394 ports. Communication Ports allow outside peripherals to communicate with the System Board and the rest of the computer.

SIMM and DIMM - SIMM Memory was developed because DIP chips were taking up too much room. Each SIMM board contains many DIP chips on one side of the board. SIMM usually must be installed in pairs. DIMM Memory is a dual-sided memory chip. DIMM boards contain many DIP chips on both sides of the board. DIMM is usually installed by single boards.

Processor Sockets – Early Intel CPU chips were placed on a System Board by means of a Socket. The CPU chips had anywhere from 273 to 387 pins to connect to the Socket. Socketed CPU chips were hard to remove and replace.

External Cache Memory (Level 2) – External Cache Memory or Level 2 Cache is contained on a separate Expansion Board. The External Cache Memory installs in a special processor bus that contains cache memory.

Bus Architecture – Bus Architecture includes the specifications on how data travels from one area of a computer to another. There are many types of Bus Architectures that have been created over the years. Bus Architectures come in many sizes and speeds to complement the system in which it is installed.

ISA – ISA or Industry Standard Architecture is a 16-bit bus. The ISA bus is an extension of the 8-bit bus connector. The maximum speed of a regular ISA bus is 8 MHz and the maximum speed of a turbo ISA bus is 10 MHz. An ISA bus is configured through the use of Jumpers and switches.

PCI – PCI or Peripheral Component Interconnect is a 64-bit bus. The PCI bus was created to match the speed of the Pentium processor. The maximum speed of a PCI bus is 66MHz. A PCI bus is configured through the use of Software or Plug and Play.

AGP – AGP or Accelerated Graphics Port is a 32-bit bus. The AGP bus was designed to allow graphics to be displayed in a much faster process. The maximum speed of the AGP bus is 66MHz. An AGP bus is configured through the use of Software or Plug and Play.

USB (Universal Serial Bus) - USB Ports are able to support up to 127 external devices through a hub or a chain setup. USB ports are now commonly found on most computers and peripheral devices. USB supports a data transfer rate up to 1.5 Mbps.

VESA local bus (VL-Bus) – VESA local bus or VL-Bus is a 32-bit bus. The VL-Bus was created to replace the EISA bus, and maintained a standard to fit all vendor computers. The VL-Bus has a maximum speed of 33 MHz and is configured through the use of Jumpers and switches.

Basic compatibility guidelines – There are a few compatibility guidelines to keep in mind when talking about buses. Remember that an 8-bit expansion card will fit into an ISA slot. An ISA expansion card will fit into an EISA slot. The PCI bus is compatible with both ISA and EISA standards.

IDE (ATA, ATAPI, ULTRA-DMA, EIDE) - When configuring two IDE/EIDE drives, the primary drive must be set as the Master drive through the CMOS settings and jumpers. The secondary drive must be set as the Slave drive through the CMOS settings and jumpers. The Master drive controls the Slave drives by means of a controller.

System Boards, which contain two IDE controllers, have a Primary controller and a Secondary controller. Each controller is capable of holding two drives. A System Board containing two IDE controllers is capable of holding a maximum of four drives, a Primary Master, a Primary Slave, a Secondary Master, and a Secondary Slave. ATA is an acronym for Advanced Technology Attachment; ATAPI is an acronym for ATA Packet Interface. Both of these acronyms provide the basic guidelines on how to attach additional drives to an ATA connector. Ultra-DMA is capable of data transfer rates of 33 Mbps.

SCSI (Wide, Fast, Ultra, LVD (Low Voltage Differential) - There are several types of SCSI devices. The type of device determines their speed, cable length, and maximum devices they are able to accommodate. Regular SCSI has a data transfer rate of 5 MB/s, a maximum cable length of 6 m and a maximum device load of 8. Wide SCSI has a data transfer rate of 10 MB/s, a maximum cable length of 6 m and a maximum device load of 16. Ultra-Wide SCSI has a data transfer rate of 40 MB/s, a maximum cable length of 1.5 m and a maximum device load of 68.

4.4 Identify the purpose of CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor), what is contains and how to change its basic parameters.

You must be familiar with the following items included with the CMOS settings:

Printer Parallel Port – The Printer Parallel Port settings are controlled through the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. The CMOS will allow you to adjust settings such as uni or bi-directional options, ECP and EPP options, and whether you would like to disable a Parallel Port.

COM/Serial Port – The Serial or COM port settings are controlled through the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. The CMOS will allow you to adjust settings such as which memory address, and interrupt a Serial port uses. The CMOS will also allow you to disable a Serial Port.

Floppy Drive – Floppy Drive settings are controlled through the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. The CMOS will allow you to adjust settings such as the speed and density of a Floppy Drive. The CMOS will also allow you to disable or enable a Floppy Drive.

Hard Drive – The Hard Drive settings are maintained through the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. The CMOS will allow you to adjust settings such as the size and type of a Hard Drive.

Memory – Memory settings are maintained through the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. The CMOS will allow you to adjust settings such as whether or not Memory uses parity.

Boot Sequence – The Boot Sequence of a computer is maintained through the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. You are able to adjust which drive your computer looks for the Operating System on first through the use of the CMOS program.

Date/Time – The Date/Time of a computer is maintained through the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. You are able to adjust the Date/Time of your computer through the CMOS program.

Passwords – System Passwords are maintained through the use of the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. You are able to change the system Password through the CMOS program.

Plug & Play BIOS – BIOS settings are maintained through the use of the CMOS program. The CMOS program may be accessed from a hot key combination at startup. You are able to change whether the BIOS is Plug & Play compatible through the CMOS program.

Domain 5.0 Printers
5.1 Identify basic concepts, printer operations and printer components.

Paper feeder mechanisms decide how paper is pulled into a printer, how paper is aligned in front of a printing mechanism, and how paper is moved out of the printer. There are two basic types of paper feeder mechanisms:
Sheet Feed – One piece of paper is moved through the printer at a time.
Continuous Feed – Paper is connected into one long sheet and moved through the printer continuously.
The A+ Exam will examine you on three types of printers:
Laser – Laser Printers are used for demanding print needs such as quality, and speed. Although Laser Printers require quite a bit of RAM to operate, they are becoming highly used. Laser Printers use a six-step process to produce a final printed product:
Cleaning – Any toner remaining on the Print drum is removed using a rubber blade. A fluorescent lamp discharges any charges left on the photosensitive drum
Conditioning – The Charge corona wire uses a high voltage from the HVPS to apply a –600V DC charge to the photosensitive drum
Writing – The print controller sends a laser pieces of an image. In turn the laser draws the image on the drum. The drawn areas on the drum have a reduced charge of about –100V DC
Developing – Toner is transferred to areas that have a lesser charge, such as the drawn areas.
Transferring – A positive charge of +600V DC is place on paper by the transfer corona wire. The positively charged paper pulls the toner from the drum to the paper.
Fusing – Fuser rollers melt the resin of the toner to the paper through pressure rollers.
Inkjet – Inkjet printers use an ink cartridge with small chambers to transfer an image to paper. Pinholes at the bottom of each chamber spray ink on a page to form images with a series of dots. An electrical signal and pressure notifies the chamber when to spray ink on the page.
Dot Matrix – Dot Matrix printers contain a printhead with a row of pins. The pins in the printhead are given an electric signal from the print controller to strike the ink ribbon in a specific pattern, thus creating a character or image. Dot Matrix printers are still used with multipart forms because of their striking action.
There are several types of printer connections that will be covered on the A+ exam:
Parallel – A parallel printer connection will enable the printer to receive data eight bits at a time. This used to be the most popular communication medium from computer to printer because of its fast speed. A parallel cable consists of a male 36-pin Centronics connector to connect to the printer and a male DB-25 connector to connect to the computer. Connection cables between a printer and computer should be limited to less than 10 feet.
Network – Some printers are connected directly to a network by means of a NIC and software that is ROM based. Printers connected by this method are able to communicate with workstations, servers, and entire networks.
USB – Universal Serial Bus is currently the most popular type of printer connection. This connection is faster than both serial and parallel. USB is quickly becoming the most popular connection interface for almost all peripherals.
Infrared – Infrared connections use a wireless radiation transmission to communicate between infrared ports. Infrared ports are becoming very popular on both laptops and PDAs to transfer information between computer systems.
Serial – Information sent over a serial connection is sent one bit at a time. Serial connections are rarely used with printers because of its slow transmission rates.
5.2 Identify care and service techniques and common problems with primary printer types.

The A+ exam may include questions on the following servicing and problem areas:
Feed and output – If printer feed and output are incorrect ensure that the printer is turned on, online, and that all cables are correctly connected. Feed rollers may need to be reset by turning the printer off and on if paper is not properly entering and exiting the printer.
Errors (printed or displayed) – Error messages may come in the form of paper or a screen in the Laser Printers case. Check cable connections, driver software, or Laser Printer manual to decode messages. Windows Print troubleshooter may also be used to correct printing errors.
Paper Jam – Using incorrect paper may cause Paper jams, or too much paper loaded into the paper tray. Always observe where the paper is jamming in a printer to determine cause of problem.
Print quality – Print quality problems may be caused by low toner or ribbon quantities or incorrect paper usage. Check levels of toner and ribbon to improve print quality. A poorly cleaned drum may cause a ghosting image in a Laser Printer. Never use refillable ink cartridges.
Safety precautions – When servicing a dot matrix printer, never touch a printhead after use, as it becomes extremely hot. Always disconnect printer from all electrical power sources before servicing or cleaning.
Preventive maintenance – Check documentation of individual printer for servicing needs. Never lubricate a dot matrix printhead. Use denatured isopropyl alcohol to clean a printhead in a dot matrix printer.
Domain 6.0 Basic Networking

6.1 Identify basic networking concepts, including how a network works and the ramifications of repairs on the network.

The A+ Exam may test you on the following components of networks:
Installing and Configuring Network Cards - To install a NIC into a computer, simply locate an empty expansion slot, and gently push the NIC into place. Fasten any supporting screws to the computer case, and connect any necessary cables running inside the computer, such as a connection from the NIC to the System Board. After you have replaced the Computer case, connect any external cables such as the network cable. Your final installation step is to install the necessary software.
Network Access – Network Access may be granted through the use of a Server or through shared resources. There are two types of Networks, Peer-to-Peer and Server Based. Peer-to-Peer Networks gain Network Access through the use of shared resources. Server Based Networks gain Network Access through the use of permissions.
Full-Duplex, Half-Duplex – Full-Duplex and Half-Duplex define how data is able to flow through circuits. Full-Duplex circuits allow data to transfer in two directions simultaneously. Half-Duplex circuits allow data to transfer in one direction at a time.
Cabling –Twisted Pair, Coaxial, Fiber Optic, RS-232 – There are many different types of cabling used in

A+ Operating Systems Technologies (220-222) Sample test questions and answers
1. Which protocol is the world wide web based on?

Your Answer: B) HTTP

Correct Answer: B) HTTP

Explanation: 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.

2. Where are the Windows 2000 registry hive files located?

Your Answer: C) Windows\SYSTEM32\HIVE

Correct Answer: D) WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG

Explanation: 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.

3. Which of the following operating systems did not come with a bootable CD?

Your Answer: A) Windows 95

Correct Answer: A) Windows 95


4. ____________ 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.

Your Answer: C) MSCONFIG

Correct Answer: D) ASD

Explanation: ASD stands for Automatic Skip Driver.

5. What does Error in CONFIG.SYS line XX mean?

Your Answer: C) Syntax error in CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT

Correct Answer: C) Syntax error in CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT

Explanation: XX will be the line number that the error occurred.

6. Which of the following operating systems did not include the Device Manager?

Your Answer: B) Windows 98

Correct Answer: C) Windows NT

Explanation: Administering hardware in Windows NT is difficult due to the lack of Plug and Play support and lack of a Device Manager.

7. Before installing Windows 9x, what steps must be performed?

Your Answer: C) FDISK, reboot, FORMAT

Correct Answer: C) FDISK, reboot, FORMAT

Explanation: 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.

8. How do you create an emergency repair disk(ERD) in Windows 2000?

Your Answer: B) RDISK

Correct Answer: A) With the backup utility

Explanation: The ERD can also be created during the installation of the OS.

9. ______________ is a disk caching program for DOS and Windows 3.x systems that keeps a copy of recently accessed hard disk data in memory.

Your Answer: C) SMARTDRV.SYS

Correct Answer: C) SMARTDRV.SYS

Explanation: 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.

10. Which tool logs system, application and security events in Windows NT/2000?

Your Answer: C) Event Viewer

Correct Answer: C) Event Viewer

Explanation: 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.

11. Which utility is used to display the route that packets take over a network?

Your Answer: E) TRACERT

Correct Answer: E) TRACERT

Explanation: 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 no longer active.

12. How do you upgrade directly from Windows 3.1 to Windows 2000?

Your Answer: A) Run the 4 Windows 2000 setup disks and install over the top of Windows 3.1

Correct Answer: C) Windows 3.1 cannot be directly upgraded to Windows 2000


13. Which of the following services is not commonly provided by an ISP?

Your Answer: C) Operating system installation

Correct Answer: C) Operating system installation

Explanation: ISP stands for Internet Service Provider

14. What is the utility in Windows 98 that allows for the ability to edit and backup the config.sys, autoexec.bat, win.ini and system.ini files?

Your Answer: A) SYSEDIT

Correct Answer: B) MSCONFIG

Explanation: This manager also provides the ability to back these files up, modify the start-up environment and configure advanced troubleshooting settings.

15. When will ScanDisk run automatically?

Your Answer: A) On startup when the system was not previously shut down properly

Correct Answer: A) On startup when the system was not previously shut down properly

Explanation: 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.

16. Which of the following tools reorganizes data on the disk for optimal disk performance?

Your Answer: D) DEFRAG

Correct Answer: D) DEFRAG

Explanation: 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.

17. What is FDISK used for?

Your Answer: C) Partition a hard drive

Correct Answer: C) Partition a hard drive

Explanation: FDISK can also be used to repair the master boot record(MBR).

18. Which of the following is a valid way to create a shortcut?

Your Answer: E) These are all valid ways to create a shortcut.

Correct Answer: E) These are all valid ways to create a shortcut.

Explanation: Using the methods described in C and D you will have to browse to the location of the file whereas in methods A and B, the shortut will be instantly created since the file is already selected.

19. Which of the following must be PnP compatible for Plug and Play to work?

Your Answer: A) BIOS, C) The device, D) Operating System

Correct Answer: A) BIOS, C) The device, D) Operating System

Explanation: If one of these items is not PnP compatible then the device will not be automatically detected by the system.

20. The multitasking type in which 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) is known as:

Your Answer: A) Task switching

Correct Answer: C) Preemptive multitasking

Explanation: Multitasking is the ability to work on several different tasks at a time. This is accomplished by switching back and forth between the tasks.

21. You are getting ready to install Windows 98 on a system with the following hardware: 486DX with 66MHz processor, 8MB RAM, VGA display, 512MB hard drive. Which of the following will cause this installation to fail?

Your Answer: B) Memory

Correct Answer: B) Memory

Explanation: WIndows 98 requires at least 16mb of RAM.

22. Which file is located in C:DOS and controls extended memory management in the extended memory area.

Your Answer: C) HIMEM.SYS

Correct Answer: C) HIMEM.SYS

Explanation: 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.

23. Which of the following files can be modified in a text editor?

Your Answer: A) AUTOEXEC.BAT

Correct Answer: A) AUTOEXEC.BAT, D) MSDOS.SYS

Explanation: Other common start-up files that can be viewed in a text editor are CONFIG.SYS and WIN.INI

24. At a DOS prompt, which keyboard stroke will enter the previous command 1 character per keystroke?

Your Answer: B) F3

Correct Answer: A) F1

Explanation: Know the difference between the F1 and F3 keyboard functions when in DOS mode.

25. On boot, you receive an error message that HIMEM.SYS is not loaded. What is most likely causing this?

Your Answer: B) AUTOEXEC.BAT is missing the line HIMEM.SYS=ON

Correct Answer: A) CONFIG.SYS is missing the line Device=C:HIMEM.SYS

Explanation: Also make sure that the path specified to HIMEM.SYS is where the file actually is.

26. Where in the start menu is the Windows 98 Backup utility located?

Your Answer: C) Settings>Control Panel>Backup

Correct Answer: A) Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Backup

Explanation: Backup can also be accessed by right clicking on a drive in My Computer and selecting the tools tab.

27. Which is not a valid way to view the amount of used space on a Windows 2000 drive?

Your Answer: B) System Properties control panel

Correct Answer: B) System Properties control panel


28. Which of the following files is not required in order to boot a Windows 2000 system on an Intel based system?

Your Answer: C) NTDETECT

Correct Answer: B) OSLOADER

Explanation: OSLOADER is required for RISC based systems only.

29. You have a computer with Windows 98 on it and you dual-boot it with Windows 2000. Now you are no longer able to access Windows 98. What most likely happened?

Your Answer: C) The Windows 98 WIN.INI file was overwritten

Correct Answer: D) The partition was converted to NTFS during the installation of Windows 2000

Explanation: Windows 98 does not support the NTFS filesystem.

30. In Windows 2000, which utility is used to administer hard disks?

Your Answer: A) Disk Administrator

Correct Answer: D) Disk Management MMC

Explanation: 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.

31. The easiest upgrade to perform is:

Your Answer: C) Windows 95 to Windows 98

Correct Answer: C) Windows 95 to Windows 98

Explanation: Any usable information that is available from Windows 95 will be used during the upgrade.

32. What are the 3 core components of Windows 9x?

Your Answer: C) User, Kernel and GDI

Correct Answer: C) User, Kernel and GDI

Explanation: These 3 components are as follows: 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.

33. In a typical Windows installation, where is the Windows Desktop located in the file system?

Your Answer: A) C:\Windows\System\Desktop

Correct Answer: B) C:\Windows\Desktop

Explanation: 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.

34. Where can information about upgrade or installation failures be found?

Your Answer: A) bootlog.txt

Correct Answer: C) setuplog.txt

Explanation: This file is created during installation of Windows 9x and records all the options chosen during setup.

35. What does DHCP do?

Your Answer: B) Assigns IP addresses to computers

Correct Answer: B) Assigns IP addresses to computers

Explanation: DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

36. You would like to convert a partition from FAT16 to FAT32 on a Windows 98 system. Which tool can be used to convert the partition without losing data?

Your Answer: C) CONVERT

Correct Answer: D) CVT1

Explanation: CVT1 is a drive converter application.

37. Which of the following are ways to create a bootable floppy in Windows 9x?

Your Answer: B) Open a command prompt and type SYS A:, C) From a command prompt type FORMAT A: /S

Correct Answer: A) In the Add/Remove Programs control panel, select the Startup Disk tab and click on Create Disk, B) Open a command prompt and type SYS A:, C) From a command prompt type FORMAT A: /S


38. Which utility is used for uncompressing CAB files?

Your Answer: D) EXTRACT

Correct Answer: D) EXTRACT

Explanation: EXTRACT is run from a command line.

39. On a Windows 9x computer, which utility will display the TCP/IP configuration information?

Your Answer: E) WINIPCFG

Correct Answer: E) WINIPCFG

Explanation: WINIPCFG - Displays current TCP/IP configurations on the local workstation for Windows 9x computers.

40. You upgrade your DOS version from 5.x to 6.x and after this a DOS application will no longer run. When attempting to run the application you receive an Incorrect DOS Version error message. What do you do?

Your Answer: C) Use the SETVER utility

Correct Answer: C) Use the SETVER utility

Explanation: SETVER command displays the version table and reports a DOS version number to programs or device drivers for backward compatibility.

41. Which utility is used to edit the registry in Windows 9x?

Your Answer: C) regedit.exe

Correct Answer: C) regedit.exe

Explanation: This utility allows you to edit and restore the registry settings.

42. You are upgrading Windows 95 to Windows 98 and the installation fails during the first stage of the upgrade. What is the most likely cause of this?

Your Answer: B) Incompatible hardware components

Correct Answer: A) CMOS antivirus software

Explanation: CMOS antivirus software should be disabled before upgrading. 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, however, this should not affect the installation of Windows.

43. You send a print job to a printer and do not receive any visible error messages. The job shows up in the queue but is not printing. What is most likely the problem?

Your Answer: D) The printer is offline

Correct Answer: D) The printer is offline

Explanation: If the printer is set offline it will not print. A printer being set offline with a user-intervention required message may mean that something is wrong with the printer.

44. Which file is automatically executed and contains DOS commands that run other programs and set commands.

Your Answer: D) AUTOEXEC.BAT

Correct Answer: D) AUTOEXEC.BAT

Explanation: The AUTOEXEC.BAT file is located in the Root directory and is not required for startup.

45. Which key combination will open the start menu?

Your Answer: D) CTRL + ESC

Correct Answer: D) CTRL + ESC

Explanation: Once the start-menu is open the arrow keys can be used for navigation. This can be helpful if the mouse fails.

46. What is the name of the log file that DrWatson writes errors to?

Your Answer: A) errors.log

Correct Answer: D) drwatson.log

Explanation: 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.

47. Which of the following are Plug and Play operating systems

Your Answer: D) Windows 9x and Windows 2000

Correct Answer: D) Windows 9x and Windows 2000

Explanation: DOS, Windows 3.x and Windows NT are not Plug and Play compliant.

48. When a user tries to print large documents, they receive Out of Memory errors. What is most likely causing the problem?

Your Answer: D) The computer is running out of hard disk space

Correct Answer: D) The computer is running out of hard disk space

Explanation: 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.

49. Which Operating Systems support Internet Connection Sharing(ICS)

Your Answer: E) All Windows versions

Correct Answer: D) Windows 98/2000

Explanation: ICS allows multiple computer to share a single internet connection.

50. What does CTRL + SHIFT + ESC do in Windows 2000?

Your Answer: C) Launches Windows Explorer

Correct Answer: D) Opens the Task Manager

Explanation: CTRL + ALT + DEL will perform the same function.

51. Of the following files listed, which make up the Windows 9x registry? 1) System.dat - 2) User.dat - 3) Reg.dat - 4) Config.dat

Your Answer: A) 1, B) 2, C) 3

Correct Answer: A) 1, B) 2

Explanation: USER.DAT contains information about system users while SYSTEM.DAT contains information about hardware and system settings.

52. The Device Manager is located in which control panel?

Your Answer: D) System

Correct Answer: D) System

Explanation: The Device Manager can also be accessed by right clicking on My Computer and selecting Properties.

53. Which of the following file systems is supported by Windows 95 Revision A?

Your Answer: A) FAT16

Correct Answer: A) FAT16

Explanation: Windows 95 only supported the FAT16 filesystem. Windows 95 OSR2 provided support for FAT32.

54. Which Windows 9x component is responsible for what appears on the display and other graphics functions?

Your Answer: E) SYSTEM.INI

Correct Answer: A) GDI.EXE

Explanation: GDI.EXE/GDI32.EXE are responsible for loading the basic GUI or graphical user interface.

55. Which of the following methods will allow you to boot into safe mode in Windows 98?

Your Answer: C) Insert a non-bootable floppy disk in the floppy disk drive, and then restart your computer. When you receive the Non-system disk or disk error message, remove the floppy disk from the floppy disk drive. Press F8, and then press F8. When you do this, the Windows 98 Startup menu is displayed. Select the Safe Mode menu option from the Startup menu, and then press ENTER.

Correct Answer: A) While your computer restarts, press and hold the CTRL key until the Windows 98 Startup menu is displayed. Select the Safe Mode menu option from the Startup menu, and then press ENTER., B) Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools and then click System Information. On the Tools menu, click System Configuration Utility. Click Advanced, and then click to select the Enable Startup Menu check box. Restart your computer and select the Safe Mode menu option from the Startup menu, and then press ENTER., C) Insert a non-bootable floppy disk in the floppy disk drive, and then restart your computer. When you receive the Non-system disk or disk error message, remove the floppy disk from the floppy disk drive. Press F8, and then press F8. When you do this, the Windows 98 Startup menu is displayed. Select the Safe Mode menu option from the Startup menu, and then press ENTER., D) Restart your computer in MS-DOS Mode. From a command prompt type win /d:m.

Explanation: If Windows 98 does not start normally, try to start it in Safe mode. Starting Windows 98 in Safe mode bypasses the current real-mode configuration and loads a minimal protected-mode configuration, disabling Windows 98 device drivers and using the standard VGA display adapter.

56. MSCONFIG provides the ability to edit the config.sys, autoexec.bat, win.ini and system.ini files. Which additional file does SYSEDIT allow to be edited?

Your Answer: C) PROTOCOL.INI

Correct Answer: C) PROTOCOL.INI

Explanation: 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 9x/NT/2000.

57. Windows 2000 is a 32-bit OS that is not based on DOS. Which of the following is used to support DOS applications in Windows 2000?

Your Answer: B) VDMs

Correct Answer: B) VDMs

Explanation: 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.

58. Which of the following are ways to access the printers folder?

Your Answer: A) Start>Settings>Printers, B) Start>Settings>Control Panel>Printers, C) My Computer>Printers

Correct Answer: A) Start>Settings>Printers, B) Start>Settings>Control Panel>Printers, C) My Computer>Printers

Explanation: These are all ways to access the printers folder. To view properties on a printer, you can choose Properties from the file menu or right click on the printer icon and select properties.

59. At a DOS prompt, which keyboard stroke will enter the entire previous command with 1 keystroke?

Your Answer: B) F3

Correct Answer: B) F3

Explanation: Know the difference between the F1 and F3 keyboard functions when in DOS mode.

60. In Windows 98, you create a file called verylongfilename.doc. How would this file appear when viewed in a command window?

Your Answer: D) verylo~1.doc

Correct Answer: D) verylo~1.doc

Explanation: DOS only supports 8 character filenames while Windows 9x supports filenames up to 255 characters in length. DOS assigns duplicate filenames(8.3 format) for backward compatability.

61. In order for someone to print to a network printer, what must be configured?

Your Answer: A) The printer must be shared

Correct Answer: A) The printer must be shared, C) File and print sharing must be enabled, D) Drivers must be installed


62. The use of free hard disk space as memory is known as:

Your Answer: D) Virtual memory

Correct Answer: D) Virtual memory

Explanation: The use of virtual memory speeds up system performance.

63. You wish to display the version of the operating system that you are running from a command/DOS prompt?

Your Answer: C) VER

Correct Answer: C) VER

Explanation: From the command line, this command will show the version of operating system that is running.

64. You need to find out the amount of free memory in your system. Which command will display this information?

Your Answer: A) MEM

Correct Answer: A) MEM

Explanation: MEM shows the amount of memory in the system, how much is being used, how much is free and other useful memory information.

65. When booting a Windows 98 computer, you receive the error message Bad or Missing Command.com. How do you fix this?

Your Answer: B) Boot with a Windows startup disk and type SYS C: at a command prompt

Correct Answer: B) Boot with a Windows startup disk and type SYS C: at a command prompt

Explanation: Bad or Missing COMMAND.COM means that the OS is unable to locate the file COMMAND.COM. SYS C: will copy the system files to the hard drive.

66. A Windows 95 user reports that they are receiving an Operating System Not Found error message. What is the first thing that you should check?

Your Answer: B) Make sure that there is not a non-bootable floppy in the floppy drive

Correct Answer: B) Make sure that there is not a non-bootable floppy in the floppy drive

Explanation: 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, however, the floppy drive should be checked first.

67. Which of the following file systems is not supported by Windows 2000?

Your Answer: D) HPFS

Correct Answer: D) HPFS

Explanation: 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.

68. Which of the following are ways in which Windows Explorer can be launched?

Your Answer: A) Right click on My Computer and select Explore from the menu, B) Click the start button and select Run. Type Explorer and then OK, D) Click the start menu, select Programs and click Windows Explorer from the menu, E) Right click on the start button and select Explore from the menu

Correct Answer: A) Right click on My Computer and select Explore from the menu, B) Click the start button and select Run. Type Explorer and then OK, D) Click the start menu, select Programs and click Windows Explorer from the menu, E) Right click on the start button and select Explore from the menu

Explanation: Right clicking on the desktop is not a valid way to access Windows Explorer.

69. The extensions for some file types are not showing on your Windows 2000 Professional computer. How do you correct this?

Your Answer: A) In My Computer or Windows Explorer select Folder Options from the Tools menu. In the View tab uncheck the Hide Extensions for Known Filetypes checkbox.

Correct Answer: A) In My Computer or Windows Explorer select Folder Options from the Tools menu. In the View tab uncheck the Hide Extensions for Known Filetypes checkbox.

Explanation: By default, the Hide Extensions for Known File Types box is checked. The Show All Files Radio button in the view tab is used to display hidden and system files.

70. When booting into DOS, which key will bypass the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files?

Your Answer: D) F5

Correct Answer: D) F5

Explanation: F8 is similar except it processes CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT one step at a time with confirmation required between steps.

71. How are non-Windows applications typically installed?

Your Answer: B) Run Setup.exe

Correct Answer: C) Copy files to hard drive

Explanation: These types of applications are usually 16-bit and do not need to modify the registry.

72. When performing a backup in DOS, which switch will only backup modified files?

Your Answer: C) /m

Correct Answer: C) /m

Explanation: The /s switch forces a backup of all files and subdirectories. /d and /t perform backups based on date and time settings.

73. In the Run program, what is the correct command to open a command prompt in Windows 2000?

Your Answer: A) CMD

Correct Answer: A) CMD

Explanation: In Windows 9x the entry would be COMMAND.

74. On a Windows NT system, you install a new sound card driver and now the system will not boot. How should you proceed?

Your Answer: D) Press the Space Bar during boot to invoke the Last Known Good Configuration

Correct Answer: D) Press the Space Bar during boot to invoke the Last Known Good Configuration

Explanation: The Last Known Good Configuration is used to recover when driver conflicts prevent the system from booting.

75. which tool checks files and informs you whether or not they have been signed by Microsoft?

Your Answer: A) Signature Verification Tool

Correct Answer: A) Signature Verification Tool

Explanation: Microsoft "Signs" drivers which means that they are approved to work on a particular operating system.

76. Which of the following files is not required to boot DOS?

Your Answer: D) CONFIG.SYS

Correct Answer: D) CONFIG.SYS

Explanation: CONFIG.SYS is 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.

77. Which key do you hold down in order to bypass the autorun feature on a CDROM?

Your Answer: E) F5

Correct Answer: D) SHIFT

Explanation: Holding down shift when putting in a CDROM will bypass the autorun and allow you to view the files on the CDROM.

78. Which of the following are valid wildcard characters in DOS?

Your Answer: A) * and ?

Correct Answer: A) * and ?


79. In Device Manager, what does it mean when a device has a red X next to it?

Your Answer: A) The device is either disabled or is experiencing a conflict.

Correct Answer: A) The device is either disabled or is experiencing a conflict.

Explanation: Typically, this means that the device has an IRQ or I/O conflict with another device.

80. What can the bootable partition of a system also be called?

Your Answer: D) Primary

Correct Answer: D) Primary

Explanation: There can be only one primary partition on a hard drive.

81. What service is responsible for resolving IP addresses to internet domain names?

Your Answer: A) DNS

Correct Answer: A) DNS

Explanation: DNS stands for Domain Name Service.

82. Which of the following characters cannot be included in a filename in Windows 2000?

Your Answer: A) *

Correct Answer: A) *

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

83. Which are Windows 98 log files?

Your Answer: B) SETUPLOG.TXT, C) BOOTLOG.TXT, D) APPLOG.TXT

Correct Answer: A) DETLOG.TXT, B) SETUPLOG.TXT, C) BOOTLOG.TXT

Explanation: For more information about the log files go to the study guide.

84. In Windows 2000, what is the command line utility used to encrypt data on a NTFS volume?

Your Answer: A) ENCRYPT

Correct Answer: B) CIPHER

Explanation: Cipher.exe is a command line utility that allows for bulk or scripted file encryption.

85. What is the MSCDEX.EXE file for?

Your Answer: A) DOS CDROM driver

Correct Answer: A) DOS CDROM driver

Explanation: Provides CD support under DOS.

86. Which of the following file types can be executed from a command prompt?

Your Answer: B) COM, C) BAT, D) EXE

Correct Answer: B) COM, C) BAT, D) EXE

Explanation: TXT files are text files and are not executable.

87. You determine that your computer has a Boot Sector Virus. What is the first thing that should be tried to fix this?

Your Answer: B) FDISK /MBR

Correct Answer: B) FDISK /MBR

Explanation: Using FDISK with the /MBR switch repairs the Master Boot Record.

88. What is the proper syntax for sharing a directory from a command prompt?

Your Answer: A) SHARE \directory

Correct Answer: C) SHARE \computername\directory

Explanation: This format is known as the Universal Naming Convention(UNC format).

89. On boot, how do you bring up the Windows 2000 Advanced Options menu?

Your Answer: B) F8

Correct Answer: B) F8

Explanation: The Windows 2000 Advanced Options menu contains several options 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.

90. In Windows 9x, what is the environment created that allows for backward compatibility with 16-bit applications?

Your Answer: A) Virtual Machine

Correct Answer: A) Virtual Machine

Explanation: 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.

You answered 59 correct out of 90 questions, which gives you a score of 65.56%.
Installation, configuring and updating (30% of exam)
Identifying basic computer subassemblies like motherboards, power supplies, CPU, RAM, storage devices, add-on cards, firmware, BIOS and CMOS. You need to know how to identify proper function, their role in the boot process, and how to add and replace them in the field.

Standard software parameters such as IRQ, DMA and I/O settings for common hardware and software configurations, and how to adjust these settings during installation.

Common peripheral ports and the cables & connectors associated therewith like DB-9/25, RJ11/45, BNC, PS/2, USB and IEEE-1394.

Installing and configuring IDE/EIDE and SCSI devices to include Primary/Secondary/Master/Slave, SCSI types, addresses, cabling and jumper block settings.

Peripheral installation, configuration and troubleshooting for monitors, USB devices, and IEEE 1284/1394 devices.

Portable system components. This will be mostly notebook-related. Know PCMCIA card types and implementation of card services. Familiarity with replacement of components like RAM, hard drives and batteries. Care and feeding of docking stations and port replicators.

Diagnosing and Troubleshooting (30% of exam)
Common symptoms and problems with hardware. Isolating problems using error codes, POST audible/visual codes, and troubleshooting instruments like multimeters.

Troubleshooting procedures. Eliciting information from users/customers, determining whether the problem is hardware/software related, isolating problems by eliminating possibilities.

Preventive Maintenance (5% of exam)
Types of maintenance tools/materials, and their use in the field. Cleaning compound requirements and non-static tool use.

Field procedures for protecting yourself and your equipment. UPS/Suppressors and signs of power issues. Component storage. Hazards from high voltage/laser exposure. Disposal procedures for batteries, toner kits, CRT's, etc.

ESD precautions and symptoms of damage.

Motherboards/Processors/Memory (15% of exam)
CPU chip types and characteristics. Size, voltage, pin counts and slot types. CPU families and basic history including clock speed progression.

RAM categories and characteristics. Generations of system RAM: EDO/FPM/SIMM/DIMM. RIMM (Rambus) types. Video memory technology such as VRAM/WRAM. Memory banks and requirements based on processor generation/8-, 16-, 32-bit width. Parity versus non-parity chips.

Motherboard types. AT and ATX form factors, port types and locations, RAM type needed, processor sockets, cache memory. Bus architectures like ISA, PCI and AGP. Compatibility guidelines concerning what hardware works with which generation of motherboard.

CMOS knowledge. Basic CMOS settings for com/parallel ports, hard drive type, basic memory settings, boot sequence, date/time, passwords and Plug & Play.

Printers (10% of exam)
Basic types and operational concepts for laser, inkjet and dot-matrix printers. Interface types such as parallel, USB, network, infrared, serial.

Service techniques and common problems. Feed jams, printed/displayed errors, print quality. Safety precautions and preventive maintenance.

Basic Networking (10% of exam)
Network types and topologies. Cable types, physical architecture, half- and full-duplex, infrared.

Setup such as configuring network cards, hardware protocols and recovering network function when repairs are performed.
---------------------
OS Fundamentals (30% of exam)
OS functions, structure, major system files and help functionality. Components like Windows Explorer/My Computer/Control Panel. Contrasts between Win 9x and Windows 2000. Contents, use and location of files like io.sys, boot.ini, win.com and the command prompt. Memory management methods including himem.sys. Win 9x files such as win.ini, system.ini, user.dat, system.dat, msconfig, regedit.exe. Windows 2000 files such as boot.ini, regedit/regedit32, ntldr. Some command prompt procedures: dir, ver, attrib, mem, scandisk and others.

File/directory/disk management procedures. File attributes and naming conventions, backup/restore procedures, Windows 2000 Compress/Encrypt. Partitioning/formatting/file systems used with Windows. Utilities such as ScanDisk, msconfig, regedit, defrag, fdisk, asd, hwinfo.

Installation, Configuration and Upgrading (15% of exam)
Install procedure for Win9x and Windows 2000. Appropriate setup utilities, partitioning and formatting, loading drivers.

Upgrade procedures within Win9x OS's, Windows NT 4.0 to Windows 2000, replacing Win9x with Windows 2000, dualbooting Win9x/WinNT/Win2k.

Basic boot sequences and methods, including the creation of an emergency boot disk for Win9x, WinNT and Win2k. Use of Startup disks, Safe Mode, NTLDR, boot.ini, making an Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).

Loading and configuring device drivers. Win9x Plug and Play and Win2k hardware drivers, installing and launching typical Windows and non-Windows applications. Setting up and configuring the Windows printing subsystem for Default Printer, spool settings and network printing.

Diagnosing and Troubleshooting (40% of exam)
Common error codes and startup messages from the boot sequence. Safe Mode, No OS Found, Error in Config.sys, Command.com and Himem.sys errors, Windows Protection Error, Device Referenced in System.ini/Win.ini.

Recognizing and resolving common problems. Diagnostic procedure involving the customer, identifying recent changes, printing problems. General Protection Faults, Illegal Operations, devices not functioning, inability to log onto network. Virus activities, types, sources, determining the presence of a virus.

Networks (15% of exam)
Identifying network capabilities and connection procedures. Protocols, Ipconfig, Winipcfg. Sharing drives/printers, network type and Network Interface Card (NIC), installing/configuring browsers, configuring OS for network.

Setting up Internet access. ISP's, Internet protocols, E-mail, Ping.exe, HTML/HTTP/FTP. Domain names, Dial-up Networking.

A couple quick pointers about these tests. You must exercise caution when reading the questions - some are worded in deceptive fashion and some have (and require) multiple correct answers. There may also be answers embedded in a graphic where one points and clicks on the proper area, such as identifying the correct picture of a given component. Be careful! Some wrong answers are deceptively close! This is deliberate on the part of the test writers, because it mirrors the real-world difficulty of some troubleshooting tasks.

The test is not as intimidating as the long list of objectives might seem. Chances are, if you've been playing with your

own computer at home, and can install and configure your own OS and change components, a passing grade on A+ is within reach. I know from experience that a reasonably intelligent person with absolutely no prior knowledge of computers can learn enough in a few months to deservedly pass this test. All it takes is a little discipline and keeping the goal in sight.

In the immortal words of Dr. McCoy, "Good luck, Jim."

 

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