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Absolute Beginner's Guide to A+ Certification

Book Description

Passing a test is one thing...mastering the field is another, and this book is the first step to mastering the world of PC hardware and operating systems. Mark Edward Soper not only shows you what you need to pass the tests, but also what you need to have an edge on the competition, on exam day and in the workplace. Each chapter takes a ground-up approach, starting with the essentials and gradually building to larger, more complex concepts. The book is loaded with informative illustrations, photos and screen captures that help you follow along, even if you don't have all the hardware at home.

The CD accompanying the book provides study resources, including a PrepLogic test engine, lab exercises, and study notes. The book also offers a handy objectives index that maps each test objective to the section of the book in which it is covered. This invaluable - and overlooked by competitors - tool helps you to be certain that you are ready for test day!

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Author
  3. Acknowledgments
  4. We Want to Hear from You!
  5. Do You Need This Book?
  6. What You Need to Begin
  7. How This Book Is Organized
  8. How to Use This Book
  9. Conventions Used in This Book
  10. A+ Objectives for the 2003 Exam Revisions
    1. A+ Objectives for the 2003 Core Hardware Exam
    2. A+ Objectives for the 2003 Operating Systems Exam
  11. PC Anatomy 101
    1. Hardware Overview
    2. Software Overview
    3. Firmware Overview
    4. Memory: RAM and ROM
    5. Dissecting Your Computer
    6. The Outside Story of Typical Computers
    7. Inside a Typical PC
    8. Working Inside Your PC
    9. The System BIOS
    10. Hardware Resources
    11. Study Lab
  12. How Computers Measure and Transfer Data
    1. File Overhead and Other Features
    2. Numbering Systems Used in Computers
    3. Serial Versus Parallel Information Transfer
    4. Study Lab
  13. The Motherboard and CPU
    1. The Motherboard
    2. The CPU
    3. Processor (CPU) Optimization
    4. Study Lab
  14. Power Supplies and Circuit Testing
    1. Power Supply Ratings
    2. Multivoltage Power Supplies
    3. Causes and Cures of Power Supply Overheating
    4. Replacement Power Supply Form Factors and Connectors
    5. Removal and Replacement of the Power Supply
    6. Testing Power Supplies with a Multimeter
    7. Determining Power Supply DC Voltage Levels
    8. Avoiding Power Supply Hazards
    9. Power Protection Types
    10. Troubleshooting Power Problems
    11. Study Lab
  15. BIOS and CMOS Configuration
    1. What Does the BIOS Control?
    2. System Configuration with the BIOS
    3. Getting Support for Your BIOS
    4. BIOS Upgrades
    5. Study Lab
  16. RAM
    1. Memory Types and Forms
    2. Memory Form Factors
    3. Memory Banks
    4. Installing SIMMs
    5. Installing DIMMs and Rambus RDRAM Modules
    6. Cache RAM and Main Memory
    7. Study Lab
  17. Input/Output Devices and Cables
    1. Parallel Ports
    2. Parallel Port Configuration
    3. Serial Ports
    4. USB Ports
    5. Modems
    6. Keyboards
    7. Mouse and Pointing Devices
    8. Audio Hardware and Sound Cards
    9. IEEE-1394 (FireWire)
    10. Study Lab
  18. Video
    1. The Video Card and Monitor
    2. Video Memory
    3. Common Video Card Bus Types
    4. Installing a Video Card
    5. Adjusting Video Displays
    6. Study Lab
  19. Printers
    1. The Printing Process
    2. Dot-Matrix Printers
    3. Inkjet Printers
    4. Laser and LED Printers
    5. Thermal Printers
    6. Dye-Sublimation Printers
    7. Solid-Ink Printers
    8. Installing Firmware and Software Drivers
    9. Study Lab
  20. Installing and Configuring Common Peripherals
    1. Interfaces Used for Common Peripherals
    2. Connecting Digital Cameras to Your PC
    3. Connecting DV Camcorders to Your PC
    4. Connecting PDAs and Pocket PCs to Your PC
    5. Connecting Network Devices to Your PC
    6. Study Lab
  21. Portables
    1. Major Components of Typical Portable Computers
    2. LCD Display
    3. Input Devices
    4. Power Sources
    5. PC Card (PCMCIA Card) Types and Usage
    6. Mini-PCI Card Types and Usage
    7. Using the Proprietary Expansion Bus
    8. Portable Storage
    9. Infrared Ports
    10. Memory
    11. Selecting Upgrades for a Portable Computer
    12. Study Lab
  22. Safety and Recycling
    1. Using a Vacuum Cleaner Safely
    2. Cleaning Inkjet and Laser Printers
    3. Recycling and Disposal Issues
    4. How to Read an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)
    5. Electro-Static Discharge (ESD)
    6. Hazards
    7. Study Lab
  23. Storage
    1. Common Characteristics of Magnetic Storage Devices
    2. Floppy Disk Drives and Media
    3. IDE/ATA Hard Disks
    4. SCSI Interface
    5. CD-ROM, CD-RW, and DVD Drives
    6. Removable-Media and Tape Drives
    7. External Hard Drives
    8. Study Lab
  24. Preparing Hard and Floppy Drives with Windows
    1. Creating a Boot Disk Suitable for Hard Disk Preparation
    2. Understanding File Systems and Partition Types
    3. Preparing a Hard Disk for Use with Windows 9x/Me
    4. Preparing a Hard Disk for Use with Windows NT/2000/XP
    5. Using Format with Floppy and Hard Disks
    6. Troubleshooting Drive Preparation Problems
    7. Study Lab
  25. Operating System Installation
    1. Clean Installation Versus Dual-Boot Installation
    2. Making Sure Your System Is Ready for a Particular Windows Version
    3. Obtaining Compatible Drivers for Your Version of Windows
    4. Additional Preparations for Installation
    5. Backing Up Existing Data and Settings
    6. Using an Upgrade Version of Windows for a New Installation
    7. Determining Installation Options
    8. Installing Windows 9x/Me
    9. Installing Windows NT 4.0
    10. Installing Windows 2000 Professional or XP
    11. Installing Windows 2000 or XP from a Disk Image and Updating the SID
    12. Installing Windows from a Recovery CD
    13. Restoring User Data Files
    14. Troubleshooting Your Installation
    15. Study Lab
  26. Operating System Upgrades
    1. Upgrading to Windows 98
    2. Upgrading to Windows 2000 Professional
    3. Upgrading to Windows XP Professional
    4. Study Lab
  27. Using and Optimizing Windows
    1. Windows 9x/Me Boot Sequence
    2. Adjusting Default Memory Configurations (Windows 9x)
    3. Win.com in Windows 9x
    4. Windows 9x/Me Registry
    5. Win.ini and System.ini in Windows 9x/Me
    6. Comparing Windows 9x/Me with Windows NT/2000/XP
    7. Using the Windows GUI
    8. Disk Management
    9. File Management
    10. Using Command-Prompt Functions and Utilities
    11. Optimizing Windows
    12. Study Lab
  28. Installing and Configuring Hardware in Windows
    1. Printing and Printer Configuration
    2. Installing and Configuring Hardware
    3. Troubleshooting Hardware
    4. Study Lab
  29. Troubleshooting Windows and Windows Applications
    1. Startup Errors for Windows 9x/Me
    2. Startup Errors for Windows NT 4.0/2000/XP
    3. Operating System Error Messages and Solutions
    4. Swapfile (Paging File) and Hard Disk Access Problems
    5. Drive Configuration Errors
    6. Post-Startup Errors
    7. Using Windows Utilities for Troubleshooting
    8. Computer Viruses
    9. Study Lab
  30. Networking and Internet Connectivity
    1. Network Operating Systems
    2. Built-In Networking Features in Windows
    3. Network Models
    4. Internet Connectivity Technologies
    5. Network Protocols
    6. TCP/IP Applications and Technologies
    7. Network Topologies
    8. Network Types
    9. Cable and Connector Types
    10. Installing Network Interface Cards
    11. Configuring Network Interface Cards
    12. Switches and Hubs
    13. Beyond LANs—Repeaters, Bridges, and Routers
    14. Networking Configuration
    15. Setting Up Shared Resources
    16. Setting Up the Network Client
    17. Using Shared Resources
    18. Browser Installation and Configuration
    19. Using Network Command-Line Tools
    20. Study Lab
  31. CD-ROM Instructions
    1. Using PrepLogic Practice Exams, Preview Edition Software
    2. Software Requirements
    3. Installing PrepLogic Practice Exams, Preview Edition
    4. Using PrepLogic Practice Exams, Preview Edition
    5. Getting More Exams
    6. Using Chapters 22 and 23
    7. Using the CD Supplement
    8. Windows Command Reference
    9. Using the Study Guide
    10. Using the Hands-On Labs
    11. Using the Beep Codes
  32. Troubleshooting Principles
    1. Troubleshooting Methods Overview
    2. Determining Whether a Problem Is Caused by Hardware or Software
    3. Where to Go for More Information
    4. Useful Hardware and Software Tools
    5. Troubleshooting Computer Hardware
    6. Network and Internet Troubleshooting
    7. Additional Windows Troubleshooting Tips and Tools
    8. Study Lab
  33. Preparing to Take the A+ Certification Exams
    1. Learning More About the Exams
    2. Preparing for the Core Hardware Exam
    3. Preparing for the Operating Systems Exam
    4. The Exam Scheduling Process
    5. Final Preparations
    6. Exam Day
  34. Glossary
  35. CD Supplement
    1. Touchscreen Interfacing to the Computer
    2. Touchscreen Troubleshooting
    3. SCSI Technical Supplement
    4. AMR and CNR Slots
    5. Printer Options
  36. Windows Command Reference
    1. ScanDisk Command Reference
    2. CHKDSK Command Reference
    3. Using DIR
    4. Using DEL (ERASE)
    5. Using RENAME (REN)
    6. Using ECHO
    7. Using DELTREE
    8. Using ATTRIB
    9. Using MEM
    10. Using XCOPY/XCOPY32
    11. Using MSCDEX
    12. Using SETVER
    13. Using EDIT
    14. Using Net
    15. Using Ping
    16. Using Tracert
    17. Using NSLookup
    18. Using IPconfig
    19. Using Winipcfg
  37. Study Labs
    1. Study Lab for Chapter 2
    2. Study Lab for Chapter 3
    3. Study Lab for Chapter 4
    4. Study Lab for Chapter 5
    5. Study Lab for Chapter 6
    6. Study Lab for Chapter 7
    7. Study Lab for Chapter 8
    8. Study Lab for Chapter 9
    9. Study Lab for Chapter 10
    10. Study Lab for Chapter 11
    11. Study Lab for Chapter 12
    12. Study Lab for Chapter 13
    13. Study Lab for Chapter 14
    14. Study Lab for Chapter 15
    15. Study Lab for Chapter 16
    16. Study Lab for Chapter 17
    17. Study Lab for Chapter 18
    18. Study Lab for Chapter 19
    19. Study Lab for Chapter 20
    20. Study Lab for Chapter 21
    21. Study Lab for Chapter 22
  38. Index