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CompTIA A+ Exam 220-801 Objective Map
Objective 1.0 PC HARDWARE (40 PERCENT) 1.1 Configure and apply BIOS settings. 1.2 Differentiate between motherboard components, their purposes, and properties. 1.3 Compare and contrast RAM types and features. 1.4 Install and configure expansion cards. 1.5 Install and configure storage devices and use appropriate media. 1.6 Differentiate among various CPU types and features and select the appropriate cooling method. 1.7 Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose. 1.8 Install an appropriate power supply based on a given scenario. 1.9 Evaluate and select appropriate components for a custom configuration, to meet customer specifications or needs. 1.10 Given a scenario, evaluate types and features of display devices. 1.11 Identify connector types and associated cables. 1.12 Install and configure various peripheral devices. 2.0 NETWORKING (27 PERCENT) 2.1 Identify types of network cables and connectors. 2.2 Categorize characteristics of connectors and cabling. 2.3 Explain properties and characteristics of TCP/IP. 2.4 Explain common TCP and UDP ports, protocols, and their purpose. 2.5 Compare and contrast wireless networking standards and encryption types. 2.6 Install, configure, and deploy a SOHO wireless/wired router using appropriate settings. 2.7 Compare and contrast Internet connection types and features. 2.8 Identify various types of networks. 2.9 Compare and contrast network devices and their functions and features. 2.10 Given a scenario, use appropriate networking tools. 3.0 LAPTOPS (11 PERCENT) 3.1 Install and configure laptop hardware and components. 3.2 Compare and contrast the components within the display of a laptop. 3.3 Compare and contrast laptop features. 4.0 PRINTERS (11 PERCENT) 4.1 Explain the differences between the various printer types and summarize the associated imaging process. 4.2 Given a scenario, install, and configure printers. 4.3 Given a scenario, perform printer maintenance. 5.0 OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES (11 PERCENT) 5.1 Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures. 5.2 Explain environmental impacts and the purpose of environmental controls. 5.3 Given a scenario, demonstrate proper communication and professionalism. 5.4 Explain the fundamentals of dealing with prohibited content/activity. Chapter 2 1, 2, 3 3 5, 6 4 3 4, 5, 6, 9, 19 1 10 6 4, 5, 6, 19 5, 6, 7 19 19 20, 21, 24 20, 21 23 22, 23 9, 18 18, 19 18, 22 19, 24 8 8 8 7 7 7 1, 6, 19 1, 10 10 10

Exam Objectives  The exam objectives listed here are current as of this book‘s publication date. Exam objectives are subject to change at any time without prior notice and at CompTIA’s sole discretion. Please visit the CompTIA Certifications webpage for the most current listing of exam objectives: /certifications.aspx.

CompTIA A+ Exam 220-802 Objective Map
Objective 1.0 OPERATING SYSTEMS (33 PERCENT) 1.1 Compare and contrast the features and requirements of various Microsoft Operating Systems. 1.2 Given a scenario, install, and configure the operating system using the most appropriate method. 1.3 Given a scenario, use appropriate command line tools. 1.4 Given a scenario, use appropriate operating system features and tools. 1.5 Given a scenario, use Control Panel utilities (the items are organized by “classic view/large icons” in Windows). 1.6 Setup and configure Windows networking on a client/desktop. 1.7 Perform preventive maintenance procedures using appropriate tools. 1.8 Explain the differences among basic OS security settings. 1.9 Explain the basics of client-side virtualization. 2.0 SECURITY (22 PERCENT) 2.1 Apply and use common prevention methods. 2.2 Compare and contrast common security threats. 2.3 Implement security best practices to secure a workstation. 2.4 Given a scenario, use the appropriate data destruction/disposal method. 2.5 Given a scenario, secure a SOHO wireless network. 2.6 Given a scenario, secure a SOHO wired network. 3.0 MOBILE DEVICES (9 PERCENT) 3.1 Explain the basic features of mobile operating systems. 3.2 Establish basic network connectivity and configure email. 3.3 Compare and contrast methods for securing mobile devices. 3.4 Compare and contrast hardware differences in regards to tablets and laptops. 3.5 Execute and configure mobile device synchronization. 4.0 TROUBLESHOOTING (36 PERCENT) 4.1 Given a scenario, explain the troubleshooting theory. 4.2 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common problems related to motherboards, RAM, CPU and power with appropriate tools. 4.3 Given a scenario, troubleshoot hard drives and RAID arrays with appropriate tools. 4.4 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common video and display issues. 4.5 Given a scenario, troubleshoot wired and wireless networks with appropriate tools. 4.6 Given a scenario, troubleshoot operating system problems with appropriate tools. 4.7 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common security issues with appropriate tools and best practices. 4.8 Given a scenario, troubleshoot, and repair common laptop issues while adhering to the appropriate procedures. 4.9 Given a scenario, troubleshoot printers with appropriate tools. Chapter 12 11, 12, 15, 16, 18 14, 16, 17, 24 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 22, 25 6, 8, 13, 15, 22, 25 18, 19, 21, 22, 24 15, 16, 17, 26 25 10 22, 25, 26 26 25, 26 25 23 24 9 9 9 9 9 10 1, 2, 3, 24 4, 14, 16, 17 6 19, 23, 24 12, 15, 17, 26 26 8 7

Exam Objectives  The exam objectives listed here are current as of this book‘s publication date. Exam objectives are subject to change at any time without prior notice and at CompTIA’s sole discretion. Please visit the CompTIA Certifications webpage for the most current listing of exam objectives: /certifications.aspx.

CompTIA A+ (Exam 220-801 and Exam 220-802)
Training Kit

Darril Gibson

Published with the authorization of Microsoft Corporation by: O’Reilly Media, Inc. 1005 Gravenstein Highway North Sebastopol, California 95472 Copyright © 2013 Darril Gibson All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. ISBN: 978-0-735-66268-1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 QG 7 6 5 4 3 2 Printed and bound in the United States of America. Microsoft Press books are available through booksellers and distributors worldwide. If you need support related to this book, email Microsoft Press Book Support at Please tell us what you think of this book at Microsoft and the trademarks listed at Trademarks/EN-US.aspx are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. All other marks are property of their respective owners. The example companies, organizations, products, domain names, email addresses, logos, people, places, and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, domain name, email address, logo, person, place, or event is intended or should be inferred. This book expresses the author’s views and opinions. The information contained in this book is provided without any express, statutory, or implied warranties. Neither the author, O’Reilly Media, Inc., Microsoft Corporation, nor its resellers, or distributors will be held liable for any damages caused or alleged to be caused either directly or indirectly by this book. Acquisitions and Developmental Editor: Kenyon Brown Production Editor: Kristen Borg Editorial Production: nSight, Inc. Technical Reviewer: Bill Talbott and Steve Buchanan Copyeditor: nSight, Inc. Indexer: nSight, Inc. Cover Design: Twist Creative • Seattle Cover Composition: Zyg Group Illustrator: nSight, Inc.

To my wife, Nimfa. Thanks for all the support you’ve given me over the years. I’m grateful for my successes and I know that many of them are due to the support you provide on a daily basis.
—Darril Gibson

Introduction xxxv Preparing for the Exam Chapter 1 Introduction to Computers xliv 1

Computing Basics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Numbering Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Binary Hexadecimal Bits vs. Bytes Kilo, Mega, Giga, and Tera Motherboards Case Fans Cleaning Cases Notification Switch for Security AC vs. DC Wattage Power Ratings Rails Power Supply Connections Cable Keying ATX vs. Micro-ATX Power Supplies Replacing a Power Supply Protecting Systems from Power Problems Electrical Safety Equipment and Self-Grounding ESD MSDS 6 7 8 9 11 12 14 14 15 16 16 17 19 20 20 21 23 23 24 25

Cases and Cooling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Power Supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Safety Issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Compliance with Regulations Fire Safety Lifting Screwdrivers Extension Magnet Compressed Air and Compressors Computer Vacuum Multimeter Power Supply Tester

26 26 27 27 27 28 28 28 30

Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Chapter 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS
Identifying Motherboard Components Sizes Busses Bus Speeds Expansion Slots CPU Chipsets Jumpers Front Panel Connectors Viewing an Actual Motherboard BIOS 59 BIOS vs. CMOS BIOS Vendors Accessing the BIOS Application BIOS Component Information BIOS Configuration POST and Other Diagnostics POST Cards Monitoring
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42 44 46 47 48 53 56 56 58 60 60 61 62 63 68 69 69

Motherboards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Flashing the BIOS UEFI

70 71

Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

Chapter 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs
RAM 80 Double Data Rate SDRAM DIMMs and SODIMMs Single Channel, Dual Channel, and Triple Channel Single Sided vs. Double Sided RAM Compatibility and Speed Parity and ECC Rambus and RDRAM 32-bit vs. 64-bit CPU Cores Hyper-Threading CPU Cache Speeds Virtualization Support Integrated GPU CPU Versions CPU Socket Types Cooling Common Symptoms Tools

81 82 83 86 87 90 91 92 93 94 95 97 98 98 99 101 105 108 109

CPUs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91

Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108

Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Contents ix

Chapter 4 Comparing Storage Devices
Hard Drive Characteristics Hard Drive Speeds PATA Speeds PATA Connectors and Cables Master and Slave Configuration Cable Select PATA Power Serial to Parallel to Serial SATA Generations SATA and SSD SATA Data Connectors and Cables SATA Power Connectors and Cables Hot-Swappable SCSI 132 SCSI Interfaces SCSI IDs Daisy-Chaining and Termination Serial Attached SCSI USB FireWire eSATA eSATAp Ethernet External Enclosures

123 124 125 125 126 127 127 128 129 129 130 131 132 133 133 134 135 136 136 137 137 138 139

Hard Drives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122

IDE/EIDE/PATA Drives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124

SATA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128

External Connections Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

Solid State Drives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Optical Discs and Drives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Combo Drives and Burners Speeds
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141 142

Installing Optical Drives Removing Discs Without Power

142 143

Tape Drives. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Floppy Drives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 Recovering Data Floppy Connections RAID-0 RAID-1 RAID-5 RAID 10 RAID and Backups Calculating Usable Storage Space in RAID RAID Summary Loud Clicking Noise Read/Write Failure Slow Performance Failure to Boot or Operating System Not Found RAID Not Found RAID Stops Working BSOD 145 145 146 147 147 149 150 150 151 151 152 152 153 153 154 154

RAID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

Common Symptoms. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158

Chapter 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards
Device Drivers Install Device Drivers before Installing Device Plug and Play USB 165 USB 1.1 and 2.0 Connections USB 3.0 Connections

163 163 164 166 166
Contents xi

Peripherals and Device Drivers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

USB Controller USB Cable Lengths Dirty Bit FireWire Cables and Connections FireWire S1600 and S3200 PS/2 Mini-DIN Parallel Serial Common Sound Systems Connecting Sound Systems Keyboard Mice Microphone Scanners and Digitizers Barcode Reader KVM Biometric Devices Joysticks Game Pads Digital Cameras Camcorder Webcam MIDI-Enabled Devices Expansion Card Types Checklist

168 169 169 170 171 173 173 173 173 174 175 178 178 179 180 181 182 183 183 183 185 186 186 186 188 189

FireWire. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170

Miscellaneous Connections. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172

Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174

Input Devices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

Multimedia Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184

Expansion Cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 186

Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
xii Contents

Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193

Chapter 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices
Common Terms CRT LCD LED Plasma Projector OLED Using Multiple Displays Common Resolutions Configuring the Resolution Touch Screens Privacy and Anti-Glare Filters Analog vs. Digital VGA DVI HDMI Comparing VGA and HDMI Adapters Other Connections Video Interface Summary Video Memory Drivers Video Card Ports Working with CRTs Disposal of CRTs Cleaning Supplies

197 198 199 199 200 200 201 201 202 203 204 204 205 207 207 208 209 210 210 213 215 215 215 216 217 217
Contents xiii

Display Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197

Interfaces, Connections, and Cables. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205

Video Cards and Drivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214

Safety Concerns. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216

Troubleshooting Video and Display Issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217 Dxdiag VGA Mode No Image on Screen Dim Image Flickering Image Discoloration (Degaussing) Overheat Shutdown Dead Pixels Artifacts and Distorted Images Color Patterns Incorrect BSOD 217 218 218 220 220 220 221 221 221 222 222

Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225

Chapter 7 Exploring Printers
Terminology Paper Common Maintenance Tools Laser Components Laser Imaging Process Laser Printer Maintenance Inkjet Ink Cartridges Refilling Inkjet Cartridges Inkjet Printing Process Inkjet Print Heads Inkjet Calibration Inkjet Printer Maintenance Creating Characters with a Dot Matrix
xiv Contents

230 231 232 233 234 241 245 246 246 248 248 248 250

Printing Basics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229

Laser Printers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233

Inkjet Printers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244

Impact Printers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249

Near-Letter Quality Impact Printer Maintenance

251 251

Thermal Printers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251 Installing and Configuring Printers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252 Device Drivers Required Permissions Wired Connections Wireless Connections Printer Sharing Adding a Network Printer Print Management Printer Webpages Print Spooler 252 253 253 255 255 256 257 257 258

Troubleshooting Printers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 263 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265

Chapter 8 Working with Laptops
Special Function Keys Troubleshooting Keyboard Issues Docking Station vs. Port Replicator Hardware Profiles Locks Display Types Wi-Fi Antenna Troubleshooting Display Issues Disassembling Processes Hardware and Device Replacement Expansion Options

270 273 274 275 276 277 280 280 282 284 292
Contents xv

Common Laptop Features. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269

Laptop Displays. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277

Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282

Conserving Power. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294 ACPI Sleep/Suspend/Standby (G1 S3) Hibernate (G1 S4) Hybrid Sleep Power Options Power Plans Troubleshooting Power Issues Intermittent Wireless No Wireless Connectivity No Bluetooth Connectivity 294 295 295 296 296 296 297 298 299 299

Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298

Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302

Chapter 9 Understanding Mobile Devices
Accelerometers and Gyroscopes GPS Geotracking Screen Calibration Open Source vs. Closed Source iOS Android Windows Application Sources RF (Wireless) Cellular Mobile Hotspot Bluetooth Infrared
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308 310 310 310 311 312 313 313 314 315 316 317 317 318

Tablets vs. Laptops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307

Comparing Operating Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311

Connectivity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315

Email Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319 Configuring Settings Email Port Settings Synchronizing Data Installing Synchronization Applications Connection Types for Synchronization Passcode Locks Failed Logon Attempts Restrictions Remote Wipe Locator Applications Remote Backup Applications Antivirus Software Patching/Operating System Updates 320 321 323 323 324 325 325 326 326 328 328 329

Using Mobile Devices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322

Securing Mobile Devices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325

Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 332

Chapter 10 Working with Customers
Communication and Professionalism Responding to Prohibited Content/Activity Identify the Problem Establish a Theory of Probable Cause Test the Theory to Determine Cause Establish a Plan of Action and Implement It Verify Full System Functionality Document Findings, Actions, and Outcomes Standard Thick Client Thin Client Gaming PC

338 342 345 346 346 347 348 348 350 350 351
Contents xvii

Interacting with Customers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 338

Troubleshooting Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 345

Identifying Customer Needs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 349

Virtualization Workstation Home Theater PC Home Server PC Graphic/CAD/CAM Design Workstation Audio/Video Editing Workstation Environmental Impacts

352 355 355 356 356 357

Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 358 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 359 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 361

Chapter 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems
Comparing 32-Bit and 64-Bit Capabilities Windows 7 System Requirements Windows 7 System Limits Windows XP 64-Bit Windows XP System Requirements Windows XP System Limits Windows Vista System Requirements Windows Vista System Limits Common Features Windows 7 Features Windows Vista Features Windows Aero User Account Control Windows XP Mode Start Bar Layout Windows Sidebar and Gadgets Compatibility Mode
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365 369 369 372 372 372 374 374 375 377 377 378 379 384 385 387 389

An Overview of Windows Operating Systems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 364 Windows 7 Editions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 368

Windows XP Editions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371

Windows Vista Editions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 373

Windows Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417 . . . . . . . . 398 Chapter 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems Clean Install Dual-Boot System Upgrade File Systems Installation Media—CD or DVD Remote Network Installation Image Deployment Sysprep Unattended Installation with Answer Files Recovery Disc or Factory Recovery Partition Windows Anytime Upgrade Repair Installation Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Compatibility Tools Selecting Time/Date/Region/Language Settings Choosing the Install Method Drive Options System Reserved Partition Performing a Clean Install 401 403 403 405 406 407 408 408 411 412 412 414 415 416 417 417 418 419 422 423 Contents xix Installing and Upgrading Windows. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407 Upgrade Paths to Windows 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390 Windows Explorer Common File Locations Boot vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Examining Directory Structures in Windows. . . . . . . 395 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413 Installing Windows 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . System Partition Profile Locations 390 391 392 393 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . 402 Methods of Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 439 Task Manager. . . . . . . . . . 461 . . . . . . 448 Views Applets Common Applets Applets Unique to Windows XP Applets Unique to Windows Vista Applets Unique to Windows 7 Other Applets Computer Management Task Scheduler Performance Services Component Services Data Sources xx Contents 449 449 450 458 459 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 Administrative Tools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427 Windows Easy Transfer User State Migration Tool File And Settings Transfer Wizard 428 430 430 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Activation 426 Upgrading Windows Vista. . . . 447 Control Panel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427 Migrating User Data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 434 Chapter 13 Using Windows Operating Systems Mouse Actions Windows Actions Libraries Starting Task Manager 437 439 440 441 441 Windows Basics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441 Microsoft Management Console. . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and Batch Files Understanding Extensions Case Sensitivity Understanding Switches Getting Help Using Quotes with Spaces Beware of Typos Recalling Commands Copying and Pasting Saving the Output in a Text File Understanding Variables Using Wildcards Attrib Dir Md CD Changing Drives Rd Del Copy 473 476 477 478 479 480 480 482 482 482 483 484 484 485 487 487 489 490 491 493 493 494 494 495 495 Contents xxi Starting the Command Prompt . . . . . . . . . . . 489 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 478 Command Prompt Basics. . . . . Cmd Default Paths Commands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475 Understanding Paths . . . . . . . . . 481 File Commands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Programs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Other Administrative Tools 466 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 467 Chapter Review. . . . . . . 470 Chapter 14 Using the Command Prompt Access Denied Errors Starting with Administrative Privileges Command Prompt vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 468 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 Disk Commands. . . . . . 520 Working with Device Manager. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 503 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 502 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . 524 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 501 Networking Commands. . . . . . . . . . .Xcopy Robocopy Sfc Using Notepad to Create a Batch File 497 497 498 499 Operating System Commands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 515 Understanding Paging. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 507 Chapter 15 Configuring Windows Operating Systems General Boot Services Startup Tools Remote Settings System Protection and System Restore Shadow Copy (Previous Versions) Advanced System Settings Paging Overview 64-KB Pages Excessive Paging Performance (Virtual Memory) Settings Starting the Device Manager Viewing Device Manager Updating Drivers Disabling and Uninstalling xxii Contents 509 511 511 512 513 514 515 517 518 519 520 521 521 522 524 524 525 527 Using System Configuration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 510 Using the System Applet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 504 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 544 File Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 536 ReadyBoost . . . . . 529 Backup Capabilities. . . . . . . . . . . . Partitions and Volumes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 550 Disk Management Tools . 532 Program Compatibility. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 535 Modifying Documents Location. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dynamic Disks Understanding Clusters FAT16 and FAT32 NTFS CDFS Disk Management Diskpart Chkdsk and Check Disk 543 545 546 547 548 551 553 554 555 555 564 565 Contents xxiii Understanding Disks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 537 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rolling Back Drivers Signed Drivers Sigverif Service Packs Automatically Installing Updates Patch Management Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7 528 528 528 530 530 531 532 532 534 Windows Update. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 538 Chapter Review. 541 Chapter 16 Understanding Disks and File Systems MBR Partitions GPT Partitions Recovery Partition Basic Disks vs. . . . . . . . . 539 Answers. . .

. . . 583 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 572 Chapter Review. . 569 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and Values Back Up the Registry Safe Modes Enable Boot Logging Enable Low-Resolution Video Last Known Good Configuration Disable Driver Signature Enforcement Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure Other Advanced Boot Options Repair Your Computer Recovery Console and Windows RE Command Prompt Msconfig and Advanced Boot Options Startup and Recovery Options xxiv Contents 577 579 579 580 581 581 582 583 585 585 586 586 588 588 588 588 590 592 593 Understanding the Boot Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Convert Disk Defragmenter and Defrag Disk Cleanup Fdisk Administrative Shares Local Shares Offline Files 566 567 568 569 570 570 571 Shares . . . . . . . . . . . Keys. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 575 Chapter 17 Troubleshooting Windows Operating Systems Power On Self-Test (POST) Look For Master Boot Record and Boot Sector Load System Boot Files on Windows XP Load Boot Manager on Windows Vista and Windows 7 Starting the Registry Editor Hives. . . . . . . . . . . . . 581 Advanced Boot Options. . . . . . 579 Understanding the Registry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 573 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 600 Chapter Summary. . . 610 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Windows Troubleshooting Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 617 Contents xxv . . . 613 Chapter 18 Introducing Networking Components Local Area Network Wide Area Network Personal Area Network Metropolitan Area Network Virtual Private Network 615 617 618 619 620 620 Types of Networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ini Boot Sector and MBR Errors 595 598 598 598 599 599 600 601 601 603 604 604 604 606 606 606 607 607 607 609 Common Symptoms and Their Solutions. . . . . . . . . . . . 595 Event Viewer Recovery Images File Recovery Software Automated System Recovery Emergency Repair Disk System Repair Disc Troubleshooting Applet BSOD Failure to Boot Improper Shutdown Spontaneous Shutdown or Restart Device Fails to Start Missing DLL Message Service Fails to Start Compatibility Error Slow System Performance Boots to Safe Mode File Fails to Open Missing NTLDR and Missing Boot. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 611 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and Speed Lights Workgroup Domain Joining a Workgroup or a Domain Cable and Fiber Broadband Connections Phone Connections WiMAX Satellite 621 622 623 624 625 626 626 627 627 630 631 632 633 635 638 639 Comparing Workgroups and Domains. . . 621 Network Interface Card Hub Switch Router Bridge Modem Network Attached Storage (NAS) VoIP Phones Link. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 633 Standards Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 657 Ethernet Twisted-Pair xxvi Contents 657 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 644 Chapter 19 Exploring Cables and Connectivity 647 Introducing Ethernet . . . . . . . . 642 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 641 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 640 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . 654 Common Network Cables and Connectors . . . . . .Identifying Basic Network Hardware. . . . 649 Safety and Environmental Issues . . . . 629 Connecting to the Internet. . Activity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 650 Cable Management and Trip Hazards PVC vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . Plenum-Safe Jackets Understanding Interference and Crosstalk 650 651 651 Comparing Half-Duplex and Full-Duplex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 680 Introducing Ports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Fiber Optic Cable Coaxial Cable Ethernet Speeds Fast Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet 10-Gigabit Ethernet Star Bus Ring Mesh Hybrid 664 665 667 667 668 668 669 670 670 671 672 Speeds and Specifications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 685 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 666 Topologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 674 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 683 Exploring Network Protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 669 Chapter Summary. . . . . 676 Chapter 20 Understanding Protocols TCP/IP Connectivity Protocols Port Ranges Ports and Firewalls Encryption Protocols Email Protocols Web Browser Protocols File Transfer Protocols Name Resolution Protocols Remote Connectivity Protocols SNMP LDAP 679 680 681 684 685 685 686 687 688 690 693 696 696 Contents xxvii Introducing Network Protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 673 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

700 Answers. . . . 706 TCP/IP Addressing in a Network. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 699 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . 696 Sending an HTTP Query Using Ports A Web Server Response Using Ports 697 698 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 717 Examining IPv6 Addresses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 723 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 714 Static vs. . . Broadcast. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and Multicast Addressing Default Gateway Public vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dynamic IP Addresses. . . . . 727 xxviii Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Summarizing Well-Known Ports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 702 Chapter 21 Comparing IPv4 and IPv6 Dotted Decimal Format Two Parts of an IP Address Network ID Challenge Network IDs in a Network Classful IP Addresses Loopback Addresses CIDR Notation Unicast. . . . . . . . . . . . . Private IPs NAT Using DHCP for Dynamic IP Addresses Manually Assigning Static IP Addresses Omitting IPv6 Leading Zeros IPv6 Zero Compression IPv6 Prefixes Peaceful Coexistence with IPv4 IPv6 Loopback Address 705 707 707 709 710 711 712 713 713 714 715 716 717 719 724 725 726 726 726 Examining IPv4 Addresses. . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . 747 Other Security Tools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 766 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ad-Hoc Mode Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Alliance 765 767 767 769 769 770 Contents xxix Wireless Components . . . . . . . . 760 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Work vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 728 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 734 Windows Firewall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Public Network Settings Configuring Windows Firewall on Windows XP Configuring Windows Firewall on Windows Vista and Windows 7 Windows Firewall with Advanced Security Security Center Action Center Netsh Appliances 733 734 735 737 738 741 742 746 747 749 750 753 754 755 756 756 Securing a Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 730 Chapter 22 Network Security Devices Threats and Attacks Understanding Firewalls Understanding DMZs Port Forwarding Port Triggering Using Proxy Servers Basic QoS Home vs. . . . . . . . . . . 762 Chapter 23 Exploring Wireless Networking Wireless Access Point Wireless Router Wireless Device Infrastructure Mode vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 754 Chapter Summary. . . . . 759 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 791 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 793 Chapter 24 Connecting and Troubleshooting a Network Devices Cables Protocols VoIP Securing a SOHO Wired Network Wired Wireless Dial-Up Connections xxx Contents 795 798 799 800 800 800 801 802 802 Install and Configure a SOHO Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 782 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 797 Establish Networking Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 789 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wireless Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 770 Antenna and Access Point Placement Channels Radio Power Levels Encryption Types Personal Mode Enterprise Mode MAC Filtering Wi-Fi Protected Setup SSID 779 Understanding SSID Broadcast Enabling or Disabling SSID Broadcast Renaming the SSID Changing Default User Names and Passwords Configuring Wireless Settings on Windows 7 Configuring DHCP Troubleshooting Wireless Connections 780 780 781 782 784 786 787 772 772 774 775 776 777 777 778 Wireless Security. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 775 Configuring Wireless Network. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 801 . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 825 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . 824 Troubleshooting Network Problems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 806 Command Prompt Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 837 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .WWAN (Cellular) VPN Accessing My Network Places and Network Understanding Homegroups Ping Ipconfig Client-Side DNS and Ipconfig Tracert Nslookup Netstat Nbtstat Arp Net Cable Tester Loop Back Plugs Toner Probe Cannot Communicate on the Network Cannot Get out of Network Remember the Lights Use Windows Network Diagnostics Common Symptoms 803 804 806 807 812 815 816 817 818 819 820 821 822 824 824 824 825 826 827 827 828 Homegroups and Network Places. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 832 Chapter 25 Understanding IT Security User Education Principle of Least Privilege Authentication 835 837 837 838 Contents xxxi Prevention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 811 Hardware Tools. . . . . . 830 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 829 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Something You Know Something You Have Something You Are Single Sign-On Requiring Password with the Screen Saver Local Security Policy User Accounts Understanding Groups NTFS Permissions Share Permissions Combining NTFS and Share Permissions Encrypting Files with EFS Offline Files Encryption BitLocker Drive Encryption Hard Drive Sanitization Physical Destruction 838 840 842 843 844 845 848 851 855 859 860 861 863 863 865 867 Users and Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 868 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 854 Understanding Encryption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 847 Understanding Permissions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 875 xxxii Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . 861 Destruction and Disposal of Data and Media . . . . . . 871 Chapter 26 Recognizing Malware and Other Threats Botnets Virus Worm Trojan Horse Rogueware Rootkits 873 876 877 878 878 879 880 Exploring Malware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 869 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 864 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . To participate in a brief online survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . .microsoft. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Spyware Spam and Malware Phishing Antivirus Software Antispyware Keeping Systems Up to Date Disabling Autorun 880 880 881 882 887 888 888 Digital Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . please visit: www. . . . . . 897 Chapter Summary. . . . 882 Symptoms of an Infection. . . . . . . . . 901 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 893 Delete Temporary Files Using Safe Mode Using Preinstallation Environments Using Recovery Console and Windows RE System Restore Best Practices for Malware Removal Social Engineering Physical Security 893 894 895 896 896 896 898 898 Recognizing Other Security Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . .com/learning/booksurvey/ Contents xxxiii . . . . 900 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . 891 Removing Malware. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 903 Glossary Index 905 933 What do you think of this book? We want to hear from you! Microsoft is interested in hearing your feedback so we can continually improve our books and learning resources for you. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Describe the features used in mobile operating you will learn how to do the following: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Recognize hardware components used within a computer. Connect a computer and configure it on a network. so you are not expected to have any in-depth knowledge to use this training kit. You can download the objectives for the 220-801 and 220-802 exams from the CompTIA website: http://certification. Install. Troubleshoot basic networking issues. Install and configure operating systems. Recognize common components used in a network.aspx. configure. configure. Configure and secure mobile devices. Troubleshoot and repair hardware problems. Describe. The primary goal of this training kit is to help you build a solid foundation of IT knowledge so that you can successfully pass these two exams the first time you take them.Introduction T his training kit is designed for information technology (IT) professionals who want to earn the CompTIA A+ certification. By using this training kit. networking basics. the A+ certification is an entry-level certification. and troubleshoot printers. Recognize common prevention methods used to enhance security. and IT security. Describe the differences between common operating systems. you must take and pass the 220-801 and 220-802 exams. and maintain devices. Troubleshoot and repair operating system issues. It is assumed that you have a basic understanding of computers and Windows operating systems. Assemble a computer’s hardware components. install. To become an A+ certified technician. This includes PC hardware concepts. Windows operating system technologies. Refer to the objective mapping page in the front of this book to see where in the book each exam objective is covered. xxxv . However. Install. and troubleshoot laptop computers. Use various command line and operating system tools. The materials covered in this training kit and on exams 220-801 and 220-802 relate to the technologies a successful personal computer (PC) technician is expected to understand.comptia. configure.

or what the passing scores are. and 2009. More than likely. more than In previous versions. each exam included 100 questions and you had 90 minutes to complete the exam. 2003. It includes objectives in the following five areas: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ PC Hardware (40 percent of exam) Networking (27 percent of exam) Laptops (11 percent of exam) Printers (11 percent of exam) Operational Procedures (11 percent of exam) The 220-802 exam is focused on operating systems and troubleshooting. IT professionals commonly start with the A+ certification to lay a solid foundation of IT knowledge and later move on to higher-level certifications and better-paying jobs.aspx. but some will require you to perform a task. and over the years. they expect that you have been studying com­ puters (lab work) working in an IT job (field work) or a combination of both for at least 12 months. This includes troubleshooting operating systems.About the Exams The 220-801 exam is focused on skills required to install and maintain hardware. and hardware. For example. but you’ll probably have longer to complete them due to the addition of performance-based questions. Prerequisites CompTIA recommends that test takers have a minimum of 12 months of lab or field work experience prior to taking the exams. Because of this. the questions were straightforward. and you won’t need to spend a lot of time analyzing the question. xxxvi Introduction . what’s 10 + 10? Either you know it or you don’t. That is. 2006.000 people around the world have earned the A+ certification. This gave you a little less than a minute to answer each question. CompTIA has not published how many questions will be on each exam. you’ll have the same number of questions. It includes objectives in the following four areas: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Operating Systems (33 percent of exam) Security (22 percent of exam) Mobile Devices (9 percent of exam) Troubleshooting (36 percent of exam) These exams became available in late 2012 and are the fifth version of A+ exams. Most of the questions will be simple. Previous versions came out in 1993. security issues.comptia. As I write this. how long you’ll have to complete each exam. You can look here for up to date information: http://certification.

A person might answer questions correctly but not be able to actually ride the bike. and if they pass. “Navigate to the C:\Data folder and change the study. CompTIA is introducing questions that will require you to perform a task. you’ll be in a simulated Windows environment with a Command Prompt. Imagine that you wanted to know if a person could ride a bike. ask the person to ride it. Consider the following multiple choice question: 1. Performance Based Testing A significant difference in the 220-801 and 220-802 exams over previous versions is the introduction of performance-based testing.” When you click a button. Which of the following commands will change a file to read-only? A.txt The answer is attrib. attrib +R study. Instead of just using multiple choice questions. which 2 equals about three months of 40-hour weeks. making it read-only.txt When it’s a multiple choice question. Introduction xxxvii . Note that this is not a requirement to take the exams.This is different from what CompTIA has previously recommended. but you’ll find that these questions aren’t always reliable.txt C. ­ This same knowledge might be tested in a performance-based testing question as follows: 1. you’ll have the best chance of success if you have been studying and working with computers for at least 12 months. The 220-701 and ­ 20-702 objectives recommended test takers have 500 hours of lab or field work. you would probably get the previous question correct. However. readonly -true study.txt D.txt B. you have a 25-percent chance of getting it correct. and the +R switch sets the read-only attribute to true. Anyone can take the exams ­ after paying for them. The performance-based testing method requires you to know the material and be able to enter the correct commands. ren -readonly study.txt file to read-only. You could ask some multiple choice questions. assoc -R study. You would then need to enter the following two commands: cd \data attrib +R studynotes. they earn the certification. Put the person in front of a bike. Performance-based testing uses this philosophy to see if someone has a skill. Even if you didn’t remember the exact syntax of the attrib command but knew the purpose of it. and you’ll quickly know whether the person can or not.

so you won’t see any Windows 8 topics on the exams. W the popularity of Windows 7 increased. For example. If you do these tasks as you work through the book. Take notes. four months from now. or another time. “Objectives are subject to change without notice. but they have changed objectives. Check it out.getcertifiedgetahead. including the following: ■■ Set a goal. you’ll be better prepared to succeed with these performance-based tests. Go back over your notes periodically to see what you remember and what you need to review further. I plan on staying on top of the changes and will post updates on my blog at http://blogs. The process of transferring the words from the book. and down to your hand really helps to burn the knowledge into your brain. ­ Is it possible that Windows 8 will become popular and that CompTIA will announce changes to the objectives in 2013? Absolutely. When the objectives were first published. The date is dependent on how long it’ll take you to read the chapters and your current knowledge level. Windows 8 was not available. You can’t bring notes with you into the testing area. through your head. You might set a date two months from now.” I don’t know of any time they’ve changed the objectives without notice. I’ll also include information on the following page: http://getcertifiedgetahead. but there are some common techniques that many people use to pass these exams. with performance-based testing in Pick a date when you expect to take the first exam. but you can use them to review key material before the exam. However. and set your goal to take it then.GetCertifiedGetAhead. and CompTIA decided to add Windows 7 topics. pick a date and set a goal. The same timing is occurring with the 220-801/220-802 objectives and Windows 8. Study Tips There’s no single study method that works for everyone. ­ indows 7 wasn’t available and the objectives didn’t include any Windows 7 topics. In September 2010. Objective Changes CompTIA includes a note in the objectives that states that. ■■ ■■ xxxviii Introduction . when the 220-701 and 220-702 objectives were published in 2009. Read your notes. I’ve included steps and instructions for how to do many tasks. If that happens.Throughout the book. The changes became effective for anyone who took the exam after January 1. take the time to write them down. 2011.aspx. If concepts aren’t familiar to you. I’ll also be posting A+ notes and tips on Blogs. CompTIA announced objective modifications to include Windows

” the objectives have a strong focus on Windows XP. while exercising. Ideally. Take the practice test questions on the CD. or just about anytime. which can give an interesting twist to studying. ■■ ■■ ■■ System Requirements The actual system requirements to use this book are minimal. case fan. Chapter 2. but actually removing and reinstalling a power supply. Starting with Chapter 11. The only requirement is a computer that you can use to install the practice tests on the Companion CD. The following sections describe hardware and software requirements to set up a virtualization workstation. Ideally. or hard drive is much more meaningful than just reading about doing it. These help you realize what you don’t know and what you need to brush up on. Review the objectives. you’ll have an old computer that you can take apart and put back together. you should be familiar with these operating systems. You can listen while driving. Each question includes detailed explanations about why the correct answer(s) is/are correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. It isn’t required.” introduces virtualization. The practice test questions on the CD are designed to test the objectives for the exam but at a deeper level than you’ll have on the live exam. Windows Vista. Many practice test programs include flash cards. This is what CompTIA says it will test you on. ­ Record your notes. so you don’t necessarily have to create them yourself. Introduction xxxix . it isn’t important that you have Windows Vista. “Understanding Motherboards and BIOS. “Introducing Windows Operating Systems. you can use a single PC with virtualization software hosting these operating systems. Many people record their notes on an MP3 player and play them back regularly. Sometimes just understanding the objective will help you predict a test question and answer it correctly. As a PC technician.■■ Use flash cards. if you have Windows XP and Windows 7. you should be able to look at the answers to any question and know not only the correct answer but also why the incorrect answers are incorrect. “Working with Customers. Instead of having two or three separate computers. and Chapter 10. Therefore. and Windows 7. You will find that most of the tested material is the same in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Some people get a lot out of flash cards that provide a quick test of your knowledge. Some people have their husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend read the notes.” discusses virtualization workstations.

0 GB of RAM. which is enabled in the BIOS. (Note: you can run Windows Virtual PC without Intel-VT or AMD-V.aspx. The objectives heavily cover Windows 7. your computer should meet the following requirements: ■■ A processor that includes hardware-assisted virtualization (AMD-V or Intel VT). but you can only run 32-bit hosts within Windows Virtual PC.) Ideally. you can easily run Windows XP in a virtual create a V new VM and install it If you haven’t completed the exams by the time the 90-day trial Next. Additional requirements include the following: ■■ Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode.virtualbox. The following page includes the download link after you identify your operating system and the desired language: ­ /download. the processor will be a 64-bit processor so that you can have more ­ RAM. Internet connectivity.vmware. Windows 7 (32-bit). Windows Virtual PC allows you to run multiple virtual Windows environments. download the 90-day trial of Windows 7 and install it as a VM within Windows ­ irtual PC. and if you have it. you can use either VirtualBox or VMware. As an alternative to Windows Virtual PC. and you can download a free version of VMware player here: http://www . ­ xl Introduction . ■■ After following the instructions to download and install Windows Virtual PC and ­ indows XP Mode. Both VirtualBox and VMware player support 6 4-bit host machines. but more is Requirements for Virtualization If you plan on using virtualization. Oracle provides VirtualBox as a free download here: https://www. you will have Virtual PC installed on your system. The following page introduces the Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode: http://www. The experience is worth 80 GB of available hard disk space. ■■ ■■ ■■ Software Requirements You should have a computer running Windows ­ / You will also have a fully W functioning copy of Windows XP that you can use for Windows XP Mode and to explore the functionality of Windows XP while you are studying. At least 2. You can download a 90-day trial copy of Windows 7 Enterprise here: http://technet.

2. Refer to the Readme. ■■ ■■ ■■ Note  Companion content for digital book readers If you bought a digital-only edition of this book. There are also links to a few more resources that you might find valuable during your studies. Introduction xli . Click Practice Tests and follow the instructions on the screen. The companion CD contains the following: ■■ Practice tests  You can reinforce your understanding of the topics covered in this training kit by using electronic practice tests that you can customize to meet your needs. The CD includes a list of all the video links mentioned in the chapters and a few more. videos are pointed out to supplement learning. Visit http://go. and more. Note  If the CD menu does not appear If the CD menu or the license agreement does not appear. the motherboard. you can enjoy select content from the print edition’s companion CD. perform the following steps: 1.Using the Companion CD A companion CD is included with this training kit. How to Install the Practice Tests To install the practice test software from the companion CD to your hard disk. Insert the companion CD into your CD drive and accept the license agreement. An eBook  An electronic version (eBook) of this book is included for when you do not want to carry the printed book with you.txt file on the CD for alternate installation to get your downloadable content. The CPU-Z freeware utility  Chapter 3 discusses how this utility can be used to provide information on the CPU. which give you many practice exams to ensure that you are prepared. A list of video links  Throughout the book. You can practice for the 220-801 and 220-802 certification exams by using tests created from a pool of 400 realistic exam questions. A CD menu appears. AutoRun might be disabled on your computer.

­ Custom Mode  Gives you full control over the test options so that you can customize them as you like. I especially appreciate the copy editing by Richard Carey and the technical editing by Bill Talbott. The test has a set number of questions. Study Mode  Creates an untimed test during which you can review the correct answers and the explanations after you answer each question. and you cannot pause and restart the timer. and I am grateful for all their work. All Programs. you can click the Learning Plan tab to see a list of references for every objective. follow these steps: 1. thanks to Steve Weiss for originally reaching out to me and inviting me to write this A+ Training Kit. After you click Test Results to score your entire practice test. How to Uninstall the Practice Tests To uninstall the practice test software for a training kit. 2. Several editors helped throughout this process. I especially appreciate my wife putting up with xlii Introduction . Acknowledgments The author’s name appears on the cover of a book. First of all. A window appears that shows all the Microsoft Press training kit exam prep suites installed on your computer. who helped out with some writing on two of the hardware chapters. Double-click the practice test you want to use. When you review your answer to an individual practice test question. ■■ ■■ In all modes. you can choose whether to take the test in Certification Mode. but I am only one member of a much larger team. or Custom Mode: ■■ Certification Mode  Closely resembles the experience of taking a certification exam. a “References” section is provided that lists where in the training kit you can find the information that relates to that question and provides links to other sources of information. Study Mode.How to Use the Practice Tests To start the practice test software. use the Program And Features option in Windows Control Panel. When you start a practice test. It is timed. I extend a huge thanks to José Vargas. the user interface when you are taking the test is basically the same but with different options enabled or disabled depending on the mode. and then select Microsoft Press Training Kit Exam Prep. Click Start.

email Microsoft Press Book Support at: mspinput@microsoft. you can report it to us through the same page. Introduction xliii . a special thanks to readers who have provided feedback to me over the years. your satisfaction is our top priority. Errata & Book Support We’ve made every effort to ensure the accuracy of this book and its companion content. Support & Feedback The following sections provide information about errata. and contact and we read every one of your comments and http://go. and your feedback is our most valuable asset. ­ We Want to Hear from You At Microsoft long days and nights working on what she has nicknamed “the forever book” because it seems like I‘ve been working on this book close to Please note that product support for Microsoft software is not offered through the addresses above. feedback. Any errors that have been reported since this book was published are listed on our Microsoft Press site at oreilly. Please tell us what you think of this book at: If you find an error that is not already listed. If you need additional The survey is short. book support. Thanks in advance for your input! ­ Stay in Touch Let us keep the conversation going! We are on Twitter: http://twitter. letting me know what helps them learn and what things I can improve.

preparation through study and hands-on practice can help you prepare for the exam. To safeguard the integrity of the exam. For example. Choose the combination that you think works best for you. authors do not have access to the live exam. While there is no substitution for on-the-job experience. Certification exams validate your on-the-job experience and product knowledge. We recommend that you round out your exam preparation plan by using a combination of available study materials and courses.Preparing for the Exam M icrosoft certification exams are a great way to build your résumé and let the world know about your level of expertise. xliv Preparing for the Exam . you might use the training kit and another study guide for your “at home” preparation and take a Microsoft Official Curriculum course for the classroom experience. Note that this training kit is based on publically available information about the exam and the author's experience.

you’ll learn about some basic safety issues and tools you can use when maintaining computers.CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers I n this chapter.2 Differentiate between motherboard components. The Numbering Systems section lays the foundation for topics in many future chapters. and power supplies—core hardware computer components that often require periodic maintenance by technicians. and properties. ■■ ■■ Power connections and types Fan connectors Connector types and their voltages ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 1. For example. Last. This chapter also includes information about cases.8 Install an appropriate power supply based on a given scenario. ■■ SATA Molex 4/8-pin 12v PCIe 6/8-pin 20-pin 24-pin Floppy Wattage Size Number of connectors 1 ■■ Specifications ■■ ■■ ■■ . but don’t underestimate their importance in understanding how a computer works. different numbering systems are often unfamiliar to many people. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. you’ll learn about some basic computer-related concepts that are important for any technician to understand. fans. their purposes. imp ortant Have you read page xliv? It contains valuable information regarding the skills you need to pass the exams.

humidity level awareness and proper ventilation Power surges. blackouts ■■ ■■ 5. ■■ ■■ ■■ Battery backup Surge suppressor Enclosures Air filters Compressed air Vacuums Antistatic bags ■■ Protection from airborne particles ■■ ■■ ■■ Dust and debris ■■ ■■ ■■ Component handling and protection ■■ ■■ Compliance to local government regulations 2 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Disconnect power before repairing PC Remove jewelry Lifting techniques Weight limitations Electrical fire safety ■■ ■■ Compliance with local government regulations MSDS documentation for handling and disposal Temperature.1 Given a scenario. use appropriate safety procedures. brownouts.■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ATX Micro-ATX Dual voltage options ESD straps ESD mats Self-grounding Equipment grounding Personal safety ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 5.2 Explain environmental impacts and the purpose of environmental controls.

with all the dust gone.Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 4. and it was running slower as a result. However. CHAPTER 1 3 . troubleshoot common problems related to motherboards. I methodically blew out all the dust and put the computer back together. I took a look. It made me wonder how many people toss out perfectly good computers when all they need to do is clean them. the A+ technician (you) with just a little bit of knowledge can be the hero for these people. There was dust gunked up in just about every vent and throughout the inside of the computer. the computer was humming along quietly and returned to its previous speed. CPU and power with appropriate tools. without the extra dust. However. and sure enough it reminded me of being next to a jet engine. or perhaps I should say a listen. She said she was going to have to replace it because it was just too loud and slow. and louder. ■■ Common symptoms ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ No power Overheating Loud noise Intermittent device failure Smoke Burning smell Multimeter Power supply tester ■■ Tools ■■ ■■ Real World  Dirty fans might sound like jet engines Not too long ago. You can help them restore their computer to its previous glory.2 Given a scenario. Sure enough. The extra dust in the vents was making the fans work harder. took the computer outside. I bought a can of compressed air. the computer was quieter and quicker. However. and removed the case. I certainly understand how intimidating it can be for some users to open up a computer case and look inside. RAM. The extra dust on the central processing unit (CPU) and its fan was causing the CPU to quickly overheat. a friend was complaining to me about a computer she had. I knew how to solve this problem.

Sometimes input is provided by other sources. It accepts input. However. It does the processing. and it uses random access memory (RAM) to store and manipulate data. and output. The computer processes your double-click with several actions: 1. It recognizes that this extension is associated with Microsoft Word.docx). using the mouse as your input. imagine you wanted to open up a Microsoft Word document that has your A+ study notes. Output. such as a disk drive when opening files or a network interface card (NIC) when receiving data. processing. ■■ ■■ Note  Long-term and short-term storage Computers are unable to work with data or programs until the information is in memory. The central processing unit (CPU) is the brain of the computer. It identifies the extension of the Microsoft Word file (. ■■ Input. 4 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . This is often transparent to the user. but information must be moved to the memory before the CPU can work with it. or even a touch screen. performs some processing. and output. 2. computers also provide output to other destinations. a computer has three functions: input. to disk drives when saving files. These can include output to speakers or headphones to play sound. processing. You would start by double-clicking the document. The computer responds to the input by completing an action.doc or . a mouse.Computing Basics At the most basic level. User-provided input comes from a keyboard. For example. Output is commonly provided to a screen or a printer. and to a NIC when transmitting data. Processing. and provides an output. Disk drives provide long-term storage. Key Terms CPU RAM Input Processing Output Figure 1-1  Input. as shown in Figure 1-1. This is often shortened to just input/output (I/O). It locates and retrieves the Microsoft Word program from the disk drive and begins moving the program from the disk drive to memory.

and displays it on the screen. Despite being able to do so much. 6. Ask it to multiply two five-digit numbers. With this in mind. They can work only with numbers. However. the computer begins sending results to the graphics card. and a computer will do so in a flash. it’s worth pointing out that computers are pretty dumb. showing the process of Microsoft Word starting. The preceding IPO process is constantly repeated. they can work only with ones and zeros. Note IPO Computer troubleshooting can often be reduced to identifying what is not working: input. which should make a lot of sense to you if you’re familiar with decimal numbers. it’s much easier to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. computers can work with these ones and zeros very quickly. or output (IPO). This is also known as a numbering system with a base of ten. Admittedly. When the program is in memory. When the file is in memory. processing. you know that its decimal parts are two thousand. three hundred. The computer identifies what key you pressed.357. because there are ten digits in the numbering system. The computer begins sending results to the graphics card. When you save the file. and then translate the result of ones and zeros into a usable display. Specifically. We understand the meaning of the numbers 0 through 9. Consider typing your A+ notes about fans or power supplies into your study file. fifty. When Microsoft Word is in memory and started. it must first translate any input you give it to a string of ones and zeros.3. it’s important for any A+ technician to have a rudimentary understanding of some basic numbering systems. process these strings. 4. Numbering Systems CHAPTER 1 5 . the computer locates the Word Study Notes file and moves it from the hard drive to memory. When you identify this. Everything that is written to a disk drive or to memory is a series of ones and zeros. After you get up to 9. and seven. Table 1-1 shows the underlying math. Each key press is another input that is processed and generates an output. 5. the computer can actually run it. it writes everything in its memory to the file on the drive. the next number is 10. If you see a number like 2. Numbering Systems You and I count by using decimal numbers. stores its value in memory.

so its value is 50.357 has 2 in this column. Note  Binary bit In binary. so it represents 2. or 10 cubed.000 + 300 + 50 + 7.000. They result in a lot of wasted space. but you do recognize the value.357 has 3 in this column.357 has 5 in this column. Consider the binary number 1001.357 has 7 in this column. For example. or false. so its value is 7.000 The column on the far left is 103. A bit can have a value of 1 or 0. Table 1-2 shows how you can convert this number to a decimal value that has more meaning to you and me. Any number raised to the one power is itself. you’d easily recognize that the first choice is a little over $2 thousand and that the second choice is over $7 thousand. it’s considered to be off. so 10 0 is 1. you get 2. so 101 is 10. Because of this. or true.532.357.000. The number 2. The value of 10 x 10 is 100. Instead of using numbers 0 through 9. so its value is 300. When you see the number 2. you probably don’t think of it this way. Binary Binary numbers have a base of two. a single digit is referred to as a bit. and the number 2. The number 2. any number raised to the zero power is 1.Table 1-1  Decimal Values 103 Decimal value Number Calculated value ■■ 102 100 3 300 101 10 5 50 100 1 7 7 1000 2 2. The next column is 102. Last.357 or $7. ■■ ■■ ■■ If you add 2. The value of 10 x 10 x 10 is 1. computers use different numbering systems. they only use the numbers 0 and 1. it’s easier to bridge that knowledge to something that might be new to you. or 10 squared. The number 2. When it is a 1. Base ten numbers aren’t very efficient for computers. if I said I was going to give you your choice of $2.357. it is considered to be on. 6 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . When the bit is a 0. such as binary and hexadecimal. By reviewing what you know.

so 21 is 2. ■■ ■■ ■■ If you add 8 + 0 + 0 + 1. the binary number 1001 has a decimal value of 9. any number raised to the zero power is 1. you could also express the same number as C9 by using hexadecimal. it’s 1100 1001. Similarly. binary. That string of ones and zeros is a little difficult to communicate. because 1100 is C in hexadecimal and 1001 is 9 in hexadecimal. Numbering Systems CHAPTER 1 7 . Therefore. Table 1-3 shows the decimal. The number 1001 has 1 in this column. But if you need to tell someone to use the binary equivalent. The value of 2 x 2 x 2 is 8. they aren’t so easy for people to digest. The second column is 2 squared. and hexadecimal equivalent for the numbers up to hexadecimal F. it’s common to separate groups of four with a space. so its value is 0. you get 9. that’s rather easy. Hexadecimal Although binary and bits work well with computers.468 because the commas make it easier to see that it starts with 135 million. although both numbers mean the same thing. so its value is 1. Hexadecimal uses a base of 16. Hexadecimal uses the characters 0–9 and A–F. This is similar to adding commas to decimal numbers. The value of 2 x 2 is 4. 11001001 isn’t as easy for most people to process as 1100 1001. so it represents a calculated decimal value of 8. The binary number 1100 1001 can also be expressed as C9.Table 1-2  Binary Values 23 Decimal value Binary number Calculated value ■■ 22 4 0 0 21 2 0 0 20 1 1 1 8 1 8 The column on the far left is 23. However. If you need to tell someone to use the number 201. Last. or 2 cubed. Note  Binary grouping When grouping several binary numbers. The number 1001 has 0 in this column. Any number raised to the one power is itself. For example.792. and the number 1001 has 0 in this column. so its value is 0. so 20 is 1. 135792468 is often expressed as 135. The number 1001 has 1 in this column. adding six extra digits to the base ten numbers of 0–9. It is easier to express than binary and more efficient for computers than base 10 because it easily translates to binary.

If you convert this to decimal. and these are commonly listed in six pairs of hexadecimal numbers like this: 6C-62-6D-BA-73-6C. Network interface cards are assigned 48-bit MAC addresses. and both equate to 1100 in binary. Without hexadecimal. The column on the far left is 27. You can extend binary as far as you need to. (This error code indicates a problem with memory. technicians and other Information Technology (IT) professionals still express the numbers as bytes. the MAC would be listed as a string of 48 bits. They certainly can. and eight bits makes up a byte. hexadecimal numbers are often preceded with 0x that to indicate that they are hexadecimal numbers. or 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2. and Hexadecimal Values Decimal 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Binary 0000 0001 0010 0011 0100 0101 0110 0111 Hexadecimal 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Decimal 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Binary 1000 1001 1010 1011 1100 1101 1110 1111 Hexadecimal 8 9 A B C D E F Note  Hexadecimal case Hexadecimal numbers are not case sensitive. Binary. Table 1-4  Bits in a Byte 27 128 26 64 25 32 24 16 23 8 22 4 21 2 20 1 8 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Additionally. if Windows 7 stops responding. An uppercase C is the same as a lowercase c. but most computer technicians deal with numbers that do not go beyond a byte. This is not to say that computers can’t work with more than eight bits. Bits vs. For example. However. the screen will display an error code such as STOP Error 0x0000002E. They are expressed both ways by different applications.Table 1-3  Decimal. or hexadecimal code 2E. Table 1-4 shows the value of each of the bits in a byte. it is 128.) A common example of how hexadecimal numbers are used is with media access control (MAC) addresses. Bytes Key Terms A single binary number is a bit.

an IPv4 address of 192. Note  One thousand or 1024 You may be wondering why a KB is 1. A KB is 1. Kilo. Here’s a comparison of these values: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ KB = about one thousand bytes (210) MB = about one thousand KB or about a million bytes (220) GB = about one thousand MB or about a billion bytes (230) TB = about one thousand GB or about trillion bytes (240) Quick Check 1. What is the decimal value of the hexadecimal character C? 2. If you plug these numbers into a calculator. 1010 1000 .024 bytes. 0000 0101. and terabytes (TB).5 could also be expressed in binary as 1100 0000 . 8 Numbering Systems CHAPTER 1 9 .1. and Tera Key Terms Computers handle huge numbers of bytes. megabytes (MB). 0000 0001 . 12 2. Additionally. For example. you’ll see that it works out to 1. but most technicians shorten this to “about a thousand” bytes. Mega.168. IPv4 addresses are 32 bits long.024 bytes instead of one thousand bytes. These addresses are commonly divided into four groups of eight bits.024.Note  IPv4 is 32 bits In networking. Kilo literally means thousand. the groups are usually expressed in decimal format. gigabytes (GB). Giga. or four bytes. which are often expressed as kilobytes (KB). How many bits are in a byte? Quick Check Answers 1. the bytes are calculated by using binary with the formula of 210 (or 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2). However. so you’d think that one KB would be one thousand bytes.

1. This is a dedicated fan to keep the CPU cool. The CPU is directly beneath this fan and can’t be seen. and others fit on top of a desk. 10 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . and shapes of cases. Power supply. CPU fan.Cases and Cooling Computer cases house many of the components in the computer. 2. The common purpose of a computer case is to house the components needed within a computer. and there are many different types. Standard personal computers (PCs) use desktop cases. Figure 1-2 shows an opened computer case with several components highlighted. sizes. The wires coming out of the right side of the power supply are con- nected to different computer components. Some cases are towers that stand up beside a desk. Key Terms 1 5 3 2 6 4 3 Figure 1-2  Computer case.

However. Motherboards As you can see in Figure 1-2. You can also see a variety of different cables within the case. The large white square outlines the motherboard. Hard disk drives are used for permanent storage of data. These smaller cases don’t have as much room for expansion.” covers RAM. All the components are squeezed in.” “motherboard.” provides more details on the This system has two hard disk drives. Optical drive bays. The case shown in the figure is relatively large. One side of the case can normally be opened by removing two thumb screws on the back of the case and pulling off the side panel. 5. “Understanding Processors and RAM. Vents on the case are positioned so that air constantly flows over key components to keep them cool. the motherboard takes up a significant amount of space. A quick exercise you can do is to open your computer’s case and peer inside. and Chapter 3.” or “power supply”) and select Images. If you don’t have multiple computers handy. Type in your search phrase (such as “computer case. Make sure you first power the computer down and unplug the power cable. 4. This case has two fans. “Understanding Motherboards and BIOS. There’s no need to manipulate anything inside the case at this stage. Exam Tip A+ exam questions often expect you to be able to identify components within a computer. Multiple compo- nents are located on the motherboard. and the graphics card. and you will likely see other computers where the case is not much larger than the length and width of the motherboard. Motherboard. and other cables and connectors are covered in future chapters.” covers the different types of storage devices. Hard disk drive bays. The power supply cables are covered later in this chapter. a smaller one on the left and a larger one on the bottom right.3. Looking at different computers will help you correctly answer these questions. Chapter 4. Chapter 2. but you can look at it and compare your case with the case shown in Figure 1-2. Chapter 6. “Comparing Storage Devices. This system has two drives. 6.” covers displays and graphics (including graphics cards) in more detail. Cases and Cooling CHAPTER 1 11 . Case fans. CD and DVD optical drives are located here. These fans pull air into the case. Not all cases have this much space or this many components. check out the pictures on bing. with space for another one. RAM. including the CPU. “Exploring Video and Display Devices. with space for another one. such as adding hard drives. Figure 1-2 does give you an idea of what you’ll see within a computer case.

They draw air in from the room. If a fan fails completely. They never get quite that loud. Case Fans Computers can get very hot. so fans are used to keep cool air flowing over the components. direct it over key components. with several improvements and modifications added over the years. if the case fan is clogged. while quality fans have sophisticated bearings that are extremely quiet. but as an introduction. 12 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . If it doesn’t solve the problem. which automatically adjusts the speed of the fan based on the temperature. it should be replaced as soon as possible to ensure that other components do not overheat and fail. Common Problems with Fans When a case fan becomes clogged or dirty. In some cases. Many quality fans include a thermistor.An important consideration related to the motherboard and the case is ensuring that the case can adequately house it. This will often reduce the noise and increase the performance. you can replace it with a higher-quality fan. and it’s common for the entire system to slow to a crawl. are often an indication of a heat-related problem. The ATX standard has been in use since 1995. Internal components become hotter. Chapter 2 covers motherboard form factors in more depth. and then the air exits from vents on the case. If you ever replace a computer’s motherboard with a different brand or model. and the most noticeable difference is in how much noise they make. This is especially true if the fans are loud. it can be so noisy that people commonly complain it sounds like a jet engine. The easy solution is to clean the fan along with the case as described in the Cleaning Cases section later in this chapter. but they can be a nuisance. Even worse. indicating that they are working very hard. the Advanced Technology Extended (ATX) motherboard form factor is the most common. such as random restarts. Exam Tip Intermittent failures. Many cases are designed so that they will support ATX motherboards. Fans come in different levels of quality. you’ll need to ensure that it fits within the case. problems with the fan can cause the system to fail. Inexpensive fans have cheap bearings that are noisy. the computer is often not getting enough air flow through it.

many technicians are tempted to run a computer with its case open. 1 2 Figure 1-3  Removing a case fan. Cases and Cooling CHAPTER 1 13 . However. Take a look at it as you follow the steps to remove the fan. these components do not have enough air flow over them. make sure that the fan you’re purchasing fits in your case. If the case is left open. so if a fan is too noisy or has failed. If you do replace the fan.Note  Close the case In different situations. Replacing a Fan A fan is considered a field replaceable unit (FRU). Figure 1-3 shows the case fan within a system. Many companies sell case fans. which can cause them to overheat. the vents on the case are strategically placed to ensure that air flows over specific components to keep them cool. and they are relatively easy to replace on a system. The two most common sizes for case fans are 80 mm and 120 mm. you can replace it.

1. Take note of this jack. For example. The arrows in Figure 1-3 point to two of the screws. and also slow down the speed of the CPU to reduce the heat. it will gather some dust. and you can cause damage to the computer or yourself if the power cable is not removed. Fan connectors can use two. or four pins. remove the cover. and use the compressed air to blow out the dust and other contaminants. It’s relatively easy to clean a case. Notification Switch for Security Many computer cases have a special push-button switch that detects whether the case has been opened. Attach the four screws and plug it in. if the case vents become clogged with contaminants. and it stays depressed as long as the case is closed. These components often increase the speed of the fans.Important  Turn off the power Ensure that the computer is turned off and that the power cable is removed before opening the case and replacing a fan. The 4-pin connectors are commonly used with variable speed fans. In extreme work environments. which you can purchase from electronics stores. After removing the old fan. Even with new fans. The power connector plugs into a specific jack on the motherboard. you can install the new fan by reversing your steps. and many computers include components that can automatically sense the temperature. This is also called a biased switch. You can also use adapters to connect some fans into a Molex type of connector from the motherboard. the fans will work harder to pull the air through the system. the inside of a computer can get quite dirty. and ensure that you plug the new fan into the jack the same way. Take the computer outside. a computer with dogs or cats in the area can collect fur and hair. Power is still provided to the motherboard even if the system is turned off. Remove the power connector. Excessive dust creates additional heat. and the other two screws are on the other two corners of the fan. three. though. making the system louder. a computer within a manufacturing plant will collect dirt and contaminants inside the case. The most common method is by using a can of compressed air. the switch opens and the change is recorded in the 14 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Remove four screws from the back of the case. allowing the computer to control the speed of the fan. The easy solution is to clean the case. Similarly. Exam Tip Cleaning a case and its fans can improve a computer’s performance. 2. When the case is opened. Cleaning Cases With all the air blowing into the computer case.

This is useful for detecting whether someone has been tampering with a computer. +12 V ATXbased power supply +5 V +3. it indicates that the system case has been opened. AC vs. A computer has become louder and slower. DC Key Terms The two types of voltages are alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). 2. With that in mind. you need to have a basic understanding of power supplies. AC voltage alternates above and below zero volts. which looks like a sine wave. and voltage is the difference in potential between two points. As an A+ technician. For The next time the system starts. DC. Power supplies within computers convert this AC voltage into DC voltage. Clean it. Commercial power companies traditionally provide power as AC. as shown in Figure 1-4. Power Supplies Computers run on electricity. 80 mm and 120 mm. an electrical signal can be 12 volts above a ground potential of zero volts. Quick Check 1.3 V OV OV –12 V AC commercial power Figure 1-4  AC vs. Power supplies within computers ensure that components within a system consistently have the correct voltages. you might need to troubleshoot a system with a faulty power supply or even replace a power supply. What is a common solution? Quick Check Answers 1. Electricity is measured as voltage. What are the two common sizes of a case fan? 2. giving it a value of 12 volts. and DC voltage provides a steady voltage either above or below zero. Common DC voltages Power Supplies CHAPTER 1 15 .

and are sometimes expressed as VDC. and a single 12-V rail provides 18 A of power. In simple terms. The DC voltages shown in the figure are common voltages used within computers. case fans. case fans. and disk drives. such as in the United States. the power supply won’t be able to provide steady voltages and the variances might damage system components. and higher amperage with the same voltage provides more power. For example. In most cases. and 230 VAC above and below 0 volts in other regions. If these rails are overworked. such as 12 VDC. With this in mind. Additionally. However. Higher amperage results in a higher rate of flow. whereas DC voltage is a constant steady voltage. Many current power supplies include at least two 12-V rails. Rails Power supplies provide separate lines (called rails) for the different voltages.Figure 1-4 isn’t to scale. 16 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Some power supplies include three or four rails. they will frequently cause problems for the hard drives. consider replacing the power supply with one that has an additional 12-V rail. you’ll have some problems. When replacing a power supply unit (PSU). the motherboard. the computer simply won’t work. Exam Tip The 12-V rails provide primary power to disk drives. this single 18-A rail often isn’t enough to power all the components that need the voltage. The voltage that draws the most power is 12 V. Amperage (A) refers to the rate of flow of the voltage. used for CPUs. such as in Europe. Wattage Power Ratings Key Terms Power supplies are rated based on the amount of power they can provide. watts are computed by multiplying the voltage by the amperage. if hard drives are frequently failing in a computer. and power is computed as a watt (W). you should look for the W within the specifications to identify the power output. power supplies must not only convert AC to DC and supply the correct DC voltages. you need to ensure that you are replacing it with one that has at least the same number of 12-V rails as the original. In other words. When replacing a power supply. If a system requires 600 W and you put in a 300-W power supply. with one rail dedicated to the CPU and the second rail dedicated to everything else. The key point is that AC voltage is an alternating or varying voltage. and disk drives all draw additional power. AC voltages vary about 115 VAC (volts AC power) above and below 0 volts in many regions. In other cases.000 W. but they must also provide enough power to support all the components in the system. it’s not uncommon for a CPU to require as much as 100 W. a 600-watt PSU would be listed as 600 W. The range of common current ATX-based PSUs is about 300 W to 1. For example. Each individual component within a computer requires a certain amount of power.

1. AC power jack. Some systems can automatically sense the voltage.Power Supply Connections The ATX standard mentioned within the Motherboards section earlier in this chapter also identifies power supply requirements. so the switch isn’t needed. Most current desktop systems include power supplies that support ATX-based motherboards. along with its connectors. This power supply was removed from a computer with an ATX-style motherboard. Select 115 or 230 based on the commercial power provided at your location. For comparison. 2. and they provide specific voltages defined in the ATX specifications. The power cable connects from here to a power source providing AC power. 6 1 7 2 3 8 4 5 Figure 1-5  Power supply. Dual voltage power selection. Refer to the figure as you read the following descriptions. Figure 1-5 shows the rear view of a power supply. commercial power provided in the United States is 115 VAC. and power provided in Europe is 230 VAC. Power Supplies CHAPTER 1 17 .

This 15-pin connector provides power to Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) disk drives. Exam Tip You might need to troubleshoot a power supply and verify that it is supplying the correct voltages. yellow wires carry 12 V. such as Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA) disk drives. On the other hand. Black wires are ground (or a zero potential). They provide 5-VDC and 12-VDC power to 3. 3.Exam Tip If you have this selection set at 230 and you plug it into a commercial power source providing 115 VAC. These are sometimes called Berg connectors or mini- Molex connectors. it indicates that the power supply has power. 5. It’s commonly called the P1 connector and provides 3. SATA power connector. Primary power connector. 4. Computers typically have a separate power button and power indicator on the front of the case.5-inch floppy drives. but new systems use an 8-pin connector similar to the one shown in Figure 1-6. 8. and 12 VDC to the motherboard. 5-V. 18 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . if you set it to 115 and you plug it into a 230-VAC power source. red wires carry 5 V. Many power supplies also have a PCI Express (PCIe) power connector. and blue wires carry -12 V. 5 VDC. This connector is formally called ATX12V but is also known as P4 because it was first used with the Pentium 4 CPUs. or smell smoke. Floppy drive mini-connectors. unplug it as quickly as possible and check this switch. This does not indicate that the actual computer is turned on. It includes 3. This was originally a 6-pin connector. it won’t have enough power to run the computer. With this in mind. These provide 5 V and 12 V to different devices. when the system includes floppy drives.3 V. A 20-pin or 24-pin connector provides primary power to the motherboard. Molex connectors. smell burning components. If you hear pops. Systems with more than one CPU use an 8-pin connector (or two 4-pin connectors) to provide power for multiple CPUs. 6. you will likely destroy the power supply. Most current motherboards use a 4-pin connector that provides 12 VDC used by the CPU. Power indicator. you should be aware of valid voltages on the different connectors. When on. Some power supplies use a 6+2 connector. Secondary motherboard power connection. or a newer system with 8 pins. 7. and 12-V DC voltages.3 VDC. allowing you to plug it into an older system with only 6 pins. This is formally known as EPS12V.3-V. orange wires carry 3.

these connectors and plugs are just plastic. In the worst case scenario. Rounded edge Figure 1-7  Cable keying examples. don’t try to force it. double-check the keying to ensure that it is plugged in correctly. plugging a cable in backwards can destroy a device. so it’s best to look for the key and ensure that you plug in the connector correctly. The SATA power connector (item 5) has an extra edge. the wrong voltages or signals will be sent to a device. If you do. Instead. If you’re lucky. they are designed to fit into a jack in one way. However. and one way only. Power Supplies CHAPTER 1 19 . Important  Never force a connector Plugging in any connector the wrong way can damage the computer. the connectors are plastic and in some cases it is possible to force a connector onto a plug the wrong way. plugging the cable in wrong will just result in the device not working. The mini-connector (item 7) has several extra edges. Figure 1-7 shows some common methods of how cables are keyed. so it is possible to force a connector onto a plug backwards. Extra plastic on edges Rounded edges on pins It might not be apparent in Figure 1-5 shown earlier.Figure 1-6  PCIe power connector. The Molex connectors (item 4 in Figure 1-5) have rounded edges. The primary power connector (item 8) has rounded edges on the individual pins. That is. Cable Keying Most cables are keyed. but several of the connectors have keyed connectors similar to that shown in Figure 1-7. Although the keying does help. Neither result is desirable. If a connector doesn’t seem to fit.

but you need to keep a few important concepts in mind: ■■ Turn off and remove the power plug. Of course. you need to replace only the module. The primary indicator that the power supply has failed is that the system doesn’t have any lights or indicators. but they aren’t faulty. Ensure that the wattage of the replacement is at least as high as the original. you replace the tire. New power supplies often give off an odor for a short burn-in period. Exam Tip When power supplies fail. remove power immediately. when the old power supply is out ■■ ■■ 20 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Also. The exception is “hot swappable” components such as USB flash drives that are designed to be inserted or removed while turned on.ATX vs. The micro-ATX power supplies are smaller in size and have fewer power connectors than a regular ATX-based power supply. Replacing a Power Supply Many components within a computer. some systems have a power switch on the power supply that needs to be turned on in addition to turning on the power via a switch or button in the front of the system. than the original. Also. Document cable placement. including the power supply. it might be time to replace the power supply. Micro-ATX Power Supplies ATX power supplies are the standard used in many computers today. Micro-ATX power supplies provide a lower amount of wattage. The power supply is relatively easy to replace. rather than the 24 pins often found on ATX-based power supplies. However. Without this documentation. You should not attempt to replace computer components while the system is plugged in. not the entire computer. Also. some smaller PCs have lower power requirements and can be powered by using smaller power supplies. you can sometimes see smoke or smell burning components. the primary power connector (P1) usually has only 20 pins on the micro-ATX power supply. Use a suitable replacement. When a module fails. If your car gets a flat tire. If the power supply fails in a computer. you’d want to verify that the computer is plugged in and turned on. Pay attention to the cables before you take them out. If you’ve checked these but still have no power indications. not the entire car. you replace the power supply. often between 180 and 300 watts. though some special-purpose power supplies are as low 90 watts. if not higher. ensure that the power supply has at least the same number of 12-V rails as. or take a couple of pictures with your cell phone. This is similar to a car. Draw a diagram showing where each cable goes. if you see smoke or hear sparks. if not more. However. are modular.

Many people assume it protects against surges and spikes. surge suppressors A power strip is similar to an extension cord with extra power plugs. the surge suppressor no longer provides voltage to any systems plugged into it. Commercial power can occasionally increase or surge. Lightning strikes are a common source of spikes. it’s called a sag. Surge suppressors include some type of tag or marking indicating that they are surge suppressors. it can increase to 120 VAC or higher. Commercial power can also reduce or sag. It has built-in sensors that can detect when the power surges or spikes. you might need to remove other components first to get to the power supply and remove it. Instead of providing a steady 115 VAC. sharp increase in AC voltage. and they can cause systems to restart. but it does not provide any protection. Surges are usually short term and temporary but can sometimes be observed as lights become brighter. Also. Note  Power strips vs. A blackout is the total loss of power (or the reduction of power to such a low level that the equipment is unable to operate). and it can sometimes cause problems to computers. When the circuit breaker pops. The following sections identify some of methods used to protect against power-related problems. ■■ ■■ Surge Suppressors Key Terms A surge suppressor is a power strip with extra protection. but if it lasts longer. you’ll find there are only four screws holding it on. Instead of providing a steady 115 VAC. You can usually reset it by pressing a button on the surge suppressor or by turning it off and back on. it can decrease to 110 VAC or lower. Spike. You can often see lights flicker or become dimmer during brownouts. Blackouts. The voltage immediately returns to normal. Some of the common problems you might see on commercial power lines are as follows: ■■ Key Terms ■■ Surge. This is a quick. and you’ll be able to remove the power supply. ensure that you identify the keying of the cables and plug them in correctly. you might have trouble remembering where all the cables went. Remove the cables and the screws. but the spike can destroy unprotected equipment. Power Supplies CHAPTER 1 21 . it’s referred to as a brownout. Protecting Systems from Power Problems Commercial power isn’t always stable. If this occurs for less than a second. Sags and brownouts. When you’re ready to replace the power supply.and the new power supply is in. Occasionally. However. there are some basic steps you can take to protect them. Most surge suppressors have a circuit breaker that will pop when it detects surges or spikes.

for as much as 10 or 15 minutes or longer. but nothing else. and they should not be plugged into an UPS. It’s important to ensure the UPS system can meet the power requirements of the systems you’re trying to protect from power outages. UPS AC commercial power AC power Figure 1-8  UPS used to protect against short-term power loss. The UPS plugs into the wall to receive commercial power. I plugged in my primary PC and flat screen monitor. This will reduce the amount of time that the UPS provides power to these systems during an outage. the UPS can send a signal to the computer to perform a logical shutdown. If power fails. the UPS continued to provide power for over an hour. It includes batteries. If you plug all your equipment into the UPS. they will draw additional power. it can continue to supply power to systems for a short time. Additionally. Laser printers draw a significant amount of power. This power provides a continuous charge to the batteries within the UPS. For example. This prevents hardware and software problems caused by unexpected power losses. the UPS would likely have lasted only about 30 minutes. 22 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . If power isn’t restored within a certain time frame. Exam Tip An UPS can be used to provide power to computers for short-term power. I recently added an UPS rated at 900 watts. During a power outage. Figure 1-8 shows how the UPS is connected to the computer. you should plug in only systems that you need to keep operational during short-term power failures. and if commercial power is lost or sags.Battery Backup Key Terms An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides the benefits of a surge suppressor and also provides constant power to a system. to the UPS. Other equipment should be plugged into a surge suppressor. the UPS continues to provide power to the computer for a short time. The UPS provides AC power to the computer or to other systems plugged into it. If I had two PCs and two monitors plugged into it.

unplug the power supply. Just turning off the power is not enough.Quick Check 1. if the PSU fails you simply replace it instead of trying to repair it. Most electrical equipment includes circuitry that will automatically redirect any dangerous voltages to ground to prevent shocks. By following basic safety precautions. If you want to ensure that the computer does not have any power. it can easily discharge and shock you. If you touch the capacitor. What should you check if you have hard drives frequently failing? Quick Check Answers 1. A copper cable is attached to a spike and hammered into the ground. if you do open the power supply. In other words. but we can’t replace people. However. What voltages are provided by an ATX power supply? 2. it’s important to pay attention to safety considerations. Most people consider PSUs modular units. you can prevent damage to people and to equipment. Safety Issues CHAPTER 1 23 . 12-V rails Safety Issues When working on computers. Electrical Safety Unless you’re measuring voltages within a computer. 5 V. ground refers to a path to Earth. 3. This includes turning the computer off and unplugging it. It knocked me against the wall and left my mother white-faced for quite a while. A basic premise to always keep in mind is that computers are just things that can be replaced. I learned this lesson firsthand when playing with one of my father’s radio sets when I was about eight years old. In other words. value people first when working with computers. don’t forget the following two important warnings: ■■ ■■ Never open it when it is plugged in. 12 V. Even after you unplug it. capacitors within the power supply will hold a charge. Equipment and Self-Grounding In electronics. you should never work on computers without first removing power. The other end of this cable is available in the electrical system and identified as a ground. and -12 V 2.3 V. ATX-based power supplies provide power to the motherboard even if the front power switch on the computer indicates that it is turned off.

Important  Equipment ground connections should always be connected Disconnecting ground connections can bypass safety circuits. computer components can be damaged by as little as 250 volts. Figure 1-9 shows the three primary symbols used for ground. On work benches. The good news is these voltages won’t kill or hurt people. Signal ground connections are commonly connected to the chassis. the damage will be real. Steps you can take to reduce ESD damage include the following: ■■ Key Terms Use an ESD wrist strap. the static discharges. ESD straps are used to 24 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Earth ground Chassis ground Signal ground Figure 1-9  Ground symbols. Signal ground refers to the return path for a signal. but it wasn’t harmful. The shock you felt might have been unpleasant. at least 3.000 volts. The chassis ground is then connected to the Earth ground via the power cable. For example. If you felt it. it was at least 8. This is also called electrostatic discharge (ESD). A wire leads from the strap to an alligator clip that you can clip to the computer case. and it prevents static discharge. Ground is referred to differently based on the location of the connection. If you actually saw the spark when it discharged. mostly because they aren’t combined with current to generate power. Earth ground is the path directly to Earth. ESD Static electricity builds up on different types of objects. some screws connecting a motherboard to a computer case connect the motherboard signal ground to the case.000 volts were discharged from your hand to the doorknob. resulting in a shock if a user touches the case. The primary way to prevent ESD damage is by ensuring that the worker and the equipment are at the same ground potential. However. For example. This results in you and the case being at the same potential. You won’t feel it. An ESD wrist strap wraps around your wrist and has a metal component touching your skin. it can be damaging to computers. You won’t see it. In contrast. However. Dangerous voltages can be redirected to the computer case. Chassis ground refers to the path to the equipment case or chassis. and when one object touches another. You’ve probably experienced a static discharge after walking across a carpeted floor and touching a doorknob.

If you remove any circuit cards. it reduces the chances for static to build up. they should be stored in antistatic bags. don’t touch the components or the pins. and other sensitive components. Additionally. If you live in a colder area. In contrast. This ensures that your body is at the same ground potential as the case. hold the outside edges or the plastic handles. These bags help prevent static from building up and causing ESD damage to the components. ESD protection such as antistatic wrist straps. Static can build up on carpets more easily than on other floor surfaces. if you keep your feet stationary after touching the case. ■■ Self-grounding. ■■ Exam Tip Very small amounts of ESD can cause damage. when the humidity is higher. When storing and transporting electronic components. Special ESD mats prevent static buildup. and they are commonly used on work benches. Safety Issues CHAPTER 1 25 . built-up static will discharge harmlessly onto the case. and antistatic mats are valuable to protect against ESD damage when handling CPUs. ■■ ■■ ■■ MSDS Key Terms Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) are available for most products that have a potential to cause harm to people or equipment. how to handle and store it safely.connect the equipment case to a grounding bar that is connected to Earth ground. Larger antistatic mats can be placed on the floor in front of the technician’s bench to reduce static. You’ve probably noticed that in a heated building you can shuffle your feet over a carpet to quickly build up static. If you touch the computer case before working on any components. Control humidity. antistatic component bags. and chemicals. the static charges dissipate naturally. Don’t place computers on carpets. Ideally. humidity should be around 50 percent. Instead. The technician can connect alligator clips from the wrist strap to the case or to the grounding bar. ■■ Use antistatic bags. static builds up more quickly. memory. When the humidity is very low. and how to dispose of it. Technicians place computers on the antistatic mat while working on them. Use ESD mats. you’ll notice that static is more common in the winter because heating systems remove humidity from the air. paints. It will also list first-aid steps to take if the material presents a danger. This includes materials such as cleaning solutions. This doesn’t work on tile floors or other floor surfaces. The MSDS identifies important safety facts about the material including its contents. This is especially true when handling sensitive components such as CPUs and memory. Don’t touch components or pins. its characteristics.

Class B.As an A+ technician. ■■ Class D. or they smother the fire with a gas such as carbon dioxide. and fire extinguishers are classified based on what fires they can safely extinguish. Class C fire extinguishers use special chemicals such as Purple-K or carbon dioxide to extinguish a fire. Fire Safety Fires are classified based on what is burning. Class C. the state of California has mandated that all batteries be disposed of as hazardous waste. If any of these products is causing an adverse reaction to either people or the equipment. you are likely to use products that have MSDS sheets. An electrical fire is a Class C fire. The four primary types of fires are as follows: ■■ Class A. organizations have a responsibility to learn what regulations apply to them where they operate. you can refer to the MSDS sheet for information about the product and additional steps to take after the exposure. Water should not be used. This type of fire involves ordinary combustible material such as paper and wood. For example. 26 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . unplugging it or turning off the circuit breaker can stop the fire. Electricity can travel up the water stream and electrocute you if you spray water onto an electrical fire. The fire can be extinguished with water or a Class A fire extinguisher. Even if the batteries are the newer mercury-free alkaline batteries. This type of fire involves flammable liquids and gases. you might use cleaning products that clean computer screens or keyboards. For example. Compliance with Regulations Any government regulations pertaining to safety or environmental controls must be followed. the regulation still requires special handling.” With that in mind. Important  Never use water to extinguish Class C fires ■■ ■■ Water is conductive. A Class D fire extinguisher uses special chemicals to smother the fire. For example. Spraying water on a Class B fire is dangerous because it will spread the fire instead of extinguishing it. and the best way to extinguish it is by removing the power source. Note  Ignorance is no excuse An old saying related to the law is that “ignorance is no excuse. Class B fire extinguishers use chemicals to disrupt the chemical reaction. This type of fire involves combustible metals. and to comply with those regulations.

bending your knees. such as the motherboard. MSDS sheets Tools If you’re going to work on computers. it’s best to lift with your legs. it’s generally recommended that individuals do not try to lift equipment weighing more than 70 pounds without help. but your fingers often won’t fit into the small spaces to retrieve it. instead of bending down to pick up heavy equipment. Most screws are Philips. What includes first-aid steps to take if cleaning supplies cause harm to a person? Quick Check Answers 1. to pick it up. Tools CHAPTER 1 27 . you’ll need some tools. so if you need to remove them. The following sections identify some common tools you should have. so you’ll need one or two Philips screwdrivers in addition to one or two flat-blade screwdrivers in your toolkit. Screwdrivers Case fans. and motherboards are all secured with screws. power supplies. Instead of using the extension magnet.Lifting When lifting equipment. but it has an extendable wand with a magnet on the end. you should squat. Extension Magnet It’s not uncommon to drop a screw within a system. There aren’t any firm guidelines on safe weight limitations. Controlled humidity. and antistatic mats 2. What can be used to protect against ESD? 2. antistatic wrist straps. In some situations. you can use a pair of plastic tweezers to avoid possible damage to system components. You can retrieve it with an extension magnet. In other words. An extension magnet has a handle similar to a screwdriver. not your back. However. you’ll need a screwdriver. the screw might fall onto other electrical components. Quick Check 1.

generally anything beyond 5 percent can cause problems. power supplies sometimes lose the ability to provide constant power. They usually have plastic straws that you can attach to the spray nozzle so that you can direct the air into the nooks and crannies of the case. compressed air can be used to clean out a computer case. and they use filters to trap any water. printers. Multimeter Key Terms Multimeters have multiple functions. Unlike compressed air cans. you can use a computer vacuum cleaner to clean out the computer. Instead of a steady 12 V. many gas stations have compressors that you can use to add air to your tires. For example. Therefore. the 12-V line should not waver more than plus or 28 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Additionally.Compressed Air and Compressors As mentioned previously. Compressors are electronic motors that build up air pressure and allow you to blow out components with a hose. Compressed air is also useful for blowing out keyboards. some air compressors collect water that can spray into the computer. Computer vacuums are made of special material resistant to ESD. which can damage components within the computer if you’re not careful. You can purchase cans of compressed air online or at computer and electronics stores. Important  Be careful when using air compressors Some compressors have very high air pressure. a compressor will never run out of air. a power supply might waver between 10 V and 14 V. Exam Tip Regular vacuum cleaners and their attachments can cause ESD damage to systems. you’re going to make quite a mess. Regular vacuum cleaners generate static electricity and can easily damage the sensitive components within the computer. Instead. For example. You should use only vacuum cleaners designed for the job. if you blow out the dust inside the building. Computer vacuums are made of special materials and often use batteries instead of AC power. Computer Vacuum In some cases. such as random restarts. and laptop cases. and technicians commonly use them to measure power supply voltages. Technicians that use these often have a regulator that they use to keep the pressure below 20 pounds per square inch (psi). it isn’t feasible to take computers outside to blow out the dust. However. Even though a system has some tolerance for variations. Some technicians strongly oppose using air compressors at all.

Figure 1-10 shows a multimeter set to the V setting. you can see that the multimeter has two probes. such as 5 V. You would connect the Tools CHAPTER 1 29 .minus 0. but one probe is red and one is black.6 V). Exam Tip Random restarts can also indicate other problems. VOLTCRAFT ON/OFF FUNCTION SET/RESET DC/AC UP DOWN ((( ))) V A AUTORANGE DMM VOLTCRAFT Figure 1-10  Digital multimeter. meaning that it can automatically sense the voltage range. Less expensive multimeters require you to set the range at the highest possible voltage to avoid damage. Additionally. this is an autorange digital multimeter (DMM). If you’re experiencing random problems and suspect the power supply.6 V (11. In Figure 1-10. If you set it at a low voltage. It can measure both DC and AC voltages by using this setting. malicious software such as a virus can cause a system to randomly restart. It might not be apparent in the black-and-white picture. Overheating and in some cases faulty memory can cause a system to occasionally restart.2 V to 12. Additionally. and then measure 12 V. Using a multimeter to verify that the voltages are stable can eliminate the power supply as a problem source. you might damage the meter. you can use a multimeter to measure the voltages.

connect it to the pin with the yellow wire. Power Supply Tester Most power supplies will not provide voltages unless they are plugged into the component. You should ensure that you do not touch anything within the computer except the connector. If it doesn’t beep. it’s possible to short it out and damage the equipment. The tester will display the voltages. Because of this you can be exposed to voltages when taking measurements. This can be a problem if you want to check a power supply but you don’t have a motherboard or other components. For example. Caution  Severe electrical shock possible You can measure the voltage only when the power is on and supplying voltage to the system. a power supply tester simulates the load for a power supply and lets you know if you have a problem. you should remove jewelry. Besides voltage. It could also shock you. connect the red probe to the pin with the red wire. However. if you want to measure voltages on the motherboard P1 connector. You touch one probe to the connector on one side of a cable. the P1 connector needs to be plugged in. Key Terms Quick Check 1. you can touch the probes together and the meter will beep. What should you use to clean out a computer case? 2. and if any of the voltages are outside specifications. the most common measurement is a continuity check. For example. When the meter is set to do a continuity check. the cable has a break and should be replaced. If it beeps. the voltages are zero. When taking voltage measurements. What can you use to verify a power supply is providing 12 VDC to a system? 30 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . You plug the power supply cables into the power supply tester and turn it on. and the other probe to the other side. If you want to measure the 5-V line. if you want to measure 12 V provided on a connector. Multimeters can also take other measurements. If it’s not plugged in. This includes touching components with your hands or with the multimeter probes. it indicates a continuous connection in the cable. You can use this setting to check for a break in a probe to a ground pin of a connector (with a black wire) and connect the red probe to the voltage pin in the connector. indicating a continuous connection. indicating that the cable is good. If the jewelry touches a metal component that has voltage. it will indicate the problem.

6. case fans. Large numbers of bytes are expressed as KB. so the fan should be replaced as soon as possible. Case fans help keep a system cool by drawing air into the case. The easy solution is to clean them. Dual voltage power supplies have a switch identified as 115 or 230 to identify the source voltage. Power to disk drives is provided via 12-V rails. Multimeter Chapter Summary ■■ The three functions of a computer are input.3 V. and power supplies. you might need a power supply with an additional rail. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 1 31 . 12 V. Computer cases house key computer components. The P1 power plug is the primary power connector for the motherboard and includes 20 or 24 pins. or 6+2 pins. They can become quite loud. and the system can slow down or intermittently fail.3 V. The SATA connector provides 3. and desktop power supplies commonly have two rails but can have more. Power supplies are rated based on the power they provide. These are often shortened to I/O. or a computer vacuum that doesn’t generate static electricity 2. Binary numbers use only ones and zeros. 8 pins. ATX-based power supplies provide 3. Eight bits make up a byte. Ensure that it is set to the correct voltage supplied by commercial power. expressed as watts (W). Many systems have a secondary power plug that includes 4. and 12 V to SATA disk drives. If a fan fails. Cases and fans often get dirty. PCIe connectors use 6 pins. If disk drives are failing. the system can overheat. 5 V. 5 V. GB. including motherboards. Hexadecimal numbers are created from four binary bits and include the characters 0–9 and A–F. and output. processing. or 8 pins.Quick Check Answers 1. Molex connectors provide 5 V and 12 V to PATA disk drives. Power supplies convert commercial AC power to DC voltages. These voltages can be measured with a multimeter or a power supply tester. Case fans can be replaced. and -12 V to system components through various power connectors. and TB. MB. Compressed air. Replacement power supplies need to meet or exceed the power requirements of the computer.

The original fan has been removed. and you need to install it. A computer is making a lot of noise. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. Compressed air or special antistatic vacuum cleaners can be used to clean computers.■■ Surge suppressors protect components against spikes and surges in power. it should be a special antistatic vacuum. When local regulations exist. Where should you connect the fan power connection? A. Multimeters measure voltages and can check cable continuity. If a vacuum is used. Motherboard 32 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . AC outlet B. Of the following choices. P1 power supply connector C. Case fan 2. Extension magnets can help retrieve screws that can’t normally be reached. MSDS sheets document characteristics about potentially hazardous material used in a work center. Electrical fires are Class C fires. they take precedence. Front panel power D. 1. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. including how to store and dispose of hazardous material. Power supply set to wrong voltage D. USB flash drive C. Another technician ordered a fan for a computer case. The answers to these questions. Faulty motherboard B. ESD damage can be prevented by using ESD wrist straps and ESD mats. It has arrived. Compressed air is the preferred method of cleaning systems. what is the likely problem? A. You should never use water on an electrical fire. and by controlling the humidity. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Power supply testers can check voltages on power supplies without a motherboard. UPS systems protect systems against sags and short-term power losses.

15 VDC. 250 V 4. 3. 115 VAC D.3. 5 VDC. MSDS Chapter Review CHAPTER 1 33 . 300 W D. -12 VDC C. and 15 VDC C. What is a likely power rating you’ll purchase to ensure that the power supply doesn’t fail again? A. 12 V and 15 V 6. You need to purchase an additional power supply.3 VDC. 3.) A. What voltages should you see on the SATA power connector? A. 12 VDC B. 12 VDC. 5 V and 12 V C. Which of the following voltages are not provided by ATX-based power supplies? (Choose two. A power supply failed after a technician added some hard drives to a desktop com- puter. Molex connectors provide power to disk drives from ATX-rated power supplies. 12 VDC. and 24 VDC 7. and you suspect that the ATX-based power supply might not be providing the correct voltages.3 V and 5 V B. and 15 VDC D. 600 W B. Power supply C. Which of the following can you use to protect against power sags? A. A system is no longer booting to the SATA hard drive. 5 VDC. UPS D. and 12 VDC B. 600 V C. 15 VDC 5. What voltages are supplied through the Molex connector? A. 3. Commercial power B. 12 VDC.3 VDC. 5 V and 15 V D.

You want to verify that a power supply is providing proper voltages while it’s con- nected to the P1 connector on the motherboard. Power strip D. Ensuring that computers are stored on carpets whenever possible D. You open a computer to troubleshoot it and notice an excessive amount of dust inside it. Touching the computer case while working on a computer D. Coworkers 34 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Multimeter C. Glass cleaner D. Case fans B. Reducing humidity as much as possible C. What can you use to quickly identify what was in the cleaning compound? A. Of the following choices. Compressed air 11. Local hospital D.) A.8. ESD mat 9. MSDS B. After cleaning a computer screen with a cleaning compound. ESD wrist strap B. Surge suppressor B. What would you use? A. your fingers start to develop a rash. what is the best choice to clean it? A. Which of the following can protect against ESD damage? (Choose all that apply. Carpet C. Which of the following can contribute to ESD damage? A. Power supply tester 10. ESD mats 12. Internet C. Lint-free cloth B. Vacuum cleaner C.

D. Correct: ATX-based power supplies use AC voltage as an input but do not provide AC voltage. or not work at all. B. D A. Incorrect: Power supplies are rated in watts. 1. If the original failed after adding an additional load with disk drives. Incorrect: Case fans do not get power from AC outlets. Incorrect: Hard disk drives sometimes make a lot of noise when they are failing. but not USB flash drives.3 VDC. D. Incorrect: ATX-based power supplies provide -12 VDC. C. B. Correct: A 600-W power supply is common in desktop computers and is the best choice of those given.Answers This section contains the answers to the chapter review questions in this chapter. Incorrect: When motherboards fail. they are not noisy. Correct: When case fans begin to fail. C. Incorrect: ATX-based power supplies provide 12 VDC. Incorrect: Power supplies are rated in watts. D. Correct Answer: A A. it might make a single loud pop when it fails. they are often noisy. not volts. not to fans. C. Incorrect: Front panels do not have power for fans. Incorrect: If the power supply is set to the wrong voltage. B. Correct Answer: D A. C. not volts. They also provide 5 VDC and 3. D. 3. They can also be noisy if they are dirty. 4. but it won’t make a lot of noise. Incorrect: The P1 connector provides power to the motherboard. 2. Incorrect: A 300-W power supply is on the low range found with desktop ­ omputers. Correct: Fans get power from a connector on the motherboard. a c larger power supply is needed. Answers CHAPTER 1 35 . B. Correct: ATX-based power supplies do not provide 15 VDC. Correct Answers: C. Correct Answer: D A.

Incorrect: 12 V is provided through both Molex and the P1 motherboard connec- tor. C. Correct: Electrostatic discharge (ESD) wrist straps protect against ESD damage. but they cannot protect against power sags. Correct Answer: B A. Correct Answer: C A. C. Incorrect: ATX power supplies do not provide 15 VDC. C. 7. and 12 VDC.3 VDC. but not on the Molex connector. B.5. but 15 V is not used in ATX power supplies. 36 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Correct Answer: A A. but 15 V is not used in ATX power supplies. Incorrect: ATX power supplies do not provide 15 VDC. Correct: An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) uses a battery backup to protect against power sags. D. 8. B. D. humidity should be around 50 percent. Correct: Molex connectors supply 5 V and 12 V from the power supply to different drives in a computer. Incorrect: Power supplies convert AC to DC. so it’s best not to store computers on carpets. Incorrect: 5 V is provided through both Molex and the P1 motherboard connector. Incorrect: ATX power supplies do not provide 15 VDC or 24 VDC. D A. Incorrect: 3. B. Correct Answers: A. D. Incorrect: A power sag occurs when the commercial power is lower than normal. Incorrect: Low humidity generates more static. C. so commercial power doesn’t protect against it. Correct: The correct voltages on a SATA connector are 3. Correct: ESD mats also protect against ESD. B. 6. Incorrect: Carpets generate static easily. Incorrect: Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) provide safety-related information for items used within a work environment. Flickering lights are an indication of power sags. 5 VDC. Ideally. D.3 V is provided to the motherboard through the 20-pin or 24-pin P1 connector.

Incorrect: Coworkers wouldn’t be the best source to identify the contents. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: Lint-free cloths are used to clean screens but would not be used for an excessive amount of dust. D. D. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: Static builds up on carpet. Answers CHAPTER 1 37 . Incorrect: You might be able to find the information on the Internet. B. C. Incorrect: A power supply tester can test an unconnected power supply. D. Incorrect: A power strip provides unprotected power to a system but doesn’t measure voltage. Incorrect: Touching the computer case while working on a computer helps keep you at the same potential as the computer and reduces static buildup. but they wouldn’t know what was used. C. B. 12. which might damage inter- nal components. C. so placing computers on carpets can contribute to ESD damage. 11. Correct: A multimeter can measure DC voltages provided to a motherboard on the P1 connector. Incorrect: Medical personnel will likely want to know what was in the cleaning compound. Correct Answer: D A. Incorrect: Case fans keep a system cool but do not contribute to ESD damage. 10. B. D. Incorrect: Glass cleaner includes ammonia and alcohol. C.9. Correct: Compressed air would be the best choice for blowing out the dust. Correct: A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) documents characteristics of materi- als used within a workplace. but they can retrieve the MSDS. Incorrect: A surge suppressor will prevent power spikes from reaching a computer. but it isn’t used for a power supply plugged into a system. Incorrect: ESD mats reduce the potential for ESD damage. B. but an MSDS sheet should be readily available. but it doesn’t measure voltages. Incorrect: An antistatic vacuum cleaner could be used but a standard vacuum cleaner can cause ESD damage. Correct Answer: B A.


The motherboard also includes firmware. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. which is used to start the computer. drive encryption: TPM.CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS I n this chapter. commonly called Basic Input/Output System (BIOS).1 Configure and apply BIOS settings. you learn about motherboards. You also learn about some basic troubleshooting related to the motherboard and BIOS. and update the BIOS program through a process called flashing. view and manipulate the settings. including the different types and how to identify different motherboard components. lo-jack) ■■ BIOS configurations ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Use built-in diagnostics Monitoring 39 . ■■ ■■ Install firmware upgrades—flash BIOS BIOS component information ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ RAM Hard drive Optical drive CPU Boot sequence Enabling and disabling devices Date/time Clock speeds Virtualization support BIOS security (passwords. The motherboard includes a significant amount of supporting hardware for a system and is a primary component that determines the overall capabilities and speed of a system. The BIOS includes a program that you can use to view and configure hardware settings. This chapter shows how to start BIOS.

■■ Sizes ■■ ■■ ■■ ATX Micro-ATX ITX PCI PCI-X PCIe miniPCI CNR AGP2x.■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Temperature monitoring Fan speeds Intrusion detection/notification Voltage Clock Bus speed 1. their purposes. and properties. 8x ■■ Expansion slots ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ RAM slots CPU sockets Chipsets ■■ ■■ ■■ North Bridge South Bridge CMOS battery ■■ ■■ Jumpers Front panel connectors ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ USB Audio Power button Power light Drive activity lights Reset button ■■ Bus speeds 40 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS .2 Differentiate between motherboard components. 4x.

many of the computers in the company’s training room were configured to boot to the hard drive instead of the DVD. boot to the DVD. but it did slow him down. RAM. ■■ Common symptoms ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Unexpected shutdowns System lockups POST code beeps Blank screen on bootup BIOS time and settings resets Attempts to boot to incorrect device Continuous reboots Fans spin—no power to other devices Indicator lights BSOD POST card ■■ Tools ■■ Real World  Understanding the BIOS boot order I remember teaching a Windows class to several students at a corporate site where basic knowledge about BIOS turned out to be important. and begin the installation. so he got another one and tried again and then became convinced his computer was faulty. and you never know when you’ll need it as a PC technician. troubleshoot common problems related to motherboards. We ended up working together to reconfigure the BIOS on his system.2 Given a scenario. Unfortunately. and these didn’t give the students any trouble. About half the student computers were configured to boot to the DVD first. we discussed the installation of Windows. CPU and power with appropriate tools. It is important knowledge. and they quietly did so. He remarked that this was the first time he had ever accessed this program. Most of the students using these computers quickly recognized that they needed to reconfigure the BIOS to boot to the DVD. and they needed to put the DVD into the drive. and then the students had an opportunity to install it on their system. However. Early in the class. you’ll have an opportunity to access the BIOS and see exactly how to manipulate these settings. He first thought his installation DVD was faulty. Lacking this basic knowledge didn’t stop him from learning. Each of the students had an installation DVD. By the end of this chapter. CHAPTER 2 41 . one of the students didn’t understand why his system wouldn’t boot to the DVD.Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 4.

Identifying Motherboard Components All of the relevant components of a motherboard are presented within this chapter. Motherboards are created by using form factors that define their size and the components on the motherboard. expansion slots.Motherboards The motherboard is the primary circuit board within a computer. including the processor. However. “Introduction to Computers. Exam Tip When taking the exam. In this chapter. and it holds several key components. 42 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . you’ll learn more about the types of motherboards available and the individual components on a typical motherboard. cases are built to support one or more motherboard form factors. and more. you should be able to identify different components on the motherboard based on their shape. the figure gives you an idea of common components and how to identify them. You should also be able to identify their purposes and properties.” Figure 1-2 showed the inside of a computer with the motherboard highlighted. Similarly. random access memory (RAM). Figure 2-1 shows the outline of a motherboard with several key components identified. You won’t find all of these components on every motherboard or in exactly the same location. In Chapter 1.

Expansion slots allow you to add additional cards to a motherboard for additional capabilities. They can be located in different places on the motherboard. 2. CPUs generate a lot of heat. Chapter 5. A 4-pin plug from the power supply plugs into here to provide power to the Central Processing Unit (CPU). Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP). 4. “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards. to fans. Expansion slots. CPU fans are often variable speed so that they can spin faster when the CPU gets hotter. CPU 12-V power. Rear connectors. 5. 1. Connectors are available to connect to a speaker. Several connectors are attached to the motherboard and are accessible via the rear of the computer.” discusses common connectors. this can be two 4-pin plugs or an 8-pin plug. Several different types of expansion slots are available. and more. These include connectors for audio and video Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices and more. On systems with multiple CPUs. 3. Miscellaneous connectors and jumpers. CPU Fan. including Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI). so it’s common to attach a fan on top of them. A connection on the motherboard provides power for the fan. and to the front of the case for power and displays. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 43 .Rear of computer 3 1 4 5 CPU 2 6 7 9 11 10 8 12 13 14 1 Figure 2-1  Motherboard outline.

10. The majority of work done by a computer occurs within the processor.5-inch floppy drives. 8. and these different versions are identified with different colors. there isn’t a standard with the colors between motherboard manufacturers. 14. it is usually by the IDE connectors.6. Many systems have replaced EIDE drives with SATA drives. 12. 9. SATA connectors come in different versions. Floppy drive connector. Most computers support Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives. CPUs are covered in Chapter 3. The battery is often circular but can have a barrel shape. Extended Integrated Drive Electronics (EIDE) connectors are used for EIDE devices such as hard drives and optical drives. Sizes While computer cases come in a wide variety of sizes.” covers hard disk drives. and many have four or six. or sometimes IDE0 and IDE1. 13. It added capabilities and improved on the original AT motherboard design. CPU. but if the system has a floppy connector. SATA connectors have a distinctive L shape. This has been the standard used in many systems since 1995 and is still used today. and the CPU is normally covered with a heat sink and a cooling fan. They can get hot and often have heat sinks on top of them designed to dissipate heat. The moth- erboard includes a CPU socket into which a CPU is plugged. Battery. When the board includes them. Motherboards usually have at least two RAM slots. “Understanding RAM and CPUs. 44 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . The following are some of the common motherboard form factors in use today: ■■ Advanced Technology Extended (ATX ). IDE connectors. However. but you still might see the connectors. “Comparing Storage Devices. Heat sinks are discussed in Chapter 3.” 7. P1 power connector. 11. RAM. Shorting the two pins on this jumper will reset the BIOS password or return the BIOS settings to the factory defaults. This consists of one or more integrated circuits (ICs) that connect the CPU with other components and devices on the system. BIOS jumper. They are rare today. This is for 3. The battery provides power to the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) so that certain settings are retained. The primary power connection from the power supply is either a 20-pin connector or a 24-pin connector. There is often a jumper close to the battery. you’ll see two connectors labeled IDE1 and IDE2. SATA connectors. Chipset. Chapter 3 covers RAM. RAM slots are very specific and will accept only certain types of RAM based on the specifications of the motherboard. Chapter 4. Chipsets are designed to work with specific CPUs and are soldered into the motherboard. you’ll find that most motherboards follow a form factor standard and conform to specific sizes.

nano-ITX. it is designed so that it will fit into any case that supports an ATX motherboard.6 largest 6. This is a smaller version of the ATX and is very popular with desktop computers. The ATX motherboard and ATX variants are still the most popular. However. They can fit into any case by using standard ATX mount points. These are envisioned for use in home theater systems.■■ Micro-ATX (mATX or µATX). ITX motherboards originated with VIA technologies and come in several different small form factor (SFF ) designs. ITX.6 9. Nano-ITX.8 Metric Size 305 mm x 244 mm 244 mm x 244 mm 171. They are referred to as embedded boards and consume very little power compared to ATXbased boards. it has fewer expansion slots.7 4.9 x 2. and pico-ITX. Pico-ITX. They don’t need to be cooled with fans. ■■ ■■ Key Terms Mini-ITX.7 3. organized from the largest form factors to the smallest.45 mm 17 cm x 17 cm 120 mm x 120 mm 10 mm x 7. Table 2-1 shows the sizes of common motherboard standards.2 mm Note  The Micro-ATX form factor The Micro-ATX form factor is the only one that comes in different sizes. Additionally. These extremely small boards can be embedded in different types of mobile devices.75 x 6. and many will fit into a case designed for an ATX motherboard. all the ATX variants are smaller than the ATX. Because it is smaller.45 mm x 171. or SFF-SIG. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 45 . These small boards are designed for smaller devices such as digital video recorders (DVRs) and set-top boxes. ■■ ■■ Exam Tip Although there are additional types of motherboards. Table 2-1  Form Factor Sizes Form Factor ATX Micro-ATX Mini-ITX (VIA) Nano-ITX (VIA) Pico-ITX Size in Inches 12 x 9.7 x 6. the preceding list provides an idea of the types you might see on the exam. including mini-ITX. The Pico-ITX has been adopted as an open standard by the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group.6 x 9.75 smallest 6.7 x 4. It is designed to be backward-compatible with the ATX form factor so that it can fit in any ATX case and has the same power connectors.

as shown in Figure 2-2. Data bytes are stored in RAM in separate memory locations. ATX. These busses also have other signals that synchronize the activity and control whether data is read or written. or over 17 exabytes (EB) of RAM. The data in that memory location is then placed on the data bus for the system. Data bus When a system wants to retrieve data from a specific location. A 32-bit address bus is limited to 232 addressable locations. it places the desired address on the address bus. 3. You can think of these locations as 1. or 4 GB of RAM. computers have a data bus and an address bus. and it is used to transfer data between these components. and so on. A typical computer has billions of locations. A computer has multiple busses that often work independently of each other. A 64-bit bus can address 264 addressable locations. 2. and each location is identified by an address. 2. However. The size of the address bus determines how much memory can be addressed. As an example. The connector is shaped like an L. Busses Key Terms A bus within a computer refers to the connection between two or more components. Similarly. What type of motherboard is the most common in desktop PCs? 2. when a system wants to write data into a memory location. some busses work together. 46 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . it simultaneously places the data on the data bus and the address on the address bus. Address bus Data stored in addressable locations RAM Figure 2-2  Address and data bus used to read and write memory data.Quick Check 1. How can you identify a SATA data connection? Quick Check Answers 1.

AND GHz A hertz (Hz) is a cycle and refers to how many times a signal can go up. the size of the data bus determines how much data can be transferred at a time. and return to Key Terms the starting point in one second. Front side bus (FSB). NOTE  HERTZ. The front side bus refers to the connection between the CPU and the supporting chipset on the motherboard. Many systems use the rising edge as one clock tick and use the falling Motherboards CHAPTER 2 47 . Similarly. Even though 64-bit hardware can address 17 exabytes of RAM. MHz. petabyte (PB). A 32-bit data bus can transfer 32 bits of data at a time (which equals 4 bytes). Newer systems have replaced the front side bus with a Direct Media Interface (DMI). and a 1-GHz signal completes 1 billion cycles in a second. Some of the other types of busses you’ll come across include the following: ■■ Key Terms Key Terms Back side bus. This is used to transfer data between the computer and external USB devices such as USB flash drives. when the cycle is rising (rising edge). terabyte (TB). but 16 GB is usually enough for even the most active power users on a desktop computer. the system interprets this as a clock tick and takes an action such as reading or writing data to RAM. A 64-bit version of Windows 7 can have as much as 192 GB of RAM. gigabyte (GB). Direct Media Interface (DMI) bus. Expansion slots have their own dedicated busses. The output is a sine wave that alternates at a specific frequency such as 66 MHz or 100 MHz. A computer uses these cycles as a clock to transfer data. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Bus Speeds Motherboards include one or more oscillator crystals. and these are implemented differently depending on the expansion slots included in the system. A 64-bit data bus can transfer 64 bits of data a time. A 100-MHz signal completes 100 million cycles in a second.Note Exabytes The order of bytes is kilobyte (KB). down. Expansion slot bus. The speed of this is frequently used to identify the speed of the CPU. This connects the CPU and newer chipsets in place of the front side bus. Alternating current (AC) power in North America runs at 60 Hz. The back side bus is the connection between the CPU and its internal cache memory. meaning that it can finish 60 cycles a second. which vibrate at specific frequencies when a voltage is applied. and exabyte (EB). megabyte (MB). Universal Serial Bus (USB). you won’t see systems with that much RAM any time soon. For example.

as shown in Figure 2-3. it can send 64 bits of data at a time. Newer motherboards might still include a PCI slot. for each clock cycle on a 32-bit bus. The following sections cover the common types of expansion slots you should know about for the A+ exams.edge as another clock tick. the more data the bus can transfer. but you might want video that is faster and crisper. You can purchase a top-of-the-line video card with onboard RAM.133 MB/s without competing with other PCI device data transfers. For example. For example. The standards are as follows: ■■ Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI). That is. Additionally. Expansion Slots Motherboards include expansion slots so that you can add expansion cards. install it in an expansion slot. Two common data bus widths in use today are 32 bits and 64 bits. Note  Data throughput Data throughput is commonly expressed as megabytes per second (MB/s) or gigabytes per second (GB/s). You don’t want to buy a card only to find that it isn’t supported by your computer or that the slot is already occupied by another expansion board. Computers can process data more quickly than the base frequencies of these crystals. ■■ 48 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP). a system will commonly have two clock ticks for each cycle. For example. the output is 200 MHz. 100 MHz crystal 100 MHz Figure 2-3  Crystal and multiplier. 2X multiplier 200 MHz An important point to remember is that the frequency of the bus directly impacts how much data a bus can transfer—the faster the frequency. some expansion boards can reach speeds of 16 GB/s. your motherboard can have basic video capabilities built into it. AGP was introduced as a dedicated slot for a graphics card. the system will send 32 bits of data. and enjoy some awesome graphics. Before you buy any expansion card. and they use additional multiplier circuitry to increase the frequency. the amount of data a bus can transfer is dependent on how many bits can be transferred at a time. This comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and reaches speeds up to 533 MB/s. If it’s a 64-bit bus. you should know what expansion slots are available in your computer. It allowed high-end graphics to transfer data at speeds up to 2. Therefore. if a crystal generates a 100-MHz signal and the motherboard uses a two-times (2X) multiplier.

as shown in Figure 2-4. It is primarily used in servers. The two versions have different slots.■■ PCI-Extended (PCI-X). This was an improvement over PCI and could reach up to 1. Table 2-2  PCI Data Rates and Frequencies Standard PCI (32-bit) PCI (32-bit) PCI (64-bit) PCI (64-bit) Data Rate 133 MB/s 266 MB/s 266 MB/s 533 MB/s Frequency 33 MHz 66 MHz 33 MHz 66 MHz Another difference in PCI cards is that early versions used 5 volts but newer versions used 3. you will likely still see some PCI expansion slots on motherboards. They also increase the speed of the devices because it takes less time for a signal to reach 3. However. Lower voltages decrease the heat generated by the cards. only 32-bit PCI cards can plug into 32-bit PCI slots and only 64-bit PCI cards can plug into 64-bit PCI slots. 5 V 32-bit PCI slot Tip  PCI cards Some PCI cards are created as universal cards with keying that can fit into either a 3. It originally used a 32-bit data bus but was later improved to use a 64-bit bus. PCI Express (PCIe).3 V 64-bit PCI slot 3.3 volts. 3.064 Mb/s.3 V than it does to reach 5 V. to prevent plugging a board into the wrong slot. and PCI-X on many motherboards.3-V or a 5-V slot. so it is easy to tell the difference between PCI and PCIe expansion slots and cards. It can reach speeds up to 2 GB/s on multiple lanes simultaneously. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 49 . Each of these types is keyed differently. Even though PCI has been largely replaced by PCIe. This is the primary standard in use today and replaces PCI. Table 2-2 shows the data rates and frequencies available with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of PCI. ■■ PCI The Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) standard was a replacement for earlier industry standard architecture (ISA) and extended ISA expansion cards. AGP.3 V 32-bit PCI slot 5 V 64-bit PCI slot Figure 2-4  PCI slots.

Table 2-4  PCI-X Data Rates Standard PCI-X PCI-X PCI-X PCI-X Data Rate 532 MB/s 1. PCI-X also came in versions with different frequencies and data rates. Table 2-3 shows the data rates available with the different versions. It came in 64-bit versions and was primarily used on servers. Notice that AGP always uses a 66-MHz bus. A benefit was that PCI-X was backward-compatible with PCI so the PCI-X expansion cards could plug into PCI expansion slots. Graphics-intensive applications such as computer-aided design (CAD) applications and some games were extremely slow without AGP.064 MB/s. as shown in Table 2-4.15 GB/s 4. A huge benefit of AGP over PCI was that it used a separate bus for graphics data so it wasn’t competing with data from other expansion cards. graphics cards were plugged into a PCI slot and all PCI devices shared the same data bus.133 MB/s Frequency 66 MHz 66 MHz 66 MHz 66 MHz PCI-X PCI-Extended (PCI-X) was developed as an enhancement over PCI. but 133 MHz remained the most common. The most common frequency used with PCI-X is 133 MHz.066 MB/s 2.AGP Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) is a dedicated expansion slot used for graphics. with each successive version doubling the data rate. AGP came in four versions.064 MB/s 2. Before AGP. giving a data throughput rate of 1. Table 2-3  AGP Data Rates and Frequencies Standard AGP AGP 2X AGP 4X AGP 8X Data Rate 266 MB/s 533 MB/s 1.3 GB/s Frequency 66 MHz 133 MHz 266 MHz 533 MHz 50 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS .

PCIe instead sends the data as a continuous stream of data bytes and achieves higher data throughputs. PCIe PCI Express (PCIe) is the primary standard you’ll see in use today in place of PCI. PCIe isn’t tied to an external clock signal. the PCI x4 slot. but they are very different. 2. The keying for each of the PCIe cards is the same. A PCIe expansion card includes one or more lanes used to transfer serial data streams. There are two important points about these slots: 1. 8. x8. 16. If you have a PCIe x1 card. This effectively allows it to transfer data much more quickly. Previous expansion busses used 32 bit or 64-bit connections and would transfer these bits in parallel. and larger cards often have two extensions. Because the data is sent as a stream of bytes. No external clock signal. The stream is sent as serial data (one bit at a time) instead of parallel. This extension doesn’t include any pins but does help the card fit snugly and prevent it from wiggling loose. and AGP. Smaller cards have one extension. or the PCIx16 slot. Three important differences are as follows: ■■ Data sent in byte streams. as shown in Figure 2-5. 32-bit PCI PCIe x1 PCIe x4 PCIe x16 Figure 2-5  PCI and PCIe expansion slot comparison. you can plug it into the PCIe x1 slot. or 32 lanes (designated as x1.Exam Tip PCI-X and PCIe are sometimes confused and referred to as the same thing. is backward-compatible with PCI. PCIe slots almost always have a plastic extension used to provide additional support for the card. A PCIe can have 1. 2. x2. PCI-X. Because the lanes are two-way. PCI-X is an upgrade to PCI. PCI-X. and x32). a device can send data at the same time it is receiving data. Multiple two-way lanes. PCIe is a newer standard that is designed to replace PCI. These multiple lanes allow a PCIe card to send and receive more data at the same time. but it is not backward-compatible with these other versions. x16. ■■ ■■ Figure 2-5 shows a comparison of different PCIe slots related to a 32-bit PCI slot. and is primarily used on servers. as 32 bits at a time or 64 bits at a time. and AGP. 4. x4. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 51 . Engineers designed this significantly differently from other busses.

The slots are the same. Table 2-5 shows the different data rates you can get out of different PCIe versions. They are smaller and use a 32-bit. but these additional pins are used for additional lanes that aren’t supported by the smaller PCIe x1 card. The MiniPCIe slots and cards are smaller than the MiniPCI slots and cards. They are commonly used to install a wireless network interface card into the slot so the laptop can connect to wireless networks. x8. x16. However. However. If you have a PCIe x2 card. MiniPCI Express (MiniPCIe) is an upgrade to MiniPCI similar to the way PCIe is an upgrade to PCI. or PCIe x32 slot. you cannot mix and match PCI and PCIe expansion cards. For example. MiniPCI MiniPCI slots were developed for use in laptop computers. the speed is measured in transfers per second. you can plug a PCIe x4 card into a PCIe x8. you’ll get the same data rate in each of the two lanes. x4. It just won’t fit.5 GT/s 5 GT/s 8 GT/s 16 GT/s Table 2-5 shows only the data rate per lane. Because PCIe isn’t using an external clock.” covers laptops in more depth. PCIe is not backward-compatible with PCI. but they can carry larger amounts of data. and there are currently three versions of PCI. and all the PCIe versions achieve speeds in the gigatransfers per second (GT/s) range. PCIe x16. Table 2-5  PCIe Data Rates Standard PCIe v1 PCIe v2 PCIe v3 PCIe v4 Data Rate per Lane 250 MB/s 500 MB/s 1 GB/s 2 GB/s Transfers per Second 2. Exam Tip You can plug smaller PCIe expansion cards into larger PCIe expansion slots. 52 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . Chapter 8. You can plug any smaller PCIe card into a larger PCIe slot. Similarly. some of the pins aren’t used. but each version supports faster speeds.If you plug a smaller card into the larger slot. 33-MHz bus. PCIe has been steadily improving over the years. “Working with Laptops. and x32 cards multiply the overall data rate. you can’t put a larger card into a smaller slot any more than you can put a round peg into a square hole. doubling the overall data rate.

modem. ­ CPU Chipsets Key Terms A CPU chipset is one or more ICs that provide the primary interface between the CPU and the rest of the system. For example. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 53 . and by creating the cards separately from the motherboard. The two primary manufacturers of CPUs are Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). The CNR slot is specifically designed to accept audio. Newer CPUs take over the functions of the north bridge. These are marketed as Dell computers. such as micro-ATX systems. when these FCC-governed devices are built into the motherboard. CNR slots aren’t common in computers today. It is about the size of a PCIe x1 slot.CNR Some motherboards have a Communications and Networking Riser (CNR) expansion slot. Older chipsets divided their functions into north bridge and south bridge. The two primary manufacturers of chipsets that work with these CPUs are also Intel and AMD. motherboards commonly integrate these capabilities within the motherboard. Note  What is an OEM? An OEM is any company that resells another company’s product using their own name and branding. This allows motherboard manufacturers to create new motherboards more quickly and then just plug in the precertified CNR card. you might see them on smaller form factor motherboards. manufacturers can certify the motherboards separately from the CNR expansion cards. These types of expansion cards have to be certified by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Instead. However. original equipment ­ manufacturers (OEMs) would put the appropriate card into the motherboard as they are building a computer. Instead. and Dell is the OEM. North Bridge and South Bridge Recent versions of chipsets have used two chips called the north bridge and the south bridge. each new motherboard has to be certified separately. End users rarely insert cards into the CNR slot. Dell uses motherboards it has purchased from Intel to build computers that it sells. In contrast. and network interface cards. although it is not compatible with PCIe. Figure 2-6 shows how a north bridge (NB) and south bridge (SB) chipset interact.

is the primary interface for high-speed devices such as the CPU. On newer processors. It includes a universal asynchronous receiver transmitter (UART) chip needed to translate data between serial and parallel connections. ■■ USB North bridge. you can add a dedicated graphics card and not use the onboard graphics.CPU Front side bus RAM Graphics bus AGP or PCIe slot NB Memory bus Internal bus PCI. I/O devices via a serial port. also called the memory controller hub (MCH ). The north bridge. a dedicated graphics slot. and. South bridge. PCIe bus Disk SB Onboard graphics Network Super I/O Onboard audio BIOS Figure 2-6  North bridge and south bridge chipset. if it exists. Most new devices use USB. Key Terms The Super I/O is a separate chip that provides connections to different types of legacy. RAM. Alternately. When the feature is included. as you can see in Figure 2-7. For example. 54 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . a parallel port. or older. The south bridge provides an interface to low-speed devices. which is essentially everything else in the system. it is referred to as onboard or built-in. or the mouse. the keyboard. the north bridge functions have been taken over by the CPU. It is also called the I/O Controller Hub (ICH). so the Super I/O chip isn’t needed or included on many current systems. the south bridge includes onboard graphics. ■■ Exam Tip Features included on a motherboard are dependent on support from the chipset.

and the chipset. USB Note  Popular chipset models Two popular models of current chipsets that have moved the north bridge functions to the CPU are Intel’s Sandy Bridge model and AMD’s Fusion model. Figure 2-7 shows the configuration for the Intel X79 Express Chipset. many newer motherboards using both Intel and AMD CPUs use a single chipset and have moved the functionality of the north bridge to the CPU. a data bus for RAM.Combining North Bridge onto the CPU Understanding how the north bridge is used for high-speed devices and how the south bridge is used for lower-speed devices is useful background information. PCIe bus Intel X79 chipset Network Audio BIOS Figure 2-7  Newer chipset without north bridge and south bridge. Instead of using a single front side bus for graphics. DDR3 RAM 40 lanes PCIe 1 GB/s each lane CPU PCIe graphics DMI 20 Gb/s Disk SATA and eSATA PCI. and a Direct Media Interface (DMI) bus for the chipset. The chipset takes care of the rest. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 55 . RAM. However. the CPU has three separate busses: a PCIe bus for graphics. If you compare this to Figure 2-6. you can see the differences.

Key Terms 56 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . Front Panel Connectors Motherboards commonly have connectors that are used to run wires to the front panel. and for clarity. This indicates when the system is turned on from the front panel power button. This will reset all of the BIOS settings to the factory default. Some common connectors include the following: ■■ Power light. 1 2 3 Figure 2-8  Motherboard outline. this jumper is connected to pins 2 and 3. Note Jumpers This motherboard also has a jumper labeled as CLEAR CMOS. If the user forgets the password. Wires are plugged into these connectors with the other ends going to the appropriate connection on the front panel. If you look again at Figure 2-8. By default. By manipulating the jumpers. this jumper is connected to pins 2 and 3. you can clear it with a jumper so that you are able to manage the BIOS. In the figure it’s labeled as PWR LED for power light emitting diode (LED). you can see several front panel connectors on the motherboard (to the right of the password jumper). with the jumper removed and lying to the left of the pins. the pins are labeled. In Figure 2-8. The most common reason to access a jumper is to reset the BIOS password.Jumpers Motherboards have a variety of different pins that can be connected with jumpers for different purposes. but moving the jumper to pins 1 and 2 will reset the BIOS settings. Figure 2-8 shows the connections to clear the password. you connect the jumper to pins 1 and 2. The directions are printed directly on the motherboard (on the bottom left). This is commonly called overclocking and is mentioned in the “Clock Speeds” section later in this chapter. If you want to clear the password. hobbyists can cause the CPU to run with a faster clock. Some motherboards include jumpers that affect the clock speed. It’s possible for a user to set the password for the BIOS so that only that user can access the BIOS settings.

however. these lights will blink. You can plug smaller PCIe cards into larger PCIe slots. Connect the clear password jumper on the motherboard. This simulates pressing the button. commonly a pink color. They are typically red LEDs. A headphone or speaker jack is usually a lime green color and includes a headphones icon. you can force a restart by pressing the reset button. it’s better to logically shut down and restart a computer. Audio. USB devices are very popular with users and users often want access to USB ports on the front panel. On the rear panel.■■ Power button. the problem is elsewhere. This turns the power on for the computer and is labeled as PWR BTN in the figure. No. This is different from a power switch on the back of the computer. USB. Many systems include one or more audio outputs on the front panel that are connected from the motherboard. Figure 2-8 shows this labeled as HD LED for hard disk drive LED. it turns on the power supply but not the computer. How can you reset the BIOS password? Quick Check Answers 1. motherboards commonly include USB connections that are connected directly to the motherboard. Some systems also have a microphone jack. 2. Plugging in and turning on the power supply provides power to the motherboard. If it doesn’t turn on. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 57 . Many systems include a reset button that will force the computer to restart. Wires run from the USB ports on the front panel to connectors on the motherboard. Whenever possible. you’ve verified the power button is faulty. Reset button. Exam Tip ATX motherboards introduced soft power allowing the power to be controlled from the front panel. but if the computer isn’t responsive to any keyboard or mouse commands. If you suspect this power button is faulty. ■■ Drive activity lights. However. If there is a power switch on the back of the computer. ■■ ■■ ■■ Quick Check 1. Is it possible to plug a PCIe x4 card into a PCIe x1 slot? 2. If the system then turns on. but the computer isn’t fully turned on until the front panel button is set to on. you can remove the connection and connect the two pins on the motherboard connector by using a flat-blade screwdriver. with a microphone icon. When the disk drive is actively reading or writing data.

One PCI expansion slot. Figure 2-9 shows a picture of an Intel DX 79SI Extreme series motherboard with the individual components identified. One is providing power for the CPU. All rights reserved. This socket is for an Intel Core i7 processor with either four or six cores. 6. The heat sinks keep the voltage regu- lators cool. Used by permission. 2. Intel X79 Express Chipset. 58 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . 3.0 GB/s ports are included.] ­ 1. Photo provided by Intel. It’s a newer motherboard. RAM slots. but the 3 GB/s ports are black and the 6 GB/s ports are blue. so that they can be distinguished from each other. This chipset uses the Direct Media Interface (DMI) as an interface to the CPU. Voltage regulators covered by heat sinks. such as AGP slots or IDE connectors. This motherboard includes eight dual in-line memory module (DIMM) slots for double data rate type 3 (DDR3) memory. 5. [Copyright © Intel Corporation. Four SATA 3 GB/s ports and two SATA 6. This is for earlier-version PCI cards. and one is providing power to the chipset. 2 1 7 3 4 4 5 7 6 7 8 12 13 13 1 9 10 11 Figure 2-9  Intel motherboard. It’s not apparent in the figure. so it doesn’t have some of the older components. 4. you saw a line drawing of a motherboard with an explanation of many of the components. in Figure 2-1.Viewing an Actual Motherboard Earlier in this chapter. SATA ports. CPU socket.

one IEEE 1394 firewall connection. The BIOS allows the computer to start without any user intervention other than turning it on. and start. These are accessible via the back panel. 9. and starting a computer is commonly called booting a computer. from programmable read-only memory (PROM).0 connections.0 ports. It can be used for troubleshooting the motherboard in place of a PCI or PCIe card used for providing the same information. The program within BIOS is stored in a chip on the computer that can be rewritten. and six USB 2. and then to EEPROM. 8. locate the operating system on a disk. This group includes two RJ-45 network interface connections. Read-only memory (ROM) has gone through several iterations over the years. Back panel ports. CMOS battery. and BIOS provides the initial instructions on how to locate the hard disk and start the operating system. The combination of hardware and software is firmware.1 systems. It is a hardware chip that you can physically see and touch. most computers have the operating system on a hard disk. to erasable read-only memory (EPROM). USB ports 3. When a computer is turned on. including 7. For example. Audio back panel ports. BIOS The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) includes software code that provides a computer with basic instructions so that it can start. This motherboard is using a circular battery. Older computers used an electrically erasable programmable read-only memory chip (EEPROM) for the BIOS. Other connectors on the board can be routed to USB connectors on the front panel. Note  What is firmware? Key Terms The BIOS is often referred to as firmware.0 x 16 expansion slots. The programming provided by BIOS is referred to as the bootstrap programming. New computers use a type of flash memory similar to what is used with USB thumb drives. 10. 11. 13. but the battery is inserted sideways into a battery slot. BIOS CHAPTER 2 59 . 12. Three PCIe 3. Power-on self test (POST) decoder. it runs the program within BIOS to do some basic system checks. These are for smaller x1 cards. This displays different numbers as the system progresses through the startup cycle. These are for newer PCIe boards. PCIe x1 expansion slots. This group includes multiple connections for different types of audio.7. and it includes software that runs code on the computer.

you can set the time of the computer. CMOS is a specific type of chip that you’ll rarely find on any motherboard. Sometimes. ■■ That’s probably clear to you: BIOS is the application. BIOS vs. meaning that the data is lost if the system is turned off. but there is still a need to store the user-configurable settings. the data can be stored on battery-powered static RAM. It stores the instructions for starting the computer and includes a program that can be used to change some settings. identify which drive to boot to. This is the firmware. Just like CMOS. it doesn’t even need a battery. This holds only the user-configurable BIOS settings. it’s stored in the same chip as the real-­ ­ time clock that is keeping time. and this battery isn’t powering CMOS. the real-time clock still needs a battery to keep time when the system is turned off. These settings are explored later in this chapter. Motherboards include a CMOS battery to retain the CMOS data even if the system is turned off. there are differences between versions. these chips are powered by a battery when the system is turned off to ensure the system keeps these settings. CMOS Key Terms As you study computers. Even the CompTIA objectives refer specifically to CMOS and the CMOS battery. The motherboard vendor chooses the BIOS to include with the motherboard. Unfortunately. CMOS is the data. However. Even though systems no longer have CMOS. Technically. it is still commonly called the CMOS battery. configure the CPU to support virtualization technologies. When the BIOS is using newer flash memory. Each vendor develops different versions of BIOS to meet the needs of different motherboard manufacturers. there are differences. ■■ BIOS. and more. Instead of CMOS. the user-configurable data is often stored on the same chip as the BIOS application. Two of the most popular BIOS vendors are American Megatrends (AMI) and Phoenix Technologies. CMOS is volatile. 60 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . you’re likely to come across the term complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS). Users can change these settings by accessing the BIOS application. it’s misleading. such as the current time. For example. motherboard manufacturers can use BIOS developed by different vendors.BIOS also includes a BIOS setup application you can use to configure different settings for your computer. so it’s important to realize that one system will look different from another. Due to how flash memory stores data. The firmware can be updated in a procedure referred to as flashing the BIOS (covered later in this chapter). BIOS Vendors Just as you can purchase software developed by different vendors. so you don’t have to worry about which one to use. CMOS. and a CMOS battery keeps CMOS powered to retain the settings. However. When referring to BIOS and CMOS.

each BIOS utility will have directions about how to navigate through the program. you’re being asked to get into the setup application or setup utility. they won’t apply. BIOS refers to the bootstrap code used to start the computer without user intervention. Figure 2-10  BIOS setup utility. and how to change them. For example. After the BIOS starts. Ctrl+Alt+Esc keys (pressed at the same time). Somewhere on the screen. In the figure. On some laptops. Just remember that what you really need to do is read the messages on the screen as the system starts. these instructions are in the right pane. BIOS CHAPTER 2 61 . you have to use the keyboard and arrows to navigate. and Ctrl+Alt+Enter keys. you’ll need to press the F2 function key. but you’ll be able to see the settings. Del (delete key). If you’re asked to access the BIOS. you’ll see one or more screens flash onto the screen. instead. Your BIOS might not use the same words. if the screen says to press the <F2> key to enter the setup utility. providing bits of information. You can change settings in the BIOS. and as long as you don’t save your changes. F10. Admittedly. it will look similar to Figure 2-10. technicians commonly use the term BIOS to refer to the setup application or setup utility. that’s a lot of combinations. how to select individual settings. Note  BIOS can mean different things in different contexts Primarily. I strongly encourage you to start up the BIOS on a computer and go through these settings. Other common keys or key combinations are: F1. The mouse cannot be used in most BIOS utilities. you press the Fn+Esc or FN+F1 keys. However.Accessing the BIOS Application When you first turn on a computer. One of these screens gives you a message to press a specific key to access the setup options or the setup utility. The only sure way of knowing what key to press is by reading the screen.

Go into BIOS. Additionally. EIDE. most BIOS systems will automatically detect the presence of different drives and report their presence within BIOS. If it’s not recognized. If the system is using an EIDE interface. if it exists. This can be useful to ensure that the system is recognizing newly installed hardware. processor cache. You can also see that the system has 12 GB (12. You can see that the processor is an Intel Core i7. Figure 2-11  BIOS setup utility.288 MB) of RAM installed. the BIOS can sometimes give you insight into the problem. Drives might be reported as SATA1. SATA2. 62 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . and memory. and other times the settings are on a dedicated page for the drives.66 GHz. you need to check the hardware such as the cables or configuration. giving a CPU speed of 2. or as hard disk drives. find the drive settings. This page shows information about the processor type.BIOS Component Information You can use the BIOS to verify the different components that are installed on a system. This includes hard disk drives and different types of optical drives. if you install new RAM but it’s not recognized. such as DVD drives. This can be useful if you’ve installed a new drive but find that it’s not recognized after starting. with a 133-MHz clock multiplied by 20. For example. The RAM has a speed of 1.066 MHz (using a 133-MHz clock multiplied by 8) and is DDR3 SDRAM. and ensure that the new drive is recognized by BIOS. Figure 2-11 shows a screen from a different BIOS version with the system information page selected. Sometimes these settings are reported in the Standard CMOS Features page. they might be reported as IDE. and so on if the system is using a SATA interface.

Figure 2-12 shows the boot sequence screen in BIOS. The computer keeps time with a real-time clock. As BIOS CHAPTER 2 63 . check the BIOS.” BIOS Configuration There are a few configuration settings that are important to understand. Exam Tip Common symptoms of a failing CMOS battery are a slow clock or errors related to CMOS settings. you’ll need to set the date and time. After unplugging the power to the system. you should consider replacing the battery. It might not be recognized by BIOS. The boot sequence setting tells the computer the device from which it should try to boot first. Time and Date A very basic setting for the BIOS is the time and date. You’ll often see these settings on the very first page of BIOS. and then by using PXE. Boot Sequence One of the most important BIOS settings for a PC technician to understand is the boot sequence. Drivers are covered in more depth in Chapter 15. If a drive is recognized by BIOS but not by the operating system. “Configuring Windows Operating Systems. After replacing the battery. always follow local regulations when disposing of the original battery. Currently.Exam Tip If you’ve installed any type of hardware but find that it’s not recognized after you boot into an operating system. indicating that it’s not connected correctly or has a fault. Changes you make in the configuration will remain in the system even after the system has been powered off. it will look for a bootable operating system on the CDROM. It could be disabled in BIOS. you can remove the battery with a small screwdriver and replace it. Also. the real-time clock is slow and needs to be reset often. it’s set to boot to the hard drive. and you might need to reconfigure other BIOS settings. If the battery is failing. When replacing the battery. Motherboard manufacturers warn that the wrong battery could explode. You rarely need to change this except when the CMOS battery is failing. and all you’ll need to do is enable it. If you find you have to reset a clock more than once. then on a floppy drive. make sure that you replace it with the correct type. If the hard drive doesn’t have a bootable operating system. and the CMOS battery keeps the clock ticking even when the system is turned off. the problem is probably related to a software driver. which is sometimes called the Main page or the Standard CMOS Features page.

If you want to disable any of the devices. you can select Disabled.” discusses network installations using PXE. If you want to boot using a bootable CDROM drive. “Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems. one of the selections in the Options menu is Disabled. in Figure 2-12. The system will then attempt to boot to the CDROM first. For example. Exam Tip The BIOS on most systems is configured to boot to the hard drive first and will look at other drives only if there’s a problem with the hard drive. In Figure 2-12. you often have to modify the BIOS. To boot from a CD or DVD drive. I selected CDROM in the 2nd Boot Device row and pressed Enter.configured. These include CD drives and DVD drives. 64 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . Chapter 12. you need to change the configuration. A PXE-enabled system contacts a server on the network and can then download an operating system over the network. and I can now use the arrows to change the order. the CDROM and Hard Drive selections will change positions. if I press the Up Arrow so that Hard Drive is highlighted and then press Enter. For example. Figure 2-12  Configuring the boot sequence. The Options box has appeared. The PXE (Preboot Execution Environment) selection shown in Figure 2-12 allows a system to boot by using a network interface card. it will never boot using the CDROM drive unless the hard drive failed. Enabling and Disabling Devices You can often enable and disable devices in BIOS. The BIOS uses the CDROM setting for any type of optical drive.

You would disable this on systems that have audio cards installed in an expansion slot. the related onboard feature should be disabled to prevent conflicts. BIOS CHAPTER 2 65 . The VM runs as an application within the physical computer. Onboard graphics. Figure 2-13 shows how the two VMs would run within Windows 7. but these are often basic. This disables network capabilities from the chipset. Onboard audio. It’s common to upgrade some features by adding an expansion card. Onboard 1394 (Firewire) controller. Other devices that can sometimes be enabled or disabled from a BIOS menu include the following: ■■ ■■ USB controller. For example. Purchasing two additional physical computers and installing Windows 8 on one and Windows Server 2012 on the other would be expensive. imagine that you wanted to master the details of how Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 work. You would disable this on systems that have a network interface card installed in an expansion slot. Instead. Windows 8 virtual machine Windows Server 2012 virtual machine Windows 7 computer Figure 2-13  Running two VMs within Windows 7. if a powerful graphics card is added. the onboard graphics should be disabled. you can use virtualization software on your Windows 7 computer. Disabling this prevents Firewire devices from working. You can then install Windows 8 as one VM and Windows Server 2012 as another VM. This disables graphics capabilities from the chipset. If an expansion card is added. Virtualization Support Key Terms Virtualization allows you to run one or more operating systems in virtual machines (VMs) instead of physical systems.Different types of BIOS allow you to enable and disable devices from different menus. You would disable this on systems that have a dedicated graphics card. This disables audio capabilities from the chipset. Onboard network card. but you still want to use Windows 7 for your day-to-day work. often called the host. For example. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam Tip Chipsets include a wide variety of onboard features and capabilities. Disabling this prevents USB devices from working.

Some Intel-based motherboards require you to enable virtualization in the BIOS before it’s used. Virtualization Technology. AMD refers to its HAV features as AMD-V. If you change the clock from 133 MHz to 148 MHz. two common names and locations are as follows: ■■ Virtualization. One of the core requirements for virtualization applications to run is CPU support.66 GHz. If you also change the multiplier from 20x to 24x. and the requirements. This section provides some basics and lists BIOS settings. ■■ Clock Speeds Motherboards typically include a serial presence detect (SPD) chip that detects and stores the speed of the CPU and the RAM. the multiplier. Exam Tip Virtualization is popular technology frequently used by many IT professionals. “Working with Customers. For example. or the voltage. These were detected from the SPD chip. you can see the CPU and memory speeds. for the promise of a quicker PC. However. if a system has a 133-MHz clock and a 20x multiplier. For example. cause the CPU or other components to fail. if you look again at Figure 2-11.” lists the requirements in a virtualization workstation and mentions virtualization software. It’s important to understand the basics. However. you have a speed of 2. you have a speed of 3. but they are identified differently depending on the CPU vendor: ■■ ■■ VT-x. the relevant BIOS settings. Chapter 10. and reduce system performance. or AMD Virtualization. the speed is 2.96 GHz. many hobbyists are willing to take the risk. Some BIOS utilities allow you to manipulate these clock speeds by altering the frequency. The BIOS either reads the data from the SPD chip or automatically detects the clock speeds and reports them. AMD-V. Any time you wanted to play around with a VM. It’s referred to differently depending on the BIOS vendor. Locate the setting in the System Configuration menu. you would start it by using your virtualization software. Most current CPUs include hardware-assisted virtualization (HAV) features. Intel refers to its HAV features as VT-x. Locate the setting in the Virtualization Support menu and enable the Intel Virtualization Technology setting.You can configure the VMs so that they can communicate with each other and share Internet access with the host machine.55 GHz. Manufacturers commonly warn that modifying these settings can cause additional heat or other damage. 66 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS .

When set. the thief might be able to install it as a secondary drive in another computer and read the data. if the drive is protected with a TPM and BitLocker. If it gets too hot. Similarly. anyone with a little bit of IT education (or who has read this chapter) knows that most motherboards include a jumper that can reset the BIOS password and override the security. and the most common security setting is related to BIOS passwords. Looking again at Figure 2-10. Security Many BIOS utilities include security settings. com/ ) and search “extreme tuning utility. For example.” you’ll find a tool that you can use to monitor the clocks. In some systems. However. It might allow the user to do anything except change the supervisor password. If the CPU includes Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology. Exam Tip It might seem that setting a BIOS password provides a lot of security for the system. The TPM is a chip on the motherboard that is used with software applications for security. For example. Many automobiles include a LoJack unit. it requires a user to enter the password every time the system is started. the thief will not be able to read data from the drive. The more quickly a system runs. you can use this tool to overclock a system without going into the BIOS. Other possible settings are related to a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and LoJack. Encryption applies a cipher to the data so that it cannot be read. many Windows-based systems include BitLocker Drive Encryption that can work with a TPM. Combined. they provide full-disk encryption and monitoring of the system. or it might allow the user to change only limited settings such as the date and time. the user password provides varied access. it can send out signals used to locate it. Depending on the BIOS. it can destroy components. If someone steals a drive from an unprotected PC. including liquid-cooled systems. The biggest danger of overclocking is heat. However. It includes a small many laptops include a feature from BIOS CHAPTER 2 67 . and if the auto is stolen. Chapter 3 talks about some advanced methods of keeping systems cool. the supervisor password provides full control over any BIOS settings and is sometimes set by administrators to ensure that they can override any changes made by a user.Note Overclocking Even though motherboard and CPU manufacturers strongly discourage the practice of overclocking. if you go to Intel’s download center (http://downloadcenter. they also realize that hobbyists do so and have created tools to make it easier. you can see the settings for a supervisor password and a user password. the hotter it gets.

there are just about as many versions of beep codes. In some systems. you should check the power supply voltages. there are many different types of BIOS. Many newer systems will display a message on the screen associated with the beeps. Buzz or quickly repeating beeps. it indicates that the RAM might have a problem. if RAM was recently upgraded and it’s now giving a different beep code than normal. check RAM. it stops and gives you an indication of the failure. it will run some basic tests commonly known as power-on self test (POST ). However. For example. you’ll hear a different beep code and you’ll see a message on the monitor indicating a problem with the keyboard. that the keyboard is working. If the computer passes these tests. and as you now know. It ensures that the CPU and system timer are both running. Similarly. POST and Other Diagnostics Key Terms When a computer boots. Continuous beep or repeating beeps. This usually indicates that the system has passed the POST. but it is not feasible to list what every POST beep code means. POST performs only rudimentary checks on a few core devices. The following are a few examples of what you might hear: ■■ No beep. One short beep. The BIOS manufacturer or the motherboard manufacturer has documentation on each of their beep codes. it will continue to boot. but POST can’t rely on the display. This often indicates a problem with the power supply. This often indicates a problem with RAM. if a key is stuck on the keyboard. This often indicates that a system has no power or has a problem with the power supply. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam Tip When the system gives a different indication than normal. look for what has recently changed. or the keyboard. It is disabled by default in the BIOS but can be enabled after purchasing a license from Computrace. and this is normal.Computrace known as LoJack for Laptops. so it uses different types of beep codes. The POST routine is in the BIOS. 68 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . and that BIOS is not corrupt. from Computrace. some systems do not beep at all. If nothing has recently changed. the motherboard. If it fails one of these tests. that the RAM and graphics are accessible. You’ll usually see an error on the display. For example.

you can see that this motherboard has a POST decoder built into it. For example. these tests are often very basic. The motherboard manual lists codes from 00 through F9 hexadecimal. POST Cards Looking again at Figure 2-9. You had to look up the error code in a manual to determine the error. As the system boots. the CPU will indicate the detected intrusion. opening the case causes the BIOS setting to change. You’ll rarely see messages with just an error code today. I have a laptop that has a Diagnostic menu that includes selections to run tests on memory and the hard drive. ■■ ■■ ■■ BIOS CHAPTER 2 69 . Chapter 3 covers the Windows Memory Diagnostic. you’ll see a message indicating that the system was previously shut down due to a thermal event. Some BIOS programs include other built-in diagnostics. that can be used to check and repair disk problems. which can be used to check for memory problems. Intrusion detection/notification. The BIOS can monitor the speed of some variable-speed fans and report when the speed exceeds predefined thresholds. “Understanding Disks and File Systems.” covers many tools. POST cards that you can plug into a PCI or PCIe expansion card are available. Fan speeds. If the case has a biased switch. this LED display changes as POST enters various stages. Key Terms For systems that don’t have this built into the motherboard. Voltage. you can use a POST card. Systems with temperature monitors will often shut down when the CPU gets too hot to protect them. Some voltages can be monitored. A variance of more than 5 percent of the specified voltage indicates a problem that can be reported by the BIOS. such as chkdsk. and they have an LED display that displays the POST code as the system is starting. Each time the system is restarted afterward. When the system restarts. Instead. Chapter 16. you can identify what phases are succeeding and the point at which the system fails. such as Error 301 to indicate a stuck key on the keyboard. The BIOS records the information. By watching this LED as the system boots. if a key is stuck.Older systems displayed cryptic codes on the screen. Monitoring Some BIOS applications include the ability to monitor the system and provide feedback when issues are detected. For example. you’ll see a display indicating that a key is stuck. and when the system is restarted. Some common examples include the following: ■■ Temperature monitoring. and you can find better tools. as described in Chapter 1. This is a clear indication to check all the fans. However. it displays a message on the monitor describing the issue.

boot to this drive. you’ll need to go to the website of the motherboard manufacturer. you realize it doesn’t have a setting to enable virtualization. You had to download the program. I located the update on the HP website. The process is much easier today. You can access this on Windows 7 systems by clicking Start. Figure 2-14 shows the System Information dialog box with the BIOS data shown. you’re erasing the original firmware and writing new firmware onto the system. You can check the version of BIOS you have in your system with the System Information tool in Windows systems. downloaded it. and ran it from Windows 7. First you’ll need to see what version of BIOS you have and compare it to available versions. All Programs. you might try to run a virtualization program on your system but get an error indicating that virtualization isn’t enabled in the BIOS. When you flash the BIOS. This firmware can be upgraded through a process commonly known as flashing the BIOS. A common reason to flash the BIOS is to add a capability to your system. so even creating this bootable drive was a challenge for some people. and pressing Enter. the BIOS is firmware. so you first need to upgrade the BIOS. I recently updated the BIOS on an HP laptop. If you need to flash the BIOS. you can update it. Most manufacturers provide the update in an application you run from Windows. Accessories. If the manufacturer doesn’t maintain one.Flashing the BIOS As mentioned earlier. restart the computer. 70 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . meaning that it includes software code installed on a hardware chip. a newer version of BIOS supports virtualization. typing msinfo32 in the Search Programs And Files text box. this was a tedious process. copy it to a drive that could boot to a basic disk operating system (DOS). The bootable drive was often a floppy or a USB drive. For example. Figure 2-15 shows what it looks like. However. System Tools menu. Key Terms Figure 2-14  Viewing the BIOS version in System Information dialog box. If your version is older than a version available from the manufacturer. One of these sites will provide free downloads of programs you can use to flash the BIOS. It’s also available via the Start. go to the computer manufacturer’s website. and run the program. When you look in the BIOS. For example. Years ago.

Important  Do not turn off computer during update process If the system loses power before completing the update. BIOS CHAPTER 2 71 . it started using the new BIOS. the same UEFI could potentially work with both Intel and AMD CPUs. You will no longer be able to start the system. Additionally. One of the primary advantages of UEFI is the ability to boot from disks over 2 TB in size.2D). especially when working with larger disks.It shows that the version of the current BIOS is slightly older than the new BIOS version (hexadecimal F. it ran.26 instead of hexadecimal F. the program in BIOS might be only partially written or corrupt. the UEFI provides some enhancements. UEFI BIOS is being replaced by Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) on many systems. the system shut down. A dialog box appeared asking if I wanted to update the BIOS. It took a moment to update the firmware. The functionality is largely the same as BIOS—it provides an interface between the hardware and the software so that the computer can start. Figure 2-15  Flashing the BIOS with a program from the manufacturer. and when it completed. and after I clicked Yes. However. The next time I started this computer. Although the CompTIA objectives don’t mention UEFI. That is. it is designed to be CPU-independent. Ideally. and usually the only option is to return the computer or motherboard to the manufacturer. you should plug the computer into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). you might see it. That was it.

many potential problems and their solutions were addressed. Note  Spinning fans. CMOS Checksum Error. The most likely culprit here is that the CPU is not getting power. Remove the CD and try again. This section reminds you of some common symptoms you might encounter. make sure that everything is plugged in and turned on. What would you call the process of upgrading the BIOS? Quick Check Answers 1. Fans spin. ■■ BIOS time and settings reset. no POST beep. The solution is to replace the battery. The system might have a non-bootable CD in the drive and is trying to boot from the CD. it indicates that the battery has failed or is failing. You can also modify the BIOS boot sequence to boot to the hard drive first. The fans spin because the power supply doesn’t need the CPU to power them. If the voltages to the motherboard are good. such as CMOS Battery Error. BIOS 2. ■■ Invalid boot disk or attempts to boot to incorrect device. This is provided from a 4-pin or 8-pin power connector to the motherboard. This indicates that the system is trying to boot to a device that doesn’t have a bootable operating system. if this symptom started soon after you replaced a component. What would you modify to force your system to start from a CD? 2. You might also see an error from the BIOS on startup.Quick Check 1. no power to other devices. It then goes through a regulator to the CPU. However. If the BIOS time or settings reset. but this is less likely unless it was just replaced. or CMOS Timer Error. If you don’t see any display on the screen. along with some details about what to check. Flashing Troubleshooting Throughout this chapter. the problem is probably the regulator on the motherboard. Blank screen on startup. make sure that the system is plugged Understanding Motherboards and BIOS ■■ 72 CHAPTER 2 . check that component. It could also be the CPU. Measure the voltages with a multimeter. The most likely source is the power supply or the voltage regulator on the motherboard. no power ■■ Spinning fans and no power to other devices can be a challenging problem. Also.

PCI. there usually isn’t much you can do. if the motherboard itself is faulty. ■■ Key Terms If you suspect a motherboard is faulty. PCIe cards cannot be plugged into an AGP. this stop error screen gives an indication of the problem. manipulate jumpers. This is commonly called a blue screen of death (BSOD). ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 2 73 . and expansion cards. Smaller motherboard form factors are micro-ATX and different versions of ITX. 4. and PCI-X expansion slots are replaced by PCIe in most current computers. 4x. faulty RAM. and replace the CPU. You can plug in smaller PCIe expansion cards (such as x2) into larger PCIe expansion slots (such as x8). If the voltages are good. If hardware prevents the system from starting. 16.into the correct connection. which could be a faulty motherboard. 2. Instead. and 8x versions. Each version doubled the data rate of the earlier version. RAM. The speed of the computer is determined by bus speeds. AGP was used for dedicated graphics cards and came in 2x. However. Chapter Summary ■■ The most popular motherboard form factor is ATX. designated as x1. x2. or 32 lanes. replace the power supply. RAM. Expansion slots are used to add expansion cards. and x32. Motherboards include a chipset to support the CPU and to provide additional features. or a problem accessing the hard drives. Older AGP. Motherboards themselves can’t be repaired by technicians in the field. PCI. or PCI-X slot. Bus speeds are based on the speed of a crystal oscillator and a multiplier. and AGP 8x had a data rate of 2133 MB/s. You can replace the CMOS battery. More lanes require larger slots. 8. Then check the voltages from the power supply as mentioned in Chapter 1. The onboard graphics is disabled so that the screen will be blank if the display connection is plugged in here. and a dedicated graphics card when it’s used. x8. AGP had a data rate of 266 MB/s at 66 MHz. x16. Stop error. Make sure that the power supply is plugged in and turned on and that the front panel power button is depressed. The north bridge provides an interface for high-speed devices such as the CPU. plug the monitor into the expansion card. Many systems have add-on graphics expansion cards and onboard graphics. If the voltages are out of tolerance. you can either send it back to the manufacturer if it is under warranty or you can replace it with another motherboard. x4. Expansion cards expand the capabilities of the computer. PCIe supports multiple two-way lanes and can have 1. the motherboard or an expansion board might be faulty. and a computer will have multiple busses for transferring information. ■■ No power. The south bridge provides an interface for everything else.

It includes the code accessed when a computer first starts and helps the computer start. It displays codes in an LED display for different phases of the startup. BIOS also includes a program that can be used to view and modify configuration of a system. F10. audio. which performs basic checks on core hardware components. records. Flashing the BIOS is the process of updating it.■■ Newer CPUs have taken over the function of the north bridge and directly access RAM and the PCIe graphics cards. enabling and disabling devices. plug the computer into an UPS to ensure that it doesn’t lose power during the update. it shows a message indicating what key to press to access this program. and the date and time. so you’ll need to consult a manual. If it fails POST. These beep codes are different for different systems. Before running the program. if time needs to be reset frequently. The BIOS includes software embedded on a motherboard chip (commonly called firmware). BIOS includes power-on self test (POST). a power button. The chipset provides an interface for everything else that is similar to the older south bridge. Motherboards include connectors that are used to run wires to the front panel of a computer. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 74 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . Motherboards include jumpers for different purposes. When the system starts. You can obtain a program to flash the BIOS from the computer manufacturer or the motherboard manufacturer. Common BIOS configuration settings that you can manipulate are the boot sequence. Common keys are F2. it will display an error on the display and give a series of beeps to indicate the problem. POST cards are available as PCI or PCIe expansion cards to watch the progress of a ­ system as it starts. intrusion detection. or Del. or if the system generates CMOS errors. If the BIOS loses time. replace the battery. These are used for LED indicators. BIOS monitors. and almost all motherboards include jumpers that are used to clear the BIOS password and to clear all of the BIOS settings. and reports abnormal events related to high temperatures. fan speeds. and some voltages. These errors are reported when the system restarts. and USB connections.

you see a message indicating a CMOS error. pico-ITX. 1. PCI expansion slot D. PCIe X4 expansion slot C. You are trying to start a system from a bootable DVD. micro-ATX. Manipulate the start sequence in the BIOS. Pico-ITX. where could you install it? A. micro-ATX D. C. what two components determine the speed of a bus? A. micro-ATX. B. Flash the CMOS. Replace the CMOS. Which of the following choices lists common motherboard form factors from the smallest to the largest? A. Replace the DVD drive. Crystal frequency and bit size C. Of the following choices. Flash the BIOS. ATX. C. Of the following choices. CPU capability and cache size 3. mini-ITX. Replace the DVD. Crystal frequency and multiplier D. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Bit size and multiplier B. B. pico-ITX. What is the most likely solution? A. What should you do? A. mini-ITX. D.Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. D. micro-ATX. mini-ITX. PCIe x1 expansion slot B. Pico-ITX. PCI-X expansion slot 4. You have PCIe x2 card that you want to install into a computer. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. 5. Flash the BIOS. ATX 2. ATX C. Replace the battery. but the system always boots to the hard drive instead. Mini-ITX. When starting a computer. The answers to these questions. Chapter Review CHAPTER 2 75 . ATX B.

Upgrade the CPU. D. Flash the BIOS. Replace the CMOS battery. B. Upgrade the motherboard.6. After trying to run virtualization software. 76 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . you realize that the BIOS doesn’t support virtualization. What should you do? A. C.

Incorrect: PCIe cards are not compatible with PCI slots. Correct: The frequency of the oscillator crystal and the multiplier combine to determine a bus speed. C.6 inches.Answers This section contains the answers to the chapter review questions in this chapter. but you should check the BIOS first.6 inches. Incorrect: The bit size determines the data throughput. Incorrect: PCIe cards are not compatible with PCI-X slots.7 x 6. Correct: You can change the boot order in the BIOS so that the system tries to boot to the DVD first. 2. Incorrect: ATX is the largest. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: The bit size (such as 32-bit or 64-bit) determines the data throughput. Correct: Pico-ITX form factors are 3. Incorrect: Replacing the DVD might be necessary. micro-ATX are between 6. 1. Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: A larger PCIe card will not fit in a smaller PCIe slot. Incorrect: Replacing the DVD drive might be necessary. Incorrect: Micro-ATX is smaller than mini-ITX.75 x 6. C. D. Correct: You can plug smaller PCIe cards into larger PCIe slots. so a PCIe x2 card will fit in a PCIe x4 slot. Correct Answer: A A. You should try to change the settings first.6 x 9.75 inches and 9. B. but it doesn’t determine the speed. 3.9 x 2. B. Correct Answer: C A.7 inches. not the smallest. C. but you should check the BIOS first. Mini-ITX are 6.8 inches. D. D. C. Incorrect: The CPU uses the clock speed. Incorrect: Pico-ITX is the smallest. not the speed. B. and ATX form factors are 12 x 9. B. D. Incorrect: You would flash the BIOS only if it needed to be upgraded. Answers CHAPTER 2 77 . 4.

Settings in the CMOS are configured by the user and retained by battery power. and it’s rare to replace it. The BIOS should be upgraded first. B. you can often upgrade it by flash- ing the BIOS to get the new feature. Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: The BIOS is normally soldered into the motherboard.5. C. Correct Answer: D A. Correct: This error indicates that the settings in CMOS aren’t being retained by the current battery. Incorrect: The battery doesn’t determine whether virtualization is supported. Incorrect: Upgrading the motherboard might not be necessary. 6. Incorrect: You’d flash the BIOS to upgrade it. but an upgrade wouldn’t solve this problem. Incorrect: The CMOS isn’t flashed. D. Incorrect: The current CPU might support virtualization. but it must be enabled in BIOS. C. 78 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . Correct: If the BIOS doesn’t support an option. B. D.

non-ECC RAM configurations ■■ Single channel vs. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1.CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs I n this chapter. ■■ CPU sockets Types ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 1. non-parity ECC vs. and properties. A CPU is the brain of the computer. ■■ DDR DDR2 DDR3 SDRAM SODIMM RAMBUS DIMM Parity vs. This chapter will help you understand many of the terms used when describing them. their purposes. double sided RAM compatibility and speed 79 . and RAM is used to store applications and data being used by the CPU. triple channel ■■ ■■ Single sided vs.3 Compare and contrast RAM types and features. you’ll learn about two important concepts for any A+ technician to understand: random access memory (RAM) and central processing units (CPUs). dual channel vs. Both continue to be steadily improved and include a significant amount of technical detail that can easily confuse a regular user. performing most of the processing.2 Differentiate between motherboard components.

Key Terms 80 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . RAM. AM3+. AM2. 1155. AM2+. 1156. ■■ Common symptoms ■■ ■■ ■■ Unexpected shutdowns System lockups Overheating RAM When technicians are talking about a computer’s memory. In contrast. ■■ Socket types ■■ ■■ Intel: LGA.2 Given a scenario. CPU and power with appropriate tools. F Speeds Cores Cache size/type Hyperthreading Virtualization support Architecture (32-bit vs. 1366 AMD: 940. 64-bit) Integrated GPU Heat sink Fans Thermal paste Liquid-based ■■ Characteristics ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Cooling ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 4. it means that data in RAM is lost when power is removed.■■ 1. 775. they are primarily talking about random access memory (RAM). RAM is used for short-term storage of applications or data so that the processor can access and use this information. troubleshoot common problems related to motherboards. This doesn’t mean that it’s explosive. AM3.6 Differentiate among various CPU types and features and select the appropriate cooling method. Most RAM is volatile. FM1. computers use hard drives for long-term storage of data.

Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM). You can see that SDRAM has two clocks from these cycles and that DDR has four clocks from the same two cycles. the following list identifies commonly used types of RAM. SRAM is commonly used for CPU cache (described later in this chapter) but is rarely used as the primary RAM because of its cost. However. data is transferred. but it’s often listed as DRAM to avoid confusion with SRAM. each of the DDR SDRAM ­ ersions uses both the leading and trailing edge of the clock. SDRAM is tied to a clock. it is quicker than DRAM. Flash memory is used for BIOS in many motherboards. Almost all primary DRAM used in computers today is SDRAM. Double data rate (DDR) is one of the improvements and is used in almost all SDRAM. The capacitor holds the bit as a charge. It requires more components per bit so it is more expensive. however. Almost all DRAM in personal computers is SDRAM. Figure 3-1 compares the two over two cycles of a clock. This configuration uses very few components per bit. Double Data Rate SDRAM While the original SDRAM versions were quick and efficient for their time. Due to the speed. and the S makes the difference. keeping the cost low. All of these types of RAM are volatile. Flash memory is very popular. Dynamic refers to how bits are stored in an electrical component called a capacitor. SDRAM is used as the primary RAM in computer (PCs). ■■ Key Terms ■■ Note  SRAM vs. RAM CHAPTER 3 81 . they are different. but the capacitor needs to be regularly refreshed to hold the charge. ■■ Dynamic RAM (DRAM). flash memory is not volatile and retains data without power. but the constant refresh reduces the speed. Because of its speed. SDRAM is synchronized with a clock for faster speeds. USB flash drives. Key Terms SDRAM uses only the leading edge for the clock. but the S in SDRAM indicates synchronous.As an introduction. solid-state drives (SSDs). Static RAM (SRAM). but not as the primary RAM used in a system. Static RAM uses switching circuitry instead of capacitors and can hold a charge without a constant refresh. The S in SRAM indicates static. and when the clock ticks. manufacturers have steadily improved them. As a reminder. but due to how the switching works. SDRAM SRAM and SDRAM are often conflated. and memory cards used in cameras and other mobile devices all use flash memory. This is often called double v pumping. SRAM is used for CPU cache. Unlike DRAM and SRAM.

some existing systems have older RAM. so you’ll need to be aware of all of them. it modifies the way that data is processed and can transfer twice as much data as DDR SDRAM. It supersedes SDRAM. It’s expected to double the speed of DDR3. If you plan on touching the CPU or RAM. DDR uses double pumping to double the data rate of SDRAM.” 82 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . A DIMM is the circuit board that holds the memory chips. Important Avoid electrostatic discharge damage The CPU and RAM are most susceptible to electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage. DDR SDRAM. DDR4 isn’t included in the objectives. and the CompTIA objectives list each type of RAM. ■■ Figure 3-2 shows a DIMM (top) and a SODIMM (bottom). DIMMs and SODIMMs RAM comes on cards plugged into the slots in the motherboard. ensure that you use ESD wrist straps and other ESD protection as mentioned in Chapter 1. “Introduction to Computers. DDR2 doubles the data rate of DDR. DDR3. It uses double pumping and further modifies the way that data is processed.1 SDRAM uses only leading edge 2 DDR versions use leading and trailing edge (double pumping) 1 3 2 Figure 3-1  SDRAM compared with double-pumping DDR. but it is on the horizon as a replacement for DDR3. and DDR2 SDRAM. 4 The following list provides an overview of the different DDR versions: ■■ Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM. However. It can transfer four times as much data as DDR and eight times as much data as SDRAM. SODIMM chips are smaller and are used in smaller devices such as laptop computers and some printers. and technicians commonly call memory cards sticks. DDR3 doubles the data rate of DDR2. ■■ ■■ Exam Tip DDR3 SDRAM is the primary type of RAM you see in most systems today. The two most common types of memory sticks are: ■■ Key Terms Dual in-line memory module (DIMM). They are smaller than expansion cards. DDR2. Small outline dual in-line memory module (SODIMM). In addition to double pumping.

With dual channel. and DDR3. and triple-channel memory architectures. DDR2. RAM CHAPTER 3 83 . and Triple Channel Key Terms Many motherboards and CPUs support single-channel. Dual Channel. DIMMs and SODIMMs have a different number of pins depending on the type used. it doubles the throughput of DDR3. If you use a dual-channel motherboard with DDR3. Each single channel represents a separate 64-bit line of communication that can be accessed independently. You can purchase DIMMs in matched pairs. If you are upgrading a computer’s memory. dual-channel.Figure 3-2  Comparing a DIMM and a SODIMM. providing 16 times more data throughput than SDRAM. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ DDR SDRAM DIMM: 184 pins DDR2 SDRAM DIMM: 240 pins DDR3 SDRAM DIMM: 240 pins DDR SDRAM SODIMM: 200 pins DDR2 SDRAM SODIMM: 144 or 200 pins DDR3 SDRAM SODIMM: 204 pins Single Channel. triple channel gives it access to 192 bits at a time. the system can access 128 bits at a time. it’s important to understand these channels. in addition to double pumping and other enhancements provided by the DDR versions. Using dual and triple channels provides an additional performance enhancement to DDR. Where you install each DIMM determines how many channels your system will use and can affect the performance of RAM.

and matched pairs should be installed in these slots. the slots are color-coded to identify the banks. The system will take advantage of the dual-channel architecture by using two separate 64-bit channels. both DIMMs are installed in channel 1. and it’s important to know in which slots to install them. Channels: Each channel represents a separate 64-bit communication path. What happens if you install the DIMMs in slots 1 and 2 instead? The system will still work. two slots of one color and two slots of another color. Slots of the same color indicate the same bank. On these motherboards. ■■ ■■ Slots: Each slot can accept one DIMM. This is standard for Intel CPU-based motherboards. Figure 3-3 shows a diagram of four memory slots labeled for a motherboard using an Intelbased CPU. you should install matched DIMMs in the same bank. RAM will be about half as fast as it could be if it were installed correctly to take advantage of the dual channels. You can install a single DIMM in slot 1. For the best performance. and channels for Intel-based CPU motherboards. You can purchase DIMMs in matched pairs. most motherboards designed for AMD CPUs are organized differently.Single Channel vs. Channel 1 includes slots 1 and 3. and the system will have a single-channel RAM. and channels (C). In Figure 3-3. however. Looking at Figure 3-3. 84 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . and slots 3 and 4 make up Bank 1. leaving slots 2 and 4 empty. you see that it has four memory slots. Figure 3-3 and the previous explanation describe the color coding. and slots 2 and 4 are another color. Bank 0 includes slots 1 and 3 and these two slots are normally blue. banks. If you look at a dual-channel motherboard. so the system will work with only a single channel. slots 1 and 2 make up Bank 0. as shown in Figure 3-4. Bank 1 includes slots 2 and 4 and these slots are normally black. However. ■■ Exam Tip On most motherboards. Intel S1 S2 S3 S4 B0 B1 B0 B1 C1 C1 C2 C2 Figure 3-3  Intel-based DDR slots (S). and channel 2 includes slots 2 and 4. Banks: A bank is composed of two slots. Slots 1 and 2 make up one channel. banks (B). and slots 3 and 4 make up the second channel. Slots 1 and 3 are one color. Dual Channel Key Terms Dual-channel motherboards are very common. you should install the matched pair of DIMMs in slots 1 and 3 (Bank 0).

Bank 1 includes slots 2 and 4. This indicates the system supports triple-channel memory usage. and these will be the same color (often blue). Exam Tip Many motherboards allow the use of different size DIMMs in different channels. AMD motherboards also use one color for Bank 0 (slots 1 and 2) and another color for Bank 1 (slots 3 and 4). so you might see a motherboard with Bank 0 slots (slots 1. the good news is that most motherboard manufacturers use the same color for each bank. and they will be a different color (often black). each DIMM within a bank must be the same size. Also. for the system to use the multichannel capability. The speed of the bank will default to the lower-speed DIMM or. in some cases. you can use different speed DIMMs in the same bank.Most AMD S1 S2 S3 S4 B0 B0 B1 B1 C1 C2 C1 C2 Figure 3-4  AMD-based DDR slots (S). banks (B). However. and 5) all blue and with Bank 1 slots all black. Triple Channel On some motherboards. to single channel. RAM CHAPTER 3 85 . Table 3-1 shows the configuration of the slots. and channels (C). Table 3-1  Triple-Channel DIMMs Key Terms Slots Slot 1 Slot 2 Slot 3 Slot 4 Slot 5 Slot 6 Banks Bank 0 Bank 1 Bank 0 Bank 1 Bank 0 Bank 1 Channels Channel 1 Channel 1 Channel 2 Channel 2 Channel 3 Channel 3 Slots in each bank are commonly the same color. 3. the sizes are different and the system will use single channel. you see six DIMM slots instead of four. banks. although this is not recommended. While this can be confusing between different motherboards. and channels for a motherboard using triple-channel RAM. For Intel-based motherboards. Bank 0 includes slots 1 and 3. If one DIMM in a bank is 1 GB and the second DIMM in the bank is 2 GB.

similar to how dual-channel DIMMs are sold in matched pairs. more rank is not better. Single-sided RAM doesn’t switch. When ­ buying RAM for a quad-channel motherboard. ­ Single Sided vs. If it needs to access the other rank. Where should you install two new DIMMs on a dual-channel motherboard? Quick Check Answers 1. Quick Check 1. dual rank. and if all other factors are the same. if it has chips on both sides. but in this case. In double-sided RAM. it needs to ­ switch to the other rank. the RAM is separated into two groups known as ranks. single sided or double sided refers to how a system can access the RAM. identified by slots of the same color. For example. In contrast. Quad-channel RAM is not mentioned in the CompTIA A+ objectives. You often have to dig into the specs to determine how many ranks it is using. Dual channel improves performance. Usually. it is most likely a single-sided (single-rank) DIMM. you’d think that double is better than single. and 5. What does this indicate? 2. and the system can access only one rank at a time. but it’s not entirely accurate.Triple-channel DIMMs are sold in matched sets of three. you’d install it in slots 1. you buy the RAM in a matched set of four. Note  Quad channel Quad-channel motherboards are also available and have eight DIMM slots. it can be single rank. single-sided (or single-rank) RAM is in a single group. Instead. In the same bank. 86 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . That makes sense. Double Sided Key Terms You’d think that single-sided and double-sided RAM refers to how many sides of a DIMM have chips. If you have a DIMM with chips on only one side. However. Note  Dual-sided is not dual channel Dual-sided (or dual-ranked) is not the same as dual channel. When you install triple-channel DIMMs. Switching back and forth between ranks takes time and slows down the RAM. but a dual-ranked DIMM doesn’t perform as well as a single-ranked DIMM. single-sided RAM is ­ faster than double-sided RAM. if you bought one set. 2. or even quad rank. you should install the matched set in the same bank. A system has six RAM slots. Triple-channel RAM. 3. the system can access all RAM on the DIMM without switching.

as megabytes per second (MB/s). with a dotted line as a reference through the middle of each one. and then converted to bytes by dividing it by 8. If you’re shopping for RAM. and this keying prevents technicians from inserting a DIMM into the wrong slot. and DDR3 is that they aren’t compatible with each other. Note  DIMM stickers Most DIMMs have stickers on them that include the standard name. you can use DDR3 DIMMs only in DDR3 slots. You can’t mix and match them. faster RAM is more expensive. and the correct speed. and DDR3. and doubling from double pumping (DP). The following formulas show how to calculate the speed of each of the DDR versions by using a 100-MHz clock: RAM CHAPTER 3 87 . For example. Instead. that’s not so great. Speeds Some RAM is faster than other RAM. and with faster RAM you often see faster overall performance. If you need to shop for RAM. DDR2. respectively. but if you’re trying to remember which types are compatible. The speed of RAM is expressed as the number of bytes it can transfer in a second (B/s) or. You can see that the notched key at the bottom of the circuit card is different for each. you need to understand these names and how they relate to the speed.RAM Compatibility and Speed An important point about DDR. From a usability perspective. If you’re working at a company that has stored excess DIMMs in static-free packaging. you can identify details from these names. but not directly. The standards aren’t compatible. These names indicate their speed. which is 64 bits wide. DDR DDR2 DDR3 Figure 3-5  Comparing DDR versions. it’s a lot easier. However. The speed is calculated for a single channel. This includes the correct DDR version. or both. module name. You can’t use any version in a slot designed for another type. The formula includes the speed of the clock (Clk). the correct number of channels if your motherboard supports multiple channels. it’s listed using standard names and module names such as DDR3-800 or PC3-12800. As you’d expect. more commonly. DDR2. Figure 3-5 shows a comparison of the keyings of DDR. the speed of most RAM isn’t listed plainly. a clock multiplier (Clk Mult) for DDR2 and DDR3. You can calculate the overall speed of any SDRAM DDR type by using a specific mathematical formula for that type. you ­ want to ensure that you buy exactly what you need.

400 MB/s ■■ DDR2 speed calculation: ■■ ■■ ■■ DDR3 speed calculation: ■■ ■■ Table 3-2 shows how these speeds relate to the different naming conventions used with DDR types. and 200 MHz DDR2: 100. 200. Some of the clock speeds supported by different DDR versions are as follows: ■■ ■■ ■■ DDR: 100.312 MB/s. 166 2/3. The standard name is derived by multiplying the clock by 8. DDR3 uses a 4-times multiplier and double pumping.600 MB/s Clk × 2 (Clk Mult) × 2 (DP) × 64 (bits) / 8 (bytes) 100 MHz × 2 × 2 × 64 / 8 = 3. but if you calculate the speed by using the clock. For example. Each DDR version supports multiple clock speeds. 166 2/3. and 400 MHz 88 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . and each newer version supports faster clocks. You can see that the standard name is derived from the clock. 133 1/3. 133 1/3. 166 2/3. 266 2/3. Also. DDR2-667 works out to about 5333. or DDR3). you can see that the PC name indicates the calculated speed in MB/s. Table 3-2  DDR Standard Names and Module Names 100 MHz DDR Standard Name DDR Module Name DDR2 Standard Name DDR2 Module Name DDR3 Standard Name DDR3 Module Name DDR-200 PC-1600 DDR2-400 PC2-3200 DDR3-800 PC3-6400 166 2/3 MHz DDR-333 PC-2700 DDR2-667 PC2-5300 PC2-5400 DDR3-1333 PC3-10600 200 MHz DDR-400 PC-3200 DDR2-800 PC2-6400 DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 Note  Some rounding allowed If you enjoy math. you can plug the fractional number 166 2/3 into the speed calculation formulas and see that they don’t work out exactly. DDR2. Some manufacturers advertise this as PC2-5300. the clock multiplier. The module name is a little more cryptic. Therefore. it’s eight times faster than SDRAM. 200. and double pumping. 133 1/3. and 266 2/3 MHz DDR3: 100.200 MB/s Clk × 4 (Clk Mult) × 2 (DP) × 64 (bits) / 8 (bytes) 100 MHz × 4 × 2 × 64 / 8 = 6. For example.■■ DDR speed calculation: ■■ ■■ Clk × 2 (DP) × 64 (bits) / 8 (bytes) 100 MHz × 2 × 64 / 8 = 1. you can see that the names include the version (DDR. while others round it up to PC2-5400.

If you can master how memory is named and marketed. if your motherboard has a 100-MHz clock and you install PC3-12800 RAM. RAM CHAPTER 3 89 . you’ll be able to identify the correct memory to purchase. These DIMMs were PC3-6400. For example. However. users won’t get the higher performance. if Bank 0 currently has two PC3-12800 sticks and one fails. If you replaced it with a PC3-6400 (designed for a 100-MHz clock). so he called me for some help. Most users won’t test the speed of the RAM after installing it. the RAM will run at 100 MHz instead of 200 MHz. the motherboard defaults to the slower speed. you should replace both with a matched set. so it could take advantage of the faster RAM. either to replace memory in your own system or to help someone else. but he wanted more RAM. both sticks would run at the slower speed or revert to single channel. so it ran at the slower speed of 100 MHz. It still works. His motherboard supported 200 MHz. Exam Tip You might need to shop for memory. Compatibility within Banks In addition to matching the RAM speed with the motherboard speed.A key consideration when purchasing RAM is to ensure that the RAM speeds are supported by the motherboard. He purchased two new 2-GB PC3-12800 DIMMs designed to work with a 200-MHz clock. If the speeds don’t match. after installing the RAM. Similarly. if you have to replace the failed DIMM with a spare. Real World  Using the wrong slots results in slower RAM I once helped a friend troubleshoot the speed of a PC after a RAM upgrade. you should replace the failed stick with a PC3-12800 stick. The system started with two 2-GB RAM sticks installed in slots 1 and 2. using a 100-MHz clock. but you ­ won’t get the benefit of the higher-speed RAM. Bank 0 (in slots 1 and 3) now included one 100-MHz DIMM and one new 200-MHz DIMM. and they were working fine. Do you see the problem? It took a while to figure out and was exacerbated by the original RAM using the wrong slots. when speeds are mixed in the same bank. They’re just happy that they have more memory. you should also match the RAM speed within banks when using dual-channel and triple-channel configurations. If one DIMM in a bank fails. PC3-12800 uses a 200-MHz clock. For example. incorrectly using a single-­ channel configuration. so it also ran at the slower speed. Bank 1 (in slots 2 and 4) now included one 100-MHz DIMM and one 200-MHz DIMM. However. he ran some tests and found that all the DIMMs were using 100 MHz. However. look for a spare that uses the same speed.

If you have access to the Internet. You can go to one of the memory sites. For example. 90 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . if the 8 data bits were 1010 1010. the system calculates the parity from the 9 bits. such as Crucial. “Understanding Motherboards and BIOS. Parity works by using 9 bits for every byte instead of 8 If it ever detects an even number of 1s. it ensures that the 9 bits always have an odd number of 1s. how much RAM is or Kingston. Note  Applications check for errors Applications routinely check for errors and often detect and correct errors without the need for parity or ECC RAM. You’ll need to match this with the speed of the clock on the target system.” to identify the clock speed used by RAM and then plug it into the formula to determine the standard name and module name.Shopping for RAM When shopping for RAM. and when used. it just reports the error. Four is an even number. remember that the DDR versions are not compatible. and PC3-6400 indicates DDR3. PC2-6400 indicates DDR2. Odd parity is common. Also. Parity can’t fix the problem. so the parity bit needs to be a 1. It sets the ninth bit to a 0 or a 1 for each byte when writing data to RAM. and use one of their tools. you’ll find that most memory resellers use the module name. meaning that the data isn’t valid and should not be used. it has four 1s. you’ll almost always buy non-parity and non-ECC RAM. such as PC3-6400. you need to determine the clock speed of your computer and then determine the DDR name. the parity bit is calculated and written with each byte. When shopping for RAM on desktop systems. but some advanced servers need this ability. referring to odd and even numbers. as shown in Chapter 2. Another tool that can help is CPU-Z (described at the end of this chapter). and the tool will tell you what memory is also has an application that you can download and run to identify your motherboard. When the data is read. the type and speeds of supported RAM. and recommendations for upgrading the RAM. You can enter the make and model of your computer. it knows there is an error. You can boot into BIOS. Whenever data is written to RAM. Parity and ECC Key Terms Desktop systems rarely need extra hardware to detect or correct memory errors. Exam Tip When shopping for memory. Crucial. The two primary error-detection technologies are parity and error correction code (ECC). Parity can be odd parity or even parity. there’s an easier way.

They aren’t used in new computers. memory. you see it referred to as Rambus. More commonly. and SSDs. To dissipate the heat. The circuit boards are called Rambus in-line memory modules (RIMMs) instead of DIMMs. and as a computer technician. but you might see one in an older computer. This makes them easy to identify because DDR SDRAM is not covered with metal.ECC RAM uses additional circuitry and can detect and correct errors. You can identify RIMMs by the distinctive metal covering over the chips. only one circuit card has memory and the second circuit card in the pair is needed to complete the circuit. and it sells about 10 percent to 15 percent of all CPUs. This extra circuitry adds significantly to the cost of the RAM and should be purchased only when necessary. AMD. Exam Tip Rambus and RDRAM are mentioned in the CompTIA objectives. including graphics processors. In some cases. Rambus and RDRAM Key Terms Another type of DRAM is Rambus DRAM (RDDRAM). or central processing unit (CPU). CPUs Key Terms The processor. Additionally. Rambus DRAM. For example. RDRAM generates quite a bit of heat. or RDRAM. motherboards. RDRAM is not compatible with any of the DDR versions and is rarely used. It also manufactures other products. the chips are covered with a piece of metal acting as a heat sink or heat spreader. CPUs have steadily improved. you’re expected to know some basics about them. selling about 80 percent to 85 percent of all CPUs. spacecraft that might be exposed to solar flares commonly use ECC RAM. There are two primary manufacturers of computers used in computers: Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). but don’t be surprised if you never see a RIMM. you must install it in pairs. ■■ CPUs CHAPTER 3 91 . AMD is the only significant competition to Intel for CPUs. Over the years. is the brain of the computer. It manufactures other products as well. chipsets. Intel is the largest seller of CPUs. The second card is called a continuity RIMM (CRIMM). It does the majority of the processing work and is a key factor in the overall performance of a system. ■■ Intel. including chipsets. When installing RDRAM. some high-end scientific and financial servers need it to ensure that the data in RAM remains error-free. and motherboards.

so these processors don’t need fans. An important question to ask is. you’ll see names like the following: ■■ ■■ Intel Core i7-960 Processor 3.2 GHz 8 MB Cache Socket LGA 1366 Phenom II X4 965 AM3 3. but all of these extras consume additional RAM.It’s possible to purchase a new CPU and install it in a motherboard as part of an upgrade. Developers have programmed extra features and capabilities. “What should I buy?” When shopping. A 64-bit operating system is required for 64-bit applications. A 32-bit CPU supports a 32-bit address bus and can address 232 memory locations. or about 17 EB.3 GB. The numbers 32 and 64 refer to the address bus discussed in Chapter 2. 92 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . Because of this. ARM processors are popular in tablets such as the iPad. but you can’t replace CPUs in a tablet. A 64-bit CPU will also run 32-bit software. If you install 4 GB of RAM in a 32-bit system. Note RISC You might hear about Advanced RISC Machine (ARM) processors. For many users. Key points to remember include the following: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Windows operating systems come in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. 32-bit vs. or 4 GB of RAM. ARM uses a reduced Key Terms instruction set computer (RISC) architecture and often runs more quickly and with less power than Intel and AMD-based CPUs. Note  Not really 4 GB The CPU also uses this address bus to address devices in the system in addition to RAM. the address bus is used to address memory locations. Similarly. A 64-bit CPU supports a 64-bit address bus and can address 264 memory locations. so the Intel and AMD CPUs are more important to understand as a computer technician. but by the end of this chapter. As a reminder. 64-bit CPUs are identified as either 32-bit or 64-bit. 4 GB of RAM simply isn’t enough. a 32-bit system reserves some of the address space for the other devices. You can replace CPUs in computers.4 GHz 512KB 45 NM Will either of these fit in your motherboard? You might not know right now. Operating systems and applications have gotten more sophisticated over the years. you find that operating system can use only about 3. operating systems and many applications are referred to as either 32-bit or 64-bit. A 64-bit CPU is required to run a 64-bit operating system. you’ll have the information to answer that question.

“Using Windows Operating Systems” Figure 3-6 shows a partial view of Windows Task Manager. You often see 32-bit operating systems and software referred to as x86. You can start it on Windows systems by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. ■■ Exam Tip If you want to use 64-bit operating systems. Intel refers to its 64-bit processors as Intel 64. CPU Cores Key Terms Most CPUs today have multiple cores within them. developers such as Microsoft have created 64-bit versions of their operating systems. the CPU can divide tasks among each core. Chapter 13 provides more details about Task Manager. 64-bit. However. and AMD calls its 64-bit processors AMD64. ­ including how to interpret the displays. This is a reference to the long line of Intel CPUs that ended in 86 and can run 32-bit software. but you do not need to have software designed specifically for a CPU model. AMD processors have different names but are also known to be x86-compatible.Due to the demand. these 64-bit operating systems can run only on 64-bit CPUs. For example. Each core is a fully functioning processor. ■■ 32-bit and x86 . a single eight-core processor will appear in Task Manager as though it is eight separate processors. CPUs CHAPTER 3 93 . With multiple cores. More Info  Chapter 13. as shown in Figure 3-6. Operating systems view the multiple cores as individual CPUs. If you want to directly address more than 4 GB of RAM. you need both a 64-bit CPU and a 64-bit operating system. The result is a faster system. Windows operating systems will work with either Intel or AMD CPUs. Figure 3-6  Task Manager showing eight cores of a single CPU. you must have a 64-bit CPU. Software makers often refer to 64-bit compatible software as x64. For example.

” covers how to start and use the command prompt. Figure 3-7 shows a screen shot of the System Information tool in Windows 7. Hyper-threading is described later in this chapter. Most desktop systems have a single CPU. For example. Intel makes use of both hyper-threading and multiple cores on some of its CPUs. This is not physically the same as a multiple-core CPU. Operating systems can’t tell the difference. but they are more common on servers than on desktop systems. a single CPU can process two threads at a time. 94 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . and it’s common to see CPUs with multiple cores. When hyper-threading is used. Note  Enable in BIOS Hyper-threading needs to be enabled in the BIOS before the operating system is installed for it to work. There are several ways to launch this tool. “Using the Command Prompt. This is usually listed as hyper-threading within a CPU Technology Support menu. and the operating system interprets it as eight CPUs. Within a CPU. just as a dual-core CPU simulates two physical CPUs. It identifies the processor as an Intel Core i7 CPU with four cores and eight logical processors. However. More Info  Chapter 2 and Chapter 14 Chapter 2 introduced the System Information tool as a way to check your BIOS version. Each core is using hyper-threading. Figure 3-7  Msinfo32 showing that hyper-threading is enabled. a thread is an ordered group of instructions that produce a result. Motherboards are available that accept multiple CPUs. A key point to remember is that even when a CPU has multiple cores. it is still a single chip that plugs into the motherboard. including entering msinfo32 at the command prompt. Chapter 14. Hyper-Threading Key Terms Hyper-Threading Technology (HT) is used on some Intel CPUs to double the number of instruction sets the CPU can process at a time. a single-core CPU with hyper-threading simulates two physical CPUs.It’s worth noting that Figure 3-6 is the same view you’d see if you had an Intel four-core processor with hyper-threading enabled.

and it is shared by all cores of the CPU. If the data isn’t in cache. it is displayed much more quickly than it would be if it had to be downloaded again. In the diagram. the L2 cache next. L2 cache. A multiple-core CPU has a separate L1 cache located on each CPU core. L2 cache is a little slower than L1 cache. It’s important to realize that cache can be memory areas that are volatile or can be temporary files stored on hard drives that are kept after a system is powered down. it will check the L1 cache first. If the CPU expects to use some type of information again. CPUs CHAPTER 3 95 . it can be on the motherboard or on the CPU. but it isn’t as common as L1 and L2. When the CPU needs data. This is the fastest. and it’s located closest to the CPU. It is slower than L2 cache and is shared among all cores. When used. but if that data is on your drive. If you go to the website again. information is transmitted over the Internet and displayed in your web browser. and you can see that the L1 cache is included on each core and that L2 cache is shared by each of the cores. it keeps that information in cache. web browsers use a browser cache.CPU Cache Key Terms Many computer components and software applications use some type of cache. data can be retrieved from the browser cache rather than downloaded from the Internet again. As a simple example. L2 cache was stored on the motherboard. The CPU has cache that it uses for fast access to data. A significant difference between the web browser cache and the CPU cache is that the CPU cache is RAM and the web browser cache is stored as a file on a hard drive. Figure 3-8 shows the relationship of the CPUs to cache and RAM installed on the motherboard. ■■ Note  L3 cache L3 cache is used on some systems. When you go to a website. and then the L3 cache if it exists. The browser uses different techniques to ensure that it displays current data. Note Cache Cache is commonly referred to as an area where data is stored for a short time for easy retrieval. but today it is much more common for L2 cache to be part of the CPU. and it is also stored in the browser cache. the CPU is a two-core CPU. the CPU retrieves it from RAM. CPU Cache Types The two primary types of cache used by CPUs are: ■■ Key Terms L1 cache. In older systems.

As discussed in Chapter 2. such as 32 KB + 32 KB. L1 is sometimes stated as two numbers. L2 cache for each core. adding more delays. 512 KB. they access RAM through the north bridge portion of the chipset. or L3 cache. most personal computers have 1 GB of RAM or more. as shown in Figure 3-8. Sizes between 2 MB and 8 MB are common. the CPU would have to store data in the motherboard RAM. In contrast. L2 is larger than L1. or you might see it listed individually. Sizes of 256 KB. ■■ ■■ 96 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . CPU Cache Size The size of the CPU cache is small compared to the overall amount of memory in a system. to indicate it is using one cache for frequently used instructions and another cache for data.CPU core L1 cache Multicore CPU L2 cache CPU core L1 cache Back side bus RAM on motherboard Figure 3-8  CPU and cache. ■■ L1 is smallest. For example. Many newer CPUs include L1 cache for each core. it is often identified as the amount per core. L3 is larger than L2. The cache can be listed as just a total of all L1. When a CPU has separate L2 cache for each core. which is much faster than the dynamic RAM used on the motherboard. a two-core CPU with 4 MB total L2 cache can be expressed as 2 × 2 MB. L2. Note  Accessing RAM without north bridge. you might see cache sizes as low as 8 KB or as large as 20 MB. Sizes of 32 KB or 64 KB are common. and a single shared L3 cache—all on the same CPU chip. Without cache. newer CPUs access the motherboard RAM directly. For example. Also. On older CPUs. The CPU cache is SRAM. or just 2 MB per core. and 1. the motherboard RAM is physically farther away.024 KB are common.

Note  Speeds are variable Most current processors can dynamically adjust the speed based on requests from the operating system or an application. L1 is the cache closest to the CPU. the BIOS includes a Cell menu that enables you to increase the base frequency and increase the CPU Ratio (multiplier). in Figure 3-7 you can see that the processor is an Intel Core 7 CPU 870 and the clock is listed as 2. In some systems.333-MHz clock (commonly listed as 133 MHz) and a 22-times multiplier. For example. the CPU has a speed of 2 GHz (20 × 100). You can increase the speed by increasing the clock frequency. Speeds The speed of a CPU is based on the speed of the crystal and the multiplier. the faster the CPU. Exam Tip Overclocking a system is not recommended. Where is hyper-threading enabled? Quick Check Answers 1. and it is the fastest. The faster the speed. If you overclock a system. or both. increasing the multiplier. such as using liquid cooling. In the BIOS. but it is frequently done. and more expensive processors can handle faster speeds. you need to take extra steps to keep it cool. Processors are rated based on the maximum speed they can handle. 2.93 GHz. For example. the operating system can send a signal to make the core run faster. When a boost in a CPU core is needed. Liquid cooling is discussed later in this chapter. You commonly see the speed of the processor listed as only the multiplied speed. Which is faster: L1 or L2? 2. Intel refers to this as Turbo Boost. CPUs CHAPTER 3 97 . Most motherboards have this preselected.Quick Check 1. The system is using a 133. and AMD refers to it as Turbo Core. but it is sometimes possible to manipulate the clock or the multiplier to overclock the system. if the crystal speed is 100 MHz and the multiplier is 20.

A cold boot completely powers down the computer. ■■ ■■ You still see CPUs advertised with a speed that you can use for comparisons. but does not shut down the power. Early computers could display only letters on a screen 80 characters wide. and AMD calls its support AMD-V. The exception is laptop computers. Intel refers to its virtualization support as VT-x.4 GHz. As a reminder. including the following: ■■ Intel Direct Media Interface (DMI). Integrated GPU Graphics is one of the areas of a computer that has been increasing as quickly as the CPU area. many CPUs have taken over the functionality of the north bridge. Today. look for those terms. but the speed isn’t always tied to the FSB. For example. In the past.Chapter 2 mentions the front side bus (FSB) and how it provides a direct connection between the CPU and the north bridge portion of the chipset. it’s common to watch high-quality video streaming from a website or to play games with computer-generated graphics and amazingly realistic scenery. CPU speeds were stated as the FSB speed. HyperTransport. AMD uses HyperTransport with the FSB to increase the speed. On many AMD-based systems. Each core in a processor has a separate twoway 20-lane QPI link to the chipset. a warm boot shuts down the software and restarts it. virtualization software allows you to run multiple virtual machines (VMs) as guests within a single physical host computer. It’s safe to assume that the 3. The DMI can use multiple lanes. and it usually needs to be enabled in BIOS. 98 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . You should wait about 10 ­ seconds and then restart the computer. it’s recommended that you do a cold boot. Today. The CPU still needs to communicate with the chipset. If you want to verify that a CPU or motherboard supports virtualization. which sometimes include CPUs that do not support it. Most Intel and AMD CPUs include native support for virtualization. The CPU needs to support virtualization. similar to Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe). In contrast. virtualization is enabled by default and cannot be disabled.8 GHz and another might have a speed of 3. Intel’s QuickPath Interconnect (QPI). one CPU might have a speed of 2. and the two are starting to merge. and there are a few different ways this is done.4-GHz CPU is faster. Note  Cold boot required If you change the virtualization setting in the BIOS. Virtualization Support Chapter 2 introduced virtualization concepts and instructions on how to enable virtualization in BIOS.

PCIe allowed graphics cards to use their own dedicated lanes. The manufacturing process is stated as a measurement and refers to the distance between certain components within the chip. This is common in many systems today. CPU Versions There is a dizzying number of different processors. Many current CPUs have processes of 65 nanometers (nm). APUs can include a GPU or other specialized capability. Intel and AMD use code names related to the manufacturing process and then create different processor families with the process. and the process used to create them is smaller. predicted in 1965 that the number of transistors that could be placed on a chip would double about every two years. With more transistors.The following list describes the progression of graphics capabilities on computers: ■■ Onboard graphics. but for the sockets to make sense. but you should be able to recognize the names and know the manufacturers. Expansion cards. and 22 nm. Later. CPUs CHAPTER 3 99 . chips are faster and more complex. Graphics capability was built into the chipset. smaller is better. You’re not expected to know the characteristics of each individual CPU. 32 nm. Note  Moore’s law One of the founders of Intel. Dedicated graphics slots. so it provided better performance. However. and it replaced AGP. Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) cards were an early version. Newer CPUs bypass the chipset and interact directly with a dedicated PCIe slot used for graphics. you need to have a little bit of knowledge about the CPU versions. such as the width of an atom or the width of a group of molecules. In this case. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ AMD refers to some chips with a GPU as an accelerated processing unit (APU) instead of a CPU. A recent trend in newer CPUs is to include an integrated GPU on the CPU. and the AMD Fusion is an example. Direct access graphics. Instead of the CPU doing the graphics calculations. Integrated graphics processing unit (GPU). 45 nm. The CPU interacted with the AGP slot via the chipset. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter and is often used to express atomic scale dimensions. the GPU would do them. Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) provided a single dedicated graphics slot that worked separately from PCI. This miniaturization trend has been consistent since his prediction. Gordon Moore. This was often very basic but met most needs. these are not as powerful as a dedicated card. You could install a graphics card with a dedicated graphics processing unit (GPU) and plug it into an available expansion slot. GPUs can provide high-quality graphics without the additional cost of a graphics card. AGP did not compete with PCI. The objectives specifically list the CPU socket types you should know.

wikipedia. Xeon Celeron. More Info  Wikipedia This chapter does not list all the existing Intel and AMD CPUs. check out these two Wikipedia pages: http://­en . Core i7. i5. Pentium. Better. with the i3 versions representing the basic version and the i7 versions providing the most / and http://en. The number (such as i3 or i5) doesn’t refer to the number of cores. Core i5. Core i7. Core i3. Table 3-3  Intel Code Names and Processors Architecture Name Core Nehalem Sandy Bridge Ivy Bridge CPU Family names Core 2 Duo.wikipedia. Xeon The Core i3. Core i3. 90-nm. If you want to see a list of Intel or AMD processors. Core 2 Quad. Best philosophy. and i7 family names are frequently repeated.5—45-nm process Bulldozer—22-nm process ■■ AMD ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Table 3-3 shows a list of common Intel code names and some of their related CPUs. Core i5.The following are recent Intel and AMD code names: ■■ Intel ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Core—65-nm and 45-nm process Nehalem—45-nm process Sandy Bridge—32-nm process Ivy Bridge—22-nm process K8—65-nm. and i7 series represents a Good. i5. 100 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . The Ivy Bridge versions have smaller processes and are more powerful. and 130-nm processes K9—processors were never released K10—65-nm process K10. Core 2 Extreme Intel Pentium. It’s also important to realize that there are significant differences between a Nehalem Core i5 and an Ivy Bridge Core i5. Core i7 Core i5. You can see that the Core i3.

and after the CPU is in place. Athlon 64. Athlon 64 X2. When the name has an X (such as X2). Sempron Phenom II. If the name includes 64. Athlon 64 FX. it indicates how many cores the processor has. it’s important to recognize that there are different types of sockets. The CPU is removed and standing up on the left. and Phenom. you lock the lever to secure it. The following sections talk about some sockets used by Intel and AMD. Sempron. but that certainly isn’t the case today. Unfortunately. Table 3-4  AMD Code Names and Processors Architecture Name K8 K10 K10. there are a wide variety of different socket types for different types of CPUs. Turion 64 X2 Opteron. Interlagos Opteron Exam Tip Many AMD processor names give clues as to what they include. ­ Key Terms Manufacturers came up with a great idea to eliminate the problem—zero insertion force (ZIF) sockets. Figure 3-9 shows a ZIF socket with the lever raised.Table 3-4 shows a list of common AMD code names and their related CPUs. You can see that there are some areas on the CPU where there aren’t any pins. These provide a key. it is a 64-bit CPU. and bent pins would often break. CPU Socket Types Key Terms A CPU plugs into a socket on the motherboard. Zero Insertion Force It’s important that each of the pins on a CPU has a good connection to the motherboard.5 Bulldozer CPU Family names Opteron. The primary AMD CPUs that you find in desktop computers are Sempron. Turion 64. CPUs CHAPTER 3 101 . You can place a CPU into a socket without any force other than gravity. and they match up to areas on the socket where there aren’t any pin holes. If you ever need to replace a CPU. Sempron. Athlon X2. this was accomplished by creating a tight connection between the pins and the socket. Phenom. making the CPU unusable. Athlon. it was easy to bend one or more pins. A ZIF socket has a locking lever. with information about how they are installed. Turion II FX (Zambezi). There was a time when just about every motherboard had the same socket type. Instead. This lever ensures that the pins are making a solid connection to the motherboard. Athlon II. In early versions of CPUs. Athlon. This required technicians to use some force to plug the CPU into the socket.

LGA Key Terms The socket shown in Figure 3-9 is a pin grid array (PGA) type of socket.Pin side of CPU Socket ZIF lever Figure 3-9  Processor and ZIF socket. If you try to force it. When the CPU is installed. This socket has a hinged top and a lever that locks the case when it’s closed. You unlock the lever. If you feel any resistance when putting a CPU into a ZIF socket. you will likely bend some pins and ruin either the chip or the socket. and lock it with the lever. it indicates that the pins aren’t lined up. 102 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . ensure that the keys line up. and remove the CPU. When installing a new CPU. You should double-check the keying and ensure that the CPU is lined up correctly. Remember to use ESD protection when handling the CPU. A newer type of socket is a land grid array (LGA) socket. When using an LGA socket. Instead of the processor having pins and plugging into a socket with holes. open the case. place the CPU in the case. the CPU sits on top of the socket but is locked in place with a flip-top case. Figure 3-10 shows an example of a flip-top case used with an Intel processor. and the CPU has small pins created as bumps or pads. making the connection. the socket has small pins. It includes holes into which the pins can be plugged. close the top. PGA vs. Note  CPUs are keyed CPU sockets and CPUs are keyed so that the CPU fits into a socket in only one way. the pins and bumps line up.

155 pins. Diagram provided by Intel. often in an oven. Replaced Socket 478. 2. 1.156 pins. [Copyright © Intel Corporation. LGA 1155. and supported DDR channels. All rights reserved. Also. In a BGA chip. the pins on the CPU are replaced with balls of solder. but the BIOS may need to be upgraded.366 pins. LGA 1. Table 3-5 lists the common Intel sockets along with some CPUs used with them. Also called Socket H or Socket H1. Also called Socket R. The chip is mounted in the socket and then heated. CPUs CHAPTER 3 103 . Also called Socket B and designed to replace LGA 755 in highend desktop computers. 775 pins. and they are sometimes used in mobile devices.156 CPUs will work in LGA 1155.Figure 3-10  Removing processor from a flip-top case. Intel CPU Sockets The following list describes recent Intel sockets: ■■ ■■ LGA 775. 1. 1.] Another type of array you might run across is ball grid array (BGA). Manufacturers can fit more pins on a BGA CPU. each of these Intel sockets is an LGA socket. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam tip Notice that the numbers indicate the number of pins and are not a reflection of newer or older sockets. Also called Socket H2 and replaces LGA 1156 in basic desktop systems. LGA 1156. It replaces LGA 1366 sockets in high-end desktop systems. LGA 1366. Also called Socket T. Used by permission. to melt the solder.011 pins and released in 2011. LGA 2011. busses they support.

1. 905 pins (PGA). Xeon QPI. DDR Channels Opteron and Athlon 64 FX FSB with HyperTransport version 1. Core 2 Duo. Opteron FSB with HyperTransport version 2. Socket AM3+. Core i5. Phenom II. 940 pins (PGA). Pentium DMI. Replaces AM2. 940 pins (PGA). Sempron. Celeron. Table 3-6  AMD Sockets and Related CPUs Socket 940 AM2 AM2+ CPUs. single channel DDR2 RAM 104 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . CPUs that can fit in AM2 can also fit in AM2+. Supports DDR3. Core i5. Xeon DMI. Celeron. Busses. Celeron. Socket F. single channel DDR2 and DDR3 RAM Core i7. Socket AM3. 942 pins (PGA). Not compatible with Socket 940. dual channel DDR3 RAM Core i3. DDR Channels Pentium 4. Core 2 Quad. and supported DDR channels. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Table 3-6 lists the common AMD sockets along with some CPUs used with them. Sempron. Used for accelerated processing units (APUs). Socket AM2+. Phenom. 940 pins (PGA). dual channel DDR3 RAM AMD CPU Sockets The following list describes recent AMD sockets: ■■ ■■ ■■ Socket 940. single channel DDR2 RAM Athlon 64. CPUs that can fit in AM3 can also fit in AM3+. Replaces AM3. Socket AM2. Socket FM1. DMI. single channel DDR2 RAM Athlon 64. Replaces AM2+. Athlon II.Table 3-5  Intel Sockets and Related CPUs Type LGA 775 (Socket T) LGA 1366 (Socket B) LGA 2011 (Socket R) LGA 1156 (Socket H or H1) LGA 1155 (Socket H2) CPUs. Athlon FX. Busses. CPUs designed for AM3 will also work in AM2+ sockets. triple channel DDR3 RAM Core i7. Athlon 64 X2. busses they support. quad channel DDR3 RAM Core i3. Phenom.207 pins (LGA). Opteron FSB with HyperTransport version 3. Used on servers and replaced by Socket C32 and Socket G34. Xeon Front side bus. Athlon 64 X2. Celeron QPI. Pentium. Core i7. 941 pins (PGA). Xeon. but CPUs designed for AM2+ might not work in AM3 sockets. Core i7. Pentium D.

If these transistors or wires get too hot. ■■ Cooling CPUs have millions—and sometimes billions—of miniaturized transistors within them. Manufacturers spend a lot of time designing these chips. ■■ Intel Core i7-960 Processor 3.2 GHz 8 MB Cache Socket LGA 1366.2-GHz multiplied clock. dual channel DDR3 RAM Opteron. and one of their goals is to keep temperatures within acceptable limits. However. Phenom II X4 965 AM3 3.AM3 AM3+ FM1 F Phenom II. they can easily break. Cache size is indicated by 512 KB. Take a look at Figure 3-11 as you read about how these components work together. Athlon II. I listed two CPUs using common marketing names. To tie some of this together. a fan. it indicates the L2 cache size for each of the cores. single channel DDR2 and dual channel DDR3 RAM Phenom II. all connected with extremely small wires. dual channel DDR3 RAM Fusion and Athlon II APUs FSB with HyperTransport version 3. Heat Sinks. most of the cooling occurs externally. and thermal paste. Last. and in this case. The 8-MB cache phrase refers to the total amount of cache.4-GHz clock speed is the internal speed of the processor. single channel DDR2 RAM Comparing Names Earlier in this chapter. LGA 1366 indicates the type of socket into which the processor will plug. I’m hoping these names make a lot more sense at this point. This indicates that it is an AMD Phenom II processor with a model number of 960. This name indicates that it is an Intel processor in the Core i7 family with a model number of 960 and a 3. here are the two CPUs with an explanation of the names. X4 indicates that the processor has four cores.4 GHz 512 KB 45 NM. and Thermal Paste Common methods of cooling a CPU include using a heat sink. Sempron. Athlon II. Opteron FSB with HyperTransport version 3. CPUs CHAPTER 3 105 . The process is 45 nm. and AM3 indicates the socket type. Fans. Sempron. rendering the CPU useless. Athlon 64 FX FSB with HyperTransport version 3. Opteron FSB with HyperTransport version 3. The 3.

A heat sink is a piece of metal that draws heat from the CPU and dissipates it into the air. so it isn’t possible to get 100 percent contact between the components. This paste fills these microscopic gaps and also helps draw heat from the CPU into the heat sink. They aren’t attached to the CPU but usually plug into the motherboard close to the CPU. Thermal paste. there are microscopic gaps in the metal on both the CPU and the heat sink. However. A fan is attached to the heat sink to increase the airflow around the fins. Many CPU fans have variable speeds and spin faster when the CPU gets hotter. Thermal paste is used to improve this connection.Fan Heat sink Thermal paste CPU Fan connection Figure 3-11  CPU with heat sink and attached fan. Fan. Heat sinks commonly have clamps to secure them to the motherboard and provide a better connection with the CPU. Heat sinks have multiple fins to increase the surface area and to allow air to easily flow through them. These are called CPU fans. ■■ ■■ Exam Tip When replacing a CPU. ensure that you clean off the old thermal paste from the heat sink and apply new thermal paste. 106 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . ■■ Heat sink. The fins are usually flared to allow more air through.

Liquid Cooling An advanced method of keeping a system cool is using a liquid-based cooling system. Tubing is connected from the pump to the heat sink. For example. GPUs. The liquid is usually water. Some vendors sell specialized cleaning compounds to remove old paste. Exam Tip Liquid-based cooling can be used for any components that use a heat sink. This is one place where you don’t want to skimp on quality. After installing the new CPU into the socket and locking the ZIF arm. CPUs CHAPTER 3 107 . using thermal paste just like a standard heat sink. Liquidbased cooling systems use water (most commonly) or some other liquid that is pumped through the cooling system. this heat sink has channels so that the liquid can flow through it. and the pump constantly pumps the liquid through the heat sink. but you can often use cotton swabs and isopropyl alcohol to remove it.If you are replacing a CPU. When you attach the heat sink and clamp it down. This includes CPUs. place a dab of the paste in the center of the CPU. A specialized heat sink is attached to the CPU. you need only enough to fill the microscopic gaps between the CPU and the heat sink. Be careful not to apply too much paste. However. it could easily destroy the system. and chipsets. and if it leaks. One of the biggest challenges with a liquid-based cooling system is ensuring that the tubing connections do not leak. Figure 3-12 shows a basic diagram of a liquid-based cooling system. the pressure will spread the paste evenly between the heat sink and the CPU. you‘ll need to clean off the old thermal paste from the heat sink. Heat sink In Pump Out Figure 3-12  Liquid-cooled heat sink.

sometimes you won’t. What’s the best way to keep an overclocked CPU cool? Quick Check Answers 1. Sometimes the problems are consistent.” ■■ ■■ 108 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . sometimes you’ll see the problem. “Troubleshooting Windows Operating Systems. the most likely cause is a heat problem. LGA 1155. but overclocking generates more heat. Shut the system down. so a good first step is to ensure that the system has adequate airflow. These people often overclock the processors to get more power out of them. Intermittent problems are frequently related to overheating. Check the ventilation and clean out the fans. It starts. Quick Check 1.Liquid-based cooling systems are most common among gamers and hobbyists. Common Symptoms The following are some common symptoms and possible causes related to the CPU or RAM: ■■ Unexpected shutdowns. When a computer stops responding to inputs from the keyboard or mouse. Liquid cooling. but it can be due to a hardware problem. open the case. Troubleshooting You might occasionally run across a system that is having a problem with the CPU or RAM. double-check your steps. Overclocking is sometimes possible by changing jumpers on the motherboard or by manipulating BIOS settings. In some cases. but manufacturers discourage the practice. Continuous reboots. and either vacuum it with an ESD-safe vacuum or take it outside and blow it out with compressed air. What is another name for Socket H2? 2. This can also be due to heat issues. System lockups. and then resets itself. a hardware issue can prevent the system from booting completely. If you’ve just replaced hardware. Check the ventilation. 2. This is more common after a faulty software update. gets so far. boot into Safe Mode and troubleshoot the operating system using the steps provided in Chapter 17. technicians refer to it as frozen or locked up. but more often they are intermittent. If that isn’t the issue. If the system is randomly shutting down or rebooting.

The diagnostics include three sets of tests (basic. you receive a stop error or blue screen of death (BSOD) with an error code indicating a memory problem. but they usually won’t stop the diagnostic from running. RAM. After the test completes. Select Windows Memory Diagnostic. if you have an intermittent problem and want to do detailed tests for a day or longer. you can choose other options by pressing F1 to modify them. After the system reboots. and then it shuts down or freezes. and this is usually good enough. In some cases. 3. Select Restart Now and check for problems. the tests will start and you‘ll see a display similar to the following graphic. and steps later in this section show how to run it. If you suspect a RAM problem. The primary software source of intermittent problems is a virus or some type of malicious software. The system can work until it writes data to that area. it runs two passes of the standard set of tests. they will be displayed in the Status area. For example. replace the power supply. but running up-to-date antivirus software usually reveals and removes the problem. Click Start and type Memory in the Search Programs And Files text box. the system automatically reboots. You can use the following steps on a Windows 7 system to run the Windows Memory Diagnostics tool: 1. If this passes but you still suspect you have memory problems. and extended).” covers viruses in more depth. 2. Occasionally. you can set the pass count to 0 and it will run continuously. If the voltages are out of tolerance. use a memory checker to run memory diagnostics. An overloaded or failing power supply can cause intermittent problems. standard. ■■ Exam Tip The two primary hardware sources of intermittent problems are the power supply and RAM. By default. If any errors are identified. Windows Memory Diagnostics Windows Vista and Windows 7 include the Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. “Recognizing Malware and Other Threats. It is possible to have a certain area of RAM that is faulty. Use a multimeter to verify the voltages. It’s easy to run and can perform in-depth testing of the system RAM and the cache within the CPU. there are two primary things to check: ■■ Power supply. you’ll need to boot into Safe Mode and run the up-to-date antivirus software.Tools If you’ve cleaned out the system and you’re still having intermittent problems. Chapter 26. Troubleshooting CHAPTER 3 109 .

and then click Repair Your Computer. You can then select Windows Memory Diagnostic. About a minute or so after you log on. select the Language. Create a system repair disc and use it to boot directly into the Windows RE. ■■ Press F8 as the system is booting to access the Advanced Boot Options page and select Repair Your Computer. It appears and then fades out. Each of the following methods will start the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE). you‘ll see a balloon message appear in the ­ ystem tray at the bottom right indicating the results. showing the System Recovery Options. as shown in Figure 3-13. Start from a Windows Vista installation DVD. If you’re unable to boot into the operating system. s If you miss it. It’s listed with a source of MemoryDiagnostics-Results and an Event ID of 1201. ■■ ■■ 110 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . you can also view the results in the System log via the Event Viewer. you can access the Windows Memory Diagnostic by using several other methods.4.

the friction scrapes the tarnish off the contacts. the electrical contacts can become tarnished. Electrical components expand and contract from heat and cold. Troubleshooting CHAPTER 3 111 . The eraser removes the tarnish by scraping it off. but it leaves residue and can cause ESD damage. More Info  Chapter 17 Chapter 17 covers the Event Viewer. If the memory diagnostic gives any errors. You can also use isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth or cotton swab. It also includes information on the other system recovery options and how to create a system repair disc in Windows 7. Additionally.Figure 3-13  Running Windows Memory Diagnostic from boot DVD. This same fix can also be used on any expansion card. preventing a good connection. it has a good connection. With the tarnish removed. Power your system down and open it up. When you pop it out and push it back. you might be able to do a quick fix by reseating the memory sticks. Press the tabs on each side to pop out each DIMM. and then push each back into the slot until the tabs lock. causing some movement. Note  Cleaning contacts You can clean contacts with contact cleaner created specifically for this purpose. Hook up an ESD strap to ground yourself with the system and then locate the RAM. including how to launch it and access different log files. You should not rub the contacts with a pencil eraser. You might be wondering why this works.

and the SPD tab enables you to select individual memory slots to determine what is installed.CPU-Z CPU-Z is a handy freeware utility that you can use to view some detailed information on your system. As you’d expect. Quick Check 1. it gives you details about your motherboard and BIOS. clocks. The Memory tab provides overall information about installed memory. 2. BIOS or System Information (msinfo32). You can see that this provides some detailed information about the processor. Where can you determine how much RAM is installed in a system? Quick Check Answers 1. Faulty power supply or faulty RAM. the Graphics tab provides details about the graphics card.aspx. What are two primary hardware problems that can cause system fails? 2. and you can find a link about the installation here: getcertifiedgetahead. Figure 3-14 shows a screen shot of the CPU tab of the CPU-Z application. It’s been around a long time and has helped many technicians. A copy is on the CD. and cache. If you click the Mainboard tab. 112 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs .com/aplus. The About tab includes buttons you can use to save the details of the report as either a text file or an HTML file. Figure 3-14  CPU-Z.

L1 is smallest. CPUs come in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The module name is derived from the overall speed. Intel uses Turbo Boost and AMD uses Turbo Core to modify these speeds during operation. The speed of the CPU is based on the speed of the clock and a multiplier. When installing multichannel DIMMs. and L3 is the largest. and DDR3. A triple-channel motherboard has six slots for RAM. Multiple-core CPUs include more than one fully functioning processor. and L3 cache. and L3 is slowest and farthest away. These settings can be enabled in BIOS on most systems. The DDR3 standard name is derived from the clock × 8. and RAM should be purchased in matched sets of three DIMMs.4 GHz. Dual-channel and triple-channel RAM provide additional 64-bit paths for transferring data to and from RAM. The formula to calculate DDR3 RAM speed is: Clk × 4 × 2 × 64 / 8. If matched DIMMs are not used and a bank includes different speed DIMMs.Chapter Summary ■■ Systems use synchronous dynamic RAM (SDRAM) for primary memory. They commonly include L1. DIMMs and SODIMMs come in different sizes for different DDR versions. CPUs use fast static RAM (SRAM) as cache to improve processing. install matched sets in the same bank.800 MB/s. referring to how many bits they use to address memory. For a 200-MHz clock. such as 3. you need a 64-bit CPU and a 64-bit operating system. It is usually listed as the multiplied speed. and then L3. Static RAM (SRAM) is used for L1. or 12. When the CPU needs data. and the operating system views each core as a separate CPU. it looks in L1. If you want to use more than 4 GB of RAM. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 3 113 . the DDR3 standard name is DDR3-1600. Banks are normally the same color. Most CPUs support virtualization. On an Intel dual-channel motherboard. An integrated GPU refers to a graphics processor embedded within a CPU. and each core using hyper-threading is treated as a separate CPU by the operating system. and sometimes L3 cache. For a 200-MHz clock. Intel uses hyper-threading. the speed is 200 × 4 × 2 × 64 / 8. Common versions of SDRAM are DDR. DDR2. L1 is fastest and closest to the CPU. then L2. L2. and AMD calls its support AMD-V. The speed of RAM is tied directly to the clock. The DDR3 module name with a 200-MHz clock is PC3-12800. L2. AMD calls some of its integrated GPU chips APUs. Bank 0 includes slots 1 and 3. Memory comes on circuit cards called DIMMs for desktop computers and SODIMMs for laptops. which allows each core to process two threads at a time. the bank will default to the slowest speed. Intel refers to its support as VT-x.

PC3-400 B. and Core i7 series. or faulty RAM. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. Athlon. use thermal paste between the CPU and the heat sink. Common AMD CPUs are Sempron. Common Intel sockets are: LGA 775 (Socket T). PC3-25600 D. You are shopping for replacement DDR3 RAM. LGA 2011 (Socket R). and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Core i5. AM2+. and Phenom. 1. FM1. Hardware problems that can cause unexpected shutdowns and intermittent fails include overheating due to failed fans or inadequate ventilation. Two different-colored slots B. CPUs are commonly kept cool with heat sinks and fans. Most AMD CPUs use PGA sockets. LGA 1366 (Socket B). You are replacing two DDR3 DIMMs in an Intel dual-channel motherboard. AM2. LGA 1156 (Socket H or H1). Most Intel CPUs use LGA sockets. Separate banks D.■■ Common Intel CPUs are Core i3. AM3+. DDR3-400 C. and Socket F. AM3. and common sockets are: Socket 940. Two identical-colored slots C. When replacing a CPU. The answers to these questions. Slots 1 and 4 2. Liquid cooling is an advanced cooling practice. faulty power supply. PC3-12800 114 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. Your system has a 400-MHz clock. Use a software memory tester to test RAM. Into which slots should you put them? A. and LGA 1155 (Socket H2). What should you buy? A.

What feature allows this to happen? A. L2 cache 4. LGA 1156 D. Fan C. You are asked to troubleshoot a computer that is randomly rebooting or failing. L2 cache C. Of the following choices. Which of the following replaces the Intel Socket H? A. Hyper-threading B. LGA 1155 6. Triple-channel DDR3 5.3. what hardware can cause these symptoms? (Choose all that apply. LGA 775 B. which is fastest? A. Of the following choices. Virus Chapter Review CHAPTER 3 115 . Dual-channel RAM D. An Intel CPU has two cores. L3 cache D. but the operating system shows it has four CPUs.) A. Power supply D. RAM B. LGA 1366 C. L1 cache B. HyperTransport C.

close to the CPU. C. Correct: The calculation for DDR3 is Clk × 4 × 2 × 64 / 8. L2. Correct: Hyper-threading is supported on Intel CPUs and allows each core to appear as two CPUs. Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: Different-colored slots indicate different banks. Incorrect: If the DDR3 name is used. Correct Answer: A A. Incorrect: Any type of DDR RAM is slower than L1. Correct: The LGA 1155 is also known as Socket H2 and replaces Socket H or H1. Incorrect: LGA 775 is Socket T and was replaced by Socket B. Correct Answer: A A. B. B. C. 5. Incorrect: Slots 1 and 4 are always in different banks. so it is PC3-25600. which is the same color on most motherboards. Correct Answer: D A. Incorrect: If you place the RAM in different banks. D. B. it will be used as single-channel RAM instead of dual-channel RAM. Incorrect: HyperTransport is used on AMD processors in place of a front side bus. C. 400 MHz × 4 × 2 × 64 / 8 = 25. D. D. Incorrect: PC3-12800 indicates a clock speed of 200 MHz. Correct Answer: B A.200. Incorrect: LGA 1156 is Socket H. D.600. 2. Incorrect: Dual channel RAM provides two paths to RAM. B. Correct: Dual-channel RAM should be installed in the same bank. Incorrect: L2 cache is slower than L1 cache. Incorrect: LGA 1366 is Socket B. Incorrect: L2 cache is fast RAM stored on the CPU for improved performance. but it does not affect the CPU cores. D. C. or L3 cache. 400 × 8 = 3. Incorrect: L3 cache is slower than L1 and L2 cache. but it does not affect the CPU cores. B. Correct: L1 cache is a fast cache. or DDR3-3200. 4. C.Answers 1. Incorrect: PC3-400 indicates a clock speed of 50 MHz. 116 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . 3. it is identified as the clock times 8.

Correct Answers: A. B. but a virus is software. Correct: A power supply providing varying voltages or voltages out of specifica- tions can cause these symptoms. Incorrect: Viruses can cause these types of symptoms. Answers CHAPTER 3 117 . C A. C. D. B. not hardware. causing these symptoms. Correct: Faulty RAM can cause these symptoms. Correct: Failing or dirty fans can result in overheating problems.6.


and fault tolerant arrays. Many different types of interfaces are currently used to connect drives. optical drives. and it’s important to know what is available and how to connect them.CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices I n this chapter. ■■ Optical drives ■■ ■■ ■■ CD-ROM DVD-ROM Blu-Ray CD-RW DVD-RW Dual Layer DVD-RW BD-R BD-RE External ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Combo drives and burners ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Connection types ■■ USB Firewire eSATA Ethernet 119 . including hard drives.” you’ll build on this knowledge to configure and troubleshoot disks. “Understanding Disks and File Systems. This chapter covers the hardware elements of hard drives.5 Install and configure storage devices and use appropriate media. solid state drives. and in Chapter 16. you’ll learn about the different types of storage devices. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1.

Cable Select) SCSI IDs (0 – 15) ■■ ■■ Hot swappable drives Magnetic 5400 rpm 7200 rpm 10.000 rpm Compact flash SD Micro-SD Mini-SD xD SSD 0 1 5 10 Hard drives ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Solid state/flash drives ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ RAID types ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Floppy drive Tape drive Media capacity ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ CD CD-RW DVD-RW DVD Blu-Ray Tape Floppy DL DVD 120 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices .■■ Internal SATA. Slave. IDE and SCSI ■■ ■■ IDE configuration and setup (Master.000 rpm 15.

3 Given a scenario. 25pin Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 4. IDE speeds ■■ 1. troubleshoot hard drives and RAID arrays with appropriate tools.7 Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose. 50pin vs. ■■ Common symptoms ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Read/write failure Slow performance Loud clicking noise Failure to boot Drive not recognized OS not found RAID not found RAID stops working BSOD Screwdriver External enclosures CHAPTER 4 121 ■■ Tools ■■ ■■ .■■ 1. eSATA. SATA2 vs. ■■ Physical connections ■■ SATA1 vs.11 Identify connector types and associated cables. SATA3. ■■ Device connectors and pin arrangements ■■ ■■ ■■ SATA eSATA PATA ■■ ■■ IDE EIDE ■■ ■■ SCSI SATA eSATA IDE EIDE Floppy SCSI ■■ Device cable types ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 68pin vs.

Hard Drives
Key Terms

The hard disk drive (HDD) is the primary long-term storage device used in personal computers. A hard drive includes multiple platters that spin as fast as 15,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). These platters are covered with ferromagnetic material, and data can be written to the drive by magnetizing that material. The hard drive is not volatile. That is, even without power, data remains stored on the drive. Figure 4-1 shows an open hard drive, with the physical components listed on the left and the logical components on the right.
Read/write head Platters


Track sector



Actuator axis

Actuator arm

File fragments

Figure 4-1  Looking inside a hard drive.

Important  Don’t open hard drives if you want to use them again

The heads are riding on a very thin pocket of air hundreds of times smaller than a human hair. They are sealed to prevent contaminants from getting inside, but if you open a hard drive and then try to use it, the heads can crash on these contaminants, making the drive useless.

Physical components:

Platters. Hard drives have multiple spinning platters, and each platter can be written to on both sides. Read/write head. A hard drive will have one read/write head for each platter side. This drive has two platters and four read/write heads. Actuator. The actuator controls the movement of the arm.
Comparing Storage Devices





Actuator arm and axis. The actuator arm is moved back and forth by pivoting around the actuator axis. This positions the read/write head on different areas of the platter. Tracks. Each platter is logically divided into multiple tracks, which are circular areas on the disk. When the head is positioned over a track, it can read or write data on the track as the platter spins. Sectors. Tracks are logically separated into track sectors. A sector can be between 512 bytes and 2 KB in size. Clusters. A cluster is a group of multiple sectors. Clusters are also known as allocation units and are the smallest element of a drive to which an operating system can write.


Logical components:



Note  How many sectors are on a 1-TB drive?

A 1-TB hard drive using 2-KB sectors would have about 500 million track sectors. The tracks, track sectors, and clusters shown in Figure 4-1 aren’t shown in actual size, but the figure does accurately illustrate their relationships to each other.

Files. Files are written to clusters. If the file is bigger than a single cluster, the file is written to multiple clusters. Ideally, a file will be written to clusters that are next to each other, or contiguous clusters. However, if other data is already written on an adjoining cluster, the file is fragmented and written to another available cluster.

During normal hard disk operation, the platters spin at a constant rate. When data needs to be read or written, the actuator moves the actuator arm to position the head over a specific track. It waits for the target cluster to arrive under the head, and then it reads or writes the data. When you think about how fast the platters are spinning, you realize how amazing the technology has become.

Hard Drive Characteristics
It’s relatively common to replace or add a hard drive to a system. For example, many people store enough data on the original drive that came with their computer that they fill up the drive. They can either buy a new computer or buy an additional hard drive, and the additional hard drive is much cheaper. If you’re shopping for a new hard drive, you’ll want to remember the following important considerations:

Capacity or Size. The size of the drive is listed as GB or TB—for example, 750 GB or 1 TB. Bigger drives hold more data but are more expensive. Interface. You can connect a drive internally or externally. Later sections in this chapter cover the different choices.


Hard Drives




Rotational speed. This is stated as rpm, and higher speeds generally result in a faster drive.

Hard Drive Speeds
The rotational speed of the drive helps determine how quick it will be overall. Common speeds are 5,400, 7,200, 10,000, and 15,000 rpm. Drives with 7,200 rpm are used in standard desktop computers.
Key Terms

Other factors also contribute to the speed. For example, seek time refers to the average amount of time it takes to move the read/write head from one track to another track, and lower seek times are better. If you find two drives of the same size with the same rpm speed but one is significantly cheaper, it might be due to a higher seek time, resulting in overall slower performance. The interface can also limit the speed. Imagine a drive spinning at 15,000 rpm with a low seek time. It can read and write data to and from the hard drive, but it is limited as to how much data can actually be transferred between the hard drive and other computer components. The following sections describe common interfaces.

Hard drive interfaces have gone through several changes and improvements over the years. Even though you won’t see many of the older versions, if you understand a little about them, it makes it easier to understand current versions. Also, many of the older versions are mentioned in the CompTIA A+ objectives. As a quick introduction, the following list provides a short history:

Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE). These appeared in the 1980s and included drive controller electronics on the drive. Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA). IDE was standardized as ATA and later became known as ATA-1. The maximum drive size was 137 GB. In earlier drives, the maximum was 2.1 GB. Extended IDE (EIDE) and ATA-2. Modifications and enhancements of the original IDE were marketed as EIDE and later standardized as ATA-2. ATA Packet Interface (ATAPI). Originally IDE and ATA were designed only for hard drives. ATAPI provided standards so that EIDE and ATA versions could be used for other drives, such as CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives. Renamed to Parallel ATA (PATA). ATA was upgraded regularly to ATA-7, which also introduced Serial ATA (SATA). EIDE versions were renamed to PATA to differentiate it from SATA. (SATA is described later in this chapter.)


Key Terms




Comparing Storage Devices

Note  SATA has replaced PATA

Almost all new systems use SATA drives instead of PATA. However, you’re still likely to see some PATA drives in existing systems, and they are listed in the CompTIA objectives.

PATA Speeds
Key Terms

PATA drives use direct memory access (DMA) transfers. DMA allows a device to directly access memory without the central processing unit (CPU), freeing up the CPU for other tasks. Ultra DMA (UDMA) appeared in ATA version 4 (ATA-4) and supported data transfers as high as 44 megabytes per second (MBps). ATA and UDMA were updated several times, and Table 4-1 identifies the speeds and names for the different versions.
Table 4-1  PATA Speeds

Type ATA-4 ATA-5 ATA-6 ATA-7

Maximum Speed 33 MBps 66 MBps 100 MBps 133 MBps

Comments Also called UDMA/33 and Ultra ATA/33 Also called UDMA/66 and Ultra ATA/66 Also called UDMA/100 and Ultra ATA/100 Maximum drive size increased to 144 PB Also called UDMA/133 and Ultra ATA/133

PATA Connectors and Cables
All PATA connectors are 40-pin rectangular connectors, and they are the same on both the hard drive and the motherboard. Motherboards that support PATA typically have two connectors named IDE 1 and IDE 2 (or sometimes IDE 0 and IDE 1), as shown in Figure 4-2.

Figure 4-2  IDE connectors on a motherboard.

PATA drives use ribbon cables similar to the one shown in Figure 4-3. Each ribbon cable includes three connectors—one for the motherboard IDE connection and two for the drives. In the figure, the two IDE connectors (IDE 1 and IDE 2) are on the left, and the cable is lying



on top of the motherboard. A typical PATA-based system would have two ribbon cables connecting a maximum of four drives. Early versions of PATA cables used 40 wires, but this was switched over to 80-wire cables with ATA-4. These extra wires provided signal grounds within the cable and supported the higher UDMA speeds. Even though the number of wires in the cables doubled, the connectors still have 40 pins. The maximum length of an IDE cable is 18 inches.

Figure 4-3  IDE ribbon cable to motherboard.

Exam Tip

Most 80-wire UDMA cables are color-coded. The connector on the end (labeled master in the figure) is black, and the middle connector is gray. Also, ribbon cables have a red stripe on one side. The red stripe should match up with pin 1 on the IDE connector.

Master and Slave Configuration
Key Terms

Each IDE connection supports two drives, and these are commonly identified as master and slave drives. The system will try to boot to the master drive, but it doesn’t automatically know which drive to select. Instead, you have to manipulate jumpers on the drive to let the system know which drive is the master and which is the slave.
Note  Device 0 and device 1

In later versions of ATA specifications, the master and slave drives were renamed to device 0 (master) and device 1 (slave). However, the master/slave names are commonly used and even mentioned in the CompTIA objectives. You can think of the master drive as simply the first drive for the IDE connector and the slave as the second drive.

Figure 4-4 shows the back of an EIDE drive. You can see that it has a 40-pin connector for the ribbon cable and a Molex connector for power. It also has a set of jumpers used to identify whether the drive is the master or the slave.


Comparing Storage Devices

40-pin 80-wire ribbon cable
Figure 4-4  Rear of EIDE drive showing jumpers.

Master/slave jumpers

Molex power

If you’re replacing or adding a drive, it’s important to understand these jumpers. You’ll often find a chart on the back of the drive, similar to the chart shown in Figure 4-5, that identifies exactly how the jumper should be configured for each drive.
Master Slave Cable Select (CS)

Figure 4-5  Example chart for jumpers on an EIDE drive.

Exam Tip

The most common reason why drives aren’t recognized after an installation is that the jumpers are not configured correctly. If you’ve replaced a drive but find it isn’t recognized, double-check the jumpers.

Cable Select
Key Terms

Cable select allows the system to identify the drive based on which connector is used. In Figure 4-3, you can see that the end connector of the ribbon cable is labeled Master and the middle connector is labeled Slave. If you configure the jumpers for both drives to use cable select, they are identified based on which connector is used. If the drives are jumpered for master and slave, the connector does not identify the drive.

PATA Power
PATA hard drives use a standard four-pin Molex connector, as shown in Figure 4-4 earlier. A four-wire cable from the power supply uses the following colors:
■■ ■■ ■■

Yellow 12 V Black ground (two middle wires) Red 5 V

Chapter 1, “Introduction to Computers,” included a picture of the power supply with a Molex connector coming from the power supply.

Quick Check
1. What type of cable is used with PATA drives? 2. Which connector identifies the master PATA drive?

Quick Check Answers
1. 40-pin ribbon cable. 2. The end connector when both drives are configured to use CS.

Serial ATA (SATA) drives have replaced PATA drives in almost all new systems. The newest version, SATA 6G, can transfer as much as 600 MBps. In contrast, PATA ATA-7 tops out at 133 MBps.
Exam Tip

SATA drives are much faster and much more prevalent than PATA drives. You should know the speeds of each generation, in addition to details about the cables and connectors. Each new version is backward-compatible with earlier versions.

Serial to Parallel to Serial
Early data transmissions sent data between components one bit at a time, or serially. Engineers later improved this by sending multiple bits at a time to improve the speed. Therefore, data could be sent using multiple wires so that bits were next to each other or in parallel. The tradeoff was that the cable needed more wires to send all the data at the same time. For example, a 40-pin EIDE ribbon cable includes 16 bits for data. If you send 16 bits at a time, you can send as much as 16 times more data than if you send just one bit at time at the same speed. The idea that parallel is faster than serial held for many years, until a breakthrough with low voltage differential (LVD) signaling occurred. LVD signaling is a standard that transmits data as the difference in voltages between two wires in a pair. These differences can be rather small, and engineers discovered they could send data serially along an LVD cable quicker than they could with parallel. Many technologies use LVD signaling, including SATA drives, HyperTransport used by AMD processors, and FireWire.


Comparing Storage Devices

SATA Generations
Three generations of SATA are currently in use. It’s important to know the capabilities of each and also to recognize the different names that have been used. Table 4-2 outlines the different versions and their speeds.
Table 4-2  SATA Versions

Generation SATA 1 SATA 2 SATA 3

Bit speed 1.5 Gbits/s 3.0 Gbits/s 6.0 Gbits/s

Byte speed 150 MBps 300 MBps 600 MBps

Names SATA 1.5G, SATA 1.5Gb/s, SATA 1.5Gbit/s, SATA 150 SATA 3G, SATA 3Gb/s, SATA 3Gbit/s, SATA 300 SATA 6G, SATA 6Gb/s, SATA 6Gbit/s, SATA 600

PATA versions are commonly described using speeds rated in bytes per second (Bps), and SATA versions often use bits per second (bps or bits/s). For example, SATA 1.0 can transfer data at 150 MBps, but it is commonly listed as 1.5 Gbit/s.
Note  Bits to bytes and 8b/10b encoding

If you multiply 150 MB by 8 to convert bytes to bits, you get 1.2 gigabits, not 1.5 gigabits, yet 150 MBps and 1.5 Gbits/s are both valid figures for SATA 1.5G. SATA uses 8b/10b encoding, which transmits each group of 8 bits (each byte) as a 10-bit symbol or code. If you divide 1.5 Gbits (1,500 Mbits) by 10, you get 150 MB.

One of the things that has confused people about SATA is the similarity of the names SATA 3.x and SATA 3G. Some products are marketed as SATA 3G, and customers think they are getting a third-generation SATA product. However, as you can see from Table 4-2, SATA 3G refers to a transfer rate of 3 Gbits/s provided by the second generation of SATA.

Before SATA, hard drives were typically capable of sending data faster than the motherboard could accept it. The interface was the bottleneck. Even though each newer ATA version allowed faster data transfers, the drives were still faster than the interface. It’s different with SATA 6G. You won’t be able to find a mechanical hard drive that can transfer as much as 6 Gbits/second (or 600 MBps). Some extremely fast (and extremely expensive) hard drives can transfer data as quickly as 157 MBps. That is, these drives benefit from using SATA 3G but they never exceed 300 MBps, so they don’t benefit from SATA 6G. You just won’t see any performance difference in these hard drives if you plug them into a SATA 3G or SATA 6G port. With this in mind, you might be wondering why you’d want SATA 6G. It’s a great question. The answer is for solid state drives (SSDs). SSDs are discussed later in this chapter, but in short,



they don’t have any moving parts and are much faster. SSDs are available that can read and transfer data as fast as 500 MB/s.

SATA Data Connectors and Cables
SATA cables are much smaller than the 80-wire ribbon cables used with PATA. They include only seven wires, and cables can be as long as 1 meter (about 3.3 feet). A distinctive characteristic of SATA cables is that they have an L-shaped connector, which works as a key. Each drive is connected to a single SATA connector on the motherboard, so you don’t have to worry about master/slave jumpers on SATA drives. Figure 4-6 shows part of a motherboard with five SATA ports. SATA 5 is on the left as a single unoccupied port. Ports 1 and 2 are stacked and ports 3 and 4 are stacked, allowing more ports in the same amount of space.

Figure 4-6  SATA connectors on a motherboard.

I removed the connector from the SATA 3 port so that you can see it, and I left SATA ports 1 and 2 connected. The other ends of these cables connect to similar L-shaped ports on the SATA drive. The SATA ports on a motherboard are commonly color-coded, but there isn’t a standard. For example, on this motherboard, SATA 1 and SATA 2 are both blue, and the other three connectors are black. The documentation for the motherboard states that the blue ports are 6 Gbit/s SATA 6G ports and that the black ports are 3 Gbit/s SATA 3G ports. Also, you’ll run across different-colored SATA cables, but the colors don’t indicate a specific version. They do help you trace the cables. If you have five black SATA cables going to five


Comparing Storage Devices

different drives, it’s difficult to tell which drive is connected to which port. However, when the cables are different colors, it’s easier to trace them from the port to the drive.

SATA Power Connectors and Cables
SATA power connectors have 15 pins, but the cables have only five wires. The color coding for the wires is as follows:
■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Orange —3.3 V to pins 1, 2, and 3. Black—Ground to pins 4, 5, and 6. Red —5 V to pins 7, 8, and 9. Black—Ground for pins 10, 11, and 12. Pin 11 can be used to delay the startup of the drive or to indicate drive activity. Yellow —12 V to pins 13, 14, and 15.


Figure 4-7 shows the back of a SATA drive, along with the power cable from the power supply. The SATA data connection is on the right, and you can see that both have the distinctive L-shaped key, although the power connector is larger. Also, the power connector has a square tip on one side.



Figure 4-7  SATA power and data connectors.

Exam Tip

In some cases, you can use an adapter to connect a 4-pin Molex power cable from the power supply to a SATA drive. The Molex cable does not provide 3.3 V, so the adapter includes electronics to convert power to 3.3 V for pins 1, 2, and 3.



Key Terms

All versions of SATA drives are hot-swappable, which means that you can plug in or remove the drive while the system is powered on. Several ground pins on the power cable are longer than the pins carrying voltage so that the ground pins connect first. This prevents any damage when they are plugged in. In contrast, you must power down a system before replacing a PATA drive. You’re not likely to replace an internal SATA drive while the system is powered on. However, some systems have drive bays that allow you to plug in or remove a drive from the front panel or that are in an external enclosure. If a drive fails, you can swap it out without powering down the system.
Note Hot-swappable

Hot-swappable refers only to the hardware ability. If you remove a device while a program is writing data to it, it can corrupt data. Ensure that the device is not being used before ­removing it.

Quick Check
1. What are the speeds of SATA 2 and SATA 3? 2. What types of connectors are used with SATA?

Quick Check Answers
1. L-shaped connectors. 2. SATA 2 is 3 Gbps, and SATA 3 is 6 Gbps.

Key Terms

Small Computer System Interface (SCSI, pronounced scuzzy) is a drive interface standard that has been around as long as the earliest ATA standards. It has traditionally provided higher performance compared to the PATA drives, but it is more expensive and not widely used on desktop computers. With the popularity of SATA drives, SCSI drives are used even less on desktop computers. The three primary standards used with standard SCSI are as follows:

SCSI-1 (also called narrow SCSI). Uses a 50-pin cable with a maximum transfer rate of 5 MBps. Narrow SCSI uses an 8-bit bus and supports a maximum of 8 devices. SCSI-2. Uses a 25-pin, 50-pin, or 68-pin cable. This was first called fast SCSI because it could transfer data at 10 MBps, twice as fast as SCSI-1. It originally used an 8-bit bus.



Comparing Storage Devices

Fast-Wide SCSI is an update that uses a 16-bit bus and supports 16 devices with transfer rates of 20 MBps.

SCSI-3. Uses a 50-pin, 68-pin, or 80-pin cable. The most common cable is an 80-pin Single Connector Attachment (SCA). SCSI-3 is also called Ultra SCSI and includes several different versions.

Table 4-3 lists several recent versions of SCSI-3. Each of these use a 16-bit bus and can support as many as 16 devices.
Table 4-3  Ultra SCSI Types

Type Ultra-160 Ultra-320 Ultra-640

Speed: bytes per second 160 MBps 320 MBps 640 MBps

Speed: bits per second 1.28 Gbit/s 2.56 Gbit/s 5.12 Gbit/s

SCSI Interfaces
SCSI cables and connectors come in several different versions. Some are ribbon cables similar to the cables used with PATA drives, and other cables are round. Some examples of SCSI connectors include:

25-pin. This is a very old SCSI connector, also known as a DB25. It has one row of 13 pins and a second row of 12 pins. 50-pin. Several types of 50-pin SCSI connectors have been used. Some have two rows, and some have three rows. A Centronics 50-pin connector has connectors lined up in slots. 68-pin. This includes two rows of pins close together and is referred to as high-­ density. It is sometimes used for external SCSI connections. 80-pin. This is known as a Single Connector Attachment (SCA) connection, and it is used as an alternative to 68-pin connections. It includes pins for both data and power and supports hot-swapping.




Key Terms

SCSI devices are controlled by a SCSI controller. Each device, including the controller, is assigned a SCSI identifier (SCSI ID) using numbers from 0 to 15. The controller is normally assigned the highest priority SCSI ID of 7. The priorities don’t make sense unless you know a little SCSI history.




Exam Tip

You should know the priority order of SCSI IDs and that the controller is assigned the highest priority SCSI ID of 7.

Early SCSI implementations supported eight devices and used SCSI IDs numbered 0 to 7, with SCSI ID 7 being the highest priority and SCSI ID 0 being the lowest. When SCSI began supporting 16 devices, they added 8 SCSI IDs (8 to 15). However, they did not modify the original priorities. Instead, the additional 8 device IDs (8 to 15) were given lower priorities than the first 8 IDs. In the second set of 8 IDs, 15 is the highest and 8 is the lowest. Therefore, the priority order from highest to lowest is as follows:

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8.

When you need to assign an ID to a device with a jumper, you’ll often see four jumpers, listed as 3, 2, 1, 0. These refer to four binary bits that can be used to count from 0 to 15. These bits have the values 8, 4, 2, and 1.
More Info Chapter 1

Chapter 1 covered binary numbering systems. As a reminder, 23 is 8, 22 is 4, 21 is 2, and 20 is 1. Jumper 3 is used for 23, jumper 2 is for 22, jumper 1 is for 21, and jumper 0 is for 20.

For example, if you wanted to assign the number 7 to a controller, you would use the binary number 0111. The jumper for 3 would be removed to indicate a 0, and the jumpers for 2, 1, and 0 would be installed to indicate 1s. Table 4-4 shows the binary values for IDs 0 to 15.
Table 4-4  SCSI IDs Binary Values

ID 0 1 2 3

Binary 0000 0001 0010 0011

ID 4 5 6 7

Binary 0100 0101 0110 0111

ID 8 9 10 11

Binary 1000 1001 1010 1011

ID 12 13 14 15

Binary 1100 1101 1110 1111

In some cases, the SCSI ID can be assigned through the SCA adapter or with software. You might not need to assign it with jumpers.

Daisy-Chaining and Termination
Key Terms

SCSI devices are connected together in a daisy chain fashion, which indicates that devices are connected to each other like links in a chain rather than each device being connected directly to a central device.


Comparing Storage Devices

Figure 4-8 shows how internal and external devices can connect to a SCSI controller. The SCSI controller is an expansion card plugged into the motherboard, and it has an internal connection for internal devices and an external connection for external devices.
Inside PC Drive Controller External Drive






Figure 4-8  Daisy-chaining SCSI devices.

Each device has two connectors to support the daisy chain connection. Additionally, the last device in the chain must be terminated to let the controller know that there aren’t any additional devices in the chain. The figure shows both an internal chain with three drives and an external chain with three drives. Each chain must be terminated. The terminator can be a plug that plugs into the connector or a switch that indicates which is the last device. In most new systems, the terminator is automatically configured. The last device recognizes that there is nothing plugged into the second connector, so it automatically terminates the connection.

Serial Attached SCSI
Key Terms

Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is a newer form of SCSI that uses a serial interface. It uses data and power cables similar to the SATA connections and supports transfer speeds of up to 6 Gbit/s. SAS is used in some high-end servers but is more expensive than SATA, so it is rarely used in desktop computers.

External Connections Types
If you don’t have room inside your computer or you just want to have something portable, you can add an external drive. This includes adding an external hard disk, optical drive, tape drive, or a floppy drive. The following sections describe common ways you can add an external drive.

External Connections Types



Almost every computer has Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports, and many external devices use them. USB 2.0 supports speeds of up to 480 Mbits/s, and USB 3.0 supports speeds of up to 5 Gbits/s. USB cables can be as long as 5 meters (over 16 feet), and you can attach as many as 127 devices to any single USB hub.
More Info  Chapter 5, “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards”

Both USB and FireWire are covered in more depth in Chapter 5.

Figure 4-9 shows several ports accessible on the back of a computer, and the four ports on the top left are USB ports. Computers will often have additional USB ports available on the front panel.

USB ports

RJ-45 port for network

Figure 4-9  Ports on back of computer.

Note  USB Logo with plus sign

The USB logo starts with a circle on one end, then has a trident of a circle, an arrow, and a square on the other end. Some USB 2.0 ports are also labeled with a plus sign (as shown in Figure 4-9) to indicate that it is USB 2.0.

Many computers also have a FireWire port. FireWire was created by Apple and then formalized as IEEE 1394, so you’ll see it with both names. Figure 4-9 shows a single FireWire port labeled 1394. FireWire 400 (or 1394a) supports speeds of up to 400 Mbps, and FireWire 800


Comparing Storage Devices

(or 1394b) supports speeds of up to 800 Mbps. FireWire cables can be as long as 4.5 meters (almost 15 feet), and you can daisy-chain as many as 63 devices to a single FireWire port. FireWire ports can have 4, 6, or 9 pins. The port shown in Figure 4-9 is a 6-pin port, and it provides power to the device (as does a 9-pin FireWire port); 4-pin connectors do not provide power.

SATA was originally designed for internal use only but is emerging as another alternative for external drives. There is no performance difference between SATA and eSATA, and most eSATA ports are based on SATA 3G providing transfer speeds of up to 3 Gbit/s. Figure 4-9 includes an eSATA port, and you can see that it lacks the distinctive L shape of internal SATA connections. The eSATA cables have seven wires, just like internal SATA cables, but eSATA cables require shielding that isn’t needed with internal SATA cables. The different connector ensures that an internal cable isn’t used for an external connection. The eSATA cable can be as long as 2 meters (about 6.6 feet), but unlike with USB and FireWire, you can connect only one device to the port.
Exam Tip

If the eSATA drive is not recognized when you plug it in, there are two primary things to check. First, check the BIOS to ensure that the eSATA port is enabled. Second, ensure that you have drivers for the device. These will normally be available from the manufacturer.

Many laptop computers include a powered eSATA (eSATAp) port. It’s also called an eSATA/ USB combo or eSATA USB Hybrid Port. It can be used for either an eSATA device or a USB 2.0 (or earlier) device. You simply plug in the device, and the system automatically recognizes whether it is eSATA or USB and uses the correct interface.
Note  SATA vs. USB

SATA and USB are competing standards, and the eSATAp port that supports both USB and eSATA devices is not a formal standard. However, it is very common on laptop computers.

Figure 4-10 shows the side view of a laptop computer. It includes an eSATAp port, a standard USB port, and a 4-pin FireWire port.

External Connections Types



Figure 4-10  Connectors on side of laptop.

The eSATAp port includes the 7 pins used by eSATA and 4 pins used by USB. If you plug in a USB device, it uses the 4 USB pins. If you plug in an externally-powered eSATA device with a standard eSATA cable, it uses the 7 pins for data, just like the eSATA port described previously. Some smaller devices, such as solid state drives or 2.5 inch drives, can be powered by the 5 V available on the USB pins. A special eSATAp cable carries both the data and 5 V to the device. Larger devices, such as 3.5-inch drives and optical drives, require 12 V power. Some eSATAp ports on desktop computers include two optional pins (located at the white arrows in Figure 4-10) that provide 12 V. If 12 V is provided via the eSATAp port, you can use a 12-V eSATAp cable that will deliver data, 5 V, and 12 V to the device.
Important  All eSATAp cables aren’t the same

Some eSATAp cables carry both 5 V and 12 V, but most carry only 5 V. If an eSATAp device isn’t working, check to see whether 12 V is required. If it is, verify that the eSATAp port has the additional pins for 12 V and that the eSATAp cable includes 12-V support. You can always use a standard eSATA data cable and provide external power to the device.

Another way you can add external data storage is with a network drive. You don’t connect the network drive directly to the computer. Instead, you connect the network drive to a device such as a router or a switch. This is commonly called network attached storage (NAS). For example, many people have home networks using wireless routers. It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to add a NAS device to the network. Users with network access can then share the drive. Figure 4-9 includes an RJ-45 port used to connect a computer to a network. You would typically connect this to a switch with a twisted-pair cable. Similarly, network drives commonly have an RJ-45 port used to connect them to a network. However, you would not connect the NAS device directly to a computer by using this RJ-45 port.


Comparing Storage Devices

More Info Networking

Networking topics are covered in Chapters 18 through 24, and NAS is covered in Chapter 18, “Introducing Networking Components.”

External Enclosures
As a technician, you’ll find that an external hard drive enclosure is a handy tool. Instead of installing a drive inside a computer, you can install it in the enclosure and use it as an external drive. You can find enclosures that will accept IDE/PATA drives and others that accept SATA drives. Also, some are designed to accept the 2.5-inch drives from laptop computers and others will work with 3.5-inch drives common in desktop computers. After installing the drive, you connect the enclosure to a computer with a USB connection. For example, if a laptop fails, you might want to access the data on the hard drive. You can remove the hard drive from the laptop, install it in the enclosure, and plug the enclosure into a working computer. It will now work just like any other external drive.

Quick Check
1. What is the most common connector used for peripherals? 2. What can you plug into an eSATAp port?

Quick Check Answers
1. USB. 2. USB or eSATA devices.

Solid State Drives
Key Terms

Solid state drives (SSDs) don’t have any moving components but instead use only electronics to store and retrieve data. You can think of an SSD as a huge bank of random access memory (RAM). Most SSDs are nonvolatile, meaning that they won’t lose data when power is removed. The most common type of memory used with SSDs is flash-based RAM, the same type of nonvolatile RAM used in USB flash drives. SSD drives are lightning-fast when compared with mechanical hard drives. Additionally, they don’t require motors to spin the platters and move the actuator, so they are lighter and draw less power. Mobile devices such as tablets commonly use SSDs, and many hobbyists replace laptop hard drives with SSDs.

Solid State Drives



With the price of memory continuing to fall, SSD drives have become very affordable. For example, you can purchase a 128-GB SSD drive for about the same price as a 2-TB mechanical drive. Some people use an SSD drive for the operating system and applications and use a mechanical drive for data. Most SSD drives use SATA and will install just like any other SATA drive. In addition to SSD drives and USB flash drives, several types of flash memory are used in digital cameras and recorders, including the following:

Key Terms

CompactFlash (CF). CompactFlash devices are manufactured by SanDisk and are very popular. The outer dimensions are 43 × 36 mm. Type 1 CF devices are 3.3 mm thick, and Type II devices (known as CF2) are 5 mm thick. They can hold up to 128 GB of data. SD (Secure Digital). SD is developed by the SD Card Association and used with many types of portable devices. It supersedes MultiMediaCard (MMC), which is the same size. Figure 4-11 shows a Compact Flash stick next to a standard SD stick. The dimensions of SD are 24 × 32 mm. They can hold up to 2 GB of data. Newer versions include SD High Capacity (SDHC) and extended Capacity (SDXC). SDHC can hold up to 32 GB, and SDXC can hold up to 2 TB of data.


Figure 4-11  CompactFlash and SD memory sticks.

Key Terms

Mini-SD. This is a smaller version of the SD card. The dimensions of mini-SD devices are 21.5 × 20 mm. Micro-SD. This is the smallest of the three SD sizes. The dimensions of micro-SD devices are 15 × 11 mm. xD. The xD Picture card is an older flash memory card used in some digital cameras. It was developed by Olympus and Fujifilm, but Olympus cameras are now using SD cards.



Many computers have connectors on the front panel that will accept these memory sticks. This enables you to remove the memory from your camera and plug it directly into the computer to access the pictures.


Comparing Storage Devices

Optical Discs and Drives
Key Terms

If you’ve used a computer or watched a movie at home, you’ve probably seen and handled an optical disc. However, you might not be aware of the different types of compact discs (CDs), digital versatile discs (DVDs), and Blu-Ray discs (BDs) currently available.
Note  Disk vs. disc

When referring to hard disk drives, the correct spelling is disk, with a k. When referring to optical disc drives and optical discs, the correct spelling is disc, with a c.

Table 4-5 lists the different types of optical discs and their capacities. In this context, ROM indicates that it is read-only media (ROM), but it is possible to write to discs.
Table 4-5  Media Capacity

Type CD-ROM Mini CD-ROM DVD-ROM Dual-Layer DVD-ROM Blu-Ray Single-layer Blu-Ray Dual-layer

Capacity 700 MB (80 minutes of audio) 194 MB (24 minutes of audio) 4.7 GB 8.5 GB 25 GB 50 GB

Comments The standard size is 12 cm (4.7 inches). These are 6 to 8 cm. Vendors sometimes release software or audio using this size. Dual-sided DVD-ROMS hold 4.7 GB on each side. Dual-sided dual-layer DVD-ROMS hold 8.5 GB on each side. Blu-Ray discs use a blue laser, and CD and DVDs use a red laser. This is the common size used for movies. Triple-layer holds 100 GB, and quad-layer holds 128 GB.

Exam Tip

Know the capacity of the different discs as shown in the table.

Combo Drives and Burners
Most optical drives support multiple types of optical discs. It’s common to have a single optical disc drive that can read and write CDs and DVDs. For just a little more money, you can get a combo drive that can also read and write Blu-Ray discs. Optical discs use lasers to read and write data. The process of writing data to a disc is commonly called burning a disc. However, you can’t burn just any disc. For example, CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs are read-only media. You can’t overwrite the data on these discs. However, you can burn data to R, RW, and RE discs.

Optical Discs and Drives



RE (Recordable Erasable). The R applies to CDs (as in CD-R). you might have problems—many players support only one disc type or the other. For example.39 MBps. and Blu-Ray discs (as in BD-R). it uses a SATA power connector. you need to ensure that the master/slave jumpers are configured correctly to recognize the drive. 142 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . you won’t receive an error saying that you’ve installed a CD. Installing Optical Drives Here’s some good news: if you understand how to install PATA and SATA drives. ­ RW (Rewritable). Optical drives come in both PATA and SATA versions. +RW. If you put a CD disc instead of a DVD in drive 2. If you insert an optical disc that is not recognized by the drive. you might decide to copy a DVD disc from DVD drive 1 in your system to DVD drive 2. if you plan on making a DVD that you want to play on a DVD player. you know how to install an optical drive. A rewritable disc can be rewritten many times. but after an area is written on the disc. Instead. ■■ ■■ Note  +R. It is sometimes referred to as write once read many (WORM) and is used for backups and archives. Speeds The speeds of optical disc drives are stated as multipliers using a base speed. The base speeds are as follows: ■■ ■■ ■■ CD: 150 KBps DVD: 1. It is possible to write the data in multiple sessions. you might see a DVD drive listed as 24x for R and 8x for RW. If it’s a PATA optical drive. Blu-Ray discs use RE (as in BD-RE ) to indicate that the disc is rewritable.■■ Key Terms R (Recordable). and you install them the same way you install those drives.39 MBps and that it can write to a rewritable disc at a speed of 8 × 1. and -RW CDs and DVDs come in + and – versions. If it’s a SATA optical drive. -R. you’ll be prompted to insert a DVD. but most combo drives and burners will be able to read and write data using both types of discs.39 MBps Blu-Ray: 4. Older PATA drives use the standard PATA Molex power connector. it cannot be rewritten.5 MBps For example. The RW applies to CDs (as in CD-RW ) and DVDs (as in DVD-RW ). applications will often just ignore it. However. These are competing versions of discs. such as DVD-R and DVD+R. If it’s a SATA drive. just plug the cables in and ensure that the SATA port is enabled in BIOS. This indicates that it can write to a recordable disc at a speed of 24 × 1. A recordable disc can have data written to it once. DVDs (as in DVD-R).

You can open the drive with a paperclip. Recordable Erasable. Removing Discs Without Power There might be a time when you need to remove a disc from a drive but don’t have any power. Quick Check 1. 25 GB. Audio out Jumpers 40-pin IDE Molex power Figure 4-12  Connectors on back of optical drive. A tape drive can read and write data by using reusable magnetic tapes. 2. and the tapes are contained within tape cartridges. In many organizations. Figure 4-12 shows the back of an IDE-based drive that includes audio connections. Tape cartridges that hold 320 GB of data are widely available. It could be that the drive has failed and won’t power up. The next day.The only other consideration is that older CD-ROM drives need an audio cable connected from the drive to either the motherboard or the sound card. A technician ensures that a tape is in the drive before leaving. backups are scheduled to occur in the middle of the night. Tape Drives Tape drives are often used to back up large amounts of data. What does RE indicate with an optical disc? Quick Check Answers 1. All disc drives have a small pinhole in the front. so this extra cable is not needed. or it could be you are disposing of an old computer and want to ensure that there isn’t a disc left in the system. Unbend a paperclip and poke it into the hole to manually open the drive. How much data can you store on a single-layer Blu-Ray disc? 2. Newer drives can send the audio through the IDE or SATA cable. the technician checks Tape Drives CHAPTER 4 143 .

44 MB of data. tape libraries house multiple tapes in holding slots. If data is ever lost or corrupted. 144 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . DLT can transfer data as fast as 60 MB/s. the letter names A and B are still reserved for floppies. users booted their system up with this disk. LTO-5. It was identified as the A drive. When using tapes. floppy disks were the primary way many people copied files from one system to another.5 inches and not very floppy or bendable. LTO is a newer. When a system failed. It’s very rare for a regular user to use a tape drive for backups. Backup tape drives commonly use SCSI interfaces. technicians kept bootable floppies that included software troubleshooting tools. and for off-site storage. annually. and for years. In larger organizations. which are automatically inserted into drives as needed. released in 2010. Linear Tape-Open (LTO). stores the backup tape.25 inches and were bendable. faster standard. The cartridges are about the same size but can hold more data and transfer it faster. and inserts another tape. Today it’s more common to use a bootable CD or DVD or a bootable USB flash drive for this purpose. giving them their “floppy” name. and external SCSI drives often use SAS. imagine that an organization has a large database and wants to back it up daily and retain backups for a year. but the most recent version is 3. In the original IBM PC computers. Note  A and B drive names Even though you might never see or a use a floppy. These are self-contained tape cartridges that come in different capacities and qualities. they booted the system to the floppy and ran tests from there. identified as the B drive. quarterly. it can be retrieved from these tapes. A common backup strategy requires about 20 tapes to hold different backups—daily. monthly. Floppy Drives Key Terms For many years. Dual floppy disk systems had a second one. Older disks were 5. weekly. Internal drives will use one of the Ultra SCSI versions. can transfer data at 140 MB/s and can hold as much as 1. Two common tape cartridge types are as follows: ■■ Key Terms ■■ Digital Linear Tape (DLT). and cartridges as large as 800 GB are available.the backup for errors. It’s often cheaper and easier to back up data to an external hard drive or even to an optical disc. For example. Floppy drives can hold 1. The first hard drive starts with the letter C. You might not even see a system with a floppy disk drive (FDD) today. but they are specifically mentioned in the objectives. It’s relatively easy to create a bootable floppy disk. there is an initial cost and a recurring cost for new tapes as tapes wear out. USB flash drives have replaced them and made them all but obsolete.5 TB.

they are commonly referred to as redundant components. Both software-based RAID and hardware-based RAID are available. a disk can fail but the system will continue to operate. Chapter 1 shows a picture of a common power supply including this connector. Fault tolerance is achieved by using extra disks in specific configurations. with the slot for the floppy disk accessible from the front panel.44 MB of data was considered a lot. You’d connect the last connector to drive A and the middle connector to drive B. ■■ Exam Tip A common problem with floppy disk installations was connecting the ribbon cable backwards on one of the connectors. so it could be disabled without anyone noticing. Typically. Connectors aren’t always keyed. A 4-pin mini-Molex connector provides power. The primary reason why a system might have a floppy drive today is to recover this archived data. RAID Key Terms A redundant array of independent (or inexpensive) disks (RAID) uses multiple disks to provide increased performance and fault tolerance. fault tolerance refers to any system that can suffer a fault but can still tolerate the error and continue to operate. It’s also possible to manipulate the BIOS to designate which drive is which. They are rarely used in day-to-day work. They have two primary connectors: ■■ Power. the floppy LED stays lit and drives aren’t recognized. Data. data on the floppy is corrupted. Many floppy drives have a jumper to identify the first and second drive (drive A and drive B). In general. the operating system manages the RAID configuration. and many users copied data onto a floppy for long-term storage. In some cases. Floppy Connections Floppy disk drives are usually mounted inside the computer.Recovering Data There was a time when 1. check the BIOS to see whether it’s disabled. With RAID. It was common to leave them both set to drive A and use a ribbon cable with three connectors and a twist before the last connector. For example. but the red stripe on the ribbon cable should go to pin 1 on the motherboard and pin 1 on the floppy drive. When extra components are added for fault tolerance. If you come across a floppy drive that isn’t working. In software-based RAID. in Windows-based RAID CHAPTER 4 145 . The data cable is a 34-pin ribbon cable similar to the 40-pin ribbon cable used with PATA drives.

systems. each additional disk adds risk. RAID-1. but the exam focuses on only four: RAID-0. RAID-5. so if you can afford it. too. At this point. RAID-0 Study notes Single disk 100 ms Disk 1 in RAID 51 ms Disk 2 in RAID 51 ms Figure 4-13  Comparing a single disk with RAID-0. it’s a better option. it takes about 25 percent of the time for a read or write compared to a single disk. There is some overhead from other components. so reads are quicker. because the data is spread across multiple disks. you’re four times more likely to experience a failure. such as the disk controller. and you can also purchase external hardware-based arrays. you can use dynamic disks and create software-based RAID arrays. the array reads it from each disk at the same time. The majority of this time is taken by physical components in the hard disk. However. For example. and RAID-10. 146 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . which can be used to create RAID-0 and RAID-1 disk arrays. It does not provide fault tolerance. There are multiple types of RAID. Hardware-based RAID is supported on some motherboards. so it’s not exactly half. However. if you have four drives. and if one drive fails. all the data is lost. so if you could save parts of the file to two disks at the same time. Imagine that you had a file named Study Notes and that it took exactly 100 milliseconds (ms) to save it to a single disk. the system can read and write to the array more quickly than it can read or write to a single disk. For example. Windows 7 uses dynamic disks. One big benefit is that it doesn’t cost anything. More Info  Chapter 16 Chapter 16 covers RAID configurations supported within Windows. you’d better hope you have a backup. What if one of the disks fails? The system can’t interpret half-files. so all the data is lost. You can use more disks in a RAID-0 configuration for better read and write performance. When it needs to read the file. if you have four disks in a RAID-0. RAID-0 Key Terms RAID-0 uses two or more disks and is commonly called striping or a striped volume. The operating system views a hardwarebased array simply as another disk. as shown in Figure 4-13. Hardware-based RAID arrays outperform software-based arrays. you could cut the time almost in half.

Chapter 3. you don’t get any write performance gains. Note  Duplexing As an additional measure. RAID CHAPTER 4 147 . For example. you might need to reconfigure the drives so that Disk 2 is recognized as Disk 1. For example. some RAID-1 configurations include an additional disk controller. You’ll see some type of error or notification. As an example of how parity works with RAID-5. the decimal number 1 is represented as 01 and the decimal number 2 is 10. but the system will continue to run. This is called duplexing. Everything that is written to one physical disk in the RAID-1 is also written to the second disk. you have only 500 GB of usable disk space. RAID-5 Key Terms RAID-5 uses at least three disks and is commonly called striping with parity. Or. many RAID-1 controllers recognize that the other disk has the same file and can read from both disks simultaneously. If the RAID-1 is being used as the boot disk. It includes the decimal numbers 0 through 3. However. RAID-5 uses it as a method of fault tolerance. or RAID-1 duplexing. In other RAID-1 configurations. It uses the equivalent of one drive as parity to provide fault tolerance. The biggest benefit is fault tolerance. Each of these numbers can be represented with two binary bits. Because you’re writing the entire file to a single disk. you might have to reconfigure the system to use Disk 2 in place of Disk 1. Therefore. If you create it with two 500 GB disks. Some RAID-1 configurations can automatically switch over to the other disk if one disk fails. Each drive uses a dedicated controller.RAID-1 Key Terms RAID-1 uses two disks only and is commonly called mirroring or a mirrored volume.” describes parity as a method of error detection used with memory. The primary drawback of a RAID-1 is that you have less usable disk space. you still have a copy of the data on the second drive. you might have to manually intervene. If one drive fails. RAID-1 often provides increased read performance. you might have to reconfigure a system file to boot from Disk 2. if Disk 1 from Figure 4-14 failed. Figure 4-14 compares this to a single disk. consider Table 46. and ensures that the system continues to operate even if one controller fails. RAID-1 Study notes Single disk write 100 ms Disk1 in RAID write 100 ms Disk2 in RAID write 100 ms Figure 4-14  Comparing a single disk with RAID-1. “Understanding RAM and CPUs.

However. Table 4-7  Calculating Odd Parity with RAID-5 Drive 1 Data Bit 1 [21 (2)] 0 0 1 1 Drive 2 Data Bit 0 [20 (1)] Fail Fail Fail Fail Drive 3 Odd Parity 1 0 0 1 The last stripe is in bold. if you can count the number of 1 bits in a stripe and identify even numbers from odd numbers. and the equivalent of one drive is used for parity. You can see that it has two 1s.Table 4-6  Calculating Odd Parity with RAID-5 Decimal Number Zero (0) One (1) Two (2) Three (3) Data Bit 1 21 (2) 0 0 1 1 Data Bit 0 20 (1) 0 1 0 1 Number of 1’s in Bits Zero One One Two Odd Parity 1 0 0 1 On a RAID-5. That is. It will be slower. so the parity bit for the stripe is set to 0. it can no longer operate. two is represented as 10. an entire drive can fail and the array will continue to work. Similarly. Table 4-7 shows how you can think of these two data bits and the parity bit as three drives. the array can calculate the missing bit on the fly. Can you fill in the bits for Drive 2 without looking back at Table 4-6? When a drive fails in a RAID-5. One is odd. if two drives fail. The parity bit is set to a 0 or a 1 to ensure that the stripe has an odd number of 1 bits. so the parity bit is set to 1 so that the total number of 1 bits in the stripe is three (an odd number). For example. Drive 2 has failed and the data isn’t available. 148 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . When a RAID-5 array writes data to a drive. For example. three is represented as 11. In a RAID-5. The missing bit in Drive 2 must be a 1 to give the stripe an odd number of 1s. In the table. The number two is even. which is an even number. but it will still work. a group of data bits are combined with parity in a stripe. For example the row for three includes three bits in the stripe: 1 and 1 for the data and 1 for parity. you will always have at least three drives. However. which is one 1 bit. it calculates the parity bit and writes it along with the data. you can tell what the bits in Drive 2 should be. The system calculates the number of 1 bits in 11 as two.

and they each hold a copy of the same data. RAID CHAPTER 4 149 . Combined Array A and Array B are configured as a RAID-0 (stripe). Data Data Parity Data Parity Data Parity Data Data Stripe Stripe Stripe Figure 4-15  Raid-5 array with three drives. and they each hold a copy of the same data. A RAID-5 array can have more drives. RAID 10 Key Terms RAID-10 is a combination RAID-1 (mirror) and RAID-0 (striped). Disk 2 Disk 3 RAID-1 (Array B) Disk 4 Note  Additional mirrors possible You can create a RAID-0 array with more than just two disks. Similarly. A RAID-5 alternates which drive is holding the parity bits in different stripes. you can create a RAID-10 with more than just two mirrors. parity is not contained on just one drive. as shown in Figure 4-15. It’s the best of the four RAID options but is more expensive. A RAID-10 will always have an even number of disks. Also. it writes the data and parity in 64-KB stripes. Instead. even though it uses the equivalent of one drive for parity. If it had a total of five drives. It’s often referred to as a stripe of mirrors and includes at least four disks. such as five or six.RAID-5 doesn’t write data one bit at a time. four drives would be for data and one drive would be for parity. Figure 4-16 shows an example of how this is configured. RAID-0 Disk 1 RAID-1 (Array A) Figure 4-16  Raid-10 array. but it still devotes the equivalent of one drive for parity. Disks 1 and 2 are a RAID-1 (mirror). Disks 3 and 4 create another RAID-1. RAID-10 is often used on servers with databases.

Table 4-8  Calculating Storage Space RAID RAID-0 RAID-0 RAID-1 RAID-5 RAID-5 RAID-10 RAID-10 Number of Disks Two Three Two Three Five Four Six Usable Disk Space 1 TB 1. so even though you have 2 TB of drive space. Table 4-8 shows some examples of how much usable disk space you’ll have if each disk is 500 GB in size. You should be able to identify how much usable drive space you have with different RAID configurations. This is similar to how a two-disk RAID-0 would hold half the data on each of two disks. The RAID-10 has superior read and write performance.5 TB 500 GB (500 GB is mirrored) 1 TB (500 GB is used for parity) 2 TB (500 GB is used for parity) 1 TB (1 TB is mirrored) 1. Additionally. For example. if Disk 1 in Array A fails and Disk 3 in Array B fails. However. The mirror holds a complete copy. it’s time to look for your backups. and also has fault tolerance similar to a RAID1. RAID provides fault tolerance. you can store only 1 TB of data. only 1 TB of drive space is available for data. Calculating Usable Storage Space in RAID In some versions of RAID. similar to a RAID-0. some of the space is used for redundancy. What if the system suffers a catastrophic failure from a power spike or fire. a RAID-10 can survive the failure of multiple drives. RAID and Backups An important point you should understand about RAID is that it is not a replacement for backups. consider a system with a RAID-5.5 TB (1. the RAID-5 provides fault tolerance allowing the system to continue to operate. the data is lost forever. and backups ensure that you can restore data if the original data is lost. For example. if you have two 1-TB drives used in a mirror.Disks in the mirror labeled Array A hold half the data. and disks in the array labeled Array B hold the other half of the data.5 TB is mirrored) 150 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . so it isn’t available for data. If one of the drives fails. For example. if two disks in the same mirror fail (such as both Disk 1 and Disk 2). or what if it is stolen? Without a backup. it can still operate because the data can be retrieved from Disks 2 and 4.

Name three RAID configurations that provide fault tolerance. Common Symptoms Some of the common problem symptoms of hard disk drives and RAID arrays are described in the following sections. when hard drives fail. it’s hitting something it shouldn’t. 2. How many disks are used in RAID-5? Quick Check Answers 1. technicians often refer to it as a hard drive crash. 2. and RAID-10. Loud Clicking Noise This is never a good noise to hear from a hard drive. The Read/Write Benefits column compares the benefits of reading and writing data to the array instead of to a single disk drive. The only hardware tool you’ll need when working on hard drives is a screwdriver. This is why. It indicates that as the platter is spinning. and if they are jarred just the slightest bit. they can crash onto the spinning platter. Table 4-9  RAID Array Summary RAID RAID-0 RAID-1 RAID-5 Fault Tolerance No Yes Yes Read/Write Benefits Improved Read/ Write Improved Read Improved Read/ Write Improved Read/ Write Min # of Disks 2 2 3 Comments Use for performance only Duplexing adds a second controller Writes are slower than RAID-0 due to parity calculations Best and most expensive RAID-10 Yes 4 Quick Check 1. Three or more. Common Symptoms CHAPTER 4 151 . The heads are riding on an extremely thin pocket of air. RAID-5.RAID Summary Table 4-9 compares key points for each of the RAID configurations. RAID-1.

but as the drive is heavily used or fills up. I powered it down to let it rest and then came back the next day to back up the data. I needed to try something different. it worked long enough for me to get my data back.If you hear a clicking noise coming from a hard drive. You usually have the option of doing a full format or a quick format. removed the hard drive. it’s safe to assume that there are problems with clusters on the drive. back up the data as quickly as possible and replace it. I put it back into the system the next day and powered it up. files are written in contiguous clusters. try the freezer trick I once had a drive that started giving some random errors and then started making all sorts of clicks that you just don’t want to hear out of a hard drive. It’s just a matter of time before it fails. the drive appears slower because it’s having to work harder and harder to retrieve all the file fragments. Instead. and stored it in a freezer overnight. A quick format does not check the clusters. You don’t want to try the freezer technique as the first step. It’s always a good idea to do a full format when putting a new disk into service. It’s an old trick I’d heard about but never tried before. A full format checks disk clusters and marks faulty clusters as bad so that they won’t be used. a file is divided into multiple fragments on clusters scattered throughout the disk. These are relatively easy to overcome on Windowsbased systems. The symptoms returned almost immediately. Read/Write Failure When clusters on a hard drive fail. Exam Tip Chapter 16 also covers formatting a disk. and while the drive was cool. Cold causes objects to contract. the problems returned. Slow Performance The most common reason for a hard drive’s performance to slow down is fragmentation. When too many files are fragmented. the solution is simple if you know 152 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . Real World  As a last resort. I powered down the system. Again. a hard drive is unable to read or write data to the cluster. sealed it in a plastic bag. Thankfully. there aren’t as many contiguous clusters available. Both of these tools are presented in Chapter 16. using simple tools such as chkdsk and Check Disk. it was running without problems. Whenever you see errors related to hard disk reads and writes. Ideally. As soon as it started heating up. but it might be useful as a last-ditch effort. but by then I had my data.

they might not be recognized. If the system is using a RAID-1 and the first drive in the array fails. If the system has floppy or optical drives. you can usually download the correct drivers from the manufacturer’s website. However. the manufacturer will include drivers. remove any disks/discs and then try to reboot. you’ll need to replace it and rebuild the system. It’s very likely you’ll find the problem. This is often an indication that the disk is fragmented. RAID Not Found Hardware RAID systems often come as external RAID enclosures. Locate the drivers and install them. you might need to reconfigure the system to use the second drive. In this case. you might need to swap the wiring or jumpers for the two disks in the array so that the good drive is recognized as the first drive. but occasionally you’ll need to manually reconfigure the disks. You can often hear the Key Terms constant movement of the actuator arm and see that the disk LED is constantly blinking. but you should check for fragmentation first. double-check the cabling and jumpers. and when you first hook them up to a system.what tools to use. More Info  Chapter 15. Failure to Boot or Operating System Not Found If the system won’t boot at all or gives an error indicating that it can’t find the operating system. the solution is simple. Some RAIDs will automatically boot to the alternate drive. you should check the basics first. If you see this problem after a system was recently worked on or a drive was replaced. Note  Disk thrashing Disk thrashing indicates that the hard drive is constantly working. If it’s not a new system. including the use of tools such as Device Manager to install new drivers. Alternatively. Follow the instructions that came with the device to install them. it could be that the bootable drive failed. If so. You might also need to check the BIOS to ensure that the system is configured to boot from the hard drive. The most common reason is that the system is trying to boot to a device that does not have a bootable operating system. The most common reason is that the operating system doesn’t have the drivers needed to use it. Common Symptoms CHAPTER 4 153 . it might indicate that the system doesn’t have enough memory. For new RAID systems. Chapter 16 covers the defrag and Disk Defragmenter tools that can check a disk for excessive fragmentation and that can defragment drives when they need it. For example. “Configuring Windows Operating Systems” Chapter 15 covers device drivers in more depth.

However. if a second drive fails. You’ll need to replace the drive. fix them immediately. “Troubleshooting Windows Operating Systems” Chapter 17 covers Safe Mode. Check Disk or chkdsk. If it occurs. In this case.RAID Stops Working If a RAID-0 has a failure in any single drive. rebuild the array. rebuild the array. other RAID arrays have built-in redundancy. This brings up an important point. including how to access it and the tools that are available. The most common solution is to boot into Safe Mode and install the correct driver. When you see errors starting to appear in a RAID array. it’s too late. Replace the drives. What tool can you use if a drive gives read/write failure errors? 2. and restore the data from a backup. so you usually won’t see this symptom unless more than one drive fails. the solution is the same as with a RAID-0. A technician who sees a failed drive in a RAID-5 array might say. “I’ll fix that tomorrow. 2. Quick Check 1. What tool can you use to check a disk if it is slow? Quick Check Answers 1. and restore the data from a backup.” However. BSOD It isn’t common to have a stop error or blue screen of death (BSOD) from a hard drive or RAID problem. the most common reason is because the operating system doesn’t have the correct driver for the drive. 154 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . More Info  Chapter 17. it will stop working completely. the RAID-5 will stop working completely. Disk Defragmenter or defrag. For example. if you have a RAID-5 array with five disks and two disks fail.

mini-CD 194 MB. or 80-pin ribbon cables.28 Gbit/s). and eSATA connections.5 Gbit/s). and micro-SD. Ultra-320 320 MBps (2. 68-pin. but the power connector has 15 pins. Blu-Ray RE discs are recordable and erasable. External drives can be connected to a computer with USB. Motherboards have a single connector for each SATA drive. SATA speeds are as follows: SATA 1. 50-pin. SSDs have no moving parts but instead are nonvolatile RAM used as a drive.44-MB drives but are rarely included with computers today. read/write heads. which has the highest priority. Some common SCSI speeds are as follows: Ultra-160 160 MBps (1. FireWire. 5 V. Data cables include seven wires. Tape drives can be used for backups but are rarely used on desktop computers. duallayer DVD 8.12 Gbit/s). and actuator arms. DVDs.5G 150 MBps (1. Common brands are CompactFlash.Chapter Summary ■■ Hard disk drives include platters. They are much quicker than hard disk drives but also more expensive. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 4 155 .7 GB. DVD 4. Digital cameras and recorders use a similar type of portable memory. indicating data can be written to them once. SCSI devices use 25-pin. RW indicates rewritable. slave. 10. A single SCSI controller supports as many as 15 devices identified with a device ID.000 revolutions per minute (rpm). Optical discs designated with R are recordable. selecting master. or cable select. mini-SD.56 Gbit/s). Secure Digital. single-layer Blu-Ray 25 GB. and 12 V. SATA data connectors use a 7-pin L-shaped connector. and data can be written to the disc many times. The controller is normally assigned ID 7. PATA drives use 80-wire. SATA 3G 300 MBps (3 Gbit/s). and dual-layer Blu-Ray 50 GB. Optical disk capacities are as follows: CD 700 MB. Power cables have five wires. and 15.5-inch 1. and each connector supports two drives. 40-pin ribbon cables for data. Many eSATA connectors on laptops use combo eSATA and USB ports. Floppy drives support 3. and Ultra-640 640 MBps (5. ATA-7 (UDMA/133) can transfer data at a rate of 133 MBps. SATA connectors have a distinctive L shape. and Blu-Ray discs. Combo drives can read and write data to multiple types of optical discs. IDE (or PATA) interfaces are being replaced by SATA interfaces.5 GB. including CDs.3 V.000. 7200. Most motherboards include two IDE connectors. providing 3. You need to configure jumpers. Platters spin at rates such as 5400. 4-pin Molex power connectors provide 5 V and 12 V. and SATA 6G 600 MBps (6 Gbit/s). Data is written onto ferromagnetic material on the platters. and power connectors use a 15-pin L-shaped connector.

Four 2. Ensure that you have the correct drivers for a hardware RAID enclosure. Back up data as soon as possible. defrag. 40-pin. RAID-5. 7 pins with an L-shaped connector D. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. eSATA D. FireWire C. USB B. How many drives can you connect to a SATA connector? A. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. Three D. Use tools such as chkdsk. and RAID-10 do provide fault tolerance. Hardware RAID is more efficient than software RAID. ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. Two C.■■ RAID configurations provide different benefits by combining multiple disks. The answers to these questions. 80-wire ribbon cable C. Clicking noises from a hard drive indicate a hard drive crash. RAID-0 does not provide fault tolerance. You are adding an internal SATA drive to an existing system. and Disk Defragmenter to maintain drives. 40-pin. What type of data connector is used for a SATA 3G drive? A. 1. 40-wire ribbon cable B. 1934b 156 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . 15 pins with an L-shaped connector 3. but RAID-1. Check Disk. One B. Which of the following is not a valid external connector for a hard drive? A.

Disk thrashing D. 8. One B. 4. Failing hard drive B.1 GB 5. How much data can you store on a DL DVD disc? A. What does this indicate? A.4.7 GB C. Two C. Bad clusters Chapter Review CHAPTER 4 157 . Four 6. You hear a hard drive making loud clicking noises. 700 MB B. 17. Normal operation C. What is the minimum number of drives in a RAID-1? A.5 GB D. Three D.

C. D. Correct: SATA connectors support only one drive. B. Incorrect: IDE connectors support two drives. Incorrect: None of the RAID configurations use one drive. Incorrect: Hard disk drives can be connected with eSATA. Correct Answer: D A. B. Incorrect: FireWire connectors can be used to connect drives. Correct: SATA data connectors use a 7-pin L-shaped connector. C. Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: RAID-10 requires a minimum of four drives. 80-wire cables. Incorrect: A single motherboard includes two IDE drives and can support four SATA drives. Incorrect: Older PATA drives use 40-pin. Incorrect: A standard CD holds 700 MB. C. C. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: A dual-layer DVD holds 8. D. D. 4. 5.1 GB. B. Incorrect: RAID-5 requires a minimum of three drives. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: Newer PATA drives use 40-pin. but an external con- nector named 1934b doesn’t exist. B. C. Incorrect: A single-layer DVD holds 4.7 GB. D. 158 CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices . Incorrect: USB connectors can be used to connect drives.Answers 1. Correct: 1394a and 1394B are FireWire 400 and FireWire 800. Incorrect: None of the interfaces support three drives. 3. 2. Correct: RAID-1 (mirror) uses only two drives. Incorrect: SATA power uses a 15-pin L-shaped connector. 40-wire cables. D.5 GB. Incorrect: A dual-layer double-sided DVD holds 17. B. Correct Answer: C A.

Incorrect: Disk thrashing is when you can hear the actuator busily working and see the LED constantly blinking.6. Incorrect: Bad clusters will give read and write errors. Correct Answer: A A. Answers CHAPTER 4 159 . Incorrect: Clicking noises from a hard disk drive are not normal. Correct: This indicates a failing hard disk drive. D. C. B.


you can add expansion cards to give your computer additional capabilities.0 vs. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. 3.0 speed and distance characteristics ■■ Connector types: A. ■■ USB 1. B.7 Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose. In addition to using available connections to add components. The most common way of connecting external devices is with Universal Serial Bus (USB) connections. but there are other methods such as FireWire. mini. 2. you’ll learn about different components that you can add to a computer and how you can do so. FireWire 800 speed and distance characteristics 161 .1 vs. and a variety of miscellaneous connections are available at the rear of a computer.CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards I n this chapter. micro ■■ FireWire 400 vs.4 Install and configure expansion cards. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Sound cards Video cards Network cards Serial and parallel cards USB cards FireWire cards Storage cards Modem cards Wireless/cellular cards TV tuner cards Video capture cards Riser cards Physical connections ■■ ■■ 1.

11 Identify connector types and associated cables.12 Install and configure various peripheral devices. ■■ Display connector types ■■ miniDIN-6 USB IEEE1394 PS/2 Parallel Serial Audio USB IEEE1394 Parallel Serial ■■ Device connectors and pin arrangements ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Device cable types ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 1.■■ Other connector types ■■ ■■ ■■ Serial Parallel Audio ■■ 1. ■■ Input devices ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Mouse Keyboard Scanner Barcode reader KVM Microphone Biometric devices Game pads Joysticks Digitizer Digital cameras Microphone Webcam ■■ Multimedia devices ■■ ■■ ■■ 162 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards .

It locates an operating system (such as Windows) on a disk drive and loads it. looks for a suitable driver. sometimes Windows doesn’t have the driver for the device. “Understanding Motherboards and BIOS. including device drivers. so you can often just connect a device and it’ll work. and flash drives. Device Drivers Key Terms When manufacturers create hardware devices. Windows does some work behind the scenes that isn’t apparent. you use Device Manager in Windows-based systems. and hard drives. used to access other peripheral devices. Windows and other operating systems include many drivers. the device doesn't work. This term includes critical components such as keyboards. external hard drives. More Info  Chapter 15. this happens automatically without requiring you to do anything else. you need to install it. the instructions are very specific about installing the drivers before installing the device. However. When you insert a device. Without the correct device driver. and associates it with the device. mice. In most cases. Device Manager is discussed in Chapter 15. display.” describes how the Basic Input/ Output System (BIOS) is used when a computer is first turned on. It also includes additional components such as speakers. The device drivers give the operating system the information it needs to communicate with the device.■■ ■■ ■■ Camcorder MIDI enabled devices Speakers Output devices ■■ Peripherals and Device Drivers Key Terms A peripheral is any device that you connect to a computer. Windows recognizes it. Peripherals and Device Drivers CHAPTER 5 163 . The processor runs this program to access basic hardware such as the keyboard. You insert the CD and follow the directions to install the drivers. and display monitors. scanners. The operating system then loads additional software. Install Device Drivers before Installing Device New devices often include a CD with a device installation program. printers. In these cases. Chapter 2. In some cases. “Configuring Windows Operating Systems” When you need to manipulate device drivers manually. they also create a device driver for different operating systems.

it worked. If you’re not sure. Manufacturers know this too and will often use special. but like a kid at Christmas. We had to go through several steps to get it working. but when it does. If the directions say to install the driver first. When manufacturers are aware of this problem. Windows might continue to use the first driver it installed. you also had to configure the memory and IRQ settings manually. If you try to install the correct driver with the installation CD later. in addition to finding and installing the correct driver. it’s best to do so. which could be quite tedious. Real World  Following the directions avoids problems I know it’s tempting to install first and follow directions later—I’ve been guilty of it a few times in the past.” I remember helping a friend with a new digital camera he had purchased. it was avoidable. and disconnected the camera. 164 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . they provide clear instructions to install the driver first. When we reconnected it. they raise an IRQ. “Install software before attaching device.The following situation doesn’t occur often. shut the system down. the operating system didn’t recognize it. We went into Device Manager to uninstall the driver. Years ago. The device might work partially or not at all. but the operating system still used the original. The CPU identifies the device based on the IRQ number and answers the request by addressing the device with the memory address. Unfortunately. just as you might raise your hand to get someone‘s attention. it can take a lot of time to resolve. If you see a note saying to install the driver first. Two important resources that are automatically assigned are a specific range of memory addresses used by the device and an interrupt request (IRQ) number. he just ripped the packaging open and plugged it in after taking some pictures. it’s best to do so. I’m happy to say that I haven’t had to configure these settings manually with Windows XP. installing the driver first is always safe. but they’re unaware that it is also configuring resources for the driver. When devices want to get the attention of the CPU. Plug and Play Key Terms Windows includes a great feature called Plug and Play (PnP) that automates the installation and configuration of many device drivers. We then rebooted and went through the process of installing the software provided with the drive. or Windows 7. The directions clearly said to install the drivers first. highly visible labels saying something like. Specifically. Windows Vista. it is possible for Windows to misidentify a device and install a similar but incompatible driver. While this ended up being a success story. so he went back to the directions to install the correct driver. Many people recognize that it is automatically installing the correct driver.

1 USB 2.USB Key Terms The most common method of connecting peripherals to a computer is by using Universal Serial Bus (USB). Table 5-1  USB Versions Version USB 1. Exam Tip Know the speeds of each of the USB versions when preparing for the exam.1 and USB 2. USB CHAPTER 5 165 . but USB 3. and a popular USB device is a USB flash drive (also called a USB thumb drive). pictures. so I’m betting this is familiar to you. meaning that it retains data without power and it is hot-swappable. and other files. It is nonvolatile. you should be aware of some important details about USB.0 Common Name Low Speed Full Speed High Speed Super Speed Speed 1.5 Mbps (low speed) or 12 Mbps (full speed) 480 Mbps (60 MBps) 5 Gbps (625 MBps) Most computers support USB 1. Note  Flash memory The memory used in USB flash drives is flash memory. Table 5-1 outlines some details about the three versions of USB.0. This is the same type of memory commonly used to store the BIOS program on a motherboard. Figure 5-1 shows a picture of a 16-GB flash drive that you can use to store all your A+ notes plus several thousand songs.0 is relatively new and not as common. as an A+ technician. However.0 USB 3. You’ve probably seen USB flash drives before. Figure 5-1  USB flash drive.

USB 1.0 Connections While USB 1. don’t be surprised if you see these terms interchanged. Mini-B.1 and 2. For example. 166 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . need smaller connections and use the mini and micro connections. One end of the cable is a Standard Type A connector that plugs into the computer. Each of the mini and micro connectors has five pins and also provides 5-V power to the device on pin 1. such as printers and video recorders.0 connectors are identical.0 Connections The most common USB port is the Standard Type A port. such as smartphones. use the Standard Type B port. Other connection types are the Standard Type B. Standard Type A Standard Type B Mini-B Micro-A Micro-B Figure 5-2  Common USB connectors. and many devices also use the Standard Type A port. USB 3. Micro-A. and Micro-B) along with a diagram of all the connectors. USB 3. digital cameras. connectors In general. You find at least one Standard Type A port on almost every PC and laptop computer. and global positioning system (GPS) devices. and the other connector plugs into the port on the external USB hard disk drive. and the other end of the cable is a Standard Type B connector that plugs into the device.0 connectors have some significant differences. Some larger devices. Standard Type B. Despite these differences. a port is the connection on a device and a connector is the connection on a cable that plugs into a port. USB 3. However. and Micro-B connections. when you connect an external USB hard disk drive. The Mini-A connector is no longer used. One connector plugs into the port on the computer. Smaller devices. Figure 5-2 shows a picture of the three most common USB connectors (Standard Type A. The extra pin is used to distinguish the host from the device. Both the Standard Type A and the Standard Type B connectors have four pins and provide 5-V power to the device via pin 1.0 ports still accept connections from older USB devices.1 and 2. Note  Ports vs. you use a cable with two connectors.

0 device into a 3. but you only can get 3.0 ports and connectors are blue to make them easily distinguishable.0 A and B VBUS (5 V) Data Data + Ground N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A USB 3. The table also shows that pins 1 through 4 are identical for each version. USB 2.0 port. The device using the B port sends data on pins 5 and 6 and receives data on pins 8 and 9. a 2. ■■ ■■ In addition to the USB Standard A and Standard B connectors. They are physically the same size.0 Micro-B USB 3.0 device in USB 3.0 device in USB 3. You can plug any USB device into any of these ports and it will work.Table 5-2 shows the wiring of the Standard A and B connectors for each of the versions. USB 3. This will work at the device’s speed. Possible combinations include the following: ■■ USB 1.0 Standard A VBUS (5 V) Data Data + Ground Receive Receive + Ground Transmit + Transmit - USB 3.0 device in USB 2. Only newer USB 3.0 port. USB 3. It includes the exact same connector as the USB 2. USB 3.0 Micro-B connection and adds an extension with five more pins.0 port. This is the only combination that allows the full 5-Gbps speed. so they simply aren’t used.0 Micro-B Figure 5-3  USB Micro-B connectors.0 also has a USB Micro-B connection.0 includes two additional sets of pins used to send and receive data at the same time. USB CHAPTER 5 167 . The A port sends data on pins 8 and 9 and receives data on pins 5 and 6.0 port.0 speeds when you plug a USB 3.1 and 2.0 speed of 480 Mbps.0 Standard B VBUS (5 V) Data Data + Ground Transmit + Transmit Ground Receive Receive + USB 3.0 devices take advantage of the new pins.0 device will run at 480 Mbps. Older devices don’t have the pins. as shown in Figure 5-3. but USB 3. Table 5-2  USB Standard A and Standard B wiring Pin 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1. For example.1 or 2. This will work at the USB 2.

These ports can be controlled by the same controller or.0 port.0 speeds. and they will work normally. The first is to provide power to the device with its own power cord. 168 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . If you plug in too many devices. the devices share the 480 Mbps bandwidth. and the controller is a part of the chipset on the motherboard. It plugs into a USB port and provides additional powered ports to external devices without drawing power from the computer. USB Controller Computers have one or more USB controllers used to control USB devices. For example. but at USB 2. Therefore. Instead. if you have a USB 2. You can plug older USB devices into a USB 3. by separate controllers. You can also plug USB 3.0 devices into older USB Standard Type A and B ports and they will work. unless you plug in a device that draws a lot of power.0 ports and connectors are blue and are backward-compatible. including the controller. one or more of the devices will stop working. each of the devices connected to a controller shares the same bandwidth. your keyboard or mouse might stop working. each device does not have 480 Mbps of bandwidth available. This is rarely a problem. such as a camcorder. if you plug a camcorder (video recorder) into a USB port. There are two solutions to this problem.0 controller with five USB devices connected. In addition to sharing power.Exam Tip USB 3. the USB controller can support as many as 127 devices. Each version of USB supports a total of 128 devices. You can also connect an externally powered USB hub (like the one shown in Figure 5-4) to the computer. Figure 5-4  USB hub. The ports provide power to the devices that need it. For example. but it’s important to realize that there is a limited amount of power shared by the ports. in some cases. It’s common for a desktop computer to have USB ports available at the front and in the back.

USB CHAPTER 5 169 .” If you choose to scan and fix it. 127. 2.0 is 3 meters (almost 10 feet). the cable can be as long as 5 meters (about 16 feet).0? Quick Check Answers 1. the system will run a program called chkdsk on the drive and resolve the problem. a bit is set indicating that the disk has an unsaved file. you’ll see a message similar to this: “Do you want to scan and fix Removable Disk? There might be a problem with some files on this device or disc. The maximum recommended cable length for USB 3. but USB extension cords are available. ensure that the computer is not writing to the flash drive before you remove it. Additionally. meaning that you can insert and remove them without powering a system down. This bit is commonly called a dirty bit. “Understanding Disks and File Systems” Chkdsk can also be used to manually check disks for problems and repair them. This can happen if you remove the device or disc before all files have been written to it. Exam Tip Know the maximum cable lengths when preparing for the exam. If you insert a flash drive that has the dirty bit set. When you open and modify a file in Windows. When all the files have been saved. What is the speed of USB 3. If you remove a drive while a file is being modified. you shouldn’t remove a USB device if it has an open file. Quick Check 1. the system might corrupt the file. the dirty bit is cleared. Chapter 16 explores chkdsk in more depth.USB Cable Lengths When connecting devices by using a USB cable. How many devices are supported by a USB hub? 2. This is useful for devices such as printers. Dirty Bit Key Terms USB devices are hot-swappable. You can avoid this completely by ensuring that all files are closed before removing a flash drive. However. It’s very rare to find a device with a 5-meter USB cable. More Info  Chapter 16. 5 Gbps.

a single FireWire port supports multiple devices. versions became known as FireWire 400. In addition to being used as a high-speed serial bus with a computer. This port does not provide power.LINK by Sony. Table 5-3  FireWire Versions Version FireWire 400 FireWire 800 IEEE Name 1394a 1394b Speed 400 Mbps 800 Mbps Max Cable Length 4. FireWire Cables and Connections When connecting FireWire 400 devices. the cable can be as long as 4. This port includes pins for data and power.5 meters (about 15 feet) 100 meters (about 330 feet) Note  i.FireWire Key Terms FireWire was originally created by Apple and later standardized as IEEE 1394. so FireWire can support as many as 63 devices. ■■ ■■ 170 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . although this isn’t common. This way.5 meters (about 15 feet). You can also daisy-chain FireWire devices by connecting them to each other. There are three types of FireWire connections: ■■ 4-pin. It is the port that is most closely associated with FireWire. and FireWire 800. instead of the full-size 6-pin port. It is a highspeed serial bus similar to USB and is often used for audio and video editing. FireWire 800 can also be used to network computers together with common Category 5e twisted-pair cable. They work the same way as USB hubs. It’s found on smaller devices that don’t need power and on laptop computers. where you plug the hub into a FireWire port and the hub has multiple FireWire ports.LINK and Lynx FireWire is also called i. 6-pin alpha connector. It’s common to daisy-chain FireWire devices by plugging devices into each other. This port includes the same connections as a 6-pin port but adds pins for a grounded shield. The shield prevents interference from nearby devices or cables and is required for FireWire 800. It can transfer data between a computer and digital video cameras or external hard drives at the high speeds needed for effective editing. Table 5-3 compares the two versions. When it was updated. and Lynx by Texas Instruments. or IEEE 1394b. You can have as many as 16 cables for a maximum cable length from the FireWire 400 port of 72 meters (about 236 feet). or IEEE 1394a. You can use FireWire hubs to connect multiple FireWire devices. 9-pin beta connector.

It also includes a diagram of all three connections.0 devices with 5 Gbps speeds come to market. and S3200 supports speeds up to 3.Figure 5-5 shows the 4-pin and 6-pin FireWire 400 connectors. FireWire CHAPTER 5 171 . 63. but the 6-pin port does. it’s very likely that you’ll see FireWire devices using these faster speeds. The 9-pin port is required for FireWire 800. 2. 4-pin 6-pin 9-pin Figure 5-5  FireWire connectors (4-pin and 6-pin.6 Gbps. What is the speed of IEEE 1394b? Quick Check Answers 1. The 4-pin port does not provide power. These devices use the 9-pin beta connection. However. 800 Mbps. FireWire S1600 and S3200 devices have been slow to appear for desktops. Quick Check 1. with added diagram of 9-pin). S1600 supports speeds up to 1. as more USB 3. although devices aren’t as readily available for them. Exam Tip Know the speeds of each FireWire type and the details of each connection. including the less common FireWire 800 9-pin connection. How many devices are supported by FireWire? 2.2 Gbps. FireWire S1600 and S3200 IEEE 1394b also included specifications for S1600 and S3200.

172 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . Mini-DIN. three-row port on the bottom right of Figure 5-6 is an old Video Graphics Array (VGA) port. serial. The 9-pin male serial port is shown at the bottom center of Figure 5-6. the German national standards organization that created the standard. 1394/USB.Miscellaneous Connections Although they are rarely used with typical computers today. The top port is for a mouse. This computer includes one FireWire port and two USB ports. and serial ports commonly use USB ports today. Note  D connectors The parallel. ■■ PS/2. The VGA connection might be present. Serial. It is a DB-15 port. and the bottom port is for a keyboard. but they are commonly called DB connections. VGA. At the far left of Figure 5-6 are the older PS/2 ports. The long. The 25-pin parallel connection is called a DB-25 (officially DB-25). but other video ports are usually available and used instead. The two PS/2 ports are 6-pin mini-DIN ports. Figure 5-6 shows the back of an older computer with these ports. and the following list provides a brief description of each port. Figure 5-6  Back of older computer. Parallel. Each has an official letter designation. mini-DIN. and VGA connectors are all loosely shaped like the letter D. Chapter 6. but you might run across other mini-DIN ports. 25-pin female port on the top to the right of center in Figure 5-6 is the parallel port. It is a DB-9 port. some older connections are specifically mentioned in the A+ objectives. so you should be aware of them. The 15-pin. parallel. ■■ ■■ ■■ Key Terms ■■ ■■ Devices that previously used the PS/2. the 9-pin serial connection is called a DB-9 (officially DA-15). “Exploring Video and Display Devices. and the 15-pin VGA connection is called a DB-15 (officially DE-15). DIN is short for Deutsche Industrie Norm. It is a DB-25 port.” covers video in more depth.

you should be able to recognize any connection by its shape. Serial Key Terms The serial port was used for devices that could handle data being sent one bit at a time. Parallel ports were designated as LPT (short for line printer). although most ports are configured today to help prevent damage. Exam Tip Know the connection colors when preparing for A+ exams. In addition to its use for the PS/2 connections. The Miscellaneous Connections CHAPTER 5 173 . Mini-DIN Several different types of mini-DIN connections are available. If a mouse or keyboard cable comes loose. Compared to the serial port. Combined with the DB-25 parallel port. the parallel port could send data eight times faster. The keyboard is purple. A ribbon cable connected the printer to the parallel port. which is a 4-pin DIN used for video. Parallel Key Terms The parallel port was the primary port used for printers before USB became so prevalent. Versions come with three. but later implementations used a standard of green for the mouse and purple for the keyboard. four. It wasn’t originally color-coded. seven.) Also. A challenge with these ports is that they are not hot-swappable. Some computers included both a 9-pin male serial port and a 25-pin male serial port. you often have to turn off the system to plug it back in. Figure 5-6 shows a 9-pin male serial port on the back of the computer. six. Another common mini-DIN connection is the Separate Video (S-Video) connection. Data was sent out by the port eight bits (a byte) at a time. which could send data only one bit at a time. five. eight. It’s possible to cause damage by plugging in a device with the power on. It is a 6-pin mini-DIN connection. so it was identified as LPT1. and nine pins. and the mouse is green. More often. the 6-pin DIN can also be used for video and audio connections. devices that are plugged in with power just aren’t recognized. Both the connectors on the cable and the ports on the computer are color-coded.PS/2 Key Terms The PS/2 name comes from the original IBM personal system/2 computers that used these ports. (One way to remember this is that “mouse” has five letters and “green” also has five letters. and these connections are far superior to the older parallel interface. FireWire. and it was often called the printer port. New printers use USB. Most computers had only one parallel port. the DB-25 serial port sometimes confused techs. and/or network connections. It’s rare to see the parallel port on a new computer.

USB and FireWire use low voltage differential (LVD) signaling. Purple. Serial communications.” As a reminder.1 surround sound system. More Info  Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 Other output devices include video. Sound can be provided by a simple speaker. Serial ports are referred to as COM ports. A basic mono sound system has a single channel. the serial ports use RS-232. It’s used for USB. RS is short for recommended standard. which is described in Chapter 4. However. No matter how many speakers you connect. covered in Chapter 6. What is the purpose of a DB-9 connector? Quick Check Answers 1. Each COM port has a number. Key Terms In contrast. 2. For example.” Common Sound Systems An important piece of knowledge that you need for the A+ exam is how sound systems can be connected. COM2. such as COM1. but it’s rare to see a serial RS-232 port in modern computers. “Comparing Storage Devices.primary way to tell the difference is that the serial ports always have pins and the parallel ports always have pinholes. RS-232 is still used in specialized equipment. and RS-232 is the common standard used to send serial data. and so on. FireWire. AMD HyperTransport busses. stereo is a two-channel sound system and plays 174 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . There is a significant difference between serial data sent via the serial port and serial data sent through USB or FireWire ports. the same sound comes out of each one. LVD sends data as differences in voltages between two wires in a pair and can achieve lightningfast speeds. SATA. or with an elaborate 7. covered in Chapter 7. and more. What color is the keyboard PS/2 connector? 2. many sound systems include multiple channels. Quick Check 1. by a set of headphones. and printers. Sound One of the computer outputs that many people enjoy is audio. “Exploring Printers.

For example. The 2 indicates that it is stereo. Sound CHAPTER 5 175 .1 sound system.1. often used for voice or dialog. creating a realistic experience. Some other common sound systems include the following: ■■ 2. a bird singing in a tree on your right.1. 7.1. Combined with the deep bass of the subwoofer.1 surround sound system and adds two speakers: one on the right side and one on the left side. It has left and right speakers in the front. ­ Figure 5-7  Sound connectors for 7. or an explosion in front of you. and the . you might hear a dog bark from behind you. Connecting Sound Systems Most motherboards have built-in sound capabilities as part of the chipset. 5. left and right speakers in the rear. A 5. and Table 5-4 describes these ports. The subwoofer provides deep bass sounds.1 sound system includes the same five speakers and subwoofer found in a 5.1 represents a subwoofer.1 system. For example. A 7.different sounds from the left and right speakers. ■■ ■■ Many games and other programs use 3D sound and positional audio to play audio so that it seems as if the sound is in a specific location.1 sound system is also known as a surround sound system and has five speakers and a subwoofer. Figure 5-7 shows the back of a system with several ports for a 7. you’re often able to feel many of the sounds. and a central speaker. They provide connections at the back of the system and sometimes at the front. These connections are colorcoded and have icons that give you an idea of what they do.

1 system. Figure 5-9 shows the S/PDIF port on a motherboard. one on the tip. Top middle. Bottom left. Note  Colors not always followed While there are standard colors followed by most vendors. Key Terms Most audio connections use a tip ring sleeve (TRS) connector. When on front panel. one on a ring around the pin. Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards 176 CHAPTER 5 . This accepts sound from sources other than a microphone. sometimes gray is used instead of brown for the middle speakers.1 systems and subwoofer used for any x. and the pink microphone jack (from top to bottom). Microphone icon. Tip Ring Sleeve Figure 5-8  TRS connector. the green front-speaker jack.1/7. This is a DB-15 connector. and the digital signal includes all the channels.1 systems. For example. Bottom middle. it often has a headphone icon. It is next to the blue line-in jack. Key Terms Some sound systems use a specialized connection called Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format (S/PDIF). a TRS connector has three contacts. Used only for 7. Older joysticks can also plug into this connector. and one on a sleeve.Table 5-4 Sound Connections Purpose Microphone Front speakers or headphones Line in Middle speakers Subwoofer and center speaker Rear speakers Color Pink Lime green Light blue Brown Orange Black Comments Top left. As shown in Figure 5-8. Musicians can connect musical instruments and other electronics here to play music. Top right. Bottom right. Some sound cards also include a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) connector. Center speaker used for 5. you’ll very likely encounter some sound ports that differ from the standard. It is a single connection.

Last.Figure 5-9  S/PDIF connector next to three other sound connectors. If you come across a system that isn’t playing sound. ensure that the speakers are plugged into the correct jack. processing. What does . Subwoofer. What is the standard color for the front speaker jack? Quick Check Answers 1. and output. You can use these controls to mute/unmute the sound and adjust the volume. but it’s also important to be aware of the different types of input devices and how they are installed.1 indicate in a 7. there are a few things to check. Input Devices The basic flow of information through a computer is input. 2. Next.1 surround sound system? 2. Chapters 2 and 3 spend a lot of time on the motherboard and CPUs that handle much of the processing. and a sound control is usually available in the notification area on the right side of the taskbar. check the sound controls in the operating system. First. Quick Check 1. Input Devices CHAPTER 5 177 . ensure that the correct device drivers are installed. Lime green. The Control Panel has a Sound applet.

and the photodiodes detect movement based 178 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . or controlling audio or video playing on the system. you plug in a USB transceiver that resembles a small USB flash drive. but there are several variations. Figure 5-10 shows an ergonomically shaped keyboard with some extra keys. The function keys (F1 through F12) perform specific functions in different programs. starting the email client. Primary keys Navigation Numeric keys keypad The special keys along the top are programmed for specific tasks. Keyboards are very easy to install. such as a rolling ball and wheels. and most are Plug and Play. The numeric keypad includes a Num Lock key. For example. you can press Windows+E to start Windows Explorer. and by toggling it. You simply plug them into the purple PS/2 port or a USB port and they work. After installing the drivers. the numeric keypad can be used for navigation. For example. F1 will usually start the Help screen. Navigation keys are used to move the cursor. resulting in a jerky mouse movement.Keyboard A keyboard is a primary input device used on desktop computers. An improvement to the mechanical mouse is an optical mouse that uses a light emitting diode (LED) and photodiodes. Special keys Function keys Windows key Figure 5-10  Ergonomic keyboard. The LED shines light on a surface. and F5 will usually refresh the display. such as opening the web browser. The keyboard has batteries and can often be used from up to 30 feet away. These components often got dirty. to track the movement. The keyboard is specially shaped to encourage a more natural hand and wrist posture. Some keyboards are wireless and come with an installation CD to install device drivers. and a numeric keypad includes numbers and basic math keys. Mice Older mice used mechanical components. Windows-based systems make special use of the Windows key with a variety of shortcuts. For example.

It tracks how many games you’ve played and when you get past a hundred or so games. often included with Windows-based systems. This is especially important when using the recording function. Microsoft‘s BlueTrack Technology allows you to use a mouse on a carpet or the arm of a chair. They work well on most flat surfaces but don’t work on glossy surfaces such as glass. (Be careful.) Microphone Microphones are used as input devices to capture audio. You can also find very high-quality microphones similar to those that musicians use. One of the challenges with a microphone is that it can pick up other noise or sound artifacts that aren’t desired. Players can be in different physical locations but still interact with each other. A headset microphone is often inexpensive but usually not suitable for recordings. and the one on the right can be clipped onto a collar or shirt similarly to the microphones that some television reporters use. Most newer mice use a USB port. Both of these are of higher quality than the headset microphone on the left. Wireless keyboards often come with a wireless mouse. is used by many trainers to get new users accustomed to how a mouse works. Higher-quality microphones eliminate the artifacts. though. Figure 5-11 shows three common types of microphones. For example. microphones will either plug into the pink microphone jack of the sound system using a TRS jack or use a USB connector. Note  Solitaire training The card game Solitaire. it’s no longer considered training. Many newer mice include lasers and photo sensors that can track the movement of the mouse with greater accuracy and on more surfaces. A mouse is as easy to install as a keyboard. They are sometimes used for realtime interaction. and at other times they are used to record audio for later playback. using the mouse becomes second nature. Typically. and after you install the keyboard. The middle microphone in Figure 5-11 is a desktop version that users can speak into. After just a few games.on the reflections. Microphones are so common that you usually won’t have to install additional drivers. resulting in better voice recordings. the mouse works too. The headphones include a microphone and are often used by gamers in multiplayer games. Input Devices CHAPTER 5 179 .

Figure 5-11  Microphones. 180 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . scan. Scanners and Digitizers Key Terms Scanners and digitizers are used to scan documents and photos and are similar to office copiers in the way they work. fax. but it’s much more common to use a multifunction printer that can print. Document feeder Paper tray Control panel Moving light source Figure 5-12  Multifunction printer with scanner. and copy documents. Figure 5-12 shows an HP multifunction printer that includes a document feeder and a flatbed scanner. You can purchase a stand-alone scanner.

You can place documents in the document feeder. and the location where it will be used.” covers networking in more depth. the serial number. or you can open the printer and place the item on the glass. technicians put a barcode sticker on the hardware and record its details in the inventory. you’ve seen a Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode and barcode readers. printers often include a network connection. They use the same scanning technology as a scanner and are often used with hardware inventory systems. a Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG or . allowing you to connect a printer/scanner in a network and share it with multiple users. Most scanners include software with drivers that you should install before connecting the device.pdf) file. including how to reserve a specific IP address for a printer. “Comparing IPv4 and IPv6. such as a computer. Additionally. Periodically. Scanners and digitizers commonly include optical character recognition (OCR) software that allows you to scan a text document and save it as editable text.jpg) graphics file. although some are available using the PS/2 connection. For example. Some also include intelligent character recognition (ICR) software that can read handwriting. you can use software provided by HP to capture the image and save it as a file. and Chapter 21. This printer includes a touchscreen control panel that you can use to make a copy by simply selecting Copy. More Info  Chapter 7 and Chapter 21 Chapter 7 covers printers in more depth. This software supports saving the file as a Portable Document Format (PDF or . When a valuable piece of hardware. Handheld barcode readers are available for personal computers. and several other common graphics formats. Details include information such as the model. and a database application. technicians use the barcode reader to scan barcodes on the equipment so they can complete an inventory rather quickly. but you might also see scanners or multifunction printers that include FireWire connections. Input Devices CHAPTER 5 181 . a handheld barcode reader. Alternatively. Barcode Reader If you’ve been to a store in the last 30 years or so. although ICR is more commonly used on tablet devices. is purchased. a barcode inventory system includes rolls of preprinted barcode stickers. The printer/scanner shown in the figure includes a USB connection. Barcode scanners are typically connected with a USB cable.

and mouse with multiple computers. allowing you to have one KVM for multiple servers in a single equipment bay. KVM Figure 5-13  KVM connections. These are most commonly used to read Quick Response (QR) barcodes. Ctrl. but it can be used anywhere that you have more than one computer and you need to save desktop space. In some cases. you’d press Alt+Ctrl+Shift+3. The KVM switch has ports for a single keyboard. It is most commonly used in server rooms. you can just press a special key combination on the keyboard called a keyboard shortcut. the KVM has physical switches or buttons that you use to select a specific computer. Scroll Lock. Alt+Ctrl+Shift+number. and applications are available for use of the camera as a barcode scanner. which are specially formatted square barcodes. KVM Key Terms A keyboard video mouse (KVM) switch allows you to use a single keyboard. The number refers to a port number on the switch. For example. Tap the Ctrl key twice. if you wanted to connect to the computer by using port three. and a mouse.Note  Scanner applications Portable smartphones and tablet devices commonly include a camera. video monitor. 182 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . too. However. in other cases. as shown in Figure 5-13. a display monitor. It also has cables for each computer. Scroll Lock. Tap the Scroll Lock key twice. You connect the devices to the KVM instead of to a computer and then connect the computers to the KVM. Some keyboard shortcuts that allow you to toggle between computers connected to a KVM are the following: ■■ ■■ ■■ Ctrl. but they can often read traditional barcodes.

Biometric Devices Key Terms Biometric devices identify individuals based on their physical characteristics. Input Devices CHAPTER 5 183 . Instead. although they have largely been replaced by game pads. Joysticks often include buttons. which scan the retina of an eye. Biometrics is much more secure than passwords. Users can pivot the joystick around the base to control the movement within the game. they can manipulate the analog stick with a thumb. you can log on to a computer with a user name and password. which scan the iris. and the pilot can pivot it to control the direction of the plane. the keyboard and mouse—or even the joystick—just aren’t enough to get the gaming performance they desire. but it is more expensive. Other types include retinal scans. Similarly. Similar joysticks have been used in computer games. Joysticks Joysticks have been used in aviation for more than a century. For example. fighter planes and jets require buttons to fire bullets or missiles. Joysticks are available with USB connectors. The analog stick mimics the functionality of a joystick but isn’t as big and bulky. Joysticks originally connected to the DB-15 sound card port. and iris scans. A joystick can have multiple buttons used for different purposes in games. A joystick is connected to a base. depending on the game being played. A game pad is a handheld device that includes multiple controls used within games. You can also find external biometric devices that commonly connect to a USB port. As users hold the game pad. you can log on with the same user name and prove it’s you by using a fingerprint. Biometrics is often used for authentication. Game Pads Key Terms For some gamers. including firing bullets and missiles. so you’ll need to install it using the installation software from the manufacturer. It’s rare for the driver to be included with the operating system. The buttons and analog sticks are used differently. For example. You are claiming an identity with your user name and proving the identity with a password. The most common type of biometrics in use is fingerprinting. which is the same port used by MIDI devices. Popular game pads can be held with both hands and include multiple buttons and at least one analog stick. Many laptops have built-in fingerprint readers. the gamers add a game pad to their system. Figure 5-14 shows a game pad. Authentication occurs when someone claims an identity and then proves the identity with something else.

Scanner. and MIDI devices. 184 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . Game pads often connect with a USB connection or with a wireless connection. Most multimedia devices are connected to a computer with a USB cable.Figure 5-14  Game pad. 2. camcorders. What is used to control multiple computers with a single keyboard and monitor? Quick Check Answers 1. but some camcorders use ­ FireWire. KVM switch. webcams. similar to those used with wireless keyboards and mice. Wireless connections typically use a wireless USB dongle. What type of device can create a digital file from a paper document? 2. Quick Check 1. Multimedia Devices Multimedia devices include cameras.

and they provide a rich set of features. Flash memory Figure 5-15  Digital camera. showing where the battery and flash memory are installed. To access the photos. When you attach the cable from the camera to the computer. The cover on the left is open. and it’s relatively easy to transfer the pictures to your computer or to get them printed. you can remove the memory stick from the camera and plug it into the slot instead of connecting the camera directly to the computer. In the middle is a Micro-B USB port. Similarly. it appears as another disk drive that you can access by using Windows Explorer. More Info  Chapter 4 Chapter 4 covers the different types of flash memory used in cameras within the context of solid state drives.Digital Cameras Digital cameras are easy to use and very affordable. Figure 5-15 shows a digital camera with a few highlights. Battery USB connection Multimedia Devices CHAPTER 5 185 . Many computers and printers include CompactFlash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) slots. you can take the memory stick to a photo shop to get your photos printed. They store the pictures on flash memory sticks.

You can usually connect a camcorder to a PC by using a USB cable. although you might occasionally use a traditional PCI card. External webcams commonly connect using USB cables. Many laptops include a built-in webcam centered at the top of the display. including pianos. The primary type of expansion card with which you’ll be working is Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe). A benefit is that a MIDI file can be much smaller than a music recording. and it’s very common to add or replace an expansion card in desktop computers. When both parties are using a webcam. Expansion Cards Key Terms Motherboards include expansion slots. but you can also purchase external webcams. Some camcorders also have FireWire connections. MIDI files include instructions about what notes to play and how to play them. but many current versions use high-capacity memory sticks. Webcam Key Terms A webcam is a camera attached to a computer.Camcorder A camcorder is a camera that can capture live recordings of both audio and video (A/V). MIDI devices can simulate just about any type of musical instrument. they can each look at their monitor and see the other person in real time. The difference is that a camcorder is a dedicated device that is optimized for these recordings. many sound files are actual recordings of music. MIDI-Enabled Devices Key Terms Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) devices can play synthesized music from a MIDI file. You typically have the same connectivity options with a camcorder that you have with a digital camera. and they’re also used with some instant messaging systems. Older sound cards included a DB-15 MIDI connector used for either a MIDI device or a joystick. trumpets. 186 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . Camcorders have been available using tapes and built-in hard drives. Most current MIDI devices use a USB interface instead. One of the popular uses of webcams is for Skype to make real-time phone calls that include both voice and video. or you can remove the memory stick and insert it into a memory card reader on the computer. violins. In contrast. Many digital cameras can capture A/V recordings in addition to still pictures. drums. and oboes. and it’s often attached to the top of the monitor. It has been known as a video recorder but is more commonly called a camcorder. One of the challenges with camcorders has been storage space because video quickly consumes a lot of space.

More Info  Chapter 2

Chapter 2 covers motherboards and expansion slots, including PCI and PCIe.

The three reasons to add or replace an expansion card are as follows:

To replace a failed component. The chipset on the motherboard includes an expected feature, but if something fails, you can add an expansion card to provide the same feature. To improve a capability. If the chipset includes a feature but you want something better, you can often add a card. This is commonly done with graphics cards. To add a capability. If your system doesn’t include a feature that you want, you can add a card.



For example, imagine that you wanted to use a computer to watch and record TV shows. This is certainly possible, but you need a TV tuner expansion card similar to the one shown in Figure 5-16. You could purchase the card, install it in the system, and be ready to go. However, if you’re using one of the Media Center editions of Windows, you can use Media Center to manage the recordings.
Note  TV tuners

The card shown in Figure 5-16 includes two tuners. This allows the computer to record one TV program while another one is being watched. It also includes connections for the TV signal.

3.3 V 32-bit PCI slot

5 V 32-bit PCI slot

3.3 V connection

5 V connection

Figure 5-16  TV tuner expansion card.

It’s extremely important that you consider your system’s current motherboard configuration before purchasing a card. Chapter 2 covers the different types of slots available on a motherboard, and you want to get a board that can fit in an available slot. The card shown in the figure is a 32-bit PCI card that can plug into either a 3.3 V or a 5 V 32-bit PCI slot. That’s

Expansion Cards



good if you have either one of these slots open and available, but it’s not so good if you don’t have any available slots. You probably have some empty PCIe slots, but it’s important to remember the differences. Figure 5-17 shows some common-sized PCIe slots. You can plug a smaller PCIe card into a larger PCIe slot. For example, if you have an empty PCIe x16 slot, you can plug a PCIe x1, x4, or x8 card into it. However, you cannot plug a larger card into a smaller slot.
PCIe x1 PCIe x4 PCIe x8 PCIe x16
Figure 5-17  PCIe slot sizes.

Exam Tip

You will need to know how to mix and match PCIe slots and PCIe expansion cards.

Expansion Card Types
Some of the different types of expansion cards that you can add include the following:

Video cards. Users sometimes want a video card that includes more onboard RAM or better capabilities. You can find a wide assortment of video cards. Sound cards. Sound cards are available that provide anything from basic sound to elaborate 7.1 surround sound. Network cards. Network cards can be added to increase the throughput. You can install one that has better performance than the original or as an additional network connection. Serial and parallel cards. Many systems do not include the DB-9 serial port or the DB-25 parallel port, but they can be added with an expansion card if needed. USB cards. USB cards are available to provide additional ports using a separate hub. These ports will not share the same bandwidth of USB ports from the motherboard. USB 3.0 is not on many systems, but it is possible to add a USB 3.0 card. FireWire cards. Multiport FireWire cards can add FireWire capabilities to a system or provide it with additional ports. Storage cards. Storage cards allow you add additional disks beyond the capabilities of the original system. For example, you can add a Serial ATA (SATA) card to support additional internal or external SATA drives. Many SATA storage cards have built-in support for a redundant array of independent disks (such as RAID-0, RAID-1, or RAID-5). While








Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards

less common for a desktop, you can also add Parallel ATA (PATA) or Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) cards.

Modem cards. Many computers no longer include a modem, but if there is a need, you can add an internal modem. Modem cards include two RJ-11 ports so that the phone line can be shared. An RJ-11 port is the same type of port a typical phone line uses. One port connects the phone line to the computer, and the second connects to a standard phone. It’s also possible to add external modems that plug into a USB port. Wireless cards. Wireless capabilities are included with most laptop computers. People often want to add wireless capabilities to desktop computers so that wires aren’t needed. These are available as expansion cards. They’re also available as a USB dongle that plugs into a USB port. Cellular cards. Cellular cards allow a computer to connect to a cellular network. This is the same network used by mobile smartphone users for Internet access with a subscription. While expansion cards are available, it is more common to use a USB port and connect a cellular card externally. TV tuner cards. These allow you to watch and record television. They include an F-type connector used to connect an RG-6 coaxial cable, similar to what is used with a TV. Video capture cards. A video capture card has the ability to capture all video going to a computer. A TV tuner is a type of video capture card that captures the television signal. Other cards can capture video from other sources, such as VCR or DVD players or gaming consoles. Riser cards. A riser card plugs into a slot and includes an identical slot configured at a right angle. You can then plug an expansion card into the riser card. The end result is that the expansion card is positioned horizontally to the motherboard. This is useful in some small-sized computer cases where the expansion card wouldn’t otherwise fit.






If you plan on adding an expansion card, you need to take several steps. You can use the following list of steps as a guide:

Identify an open slot. Before purchasing an expansion card, you need to verify that the computer has space. If you purchase a PCIe x16 card but then find you don’t have an open PCIe x16 slot, you might be out of some of your money. Purchase the right card. Buy a card that meets your needs and will fit in an available slot. Power down and unplug the computer. You can damage the computer or yourself if you try to replace an expansion card while the system is powered on. Use electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection. When you’re ready to install the card, use ESD protection, such as an ESD wrist strap and an ESD mat.




Expansion Cards




Open the computer and remove components. If you’re replacing a card, you need to remove the old card. If you’re adding a new card to an empty slot, you need to remove the slot cover at the back of the computer. The card’s external connections will be available here. Install the new card. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Different types of cards have different connections, so you might need to connect additional cables either internally or after the card is installed. Ensure that you screw it down so that the card remains in place. Consider the BIOS. If you’re replacing a feature that is built into the chipset, you might need to disable the feature in BIOS. For example, if you’re adding a new sound card, you might need to disable the sound capabilities in the BIOS. Install the drivers. The manufacturer will normally provide a CD that you can use to install the drivers. If recommended, you should install the drivers prior to the installation.




Quick Check
1. What is the most common type of expansion card used in desktop computers? 2. Is it possible to plug a PCI x4 card into a PCI x2 slot?

Quick Check Answers
1. PCIe. 2. No.

Chapter Summary

Peripherals are devices that are connected to a computer, and device drivers provide the operating system with the instructions on how to access these devices. USB is the most commonly used connection port. USB 1.1 can transfer data at 1.1 Mbps (low speed) or 12 Mbps (full speed). USB 2.0 supports speeds of up to 480 Mbps, and USB 3.0 supports speeds of up to 5 Gbps. Ports on the computer and on most devices use Standard Type A connections. Larger devices such as printers and video recorders can use the Standard Type B port. Smaller devices such as digital cameras and smartphones use the Mini-B, Micro-A, or Micro-B ports. USB 3.0 ports are blue. A single USB controller can support up to 127 devices, and the USB cables can be as long as 5 meters (about 16 feet). FireWire 400 (1394a) supports speeds of up to 400 Mbps, and the cable can be as long as 4.5 meters (about 15 feet). FireWire 800 (1394b) supports speeds of up to 800 Mbps,






Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards

and the cable can be as long as 100 meters (about 15 feet). FireWire supports up to 63 devices on a system.

The 4-pin FireWire connector does not provide power. The 6-pin connector does provide power to devices. The 9-pin connector uses additional pins to prevent interference and is required for FireWire 800. The green PS/2 port is for a mouse, and the purple PS/2 port is for a keyboard. A parallel port is a DB-25 female port, and a serial port is either a DB-9 or a DB-25 male port. Surround sound systems include as many as seven speakers and a subwoofer (designated as 7.1). Sound connections include the following: front speakers or headphones (lime green), rear speakers (black), center speaker and subwoofer (orange), side speakers (brown), microphone (pink), and line in (light blue). Input devices are used to provide an input to the computer. Most use USB connections. Multimedia devices include cameras, camcorders, webcams, and MIDI devices. These commonly connect to USB ports. Expansion cards are added to a motherboard to provide an additional capability. Before purchasing an expansion card, ensure that you have an open slot to accept it. Most desktop computers include PCIe expansion slots. It’s possible to install a smaller PCIe card (such as PCIe x2) in a larger slot (such as PCIe x8), but you cannot install a larger card in a smaller slot. When adding an expansion card to upgrade a computer’s capabilities, you might need to access the BIOS to disable the original feature. For example, if you add a sound card, you might need to disable the sound provided from the chipset.



■■ ■■




Chapter Review
Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. The answers to these questions, and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect, are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter.
1. How many USB devices can a USB controller support? A. 2 B. 4 C. 63 D. 127 2. You want to plug in a USB 3.0 device. What port should you use? A. A blue rectangular port B. A rectangular port with a curved top

Chapter Review



C. A pink TRS connector D. A green PS/2 connector 3. What is the maximum length of a FireWire 400 cable? A. 3 meters B. 5 meters C. 4.5 meters D. 100 meters 4. You want to control two computers with a single keyboard, mouse, and monitor. What

should you use?
A. PCIe expansion card B. KVM switch C. MIDI device D. 7.1 system 5. You need to identify a device that can create files from printed documents. Of the fol-

lowing choices, what would you select?
A. Multifunction printer B. Biometric device C. Barcode reader D. MIDI-enabled device 6. You want to watch and record TV shows on a desktop computer. What is needed? A. KVM switch B. Webcam C. TV tuner card D. Camcorder


Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards

1. Correct Answer: D A. Incorrect: A controller supports more than 2 devices. B. Incorrect: A controller supports more than 4 devices. C. Incorrect: FireWire supports as many as 63 devices. D. Correct: A USB controller supports as many as 127 devices. 2. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: USB 3.0 ports are blue and the same rectangular size as USB 1.1 and USB

2.0 ports.
B. Incorrect: A FireWire port is rectangular with a curved top. C. Incorrect: Microphones have tip ring sleeve (TRS) connectors and plug into a

pink port.
D. Incorrect: The green PS/2 connector is for the mouse. 3. Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: The maximum recommended length of a USB 3.0 cable is 3 meters. B. Incorrect: The maximum length of a USB cable is 5 meters. C. Correct: The maximum length of a FireWire 400 cable is 4.5 meters. D. Incorrect: The maximum length of a FireWire 800 cable using a Category 5e

twisted-pair cable is 100 meters.
4. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: An expansion expands the capabilities of a single computer. B. Correct: A keyboard video mouse (KVM) switch is used to manage more than one

computer with a single keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
C. Incorrect: A Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) device is used to play MIDI

music files.
D. Incorrect: A 7.1 system is a surround sound system with seven speakers and a





5. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: Multifunction printers commonly include scanners or digitizers that can

scan documents.
B. Incorrect: A biometric device reads information about a person, such as a finger-

print or eye retina.
C. Incorrect: A barcode reader includes a scanner, but it can read only barcodes. D. Incorrect: A MIDI-enabled device can play synthesized music from MIDI files. 6. Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: A KVM switch allows multiple computers to share a single keyboard,

video monitor, and mouse.
B. Incorrect: A webcam is a camera attached to the computer and is used for live

interactions, such as a phone call.
C. Correct: A TV tuner card is required to watch and record TV shows on a desktop

D. Incorrect: A camcorder provides video recordings.



Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards


Exploring Video and Display Devices
n this chapter, you’ll learn about different types of display devices used to provide video for monitors. Most monitors are flat-panel displays, but there are other types you should know about. There are several different interfaces used by monitors, and these interfaces have different connectors that you should be able to recognize. If you come across any of the older monitors, you need to understand some important safety concerns. Last, this chapter includes many of the common symptoms of problems with video and how you can resolve them.

Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter:

1.4 Install and configure expansion cards.

Video cards Physical connections
■■ ■■


1.7 Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose.

Other connector types: VGA, HDMI, DVI Analog vs. digital transmission : VGA vs. HDMI


1.10 Given a scenario, evaluate types and features of display devices.

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

CRT LCD LED Plasma Projector OLED

■■ ■■ ■■

Refresh rates Resolution Native resolution

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Brightness/lumens Analog vs. digital Privacy/antiglare filters Multiple displays Display connector types
■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

1.11 Identify connector types and associated cables.

DVI-D DVI-I DVI-A Displayport RCA miniHDMI HDMI DVI VGA Component Composite S-video RGB


Display cable types
■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■


1.12 Install and configure various peripheral devices.

Input devices

Touch screen Display devices


Output devices


5.1 Given a scenario, use appropriate safety procedures.

Personal safety

CRT safety – proper disposal

Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter:

1.5 Given a scenario, use Control Panel utilities (the items are organized by “classic view/large icons” in Windows).

Common to all Microsoft Operating Systems

Display: Resolution


Exploring Video and Display Devices


4.4 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common video and display issues.

Common symptoms
■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

VGA mode No image on screen Overheat shutdown Dead pixels Artifacts Color patterns incorrect Dim image Flickering image Distorted image Discoloration (degaussing) BSOD

Display Devices
One of the most important output devices of a computer is the display device or monitor. As an A+ technician, you need to be aware of some common terms related to display devices and the different types commonly in use today.

Common Terms
The following are some common terms used when describing display devices:

Pixels. On monitors, a pixel (short for pixel element) includes three colored dots (red, green, and blue). A pixel can be any color, illuminating the dots with varying intensity. Resolution. The resolution of a monitor describes the width and height of a display in pixels. For example, the resolution of VGA is 640 × 480, meaning that it can display 640 pixels across the screen (width) on 480 separate lines (height). A higher number of pixels results in a higher resolution and an overall better display. Native resolution. Most new monitors are designed to use a specific resolution, referred to as the native resolution. If a different resolution is used, it distorts the display. Refresh rates. This is the frequency with which the screen is redrawn. For example, a refresh rate of 60 Hz indicates that the screen is redrawn 60 times per second. Brightness/lumens. Monitors have controls that allow you to control the brightness of the display. On some displays, the intensity of the light is measured in lumens.





Display Devices



CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors are the oldest type of analog monitor. They are heavy, take up a lot of desk space, and consume a significant amount of power compared with modern displays. You probably won’t see anyone purchase a new CRT monitor, but some older ones are still in use.
Note  CRTs replaced to save money

Most organizations recognize the amount of power that CRTs draw and have replaced them with new flat-panel displays. The flat-panel displays consume very little power in comparison, and companies save a noticeable amount of money on their power bills.

Besides drawing a significant amount of power, the refresh rate can also be a problem on these monitors. If the refresh rate is less than 72 Hz, many people notice a flicker that causes eyestrain and headaches. These monitors include a large vacuum tube and an electron gun that shoots electrons from the back onto a fluorescent screen. Compared to a typical flat-screen monitor, the CRT monitor is massive, as you can see in Figure 6-1. CRT monitors often extend a foot or more behind the front of the viewable screen.

Figure 6-1  Flat panel display and CRT monitor.


Exploring Video and Display Devices

Key Terms

LCD (liquid crystal display) monitors are flat-panel displays that have largely replaced CRT monitors. They are thinner and lighter, and they consume significantly less power than CRTs.

LCD Backlights
A backlight is used to shine light through liquid crystals in an LCD monitor to create the display. By changing the way the crystals are oriented, they refract the light differently and display different colors. This is similar to how you can see different colors by turning a prism. Light is refracted through the prism, and as you turn it, you see different colors. However, if you took a prism into a dark closet and turned it in your hand, you wouldn’t see anything because a prism doesn’t produce light. Similarly, liquid crystals don’t produce light. Instead, LCD displays depend on light shining through the crystals. Most LCD monitors include a cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) that shines from the back through the liquid crystals. If the CCFL fails, you probably won’t see any display at all. In some cases, the display picks up some ambient light and you can see a very dim display, but most often, you won’t see anything at all.
Exam Tip

If an LCD monitor doesn’t have any display, ensure that it is plugged in and turned on. If it is connected and turned on but you still have no display, the problem is likely the ­backlight.

CCFLs on most LCD monitors shine from the back to the front, and these monitors are called backlit-LCD monitors. Some use a refractor and can have the light shining from an edge.

LCD Refresh Rate and Native Resolution
Another benefit of LCD monitors over CRT monitors is that they don’t flicker at all. The refresh rate for LCD monitors is normally set at 60 Hz. LCD monitors are designed to use a native resolution. If you change the resolution to something different, it distorts the display. Many video cards can automatically sense the native resolution of a monitor and will show this as the recommended resolution.

A LED (light emitting diode) monitor is an LCD monitor that uses LEDs for the backlight instead of a CCFL. This provides several benefits, including a brighter display, better contrast, and lower power consumption. The difference in the display is often dramatic. I recently bought a new LED monitor and hooked it up next to a CCFL backlight display, and I was quite surprised at the differences.

Display Devices



Note  LEDs used only as the backlight

An LED monitor uses the same type of liquid crystals used by an LCD monitor. The LEDs are used only as a backlight.

Quick Check
1. What type of monitor consumes the most power? 2. What provides illumination in an LCD monitor?

Quick Check Answers
1. CRT. 2. Backlight.

A plasma display device is another type of flat-panel display. They can produce some vivid colors but are more susceptible to screen burn-in. Additionally, they draw more electricity than LCD monitors.
Note  Screen burn-in

If the same image is displayed on a display screen for an extended period, the image can be burned into the display. This image is viewable even if the power is turned off. Plasma displays are susceptible to burn-in, but LCD displays are immune to this phenomenon.

Plasma displays use a concept similar to fluorescent lights. A fluorescent light is a gas-filled tube, and when electricity is applied to the gas, it emits a light. A plasma display includes millions of small cells filled with a gas, and when voltage is applied to these cells, they can emit different-colored lights.

People often use projectors for giving presentations. This includes trainers or instructors teaching different topics, and also people giving presentations in a variety of different business situations. The projector is often mounted to the ceiling and projected onto a blank screen or sometimes a blank wall. Sometimes presenters carry a portable projector with them. Two primary characteristics to look for with projectors are lumens and throw ratio.

Lumens. This identifies the brightness of the display. In classroom or small business settings, a 2,000 lumen projector provides adequate brightness even when competing with other lights within a room. Projects used in large conference hall settings can have as many as 15,000 lumens.
Exploring Video and Display Devices



Throw ratio. The size of the display from the projector is affected by where the projector is positioned. For example, if you want the display to be six feet wide and the throw ratio is 2:1, the projector is mounted 12 feet from the screen.

Key Terms

An organic light-emitting diode (OLED) is a newer type of display device that is used in some smaller mobile devices. Unlike an LCD device, it can emit light without a backlight. OLED devices are thinner and lighter, and they provide better pictures and wider viewing angles than LCD devices. With all these benefits, you can expect to see more of them, but maybe not for a few years. I recently checked prices, and a 17” OLED monitor from Sony was available for $4,100 and a 25” model was available for $6,100. I didn’t buy one.

Using Multiple Displays
Many people use more than one display device when working on computers. For example, I’ve occasionally created training videos for the web with Camtasia. Having two monitors has made the process of editing the video much easier. Windows will normally recognize the second display as soon as you plug it in. However, you need to know how to configure it. On Windows 7, you can right-click the desktop and select Screen Resolution. You’ll see a display similar to Figure 6-2.

Figure 6-2  Configuring multiple displays.

If the monitor isn’t recognized, ensure that it is connected and turned on and then click the Detect button. In Figure 6-2, the two monitors are labeled as 1 and 2. If you click Identify,

Display Devices



it will display a large number on each of the monitors corresponding to the number shown on the Screen Resolution page. In the figure, the number 1 monitor is selected and the number 2 monitor is the main display. Items like the Windows Start menu and taskbar appear on the main display. The Multiple Displays drop-down box gives you two primary choices:

Duplicate These Displays. The same information is displayed on both. This is useful when giving presentations. The presenter can manipulate the monitor in front of them, and the same thing is shown to anyone watching the presentation. Extend These Displays. This allows you to drag windows between the displays. For example, you can have Internet Explorer open in one display while you’re taking A+ notes in Microsoft Word in the other display.


A key requirement for using multiple displays is that your computer must support more than one display. That is, your computer needs to have active interface connections for more than one monitor. Video cards commonly have more than one active connection.
Exam Tip

Dual monitors are used by many people doing any type of editing. This includes audio and video editing and even editing of books or articles.

Common Resolutions
There are more than 20 different resolutions used by different monitors. You don’t need to memorize them all, but you should be aware of common resolutions. Table 6-1 lists the resolutions that CompTIA included in their acronym list.
Table 6-1  Display Resolutions

Name VGA (Video Graphics Array) SVGA (Super VGA) XGA (Extended GA) EVGA (Extended VGA) SXGA (Super XGA) UXGA (Ultra XGA) WUXGA (Wide UXGA) HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) 1080 HDMI 780

Resolution 640 × 480 800 × 600 1024 × 768 1024 × 768 1280 × 1024 1600 × 1200 1920 × 1200 1920 × 1080 1280 × 720


Exploring Video and Display Devices

Configuring the Resolution
As an A+ technician, you need to be able to adjust the resolution for a computer. The following steps show you how to adjust it on computers running Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Windows 7:
1. Click Start and select Control Panel. 2. Select Large Icons in the View By selection. 3. Double-click Display. 4. Select Adjust Resolution from the menu on the left. 5. Select the resolution from the Resolution drop-down box. If a native resolution is

needed, it will often be listed as “Recommended,” as shown in the following graphic.

Exam Tip

There are other ways of getting to the Screen Resolution page. For example, on Windows 7, you can right-click the desktop and select Screen Resolution. However, the exam objectives specifically identify the Control Panel by using the Classic View/large icons. On the job, use whatever method you desire. For the exam, know these steps.

Windows Vista:
1. Click Start and select Control Panel. 2. Select Classic View. 3. Double-click Personalization.

Display Devices



4. Select Display Settings. 5. Use the slider to adjust the screen resolution as desired.

Windows XP:
1. Click Start and select Control Panel. 2. Select Classic View from the menu on the left. 3. Double-click Display. 4. Click the Settings tab. 5. Use the slider to adjust the screen resolution as desired.

Touch Screens
Touch screens are becoming more and more common. Instead of using a mouse to point and click, you can use different touch gestures with your fingers to manipulate the computer.
More Info  Chapter 9, “Understanding Mobile Devices”

Chapter 9 covers many of the common touch gestures used with touch screens on mobile devices. These same gestures are used with touch screens for desktop computers.

Touch screens are widely available on tablet devices, such as Apple’s iPad, and on smartphones. They’ve also been available with regular monitors for a long time and are most commonly used in kiosks. For example, many airlines have these available for customers to check in and print their tickets. Windows 7 supports touch screens, and you’re likely to run across Windows 8 notebooks with touch screens instead of traditional display devices.

Privacy and Anti-Glare Filters
Some monitors have a glare that bothers people and causes eye strain. Filters are available that act like sunglasses, but instead of the user wearing them, they fit over the screen. Many filters are designed with plastic tabs that lay on top of the monitor with the filter covering the screen. Others use Velcro attached to the monitor. Either way, the filter covers the screen to remove the glare. In addition to stopping glare, filters are also available to limit the viewing angle of the display. “Shoulder surfers” sometimes try to look at displays to get some private information. With a filter over the monitor, the only person who can see the contents of the monitor is the person sitting right in front of it.


Exploring Video and Display Devices

Quick Check
1. What resolution should be used for an LCD monitor? 2. What is the resolution of HDMI 1080?

Quick Check Answers
1. Native resolution. 2. 1920 × 1080.

Interfaces, Connections, and Cables
As a PC technician, you need to be able to identify the different types of connections used for video displays and know which interface is being used. Because monitors can use different types of interfaces, video card manufacturers commonly include more than one port on the video cards. For example, Figure 6-3 shows a circuit card with three different ports. These ports are described in the following sections.




Figure 6-3  Common ports on a video card.

Analog vs. Digital
Video displays have evolved quite a bit over time, and one of the primary changes is related to analog and digital data. Computers work with digital data sent as 1s and 0s. However, older monitors such as CRTs can display data only when it is sent as analog data. Analog data is created as modulation on an alternating current sine wave. For example, Figure 6-4 shows how data is sent to an analog monitor. The PC creates digital data, sends it to the video card, which formats it as analog data, and then sends it to the monitor.

Key Terms

Interfaces, Connections, and Cables



PC 1110010 Digital

Video card Analog

CRT monitor

Figure 6-4  Sending analog data to an analog monitor.

This works fine for analog monitors. However, many newer display devices, such as LCD monitors, use digital data. When they receive the analog data, they need to convert it back to digital data, as shown in Figure 6-5. Because of this, many LCD monitors have extra electronics to do this conversion.

PC 1110010 Digital

Video card Analog

1110010 Digital

CRT monitor

Figure 6-5  Converting analog data back to digital data for a digital monitor.

Do you see a problem here? If the computer creates digital data and the monitor needs digital data, why not just send digital data to the monitor instead of using time and resources to convert it twice? Actually, that’s exactly what is occurring with many interfaces today, as shown in Figure 6-6.

PC 1110010 Digital

Video card

1110010 Digital

LCD monitor Digital

Figure 6-6  Sending digital data to a digital monitor.

Ten years from now, this will be ancient history for IT technicians, but right now there is still a mixture of analog and digital devices in use. Therefore, you need to be aware of the differences and know which devices and interfaces are analog and which are digital.
Exam Tip

When studying the devices and interfaces, pay attention to which ones are analog and which ones are digital. In some cases, you can use a simple adapter to match dissimilar connections. However, simple adapters cannot change the signal from analog to digital or from digital to analog.
206 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices

but it’s still common to see VGA connectors. DVI Key Terms The Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connector is rectangle-shaped and is commonly found on many PCs and monitors today. Connections. The three primary versions are as follows: ■■ ■■ ■■ DVI-A connectors supply only analog data. Additionally. Interfaces. Figure 6-7 shows a connector on a standard VGA cable. Dual-link DVI uses more pins and wires and is used for higher resolutions up to 2560 × 1600. and Cables CHAPTER 6 207 . DVI comes in both single-link and dual-link versions. New display devices use improved interfaces. You can plug a single-link DVI cable into dual-link ports without any problem as long as the resolution isn’t higher than 1920 × 1200. Note  Single-link DVI more common The single-link DVI cables are cheaper than dual-link cables and are more readily available. Single-link DVI supports resolutions up to 1920 × 1200.VGA Key Terms Video Graphics Array (VGA) has been the standard analog video interface used for many years. the VGA interface can transmit data using higher resolutions. It is a DB-15 connector with three rows of pins. It was primarily created to provide a digital interface but also supports analog. VGA also indicates a very basic resolution of 640 × 480. Figure 6-7  VGA cable. DVI-D connectors supply only digital data. DVI-I connectors are integrated and supply both analog and digital data. However.

The audio signal supports eight channels used by 7. The dual-link connectors include six extra pins in the middle. It’s used on many flat-panel displays and also on a wide variety of high-definition televisions and DVD/Blu-Ray players. Note  USB Ports on monitors Many monitors include a built-in USB hub. You can connect the monitor to the PC with a USB cable and then use the USB ports on the monitor. The DVI-M1-DA connector adds three extra pins for a USB connection. Monitors supporting this will also have USB ports that connect with a USB controller in the computer via the DVI connection. HDMI is more popular. DVI-I (single link) DVI-D (single link) DVI-A DVI-I (dual link) DVI-D (dual link) DVI-M1-DA (dual + USB) Figure 6-8  DVI connector versions. If the monitor and video interface support the DVI-M1-DA connection. currently. which are used to carry additional signals for higher bandwidths. The DVI-A connector includes pins that can transmit the same data as a standard VGA cable. The DVI-D connector includes pins that are required to transmit the video signal digitally.1 sound systems. but. There are some other digital video standards. the USB cable isn’t needed. HDMI is backward-compatible with DVI-D and DVI-I and is believed by many to be the successor to DVI. Most cables have Type A connections on both ends. HDMI Key Terms High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) uses a single cable that can transfer both audio and video in a digital format. 208 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . The DVI-I connector includes the pins needed for both.Figure 6-8 shows the different types of connections you’ll see with DVI. Figure 6-9 shows the end of a typical Type A HDMI cable used with display devices.

The Type A connector is the most common. It is definitely a requirement for anyone who is building a home theater PC. and the Type C connector is 10. HTMI resolutions are commonly identified as 1080 and 720. HDMI provides digital video plus 8-channel digital audio.9 mm × 4. You might remember from Chapter 5. It is backward-compatible with DVI-D and DVI-I but not with VGA or DVI-A. ■■ ■■ HDMI 1080 uses a resolution of 1920 × 1080.42 mm × 2. Interfaces.” that some USB cables have a Standard Type A connector on one end to connect with the computer and a mini or micro connector on the other end to connect with smaller devices such as cameras. and Cables CHAPTER 6 209 . Connections. the key differences between VGA and HDMI include the following: ■■ ■■ VGA provides analog video. but you might also run across the Type C (or mini-HDMI) connector. Exam Tip HDMI includes digital video and 8-channel digital audio.Figure 6-9  Type A HDMI cable. Similarly. In brief. The Type A connector is 13.45 mm. “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards. HDMI cables are available with the Type A connector on one end for the computer and a mini-HDMI connector on the other end. HDMI 720 uses a resolution of 1280 × 720. Comparing VGA and HDMI The previous sections show the progression of video interfaces from VGA to DVI and then to HDMI.42 mm.

Other Connections While the primary connections used for display devices are VGA. For example. DVI and HDMI both use the same type of signals. 210 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . Quick Check 1. and HDMI. This section covers the other connections mentioned in the CompTIA objectives. Imagine that you have an HDMI cable coming from a display but have only a DVI-D port on the computer. What types of signals are supported by DVI? 2. You can use an HDMI-to-DVI adapter like the one shown in Figure 6-10. DVI. but they are expensive. and the DVI-D side plugs into the DVI port on the computer. Figure 6-10  HDMI-to-DVI adapter. 2. and adapters are available to convert one connector to another. Analog and digital. You might be able to find an active converter to convert the signals. you might come across other connections. and HDMI is digital video and audio. The HDMI cable plugs into the adapter. These reroute the connections from one connector to the specific pins on the other connector. VGA is analog video only.Adapters Passive adapters are available that allow you to plug a cable of one type into a different type of port. DVI-A-to-VGA adapters are also available. What are the primary differences between VGA and HDMI? Quick Check Answers 1. Exam Tip You cannot use a passive converter to convert a digital HDMI signal to an analog VGA signal—it just won’t work. A better choice is to get a new monitor or a new video card.

Key Terms Figure 6-12  RCA jacks used for composite video and audio. and Cables CHAPTER 6 211 . Figure 6-11 shows the outline of the DisplayPort next to an HDMI connection. They are most commonly used with TVs and are combined with two additional jacks that carry stereo audio. The jacks are color-coded. Interfaces. Figure 6-12 shows both ends of a combined composite and audio cable. but the cables are commonly known as RCA connectors. but when you’re looking at the back of a computer without adequate light. an organization that has developed many standards used for displays and video peripherals.DisplayPort Key Terms DisplayPort is an interface developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). The shape is distinctive when you’re looking at the line drawing. it’s easy to confuse the two. HDMI Composite and RCA Composite cables use an RCA jack and carry only video. and USB signals for monitors that have USB connectors. with the yellow connector used for the composite video and the white and red connectors used for audio.) The DisplayPort port is recessed in the case. so the shape isn’t as clear. RCA is a type of connector created by the Radio Corporation of America in the 1940s. Connections. DisplayPort Figure 6-11  DisplayPort and HDMI port. (Figure 6-15 includes a picture with both connectors. RCA isn’t an acronym. It can transmit video. audio.

and these three signals are derived from an RGB signal. However. blue is used for PB. These are more commonly used with televisions and disc players. Component Component video is similar to RGB in that it uses a cable with three jacks and provides an analog signal. with each connector carrying one of the primary colors as an analog signal. It transmits the video over two channels and provides a higher-quality display than a single-channel composite video signal. and it is often referred to as RGB because it transmits the red. 212 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . It has been used on some monitors but has been more common on TVs and DVD players. The cable includes three connectors. and blue. Cables and connections are commonly color-coded. RGB cables are commonly color-coded with red. the red cable carrying the PR signal is not the same signal as Red in an RGB cable. but not as good as 3-channel RGB and component video. green.RGB Key Terms Red Green Blue (RGB) cables also use three RCA jacks: one for red. Note  VGA commonly called RGB VGA uses a 3-row. Figure 6-13 shows two ends of an S-Video cable. and red is used for PR. 15-pin DB connector. That is. Green is used for Y. and blue video signals. one for green. Using three cables instead of the single cable used with a composite signal provides a higher-quality display. but they have been used with some monitors. green. It is often referenced as YPBPR. and one for blue analog signals. S-Video Key Terms A Separate Video (S-Video) connector is a 4-pin DIN used for analog video. the signals aren’t the same as RGB.

and Cables CHAPTER 6 213 . 3-row DB-15 connector. Table 6-2 Video Interface Summary Interface HDMI DVI-D DVI-A DVI-I VGA Composite Component and RGB DisplayPort S-Video Analog/Digital Digital Digital Analog Analog and Digital Analog Analog Analog Digital Analog Comments Includes video and 8-channel audio. video. Use three RCA jacks each carrying a separate analog signal. and USB.Figure 6-13  S-Video cable. This commonly refers to the 15-pin. Compatible with VGA and HDMI. Often used with two RCA jacks for audio. Compatible with VGA. Video Interface Summary Table 6-2 provides a summary of the key video interfaces. Includes audio. Not compatible with DVI or HDMI. Uses a single RCA jack. Compatible with HDMI but doesn’t include audio. Connections. Compatible with DVI-D and DVI-I. Uses round 4-pin DIN connection Interfaces. Doesn’t include audio.

Users can purchase an additional video card. the video provided by the onboard features of the chipset should be disabled in the BIOS. What type of connector does S-Video use? Quick Check Answers 1. DisplayPort. so it’s common to see heat sinks (highlighted by the white boxes). A 4-pin DIN. and use the video from the GDI instead. 2. Video Cards and Drivers The chipset on most motherboards includes video capabilities. Some manufacturers have used two or more video cards that work together to provide a faster high-quality single output. Exam Tip If a video card is added to a system. The GPUs can generate a lot of heat. also called a graphics device interface (GDI).Quick Check 1. For example. There might be times when the video provided by the chipset doesn’t meet the user’s needs and doesn’t provide the quality of graphics expected. Figure 6-14  Video cards with GPUs. just like a central processing unit (CPU). and different chipsets provide different types of video. This prevents any conflicts between the two. as shown in Figure 6-14. What type of connection includes USB? 2. Both have graphics processing units (GPUs) and onboard RAM. NVIDIA created Scalable Link Interface (SLI) to link multiple GPUs on separate video cards. Figure 6-14 shows two different video cards. 214 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices .

These are provided by a single video card installed in the system. The second benefit is that the RAM is closer to the GPU.Video Memory Video cards include onboard RAM. “Understanding RAM and CPUs. They’re willing to pay more for the cards and are more vocal when things aren’t perfect. Past graphics cards have used video RAM (VRAM) and synchronous graphics RAM (SGRAM). For example. view properties. For example. the video card shares the system memory.” GDDR5 uses additional buffers that aren’t included with DDR3. The type of RAM used in video cards is often different than RAM used in the computer. AMD provides drivers from Support. For example. A typical video card will include multiple ports designed to support various interfaces.amd. Drivers Just as with other hardware devices. You just need to select your video card and identify your operating system. The display reserves the 500 MB of RAM. which were quicker than the RAM used in the systems at the time. Video Cards and Drivers CHAPTER 6 215 . Manufacturers release the driver with the video card. Figure 6-15 shows the video card outputs available on the back of a computer. Note  Video card applications Many video card manufacturers also provide applications you can use to view and manipulate the properties of the display. which provides two important benefits. Gamers spend a lot of money on games and want quality graphics that often just aren’t available from a motherboard’s chipset. making it quicker. For example. the video card will have ports available at the back of the computer. which includes tools to adjust the color. the operating system needs a device driver to use a video One big difference with graphics cards is that these drivers tend to be updated more often. AMD includes the Catalyst Control Center. and this video card supports multiple monitors using any or all of these ports. imagine your display needs 500 MB of RAM and your system has 3 GB of usable RAM. or even four monitors using all the ports. Video Card Ports When installed. For example. it’s possible to hook up two monitors using DVI. Without onboard RAM. or one DVI and one HDMI. which is similar to the Double Data Rate version 3 (DDR3) memory described in Chapter 3. The video graphics card market is very competitive. typically on a CD. leaving your system with only 2. and even configure settings to overclock the video card.5 GB of usable RAM. rotate displays. Many current video cards use Graphics Double Data Rate version 5 (GDDR5). and then provide updates through their site.

HDMI DisplayPort DVI Air vent Figure 6-15  Multiple ports on back of computer. these voltages can very easily kill you. When working with CRTs. Safety Concerns When working with monitors. the primary concerns are your safety and the environment. With flat-panel displays. You should not open a CRT monitor unless you have been specially trained to do so. Even after you turn the CRT monitor off. This card includes a temperature-controlled fan installed on the card and a special vent to help air flow over ­ the graphics card and keep it cool. If the monitor is opened and you touch the wrong component. you want to use the proper cleaning materials. Note  Graphics cards and heat Figure 6-15 shows the output ports of a single graphics card. Most organizations have safety policies in place directing technicians not to open a CRT monitor. these components retain the voltage. If the monitor fails. 216 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . there are some specific safety concerns technicians need to know about. replace it. Important  Electrocution danger Deadly voltages are contained within a CRT monitor even after it has been turned off. Working with CRTs CRT monitors require very high voltages to power the vacuum tube and the electron gun.

The recommended method for cleaning these displays is to wipe them down with a dry lint-free cloth and then use a cleaner specially designed for the screen. and selecting dxdiag. disposal is governed by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive. or you can select any of the tabs. If you are prompted to check whether your drivers are digitally signed. You’ll see a display similar to Figure 6-16. you’ll be able to resolve most of the problems without any difficulty. Troubleshooting Video and Display Issues CHAPTER 6 217 . or incinerated. You can start this on Windows 7 by clicking Start. you might remember the father’s response to most problems was to use Windex. which you can use to run a quick check on DirectX. typing dxdiag in the Search Programs And Files text box. Dxdiag Windows-based systems use a suite of multimedia technologies for video and audio known as DirectX. You can either click Next Page to view the output in order. smudge. Therefore. including cadmium and lead. “Put some Windex on it. The ammonia and alcohol contained within many common household cleaners can easily scratch. or cloud the display. if you suspect your driver isn’t up to date. The following section describes a Windows Diagnostic tool and some common display problems you might see. In the United States. the solution was. A company can be fined for discarding CRTs in landfills instead of taking them to recycling centers. Instead. You should not spray the screen directly.Disposal of CRTs CRTs contain a significant amount of toxic substances. Windows also includes the DirectX Diagnostic Tool (dxdiag). taken to landfills. but Windex is not a good solution for many computer components. No matter what the problem was. you can use DirectX to identify your version and compare it to available versions. CRT monitors are an exception. In Europe. In addition to giving you information about your system and the current version of DirectX. Troubleshooting Video and Display Issues If you understand the basics about how displays operate and how they’re connected. put the cleaner on the cloth. they should be treated as hazardous waste. They should not be discarded in the trash. and it is OK to use glass cleaners such as Windex on them. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created specific rules for the disposal of CRTs. especially LCD and plasma screens. select Yes. it also provides information about the display and sound drivers.” They were memorable lines. For example. and clean the screen with the cloth. Cleaning Supplies If you ever saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding. These monitors have glass screens.

check the basics first. It will be apparent that something is wrong. VGA Mode In some cases. If the display is working.Figure 6-16  Dxdiag. and without the backlight. The liquid crystals do not emit light. but with VGA mode. “Configuring Windows Operating Systems” Chapter 15 covers device drivers in more depth. More Info  Chapter 15. the screen is dark. In many cases. You’ll normally be using a much higher resolution. it will either display normal video from the computer or display a message indicating that it’s not connected. including how to use the Device Manager to update and modify drivers. The most common reason that a system defaults to VGA mode is due to a faulty or incorrect driver used with the video card. you’ll see fewer items and items on the screen will be larger. 218 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . such as a power LED. No Image on Screen If a display has no image at all. The solution is to get the correct video driver. The most common reason for no image on LCD-based monitors is a failed backlight. your display can default to VGA mode with a basic resolution of 640 × 480. Any monitor should have some indication that it has power. Ensure that it is plugged in and turned on.

Instead of replacing the entire laptop. “Please connect displays to the ports above. Figure 6-17 shows the back of a PC with two standard ports provided from the motherboard and three additional ports provided from a video card. For example. The two top ports are labeled “Inactive” with yellow stickers and have been disabled in BIOS. instead of trying to replace it. many organizations choose to replace the backlight. there’s a note in bright yellow below the video card ports saying. Inactive ports Video card ports Figure 6-17  Inactive and active ports on PC.” If either of the top ports is used. you will typically see Troubleshooting Video and Display Issues CHAPTER 6 219 . A common problem that many people make when plugging in a new monitor is using the wrong port. Therefore. Note  Backlights and laptops An exception is when a backlight fails on a laptop. Additionally. most organizations replace the monitor.the cost to replace the backlight is high.

The old monitor had long since been removed. CRT monitors gradually dim as they age. Some monitors won’t display anything. and he said. This isn’t a problem for LCD-based monitors. If you don’t have a display when plugging in a new monitor. He reached around with the cable. some bulbs with projectors will dim with age. There’s no solution other than sending them to the recycling center and getting an LCD monitor that will be gentler on your power bill. 220 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . Real World  Watch Out for Inactive Ports Not too long ago. Moving external hard drives and any other electronic devices away from the monitor often solves the problem. In this case. One of the causes is placing magnetic materials too close to the monitor. His eyes lit up. Discoloration (Degaussing) Discoloration of the image is most commonly seen on CRT monitors.a default message indicating that the monitor isn’t connected. A dim image is often the result of a failed backlight on LCD-based monitors. you can eliminate the flicker by setting the resolution to 72 Hz or higher. The solution is to replace the bulb. you can simply turn up the brightness to get the image back. and turned it on. I remembered how easy it is to use the inactive ports and wondered aloud if the PC had inactive video ports. plugged it into the back of the computer. He thought that the cable might have been bad. It’s very easy to plug a monitor into the inactive ports. In some cases. he got down on his hands and knees to look at the ports and realized that was exactly the problem. Some monitors can pick up some light from the room or possibly from the sun if they are by a window. and the monitor worked perfectly. but it will be barely perceptible. He wasn’t giving up but was momentarily stumped and asked for some advice. double-check the ports you’re using. and even seasoned technicians can sometimes be confused by this. the monitor simply gave a default message indicating that it wasn’t connected. He swapped the cable. so he went and retrieved another cable but still had the same problem. I was working in a classroom when a technician came in to replace a monitor. Dim Image If the image is dim. This time. Unfortunately. first check the brightness controls on the monitor. In general. you’ll see a dim image. “Yes!” He had seen this before. It’s irritating and often causes eye strain. Similarly. Flickering Image Flickering images are common with CRT monitors when the resolution is set too low.

the heat causes a hardware failure. the monitor has electromagnetic buildup that needs to be removed. Some people have had success with videos from YouTube or software developers to unstick them. These can be thin black lines or wide bars with distorted colors. different manufacturers have different policies about how many pixels can fail before the warranty covers it. ■■ Troubleshooting Video and Display Issues CHAPTER 6 221 . Dead Pixels A dead pixel is an area on the screen that is always black on an LCD monitor. and many also have thermal-controlled fans. When you press the button. sensors recognize that it is getting too hot and they shut down the system. These tools quickly flash the screen with different colors and. “I see dead pixels. check all the cooling methods.” A stuck pixel is stuck in a specific color such as white or red. shutting down the system. These are relatively common on LCD monitors. it can cause the system to shut down. and by now you probably realize that heat is a computer’s enemy. A repeating pattern of small bars or rectangles over the entire screen. Artifacts and Distorted Images Visual artifacts are simply drawing errors where the screen is displaying something that it shouldn’t. In some cases. but it is normal. Overheat Shutdown Video cards generate a lot of heat. This often clears up the display. the warranty might allow you to replace it. in some cases. However. If you suspect a heat problem related to the video card. Some examples include the following: ■■ Horizontal or vertical lines through the display. but you usually won’t see many. a monitor with some dead pixels is still considered a good monitor.In some cases. In other cases. Note  Dead pixels and warranties Manufacturers do not always guarantee that 100 percent of the pixels are operational. can unstick the pixels. About the best you can do is what one of my students did: he had a T-shirt made that said. If a new monitor has too many dead pixels or too many in a certain area of the screen. You won’t be able to return it for warranty repair just because of a few dead pixels. Video cards commonly have heat sinks on the GPU to keep them cool. Most CRT monitors have a button labeled Degauss that sends a magnetic pulse through the monitor to release this buildup. These fans automatically speed up as the temperature rises. you’ll often hear a loud “thunk” that sounds a little ominous the first time you hear it. That is. If the video card overheats.

these problems can be due to an incorrect video card driver. and hue. You first restart your machine and go into safe mode. A small number of random dots in one area. For example. This isn’t noticeable to many people. The most likely cause of artifacts is an overheating video card. 222 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . a faulty driver can result in a serious stop error in Windows—also known as the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). graphics artists often manipulate photos and other graphics that they’ll print. this is very difficult and tedious to do manually. The problem might affect only one DVI port. including how to start safe mode. Color Patterns Incorrect In some cases. It includes optical sensors that can “view” the colors displayed on the monitor and modify the display electronically. tone. Check to ensure that all the cooling components within the system are working correctly. try the other one. That sounds much more ominous than it really is.■■ ■■ Wobbly vertical lines equally spaced across the screen. A more efficient method is using a calibration tool that plugs into the USB port. roll it back to the previous version. In some cases. “Troubleshooting Windows Operating Systems” Chapter 17 covers different methods used to troubleshoot Windows. you simply need to replace the driver. Chapter 15 covers Device Manager. brightness. you can display a test image on your screen and adjust the contrast. As mentioned previously. it is noticeable and important to some people. If you have two DVI connectors. Wobbly vertical lines are specifically related to the DVI interface. Ensure that the cable is seated firmly on the interface and the monitor. However. or if these symptoms appeared after updating the driver. or a huge number of random dots distorting the entire image. More Info  Chapter 17. For very basic calibration. However. Calibration is the answer. and then use Device Manager to install the correct driver. They want to ensure that what they see on the screen is what they’ll see when it is printed. Update the driver. BSOD In some cases. the colors displayed on the monitor are not completely accurate.

Many display problems can be attributed to the incorrect driver. Dxdiag provides information on a system. If the backlight fails.Chapter Summary ■■ CRT monitors are heavy. the cooling system is working. The primary interfaces used by video devices are VGA. Video cards include a GPU and additional RAM. It’s important to update drivers when installing new cards. Resolutions have been regularly improved. thin. They are frequently replaced with flat-panel displays to save money on power. CRT monitors include deadly voltages and should not be opened. digital-based monitors that consume significantly less power than CRTs. the display. Adapters are available to convert VGA to DVI-A. DVI. 1. Ensure that the driver is up to date. you cannot convert analog VGA data to digital HDMI data with an adapter. large. an overheated video card.) A. HDMI also supports audio. DVI-D to HDMI. LED monitors are LCD monitors that use LEDs for backlights. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. and sound capabilities. and that cables are plugged into the correct ports. and HDMI is digital. or the connection. and HDMI. the LCD will be dim or completely dark. VGA is analog. but you should always use the native resolution required by LCD monitors. Operating systems allow you to modify the resolution of monitors. what uses an analog signal? (Choose all that apply. They include gas-filled cells that emit colors but are susceptible to screen burn-in. analog-based monitors. DVI supports both analog and digital. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. and WUXGA uses 1920 × 1200. It can be used to diagnose some problems related to the display. However. LCD monitors are light. power-hungry. Plasma monitors are flat-panel displays. HDMI B. DVI-D CHAPTER 6 223 Chapter Review . The answers to these questions. and DVI-I to HDMI. Of the following display interfaces. They should be disposed of as hazardous waste. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. LCD monitors aren’t susceptible to burn-in. DirectX. Multiple displays allow you to display the same information on multiple monitors or to extend the display. Backlights illuminate crystals in LCD monitors. VGA mode uses a resolution of 640 × 480.

None of the above. Incorrect driver. Nothing. You are troubleshooting a problem with a blank LCD display. D. C. Take them directly to a landfill. 4. Faulty video card. You have a computer with a DVI port and an HDMI port. Use a passive VGA-to-HDMI adapter. C. The display always defaults to VGA mode and can’t be changed. and plug the DVI cable into the HDMI port. and you want to add a second monitor. B. Which of the following display interfaces include both audio and video signals? A. Dispose of them as hazardous waste in compliance with local regulations. Faulty CRT tube C. The second monitor has a single VGA port. Failed backlight D.C. B. How can you accomplish this? A. DVI-D C. One monitor is connected to the DVI port. You have verified that it is connected to the computer and has power. Your company is replacing all the CRT monitors with flat panel displays. D. DVI-A D. DVI-A D. Incorrect driver B. Dead pixels 224 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . D. B. What is the most likely problem? A. Take them to an incinerator. Plug the VGA cable into the DVI port. 5. VGA 2. What’s the most likely problem? A. this is normal for DVI. VGA 3. Faulty monitor. You have recently installed a new video card with a DVI interface. Throw them in the dumpster. 6. What should be done with the old monitors? A. C. HDMI B. Plug the VGA cable into the HDMI port.

4. Incorrect: Monitors should not be taken to a landfill. Incorrect: Monitors should not be incinerated. Correct Answer: A A. D. Incorrect: Video Graphics Array (VGA) uses only analog video. D. Answers CHAPTER 6 225 . Incorrect: A VGA cable with a DB-15 connector will not plug into an HDMI port.Answers 1. Incorrect: Digital Visual Interface—Analog (DVI-A) includes video in only an ana- log format. Incorrect: Digital Visual Interface—Digital (DVI-D) includes video in only a digital format. C. and VGA is analog. C. B. B. D A. Incorrect: Monitors thrown in the dumpster go to a landfill. Correct Answer: D A. C. D. Incorrect: High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) uses digital transmissions. Incorrect: A passive adapter cannot convert analog VGA signals to digital HDMI signals. B. 2. Correct: CRT monitors include toxic substances and should be disposed of as haz- ardous waste. D. Correct: Video Graphics Array (VGA) uses analog transmissions. C. and the DVI cable can’t plug into the HDMI port. Incorrect: The VGA cable cannot plug into a DVI port. Correct Answers: C. Correct: HDMI is digital. 3. Incorrect: Digital Visual Interface—Digital (DVI-D) uses digital transmissions. Correct: Digital Visual Interface—Analog (DVI-A) uses analog transmissions. Correct: High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) includes both 8-channel audio and video. Correct Answer: D A. B. and none of these solutions can con- vert the signals.

Incorrect: Problems with the monitor can affect the display quality but wouldn’t change the resolution. Incorrect: LCDs might have a few dead pixels. Incorrect: A faulty video card can default to VGA mode. D. so the most likely problem is that the back- light failed. but it is much more likely that the driver isn’t installed for the new video card. Incorrect: An LCD monitor does not have a CRT tube. Correct: The most common reason for a new video card defaulting to VGA mode is an incorrect driver. C. B. B. but if the screen is completely blank. D. 6. Correct: LCD crystals do not emit light.5. Correct Answer: B A. 226 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . all the pixels would be dead. Incorrect: VGA mode (640 × 480) is not common for DVI. Correct Answer: C A. C. Incorrect: An incorrect driver would give some other symptoms.

carriage and belt Calibration Feed assembly. and configure printers. tractor feed Impact paper ■■ ■■ Inkjet ■■ ■■ ■■ Thermal ■■ ■■ ■■ Impact ■■ ■■ ■■ 4.2 Given a scenario. print head. fuser assembly. install. impact. charging. transfer belt. fusing and cleaning Ink cartridge. pickup rollers. transferring. ribbon. you’ll learn about laser. You’ll also learn how printers are connected and the basic steps for installing and configuring printers. separate pads. ■■ Laser ■■ Imaging drum. exposing. transfer roller. heating element Special thermal paper Print head.CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers I n this chapter. It’s important to have a basic understanding of how they work so that you’re better prepared to maintain and troubleshoot them. inkjet. roller. ■■ ■■ Use appropriate printer drivers for a given operating system Print device sharing 227 . Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1.1 Explain the differences between the various printer types and summarize the associated imaging process. duplexing assembly. ■■ Output devices ■■ Printers ■■ 4. duplexing assembly Imaging process: processing. These are the four common types of printers you run across as an A+ technician. developing. and thermal printers.12 Install and configure various peripheral devices. feeder.

remove debris Replace ribbon. replace paper ■■ Thermal ■■ ■■ Impact ■■ Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1.4 Given a scenario. cleaning Replace paper. clean heating element. perform printer maintenance. applying maintenance kit.9 Given a scenario.11x Infrared (IR) ■■ Wireless ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Printer hardware print server Sharing local/networked printer via Operating System settings Printer sharing ■■ ■■ 4.3 Given a scenario. troubleshoot printers with appropriate tools ■■ Common symptoms ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Streaks Faded prints Ghost images Toner not fused to the paper Creased paper Paper not feeding Paper jam No connectivity 228 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . ■■ Laser ■■ Replacing toner. replace print head. calibration. use appropriate operating system features and tools. ■■ Administrative ■■ Print management ■■ 4.■■ Wired ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ USB Parallel Serial Ethernet Bluetooth 802.

Impact printers create a printout using little pins that work like hammers to force ink from a ribbon onto paper. However. and lottery tickets.■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Garbled characters on paper Vertical lines on page Backed up print queue Low memory errors Access denied Printer will not print Color prints in wrong print color Unable to install printer Error codes Maintenance kit Toner vacuum Compressed air Printer spooler Tools ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Printing Basics A printer is a peripheral device that provides you with a hard copy of your data. Inkjet printers are very popular among home users and small offices. Inkjet printers send little streams or jets of ink from the print head onto the paper. but the ink is expensive. here are basic descriptions of the various printer types: ■■ Key Terms Laser printers use lasers to paint an electronic image onto a rotating drum. They are inexpensive and can produce vibrant color printouts. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam Tip You’ll need to understand the basics of each of these printers. Thermal printers heat up the paper to print the output. so that shouldn’t be any surprise. you might not be aware of the different printer types. They are slow and noisy but are the only type of printer that can print the multipart forms used by some businesses. They are fast and produce a high-quality output but are the most expensive. ATM receipts. However. They are used to print cash register receipts. but briefly. which is then melted onto the paper. Printing Basics CHAPTER 7 229 . Larger organizations commonly use them. I’m betting that you’ve seen a printer in action. The drum then transfers the image to a piece of paper by using toner. you’ll find that the CompTIA exams focus heavily on laser printers. The following sections describe these in more depth.

and when they are different. That is. or how many dots it can print per inch. 600 dpi is referred to as letter quality.Terminology Printers use some common terminology and acronyms that are important to understand. Some of the common terms include the following: ■■ Key Terms ■■ PPM (pages per minute). The resolution or clarity of a printer is determined by dpi. such as 600 × 600. Printers with a duplexing assembly can print double-sided print jobs. Printer settings often include a setting to enable or disable duplexing when two-sided printing is supported. a 600-dpi printer can print 600 dots in a 1-inch horizontal line and 600 dots in a 1-inch vertical line. 230 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . dpi (dots per inch). to describe the resolution. Figure 7-1 shows an example of a duplexing assembly from an HP OfficeJet printer. but it’s removed and turned over so that you can see the rollers. For example. you’ll often see it as one number. It normally plugs into the back of the printer. Some printers have a different horizontal and vertical resolution. Impact printers are much slower and are sometimes measured in characters per second (CPS) instead. This is often the same number vertically and horizontally. but when the numbers are the same. some photo printers have a resolution of 2880 × 1440. Note  Dpi resolution value expression Some printer specifications use two numbers. a 600-dpi printer implies a 600 × 600 dpi resolution. They flip the page so that the printer can print on the other side. laser printers can print between 10 and 100 PPM. you will always see them as two numbers. ■■ Duplexing assembly. For example. These terms are used to describe the characteristics of the printer and help you determine their quality. PPM identifies how quickly the printer can print. For example.

Printers commonly include sensors to indicate when the paper runs out. Exam Tip A duplexing assembly is required for printing two-sided print jobs. Laser jet and inkjet printers use single-sheet paper fed into the printer from a feeder or a paper tray. Paper Paper comes in different types and forms. It is commonly found on laser printers and inkjet printers. and printers covered in this chapter use the following types of paper: ■■ Single-sheet paper. Low-quality paper can cause printing problems such as paper jams or poor printouts.Top edge plugs in here Top edge Rollers Figure 7-1  Duplexer on back of inkjet printer. but there are many higher-quality papers used to print better-quality color pages. Printing Basics CHAPTER 7 231 . Some general-purpose paper can be used in both laser jet and inkjet printers.

When the pickup roller gets dirty. This is also known as fan-fold or sprocket paper. “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards” Chapter 5 shows a picture of a multifunction printer in the scanners and digitizers section. it’s not always a good idea to blow the dirt and dust out of a printer into the workspaces. Exploring Printers ■■ ■■ 232 CHAPTER 7 . This is used by thermal printers. This is the same type of compressed air discussed in Chapter 1. A benefit of isopropyl alcohol is that it evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave any residue. such as the following: ■■ Compressed air. Thermal paper. Isopropyl alcohol. Many of the rollers within a printer will get dirty. It is covered with a chemical that changes color when it is heated. The paper won’t actually be wet. That printer is an inkjet printer and it includes both a document feeder and a paper tray. but it can absorb the humidity from the air. You apply it to a cotton swab or lint-free cloth and then clean the roller. Paper should be stored in locations that aren’t subjected to high humidity and not opened until it’s needed. or even paper with holes. Each sheet includes perforations so that you can separate the pages and the edges after printing. It’s best to take the printer outside before blowing out the paper dust. Common Maintenance Tools One of the basic maintenance tasks with any type of printer is cleaning it. Continuous-feed paper is used by impact printers. Instead. it can have problems picking up the paper. Figure 7-2 shows the pickup roller in a laser printer used to pick up paper from a paper tray. This is most important when printing color documents. so only ESD-safe vacuums should be used. One of the biggest problems with paper occurs when it is exposed to high humidity. ■■ Continuous-feed paper. you can use a vacuum. and there are several common tools you’ll use.” Computer vacuum. When you’re working inside a building. The sheets are connected and include sprocket holes on each side of the paper.More Info  Chapter 5. Regular vacuum cleaners can cause electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage. “Introduction to Computers. A tractor feed mechanism feeds the paper using these sprocket holes. making it more difficult for the printer to move it through the paper path. and isopropyl alcohol is an ideal choice to clean them. You can use compressed air in a can or compressed air from a compressor. For example. ■■ Note  Paper recommendations There is a wide assortment of paper types available for laser and inkjet printers. The result is more paper jams. Manufacturers recommend the best paper to use for the printer in different situations.

but the following are brief descriptions of these components: ■■ Pickup rollers are used to pick up a sheet of paper and begin feeding it through the printer. The next section covers the laser imaging process in more detail. and isopropyl alcohol. Quick Check 1. ■■ Laser Printers CHAPTER 7 233 . What is required to print two-sided paper? 2. Laser Components A laser printer includes several key components. They have become more affordable and are also used in small offices/home offices (SOHOs) and even by some individual users. What is used to clean printers? Quick Check Answers 1. high-quality printers. Laser Printers Laser printers provide a very high-quality output and are most commonly used in mediumto-large organizations that require fast. ESD-safe vacuums. Compressed air. Separator pads work with the pickup rollers to ensure that only one piece of paper is picked up at a time. 2. Duplexing assembly.Figure 7-2  Pickup roller in an empty paper tray.

The high-voltage power supply draws a significant amount of power in a very short time and can damage an UPS. A high-voltage power supply provides voltages as high as -1. 234 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . This is used only in laser printers.000 VDC. Transfer rollers charge the paper. Fusing. Fuser assemblies heat the toner and melt into the paper. laser printers should not be plugged into an UPS. Toner is an extremely fine powder that includes carbon and plastic.■■ Imaging drums are round. Later in the process. Charging. The laser imaging process includes seven stages or steps. Where should you plug in the laser printer? The best choice is to use a dedicated surge protector that does not have any additional equipment plugged into it. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter 1 described an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) used as a battery backup for systems. you will very likely work with laser printers. The image is transferred to the paper because the charged paper attracts the toner. It should not be plugged into a power strip shared by other devices. meaning it is sensitive to light. causing it to stick to the drum where the laser wrote the image. A laser uses light to write an image onto the drum. Transfer belts are used only on some high-end color laser printers. While an UPS is useful for computers. rotating cylinders that are covered with a photosensitive surface. make sure you understand the seven steps of the laser printing process and how the different components are used within the printer. and these steps work in a specific sequence as the imaging drum is rotating. Exam Tip CompTIA A+ printing topics focus heavily on laser printers. labeled as Processing. Figure 7-3 shows an overview of these stages. It is electrically charged during the imaging process. and Cleaning. it is transferred to the paper. This will also help you with troubleshooting. Colors are first applied to the transfer belt and then applied to the paper. Exposing. Transferring. Laser Imaging Process As an A+ technician. so it’s important to understand how they work so that you’ll be better prepared to maintain and troubleshoot them. The next best choice is to plug it into a grounded wall outlet. When preparing for the exams. The following sections describe these steps in more depth. Developing.

you perceive it as words and maybe a graphic.000 dots. Charging In the charging step. As you read this page. Consider a 600 × 600 dpi laser printer. For any given square inch of a sheet of paper. it will often give a “low memory” or “out of memory” error message. if it’s a color printer. A laser printer identifies the page as a raster image of dots. how light or how dark the dot should be. Raster images can take up a lot of space. but most new laser printers use a primary charge roller.Exposing Processing I passed! Side view of imaging drum RIP Charging Developing Cleaning Fusing Figure 7-3  Laser imaging process. If you print pages using 600-dpi graphics. This voltage is typically between -500 and -600 VDC but can be as high as -1. Transferring Processing Key Terms The processing stage is also known as the raster image processing stage. what color the dot should be. a primary charge roller applies a high-voltage negative charge to the imaging drum.000 VDC. If the printer doesn’t have enough space to hold the print job. Laser Printers CHAPTER 7 235 . The computer sends the print job to the printer in a format the RIP understands. the raster image includes details about each of these 360. Most laser printers include a raster image processor (RIP) that creates the raster image. These details include whether or not it should be printed. In older laser printers. this was applied with a corona wire that was easily broken during maintenance. it takes about 4 MB of RAM per page to hold the raster image. If it’s a color page. and. it takes about 16 MB of RAM per page. and the RIP then creates the raster image. as shown in Figure 7-4. and a raster image is the combination of all the raster lines for a page. A raster is a single line of dots.

At this point. we aren’t using it yet. Note  Exposing is writing Some books refer to exposing as writing. 3 Laser exposes drum with raster image Laser !dessaP I Mirror RIP I passed! Processing Charging Exposing Developing Transferring Fusing Cleaning Figure 7-5  Exposing the imaging drum. Anywhere the drum has been exposed.1 RIP processes raster image RIP I passed! 2 Primary charge roller charges drum Processing Charging Exposing Developing Transferring Fusing Cleaning Figure 7-4  Charging the imaging drum. the laser exposes the imaging drum with the raster image in the exposing stage. However. 236 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . Exposing After the drum has a uniform charge. if there is any residual charge from a previous print job. it prepares the imaging drum to accept the image from the laser. However. it removes it. it neutralizes the charge applied in the previous step. as shown in Figure 7-5. it neutralizes the charge only where the laser beam hits the drum. You can think of it as the laser writing the image onto the drum. First. This has two purposes. the drum has a high-voltage negative charge everywhere except for where the drum has been exposed by the light beam. It does this by sending a highly focused laser beam through one or more mirrors and lenses. Notice that even though the raster image is created. the CompTIA objectives specifically list it as exposing. Second. it has a neutral charge. and when the beam hits the photosensitive drum.

As the drum rotates. they pull apart from each other. the paper can stick to the drum if the static charge isn’t removed. pickup rollers roll over the top of the paper in the paper tray to pick up a page. giving it an opposite charge from the toner. like charges repel and opposites attract. and the developer roller makes the toner accessible to the drum. Separator pads roll the opposite way from underneath to ensure that only one sheet of paper is picked up. Laser printers have a static charge eliminator that removes the static charge from the paper immediately after the image is transferred. In this case. There are many different types of toner and toner cartridges. the toner sticks to the drum where the image has been written to the drum. For example. Laser Printers CHAPTER 7 237 . some manufacturers include the developer roller (sometimes called just the developer) in the toner cartridge. it will be attracted to the paper in this stage due to opposite charges. Next. while two components with opposite charges are attracted to each other. the imaging drum has a negative charge except for where the image has been exposed. it’s passed to the drum and the toner jumps to the paper.Developing The toner is applied to the imaging drum in the developing stage. When dealing with electricity. Transferring The toner is applied to the paper in the transferring stage. and the toner also has a negative charge. as shown in Figure 7-7. You’ve probably noticed how socks stick together after you remove them from the clothes dryer. At this point. Figure 7-6 shows a side view of the imaging drum. Toner is in the toner cartridge. First. Just as the toner was attracted to the drum in the developing stage due to opposite charges. a transfer roller (sometimes called a transfer corona) charges the paper. Similarly. After the paper is charged. First the toner is given a negative charge. if you have two components with similar charges. Therefore. 4 Image is developed by applying toner to imaging drum Toner Cartridge Side view of imaging drum Developer Roller Processing Charging Exposing Developing Transferring Fusing Cleaning Primary Charge Roller Figure 7-6  Developing the image. the negatively charged toner is attracted to the exposed areas of the drum that have a neutral charge.

the toner would just fall off. Figure 7-8 shows how the paper is passed between two fuser rollers. The fuser assembly heats the toner so that it melts into the paper. and fusing can occur only after transferring. Toner is composed of carbon and plastic particles. and if you heat plastic. That’s not from the laser. For example.5 Image is transferred to the paper Transfer roller Electrostatic discharger Figure 7-7  Transferring the image. Fusing The toner isn’t attached to the paper in the transferring stage. One of the fuser rollers is heated. The toner is fused to the paper in the fusing step. and the other fuser provides friction to press the toner into the paper as it is melted. If you could pick it up and shake it. you’ve probably noticed that it’s warm. 238 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . it's from the melted toner. it’s important to know the steps in the laser imaging process and the order. developing can occur only after exposing. 6 Image is fused to the paper Processing Charging Exposing Developing Transferring Fusing Cleaning Fuser rollers Figure 7-8  Fusing the image. If you’ve ever taken a sheet of paper off a laser printer immediately after it printed. it melts. Processing Charging Exposing Developing Transferring Fusing Cleaning Exam Tip When preparing for the exam.

For example. such as a power loss. Cleaning In the cleaning stage. developed. Depending on how much memory a printer has. Another image could be processed. What Comes First? You might come across technical manuals that say that cleaning is the first step in the laser printer imaging process. the fusing assembly will melt most transparency paper. Notice that when the drum rotates clockwise. charged. transferred. and as long as this is done at the end of the last cycle. the RIP might be able to process several images in advance. the primary charge roller is located after the scraper and the erase lamp. They are especially useful for teachers who write on the transparency paper as they’re teaching. and the drum can be cleaned to do it again. there are some special situations. The scraper is a small plastic or rubber blade that scrapes the toner off without damaging the drum. However. as shown in Figure 7-9. At this point the whole process can start again. and fused. the RIP can start processing the next image. This raises a logical question: What comes first? A laser printer will typically start processing the next image before the current image is completed. However. 7 Drum is cleaned Toner Cartridge Side view of imaging drum Developer Roller Processing Charging Exposing Developing Transferring Fusing Cleaning Primary charge roller Erase lamp Scraper Figure 7-9  Cleaning the drum. Only transparency paper specifically designed for a laser printer should be used in laser printers. The drum must be cleaned before writing another image. Next. if it first erased the image. after one image has been sent to the laser. it couldn’t start until the current image had completed the printing cycle. the process works.Note  Transparency paper melts Some speakers and teachers use transparency paper and overhead projectors during a presentation. exposed. so this is actually the first step. However. an erase lamp neutralizes the charge on the drum. that can result in the last cycle not completing. excess toner is scraped off the drum and collected for disposal. Printers commonly include a Laser Printers CHAPTER 7 239 .

What are the seven stages of the laser printing process? 2. 240 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . transferring. you get red. it results in blurring and other color problems. If “processing” is not an available answer. and blue. In contrast. you get green. In some laser printers. 2. They can produce some vibrant images. and yellow. They apply the four colors to the transfer belt in four passes and then transfer the image from the transfer belt to the paper in a single pass. if the paper is slightly misaligned during any of these passes. Note  CMYK and RGB Primary colors are red. When you mix magenta and yellow. you get black.” Processing takes the longest and is often started before the previous image has completed. exposing. but the imaging process is more complex than a typical laser printer. you get blue. these colors are applied to the paper in four separate passes. developing. magenta. look for “cleaning. and blue. charging. When you mix cyan and magenta. you get white. When you mix cyan. yellow. When you mix cyan and yellow. In what laser printing process stage is the image written onto the drum? Quick Check Answers 1.” Color Laser Printers Most laser printers print only in black and white. A color laser printer applies each of the four CMYK colors with varying intensity to create images. look for “processing. when you mix red. Quick Check 1. and cleaning. High-end color laser printers use a transfer belt to prevent these types of problems. process of cleaning the drum when a printer is first turned on or before doing a print job after the printer has been idle. Exam Tip If you see a question that asks what the first stage in the laser printer imaging process is. green. magenta (a purplish-pink color). Color laser printers are available but at a much higher cost. Processing. Exposing. The transfer belt is stronger than a piece of paper and less susceptible to misalignment issues. and black. Laser printers use the CMYK color model of cyan (a bluegreen or aqua color). However. green.

These scratches or marks will appear on every printout until the drum is replaced. Also. Voltages are as high as -1. you might also be replacing other components. The solution is simple: replace the toner. be careful of what you touch. most laser printers give software alerts letting you know that the toner is running low. Replacing Toner As the toner runs low. and/ or a cleaning blade used to clean toner during the cleaning process. capacitors within a power supply can still hold a charge after a device is unplugged. you’ll find that they share common maintenance tasks. and it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s directions. The following are some general guidelines that apply to most toner cartridges: ■■ Instructions will usually direct you to shake the cartridge up and down and from side to side. Even after you turn the printer off and unplug it. Also. You can easily scratch it or leave a mark that won’t be cleaned during a print cycle. you should be careful not to touch it. Stay safe and unplug the laser printer before performing any maintenance. Laser Printers CHAPTER 7 241 . the developer. Therefore. Note   Toner cartridges In some laser printers. Safety One of the most important things to realize is that a laser printer includes a high-voltage power supply. If the imaging drum is exposed during maintenance. The fuser assembly melts the toner onto the paper and reaches a temperature of about 180 degrees Centigrade (about 356 degrees Fahrenheit). You should turn it off and unplug it before servicing it.Laser Printer Maintenance Even though there are many different models of laser printers. This section covers these tasks and includes some important safety considerations. This loosens the toner and helps ensure that you get full usage out the cartridge. the print quality of your printouts degrades. Different models have different procedures for replacing the toner.000 VDC and can be deadly. when you replace the toner cartridge. the toner cartridge includes the imaging drum. Important  Danger of injury or worse A laser printer has potentially deadly voltages and extremely hot components within. Even after you unplug the printer. this will still be hot.

Be careful when handling the new toner cartridge. the toner particles might just blow right back into the air. which is a gas that can be harmful in large amounts. This means that you have already removed the old cartridge. Turn off the printer and remove the toner cartridge. Without a HEPA filter. many laser printers provide messages such as “Service Required” or “Perform Printer Maintenance. and these actions release toner that has become stuck to the sides. Recycle the old cartridge. If you start shaking them. you might end up shaking toner all over yourself and the room. you can usually print 20 or more pages without any problems Be careful.■■ Most toner cartridges include some type of seal to prevent the toner from leaking out. Applying Maintenance Kit When maintenance is required. Ideally. your printouts will be blank.” This message is normally timed to appear after the printer has printed a specific number of pages. fill them with toner. you should use a special vacuum with a highefficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter. After replacing the toner cartridge. If the toner spills on you or someone else. In general. If it spills on a desk. It’s often a piece of tape or plastic that you remove prior to installing the new cartridge. and it’s common to replace this filter when replacing the toner cartridge. Companies refurbish them. If you come across a printer that appears to have run out and you don’t have a replacement toner cartridge available. it’s usually not completely out. and fuser assemblies. If you need to vacuum a toner spill. Other filters can usually be cleaned. Some toner cartridges have openings that stay exposed when you remove them. you should the remove the new cartridge from the packaging and insert it immediately in the printer. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Most laser toner cartridges include replacement filters and instructions about what should be cleaned. though. consult the instructions or Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) to determine what to do. so you should not rinse it off with warm or hot water. Maintenance kits are available that include items such as pickup and separator rollers. you can usually use the following technique to get some printouts while you wait for the replacement to arrive. and sell them at a discounted cost. It’s designed to melt. Laser printers include an ozone filter to limit the danger from ozone. transfer rollers. Real World  Getting Extra Pages from an Empty Toner Cartridge When the laser printer runs out of toner. If you don’t remove it. Gently shake the cartridge from side to side and up and down. you can remove it with paper or cloth towels soaked with cold water. The high-voltage power supply creates a small amount of ozone. 242 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . The toner is a very fine powder. you can wash it off with cold water. Many companies will purchase these.

You’ll need to dig into the technical manual for the procedures. Laser assembly Fuser assembly Figure 7-10  José texting a customer with information about a laser printer. You should not use compressed air within a laser printer because you can potentially blow the dust into the imaging drum. If the laser printer has a lot of paper dust buildup. Many printers use a transfer belt to minimize this problem. Figure 7-10 shows ace A+ technician José Vargas with a fuser assembly and a laser assembly that he has removed from a laser printer. The customer asked José to send him an update via text as soon as José had more information. but it is possible. and that’s exactly what he’s doing.Sometimes you might notice that more than one sheet of paper is being pulled through at a time or that the paper is coming out crumpled. you should use an ESD-safe vacuum to clean it. The solution is to run a calibration routine provided by the printer vendor. You might be able to clean the pickup and separator rollers to resolve the problem. Laser Printers CHAPTER 7 243 . Calibration Color laser printers have the potential to produce misaligned colors or lines. or you might need to replace them with a maintenance kit. Cleaning It’s often recommended to clean certain pickup rollers when replacing the toner. Isopropyl alcohol with a lint-free cloth or cotton swabs works best. This will ensure that the printer heads are aligned. but the problem can still occur. Laser Component Replacement Besides the toner cartridge and filters. many laser printer components can be replaced if they fail.

The assembly also includes a data cable connected from a printed circuit board to the print head. Replace or clean the ozone filter and apply the maintenance kit. The carriage and belt assembly is controlled with a stepper motor and a pulley and usually includes a plastic guide and sensors. 244 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . C Carriage and belt M Y K Print head with ink cartridges Figure 7-11  Basic components of an inkjet printer. Inkjet Printers Inkjet printers can produce very high-quality color printouts and are very affordable. and this assembly moves the heads from side to side as the paper is fed through the printer. What precautions should you take before servicing a laser printer? 2. the printer will also have a paper feeder or paper tray where you insert the paper. One or more print heads are attached to a carriage and belt assembly. Ink cartridges can be attached to the print head or located elsewhere. The duplexing assembly shown in Figure 7-1 is from an inkjet printer. These two benefits make them very popular among home users and some SOHOs. 2. so you don’t need to have a deep understanding of how they work to maintain them. Many inkjet printers support duplexing assemblies so that they can print on both sides of the paper. and one or more rollers that pull the paper through the printer. Figure 7-11 shows the basic components of an inkjet printer. The sensors detect the position of the print head and paper. Turn it off and unplug it. While they are not shown in the figure. They don’t have as many serviceable parts within them.Quick Check 1. What else should be done when replacing the toner? Quick Check Answers 1.

with separate cartridges for each CMYK color. on the right in Figure 7-12. so the color ink cartridges are normally smaller than the black cartridge in any inkjet printer. In some cases. you’ll buy the ink. ink cartridges are easy to replace. Printer manufacturers realize that if you have the printer. Inkjet Ink Cartridges Inkjet printers use the same CMYK model used by color laser printers. Inkjet Printers CHAPTER 7 245 . Either way. Figure 7-12  Ink cartridges. In others. The ink for inkjet printers often represents the highest cost for inkjet printers.The print speed of inkjet printers is relatively low when compared to a laser printer. you can see a tri-color ink cartridge for another inkjet printer next to the Y inkjet cartridge from the printer shown on the left side of the figure. and I’ve removed the black cartridge. The tri-color cartridge includes the CMY colors. so they’re willing to lose some money on the initial sale. the cartridges are located farther away. Note  Ink cartridge location The location of the ink cartridge varies from one printer to another. they are for different printers and have a completely different shape and size. For example. Some models use only two ink cartridges—one for all three CMY colors and another one for black ink. Figure 7-12 shows the ink cartridges for an HP OfficeJet inkjet printer (on the left). In many printers. Most people print black ink more than color. Other models use four cartridges. you can get a free printer with the purchase of a computer. For comparison. but it is usually quick enough for most users. Even though these are both HP inks. The primary drawback is the high cost of the ink. They are accessible from the front panel to the left of the paper tray. the cartridges are close to the print head or even include the print head.

laser printers. It has hundreds of microscopic nozzles. Most ink cartridges are vacuum-sealed. However. Note  Paper and other media General purpose paper will work for inkjet printers. Thermal (or Bubble Jet) Printing The print head in thermal or bubble jet printing uses small heaters to heat up the ink. Note  Refilling doesn’t void warranty By law. However. like a coffee mug or clothing. I was recently at a Costco store and learned that they do this in the photo department for many cartridges. and each of these nozzles has the ability to eject ink bubbles onto the paper. These services use high-quality ink and have the equipment necessary to keep a vacuum seal. if you want to get a higher-quality color printout. but in general. Figure 7-13 shows the front of a print head for an inkjet printer. it creates a small bubble that is then ejected onto the paper. Without the vacuum seal.Refilling Inkjet Cartridges Due to the cost of the ink. you can change the oil yourself. 246 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . many people look for alternatives. There are two primary methods used in the printing process: thermal (or bubble) and piezoelectric. especially when printing photographs. don’t expect the car company to cover the engine damage under the car’s warranty. You can bring in empty cartridges. and they’ll refill them within an hour at a significantly lower cost than new ones. Inkjet Printing Process Inkjet printers work by ejecting ink onto the paper through microscopic nozzles in the print head. For example. A cool feature of inkjet printers is that they can print to a wide source of media. when you buy a car. For example. Similarly. However. and it’s difficult to replace the ink and keep the seal. You can buy do-it-yourself refill kits. manufacturers can’t void the warranty simply because you’re not purchasing new ink from them. and you’re unlikely to get it fixed under warranty. Another option is to have a professional service refill your cartridges. As the ink heats. if the cartridge is filled incorrectly. and copiers. you can buy transfer paper that allows you to print a photo and transfer it to something else. these are not recommended. the cartridge can leak and damage the printer. you need to use paper created specifically for inkjet printers. if you don’t secure the oil filter and the oil leaks out. it can damage the printer.

but they are generically referred to as thermal inkjet printers. the droplets either stick to the paper or drop into a reservoir. In contrast. Piezoelectric Printing Key Terms The piezoelectric printing process uses a crystal that vibrates when a voltage is applied. This process was first discovered by Canon. There is a significant difference between thermal printing and piezoelectric printing. Thermal printers (discussed later in this chapter) use a special type of paper. ink is sent through the head in a continuous stream whenever the printer is printing. especially if they aren’t used for a while. the thermal inkjet print heads will often clog up. The vibrations of the crystal cause the ink to break up into thousands of minute droplets. The result is that the piezoelectric print heads rarely clog up. Canon creates Bubble Jet printers. Based on the charge. and the print head heats the paper. In a piezoelectric inkjet printer. The printer sends a stream of ink to the print head and applies voltage to the crystal. ink is sent through the head only when it’s needed.Microscopic nozzles Figure 7-13  Inkjet printer print head. Inkjet Printers CHAPTER 7 247 . Ink droplets sent to the reservoir are recycled. Many other manufacturers use a similar process. thermal PRINTERS Thermal inkjet printers are not the same as thermal printers. These droplets are given an electric charge as they form. Note  Thermal INKJET PRINTERS vs. In a thermal inkjet printer.

you usually replace the printer. You can clean the rollers with isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth or cotton swab. ■■ If lines aren’t straight on one test pattern. and software will usually indicate when the heads are at the end of their lifetime. but they are usually very easy to replace. Disposable heads can be replaced. Paper jams sometimes just happen. you need to replace the cartridge. Some printers have automatic cleaning cycles and will clean themselves periodically. you’re also replacing the print head. If it prints out thin white lines in another test pattern. but if they’re happening often. Most printers include software tools you can use to check the current levels of the ink. Inkjet Calibration Inkjet print heads can develop minor alignment issues over time. the two things to check are the rollers and the paper. the ink. I have an inkjet printer that includes a print quality diagnostic tool. resulting in a blurry output or lines that aren’t straight. Some disposable print heads are built into the ink cartridge. Ink. The primary issues are related to the paper path. The print heads can become clogged with dried ink or can become misaligned with each other. If they fail. it recommends cleaning the print heads by clicking a button. You can clean the path with compressed air or an ESD-safe vacuum. Printer manufacturers are aware of this and commonly include software tools you can use to check your printer and recalibrate if necessary. Disposable. Other disposable print heads are separate from the ink. including directions about what to look for and what actions to take. ■■ Paper path. The cost to replace these is high compared with the cost of the printer. Exploring Printers ■■ ■■ 248 CHAPTER 7 . These are intended to last the lifetime of the printer. Print heads. and the print heads. It sends ink through the print head to clean it. When you replace the ink. ■■ Inkjet Printer Maintenance Inkjet printers don’t require a lot of maintenance. ■■ Fixed. the diagnostic tool recommends aligning the print heads by clicking a button. you are using ink. Use the software tools to clean the heads or align the heads. It prints out a page of different test patterns. so each time you clean it.Inkjet Print Heads Inkjet print heads can be either fixed or disposable. For example. Ensure that you’re using the right paper and that it isn’t exposed to high humidity. Manufacturers know this and include software tools you can use to clean them. These are vacuumsealed cartridges so it’s very rare to see ink leak. ■■ A primary problem with inkjet print heads is that they can become clogged with dried ink. When the ink runs out.

it switches directions. and when it reaches the end. The impact of the print head also prints the other copies with the carbon paper. other types of printers will print only the top sheet of paper in the multipart form. they are still used in businesses where multipart forms are printed. it can be extremely difficult to get all the pieces out. The print head has little hammer-like pins that hit the ribbon and press the ink from the ribbon onto the paper. rubber-like material that provides a back for the print head. What is the most expensive element of an inkjet printer? 2. The paper has holes on the edges (item 4) that fit into sprockets in a tractor feed mechanism in the printer. What should be done if an inkjet printer includes misaligned colors? Quick Check Answers 1. 2. Even though the technology for impact printers is very old. Impact Printers Impact printers are one of the first types of printers used with computers. Calibrate it. 2. A motor-and-carriage assembly moves the print head from side to side as it prints. but if you rip it. and 3 in Figure 7-14. Note  Multipart forms A multi-part form has multiple sheets of paper separated with carbon paper.Note  Paper path Take your time when clearing a paper path. The ink ribbon is a long strip of cloth saturated with ink. the tractor feed advances the paper to the next line. In contrast. The platen is a hard. I was recently at a car dealership. The primary components of an impact printer are the platen. Other places where you might see them include finance departments or billing services companies. shown as items 1. Impact Printers CHAPTER 7 249 . The tractor feeder moves a continuous fan-fold roll of paper through the printer. and the print head. It’s much easier to remove a whole sheet of paper. the ink ribbon. It’s connected to two rollers that steadily wind the ribbon from one roller to the other. When the printer finishes a line. and they were using impact printers for contracts and other forms. Ink. Impact printers commonly use a tractor feed and use continuous-feed paper. Quick Check 1.

The paper is moved through the printer with friction instead of with the tractor. It’s also worth pointing out that an impact printer can be very noisy.1 2 I passed 2 4 3 Figure 7-14  Elements of an impact printer. 250 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . After printing. The first part of Figure 7-15 represents the 9 pins in the print head. Creating Characters with a Dot Matrix An impact printer print head includes multiple wires or pins that punch the ink ribbon onto the paper. Continuous-feed paper is perforated on the sides and between each individual sheet. and dots within the matrix are printed to create characters or graphics. Each of these pins can be hammered onto the ink ribbon to create a dot. The figure shows what you’d see if the 9-pin print head printed all nine dots in a 6 × 9 dot matrix. it’s more noise. 9-pin print head All dots in a matrix Selected dots in a matrix Figure 7-15  Forming a letter e with a dot matrix printer. The middle part of the figure shows a sample dot matrix composed of six vertical lines of nine dots. and with more pins. Figure 7-15 shows how characters can be created with a simple 9-pin print head. In contrast. you can tear it off the printer and remove the sides. The pins have to strike the ribbon with force. other printers are very quiet. All the possible dots in a certain area represent a dot matrix. leaving little dots. Some impact printers use regular sheets of paper instead of tractor-fed paper.

ATM transaction slips. However. it isn’t comparable at all to the resolution you can get from inkjet or laser printers. but most fax machines now capture the incoming fax as a file that can be printed with a laser or inkjet printer. but some can print two colors. Thermal printers use a special type of thermal paper that is covered with a chemical. and even lottery tickets. As the ink ribbon is used. Paper path. The primary maintenance issues include the following: ■■ Paper dust. so it’s usually fairly easy to clear a paper jam. and you don’t have many problems. the only option is to replace the head. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Thermal Printers Thermal printers are used to print cash register receipts. The extra pins fill in the gaps between the dots. The resolution from an NLQ printer is much better than what you’d see from a basic 9-pin print head. For example. As with other printers. so when you clean out the printer.In the last part of the figure. The pins on the print head can jam so that they no longer fire. Near-Letter Quality Print heads with only 9 pins produce very basic outputs. and cashiers can usually replace an empty roll in less than a minute. When a pin stops firing in a print head. It’s very common for these printers to build up a lot of paper dust within them. Today. the letter e in Figure 7-15 clearly has many gaps between the dots. the paper path can get jammed. The paper is normally on a roll with a center sprocket. Compressed air works well. it changes color. Impact Printer Maintenance Impact printers are relatively easy to work with. You should clean them out regularly with compressed air or an ESD-safe vacuum cleaner. Print head. The most common cause is paper dust. you should also clean the print head. Thermal Printers CHAPTER 7 251 . The solution is easy: replace the ribbon. You can normally see the entire path of an impact printer. Ink ribbon. Platen. the ink runs out and the printout fades. Similarly. but you can often rejuvenate it by rubbing it with isopropyl alcohol. especially with tractor feed paper. Most thermal printers can print only a single color. Older fax machines used thermal printers too. The platen can develop dents over time. When the chemical is heated. most print heads include 24 pins or 48 pins and can produce near-letter quality (NLQ) output. it can form any character or even simple graphics by printing dots. you can see how the printer forms the letter e by selectively printing certain dots.

As with most printers. and Windows will configure the printer automatically as soon as you plug it in. A print head that includes a heating element to heat the paper. Cleaning the print head extends its life. You can clean the print head with isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth or a cotton swab. but you can replace it if it fails. thermal printers need to be cleaned periodically with compressed air or an ESD-safe vacuum to remove debris. 2. Installing and Configuring Printers Printers must be installed before you can use them. Quick Check 1. the manufacturer includes a CD with software that you can use to install it. Receipts and lottery tickets. Tractor-fed continuous paper. ■■ Thermal printers are relatively slow. they also write device drivers for different operating systems. What do thermal printers commonly print? Quick Check Answers 1.Other components of a thermal printer are as follows: ■■ A feed assembly that feeds the thermal paper through the printer. Device Drivers When printer manufacturers create printers. 252 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . Inkjet printers are used by home users and SOHOs. Impact printers are used in businesses that need multipart forms. Exam Tip Know where each type of printer is most commonly used. with their speed measured in inches per second (ips). they don’t need to print much. Which type of paper does an impact printer typically use? 2. When you buy a new printer. These drivers provide the operating system with the details it needs to communicate with the device. you should know about some other possibilities when installing and configuring printers. The feed assembly uses the sprocket in the center of the roll to advance the paper. Laser printers are used in larger organizations. However. Thermal printers are used for receipts. The majority of printers use a USB interface. but this is usually very easy. However.

“Configuring Windows Operating Systems. Most manufacturers also submit drivers to Microsoft. If the print driver isn’t available. If none of these methods work. Chapter 15. If the instructions say you should install the driver first. For example. and you use a cable with a USB Type A connector on one end for the computer and a USB Type B connector on the other end for the printer. Printers commonly have a USB Type B port. you’ll save yourself a lot of problems by doing so. Also. On Windows XP. More Info  Chapter 25. so regular users will not be able to install software applications that come with a printer. it often takes time before drivers are written and made publicly available. when Windows Vista first came out.” covers drivers and Windows Update in more depth. you can go to the manufacturer’s website to locate the correct driver. Wired Connections The most common way a printer is connected is by using a USB Info  Chapter 5. administrative permissions are required to install applications. Chapter 25 discusses groups in more the user will need administrative permission to install a different print driver. The good news is that any printer driver that works for Windows Vista will for Windows 7. If you can’t find a suitable driver. but you can also watch a short video that goes through the process here: http://­ windows. If the drivers meet certain quality assurance requirements. regular users can install the printer without any special permissions as long as the print driver is available. Note  Driver availability When a new operating system comes out. “Understanding IT Security” The Power Users group is included in Windows Vista and Windows 7 for backward compatibility only. many printers had drivers for Windows XP but not for Windows Vista. users need to be in the Power Users group to install a printer or add a different driver. “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards” Chapter 5 discusses drivers related to any peripherals and how it is sometimes necessary to install the driver before connecting the device. Installing and Configuring Printers CHAPTER 7 253 . the printer will typically produce a garbled output. Required Permissions On Windows Vista and Windows 7. Microsoft makes them available via Windows Update.

Server Switch Network printers Local printer Figure 7-16  Wired printer connections. so you’re unlikely to see these connections unless you’re working with an old printer. The first printer can be connected to the server with a USB connection. the server manages the print jobs and can also store and distribute printer drivers. and the other is connected directly into the network through a switch. While rare. Don’t worry if this sounds unfamiliar right now. For example. and the second printer will typically be connected with a twisted-pair cable and an RJ-45 connection. you typically need to manually assign a specific Internet Protocol (IP) address to the printer or configure Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to reserve a specific IP address for it. Chapters 18 through 24 cover networking in much more detail. take a look at Figure 7-16.Before USB became so popular. When a printer is accessed over a network. printers were connected to a printer via the parallel DB-25 port mentioned in Chapter 5. The print server makes it easier to manage the printers but has additional costs for the server. When they are connected with a print server. USB is much faster than either parallel or serial. One is connected to a server that functions as a print server. networking will become clearer later in this book. but for a quick preview. Another option is connecting a printer to a network by using Ethernet. it’s referred to as a local printer. it was also possible to connect some printers to the serial DB-9 port. You can see two networked printers on the left and one locally connected printer on the right. The benefit of having printers on the network is that multiple users can access them. 254 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . Note  Local printer When you connect a printer directly to a computer. When printers are connected directly to the network. they have more management requirements. it’s called a networked printer.

802. Right-click the printer and select Printer Properties. Bluetooth. Click the Sharing tab.Wireless Connections Many printers include wireless capabilities that allow wireless systems to connect to them without a wired connection. Installing and Configuring Printers CHAPTER 7 255 . other users on the network will be able to send their print jobs through this computer.11g. 802. and it has been used with printers. ■■ ■■ More Info  Chapter 9 and Chapter 23 Chapter 9. 3. if you have a wireless network. you can also share local printers. Printer Sharing In addition to sharing printers by placing them on the network. Chapter 23. For example.11b. A drawback is that it requires a clear line of sight between the printer and the computer. Click Start and select Devices And Printers. such as 802. “Exploring Wireless Networking. Other users on the network can then print to the printer.11a.” covers wireless technologies in more detail.11n. Infrared. Some printers support Bluetooth. such as with a mobile phone and a headset.11 protocols are covered in more depth in Chapter 23. Locate the printer in the Printers And Faxes section. “Understanding Mobile Devices. 4.” mentions both Bluetooth and Infrared.11. If you share a printer on a networked computer. the printer can be as far as 10 meters (33 feet) away. The 802. The common types of wireless connections include the following: ■■ 802. Bluetooth is commonly used to create personal area networks (PANs). or 802. and with Class 2 Bluetooth.11 protocols. 2. Wireless networks use one of the 802. Television remotes use infrared. The following steps show how to share a printer on Windows 7: 1. Select the Share This Printer check box. you can connect a local printer to one computer and share it. as shown in the following graphic.

5. Windows 7 will search the network looking for the printer. When you see the printer. you can change the share name. Click Start and select Devices And Printers. Wireless Or Bluetooth Printer. If desired. Click Add A Printer. The computer that is sending the print job will use its processing power to format the print job. 4. The format is \\computerName\ shareName. as shown in the graphic. Click OK. However. you have to take some additional steps to add a networked printer to a computer. Note  Rendering print jobs It’s best to select Render Print Jobs On Client Computers. select it and click Next. For example. users can connect by using \\Win7\ OfficePrinter. Adding a Network Printer USB printers are automatically installed when you plug them in. if the computer is named Win7 and the printer is named OfficePrinter. 3. You can use the following steps to add a networked printer on a Windows 7–based computer. 2. Click Add A Network. users can use the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) to connect and install the printer. 256 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . 1. At this point.

and then click Finish. it is useful on print servers.5. You can access the Print Management Console on Windows 7 by clicking Start. However. Administrative Tools. Windows will attempt to automatically locate the driver. Print Management Print Management is available in Windows Vista and Windows 7 (and in Windows Server products). It’s not common to manage multiple printers on a desktop system such as Windows 7. When a system connects to the computer sharing the printer. it automatically receives the updated driver. 6. If it can’t locate it. and you can use it to manage multiple shared printers. you can type it into a web browser to access these pages. you can access it via the Control Panel by clicking Systems And Security. Figure 7-17  Printer webpage. It’s usually included on the printout. you’ll be prompted to select it by first selecting the manufacturer and then selecting the printer model. click Next. Figure 7-17 shows a sample webpage. print a local test page. typing Print Management in the Search Programs And Files text box. Printer Webpages Many network-compatible printers include software that allows them to serve webpages. If you know the IP address of the printer. Installing and Configuring Printers CHAPTER 7 257 . One big benefit is that you can update the drivers for printers in the Print Management console. and pressing Enter. so you’re unlikely to use Print Management on these systems. If you don’t know the IP address. Select the printer. Alternatively. and Print Management.

you might need to restart it. Quick Check 1. These tools are available on the Tools tab for this printer.” covers the Services applet in more detail. It works in the background to spool the print job out to the printer. If you try to print more print jobs. In contrast. resume.In Figure 7-17. You can think of the print job as a thread that is collected and wound onto a spool when you print it. and services start up automatically when the computer starts. How are printers commonly connected to a PC? 2. However. The solution is to restart the print spooler service. Each computer includes a printer spooler and a print queue so that it is possible for one user to print without any problems while the print queue on another computer is backed up. you can use it to manipulate any services. Instead. restart the spooler service. After the spooler captures the print job. If you send multiple print jobs to a printer. so the spooler coordinates with the printer to get the print job to it in chunks. they just back up in the queue. pause. “Using Windows Operating Systems. and it’s unwound when it’s sent to the printer. you can go on to other things. your computer sends the print job to a file called a spooler. but in brief. you don’t need to start the print spooler service. The print spooler runs as a service. A common problem with the print spooler is that it can occasionally lock up and stop sending print jobs to the printer. Exam Tip If print jobs back up in the queue. Therefore. start. When one print job finishes. The printer has a limited amount of memory and can print only so fast. it isn’t sent to the printer right away. applications such as Internet Explorer start only when a user starts them. What is the print spooler? 258 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . Print Spooler When you send a print job to a printer. You can also disable a service or configure how it will start. or restart a service. you can see that the printer has a problem and needs attention. Chapter 13. it starts sending the next print job. You can stop. the print spooler will queue each of these jobs. This printer includes multiple tools that can be used to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. It also includes settings that can be configured for the printer.

Sometimes reseating the cables by disconnecting and reconnecting them will resolve the problem. it’s good to have a little cheat sheet listing common symptoms. Ensure that it is plugged in. Creased paper. ■■ ■■ Exam Tip A common problem with a network printer occurs if it is getting an IP address from DHCP instead of having a static IP address. ensure that the printer is on. Repeating paper jams can be due to using lowquality paper or paper that has been exposed to high humidity. rollers can become dirty and work inconsistently. In some cases. ensure that the user is sending the print job to the correct printer.Quick Check Answers 1. Still. and solutions. but it should not be noticeable unless you’re using a heavier bond paper. Windows treats it as though it is turned off. but you should also check the paper path to ensure that it is free of debris. causes. Setting it back to online allows everything to work normally. it will receive a different IP address and users won’t be able to connect to it anymore. No connectivity—local printer. Printers often crease the paper as it is fed through the paper path. similar to the following: ■■ Printer will not print. you can often identify printer problems and resolve them without too much difficulty. USB. The computer might give an error indicating the printer can’t be contacted. A solution is to send the paper through the feeder rather than through the paper tray. If only one user is having the problem. The first solution is to clear the jam. It’s also possible that the pickup and separator rollers are worn and more than one sheet of paper is being ■■ ■■ Troubleshooting Printers CHAPTER 7 259 . Cleaning them resolves the problem. You might need to reinstall the printer for that user’s computer. turned on. Paper jam. A Windows service that accepts print jobs and sends them to the printer. When it is turned off and back on. and properly connected. and configured. If all users are having the same problem. connected. No connectivity—network printer. 2. Check the basics. “Comparing IPv4 and IPv6. ■■ Paper not feeding. Ensure that the data cables are connected.” for a discussion about assigning a static IP address or reserving a specific IP address. Troubleshooting Printers If you understand the basics about how different printers operate. Check the rollers or tractor feed to ensure that they are working. and when it is offline. Refer to Chapter 21. Some printers have an online/offline selection.

You can also see this after replacing a toner cartridge without removing the sealing tape. In some cases. The most likely reason for this is using the wrong print driver. update the driver. If you see this on a laser printer. administrators can modify this. Exam Tip Exam questions may refer to a specific brand or model of a printer. For example. or the corona wire. The only solution is to replace the drum. This might also be due to a cable issue. Regular users can install printers on Windows 7. although users would normally complain as the toner gets low. Reseating the cable will ensure that you don’t have a loose connection. The exam is vendor-neutral. Some printers report a paper jam when the rollers are unable to pick up the paper. print jobs won’t print. Faded print. Access denied.0 cable is 5 meters (about 16 feet). Replacing the toner. a user needs to be in the Power Users or Administrators group to install a printer. it could indicate that the toner is empty. and using a longer cable can result in a garbled output. Streaks on a laser printer. and the question is typically asking a generic question that could be applied to any printer of the same type. Last. you can reduce the resolution or darkness of the first page to eliminate the problem. On impact printers. Use the software tools to clean and align them. ■■ Backed-up print queue. Ghosting can occur on laser printers after printing a dark image. If you’re seeing this error. On inkjet printers. the print spooler service just locks up. and if necessary. especially if they are occurring in the same location on the printed page. and the only way to resolve the problem is to restart it. the Everyone group is assigned Allow Print permission so that anyone can print. the maximum distance of a USB 2. and if not. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 260 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . it’s possible that the charging process isn’t occurring due to a problem with the high-voltage power supply. Also. This indicates that you’re low on toner or ink. Blank pages. this problem occurs if the ink ribbon stops moving. or ink ribbon should eliminate this problem. Don’t let this distract you. Streaks on an inkjet printer. Resume the print spooler service. Double-check to ensure that the correct driver is installed. this can be caused by dirty or misaligned print heads. However. In Windows XP. By default. they will be unable to install a printer. Ghost images due to image problem.picked up. Instead. they stay in the queue. ■■ Garbled characters on paper. Replacing the rollers with a maintenance kit might resolve the problem. Streaks on a laser printer are most likely the result of scratches on the imaging drum. the primary charge roller. Try printing a blank page between images. Unable to install printer. If the printer or the print spooler service has been paused. it indicates that the user isn’t authorized to use the printer. ink cartridge.

or they can be plain words. The solution is to put them into the correct locations. You can often resolve a wide variety of problems simply by replacing the toner cartridge. An alternative is to simplify the image by using a lower resolution or fewer graphics. If the ink cartridges or color toner cartridges are inserted in the wrong location. You can see this on laser printers if the toner gets clogged. it can cause ghosting. The fuser assembly fuses the toner to the paper. Clean and align them. ■■ Vertical lines on page. The best solution is to add memory to the printer if it supports additional memory. Low memory errors. Replace the fuser to resolve the problem. Exam Tip The toner cartridge includes many other components on different printers. and if you touch it for information. Some inkjet printers recycle the ink. Toner not fused to the paper. On inkjet printers. It can also occur if the drum is scratched or dirty. They can be cryptic numbers you need to look up in a printer manual. When the RIP creates the raster image. so you’ll still have a mixture of the wrong ink. such as “Out of paper. Restart the print spooler service. you’ll receive a memory error. this can occur if the print heads are dirty or misaligned. If the image is larger than the available memory. 2. Troubleshooting Printers CHAPTER 7 261 . it stores it in memory. it shows graphics demonstrating how to resolve the problem. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Quick Check 1. Error codes. The solution is to remove the cartridge and shake it or to replace the cartridge. What should be done to resolve a backed-up print queue problem? Quick Check Answers 1. If the drum isn’t adequately cleaned or adequately charged. but it might take time for the colors to return to normal. you’ll see some psychedelic results. You might need to replace the cleaning scraper or the primary charge roller.■■ Ghost images due to hardware problem. Incorrect driver.” Many inkjet printers have a color LCD panel that displays the error. Color prints in wrong print color. Many printers give error codes. What is the most likely cause of a garbled output? 2.

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 262 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . Inkjet printers have print heads with microscopic holes that inject ink onto the paper. developing. You typically apply a maintenance kit when replacing the toner. which often includes a replacement ozone filter. They are very popular among home users and small businesses. isopropyl alcohol. Common printers are laser. They are more expensive than other printers and are commonly used in larger organizations. noisy. A laser then writes the image onto the drum during the exposing stage. exposing. Complex images require more memory. fusing. impact. Common maintenance tools used with printers include compressed air. ESD-safe vacuum cleaners (with HEPA filters for laser printers). Toner is melted onto the paper by a fusing assembly in the fusing stage. inkjet. A high-voltage charge is applied to the drum from a primary charge roller during the charging stage. The RIP processes the image and stores it in memory during the processing stage. Cleaning or aligning them will resolve most problems. ■■ ■■ Laser printers are fast and provide a high-quality output. Laser printers include dangerously high voltages and hot components. They can create high-quality color output and are very popular with home users. Inkjet printers are inexpensive and provide high-quality color output but are slower than laser printers. They should be unplugged prior to servicing. transferring.Chapter Summary ■■ ■■ Duplexing assemblies are required to print two sides. A transfer roller electrically charges paper. Ink is very expensive. Inkjet print heads can become clogged or misaligned. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Laser printers use the following seven-step imaging process: processing. Toner is a fine powder of carbon and plastic. They are used most often by businesses that need to print multipart forms. and thermal. and cleaning. Impact printers are slow. and lint-free cloths or cotton swabs. The drum is then cleaned to prepare for the next image in the cleaning stage. It is charged during the developing stage and applied to the drum. and the image is transferred to the paper during the transferring stage. charging. Thermal printers are special-purpose printers used to create receipts or print lottery tickets. and generate a lot of paper dust.

and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. replacing a toner cartridge on a laser printer resolves many problems. Restart the print spooler. To improve RAID-1 C. Laser printer 3. Thermal printers use a special thermal paper that changes color when heated by the print head. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. B. They are used to print multipart forms. Network printers must be installed. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. and solutions. causes. To double the speed of the printer 2. Print a test page. Turn off the printer. Which of the follow- ing steps should you take first? A. If the print queue backs up.■■ Impact printers hammer pins against an ink ribbon to print dots on paper. What is a duplexing assembly used for in a printer? A. restart it. Inkjet printer D. A customer wants to buy a printer for home use that can print color. You are preparing to replace a toner cartridge on a laser printer. To print on both sides of the paper B. Color laser printer C. Dot matrix printer B. What would you recommend? A. To allow two-way communication D. D. C. Many printer problems have clear symptoms. The print spooler service coordinates sending print jobs to a printer. The answers to these questions. USB printers will install automatically without any user intervention. Additionally. 1. Remove the new toner from the package. Chapter Review CHAPTER 7 263 . She asks you for your advice. You’ll often find that taking steps to clean a printer resolves many problems.

Ethernet 5. USB B. Clean the print heads. The customer complains that it prints streaks in the same place on every page. Replace the toner cartridge. Of the following choices. What should you do if an inkjet printer is printing random streaks? A.11 D. 6. One LED is steady red. What is the most likely problem? A. Update the drivers. Clean the fusing assembly. An incorrect print driver D. and another is blinking orange. You are troubleshooting a problem with an HP6L laser printer. Parallel C. C. The fuser C. 802. B. Impossible to tell without the manual 264 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . what is not used to connect a wired printer? A.4. D. The imaging drum B.

B. Correct Answer: D A. ­ B. C. Incorrect: Ethernet is used to connect printers over a wired network. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: 802. Correct: You should turn off the printer as a safety precaution before servicing a laser printer.11 refers to wireless technologies. C. Incorrect: They do not increase the speed. Incorrect: Regular laser printers do not print color. D. but this is not related to printers. Incorrect: A driver would not cause random streaks. Correct Answer: A A. Answers CHAPTER 7 265 . Correct Answer: B A. B. Incorrect: Inkjet printers do not have toner cartridges. D. Incorrect: Inkjet printers do not have fusing assemblies. Correct: Cleaning and aligning the print heads will likely resolve this problem. D. D. but it has been used to connect a wired printer. Incorrect: USB is the most common method. B. B. C. Correct: Inkjet printers print color and are very popular for home users. Incorrect: Parallel is not a common method. Incorrect: Duplexing improves RAID-1 by adding a second disk controller. Incorrect: In networking. Incorrect: A color laser printer is much more expensive than an inkjet printer. but that is unrelated to printers. C. 5. Incorrect: Restart the spooler if the queue is backed up. C. D. Correct Answer: C A. 4. Correct: Duplexing assemblies can automatically flip paper in a printer to print both sides. duplex indicates a device has two-way communication. 2.Answers 1. Incorrect: A dot matrix printer would be appropriate if she wanted to print multipart forms. 3. Incorrect: You should unpack the new toner only when you’re ready to install it. Incorrect: You could print a test page as a final step to confirm proper operation of the printer.

the fuser is the likely problem. Incorrect: The wrong driver results in garbled output. D. Incorrect: If toner wasn’t sticking to the paper. but the streaks indicate a scratched drum. Correct: Streaks are very likely caused by scratches on the imaging drum for any type of laser printer. Correct Answer: A A.6. Incorrect: The manual will help you interpret the lights. C. B. 266 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers .

1 Install and configure laptop hardware and components. but other components can be quite challenging. Some hardware is relatively easy to install and replace. Their displays are similar to regular monitors. 3. You’ll also learn about methods used to conserve power on these systems and some key things to look for when troubleshooting them. ■■ Expansion options ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Express card /34 Express card /54 PCMCIA SODIMM Flash Keyboard Hard Drive (2.CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops I n this chapter.5) Memory Optical drive Wireless card Mini-PCIe Screen DC jack Battery Touchpad Plastics 267 ■■ Hardware/device replacement ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ . you’ll learn about many of the common features of laptops.5 vs. especially if you don’t follow some basic processes for disassembling the laptops. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 3. but some have additional hardware not included in other monitors. Laptops often have special keys on the keyboard that are used to enable and disable hardware.

■■ Types ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ LCD LED OLED Plasma ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Wi-Fi antenna connector/placement Inverter and its function Backlight Special function keys ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 3. ■■ Common to all Microsoft Operating Systems ■■ System ■■ Hardware Profiles Hibernate Power plans Sleep/suspend Standby ■■ Power options ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 268 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . use Control Panel utilities (the items are organized by “classic view/large icons” in Windows).5 Given a scenario.2 Compare and contrast the components within the display of a laptop. ■■ Dual displays Wireless (on/off) Volume settings Screen brightness Bluetooth (on/off) Keyboard backlight ■■ ■■ Docking station vs.3 Compare and contrast laptop features. port replicator Physical laptop lock and cable lock Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1.■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Speaker System board CPU 3.

Common Laptop Features CHAPTER 8 269 . troubleshoot. And of course.■■ 4. More Info  Chapter 9. laptops have many common features. Stripped-down netbooks have screens of about 10 inches and are used to surf the Internet and check email but can’t do much more. there are a multitude of laptop types between these two. Despite their differences in size and performance characteristics. and repair common laptop issues while adhering to the appropriate procedures.8 Given a scenario. “Understanding Mobile Devices” Tablets are in a different category and are covered in Chapter 9. You can find highperformance laptops with screens of over 17 inches and as much power as a desktop computer. and there are many different types. ■■ Common symptoms ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ No display Dim display Flickering display Sticking keys Intermittent wireless Battery not charging Ghost cursor No power Num lock indicator lights No wireless connectivity No Bluetooth connectivity Cannot display to external monitor Document and label cable and screw locations Organize parts Refer to manufacturer documentation Use appropriate hand tools ■■ Disassembling processes for proper re-assembly ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Common Laptop Features Key Terms Laptops are mobile computers.

you’ll often find that the function keys have more than one purpose. the F1 key has an icon of two monitors and is used for dual displays. NOTE  Special keys aren’t always the same Figure 8-1 shows how one laptop manufacturer is using the function keys. Figure 8-1 shows part of a laptop keyboard with some keys highlighted. This is similar to how regular letter keys have two purposes. but there isn’t a standard. Press it again and the next choice is selected. you can press the F1 key to open help. In Figure 8-1. that you can use when working with any computer. The function keys are across the top. and the special Fn key is on the bottom. you’ll usually see four choices. 270 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . The following sections describe the purpose of special function keys found on many laptops. Dual Displays The dual-display key is useful when you have a second monitor connected to the laptop or when the laptop is connected to a projector during a presentation. which you can access by pressing the Fn key at the same time that you press the given function key. Another laptop manufacturer might be using these keys for different purposes. Similarly. with one selected. You can press the A key to get a lowercase a. labeled F1 to F12. you can press the F5 key in just about any application to refresh the display. Function keys Fn key Figure 8-1  Laptop keyboard with Fn and function keys. If you press this key.Special Function Keys Key Terms Keyboards commonly have function keys. On laptop computers. The video is displayed on the laptop’s monitor but not on external devices. or you can press the Shift key with the A key to get an uppercase A. The four choices are as follows: ■■ Computer Only. For example.

If you touch it. By toggling this key. Everything is simple when you know how things work. Real World  Some Problems can Be Solved by Pressing A Key Sometimes problems have amazingly simple solutions. This selection allows you to extend the desktop and move windows between the displays. Well. if you need to send the display to the projector. wireless can be turned on or off. The same data is displayed on the computer and on an external monitor. “Exploring Wireless Networking. actually. You might see the wireless control in different locations. the F2 key has an icon of a radio transmitting tower and is used for wireless. I mentioned I knew a little about computers and offered to help. I was out at a coffee shop and noticed another customer working with his laptop.” He did. Chapter 23. his connection was restored. Exam Tip  If a user is unable to connect to wireless networks. Speakers use this so that they can see the same display on the laptop as the audience sees. he was banging his mouse on the table out of frustration because his laptop wasn’t working with him. The laptop display is disabled. it changes to orange and disables wireless. toggle the Wireless key on the keyboard to see whether the symptoms change.” covers wireless technologies in more depth. In Figure 8-1. and only the projector display is used. I pointed to a key on his keyboard and said. Common Laptop Features CHAPTER 8 271 . and it is blue when wireless is enabled. toggle the dual-display key by pressing it repeatedly to see if the display changes. use this key. and a moment later.■■ Duplicate. but we could see that it was still working for others in the coffee shop. He said he was answering an email when the wireless connection from the coffee shop stopped working. Some HP laptops have a touch panel above the keyboard that can control some features. ■■ ■■ Exam Tip  If the display on the laptop is not functioning. Extend. One LED looks like a transmitting antenna. The user might have accidentally set it to Projector Only. Wireless (On/Off) Most systems also have a key that can be used to enable or disable the wireless card. Not too long ago. Similarly. Some laptops have a switch on the side. Projector Only. “Press that once.

Keyboard Backlight Some keyboards have backlights illuminating the keys so that they can easily be viewed at night. F8 to decrease the volume. it often has the F in a box and the word Lock. The keyboard in Figure 8-1 uses F4 to decrease the brightness and F5 to increase it. red. but there isn’t much use for the backlight when the sun comes up. They sound the same. but the usage is different. NOTE  Screens are dim when using batteries Laptops often switch to a low power plan when on battery power. When an F-Lock key is present. The keyboard in Figure 8-1 uses F7 to mute the sound. Volume settings commonly use a speaker icon with another indicator. The Lock key often has a lock icon. and it locks the operating system when you press it. and multiple sound waves increase the volume. These are sometimes popular with gamers. When using a low power plan. The brightness controls commonly use a circular icon resembling the sun.Volume Settings Some function keys can be used for volume controls. The keys are often laser-etched. and white. and F9 to increase it. Lock and F-Lock Keys Many keyboards also have Lock and F-Lock keys that are important to understand. Bluetooth (On/Off) Some systems with Bluetooth capability include a key to enable or disable Bluetooth. A key with an icon of a light is usually available to toggle the backlight on or off. Toggling this key locks the function keys to be used as F1 to F12. with a down arrow to decrease the brightness and an up arrow to increase the brightness. or blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) shine through them so that they can be easily identified. The mute icon often shows a speaker with an X. It is usually indicated by an icon resembling an uppercase B. Screen Brightness Keyboards will often have keys to increase or decrease the brightness. This is similar to pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys on Windows Vista and Windows 7 and selecting Lock This Computer. yellow. the screen brightness keys might be disabled. Pressing them won’t change the display. using the alternate purpose of the key. It works similarly to the wireless switch. 272 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . A speaker with a single sound wave is used to indicate it will decrease the volume.

you probably understand how the Num Lock and Caps Lock keys work.Using the F-Lock key is similar to using the Caps Lock key to force letters to always be typed as lowercase or uppercase. many laptops don’t include an LED. Num Lock Indicator The number pad on a computer usually has a dual purpose of typing numbers or moving the cursor around. You can press the Num Lock key to use the numbers and press it again to use the navigation keys. Most desktop keyboards include an LED that turns on or off when you press the Num Lock key. Similarly. Num Lock Indicator Lights If you’ve been using a computer for a while. Default Usage of Fn Key The default usage of the Fn key isn’t the same on all laptops. If you want to start help. For example. pressing only the F1 key will start help. which can also be used to enable or disable wireless. ■■ Troubleshooting Keyboard Issues When you understand how the keys work. However. They might complain that numbers no longer type from the number pad. or in some cases you can break out your trusted can of compressed air. ■■ On one computer. Figure 8-2  Lock indicator examples. when you press the Num Lock key. you’ll see an indication on the screen that the Num Lock is on or off. there probably isn’t anything wrong with the user’s computer—the user just doesn’t understand how it’s displayed or how to change it. On a different computer. They usually require just a little effort on your part to educate the user. In this case. most problems with keyboards are relatively easy to resolve. think of the F1 key used to open help. Take a minute to demonstrate. you’ll see the same type of display for the Caps Lock and the F-Lock keys. pressing only the F1 key will toggle wireless. Figure 8-2 shows how these appear on one computer. However. you need to press the Fn and F1 keys at the same time. this is often misunderstood by many new users. turning it on or off. Common Laptop Features CHAPTER 8 273 . If you want to toggle wireless. you need to press the Fn and F1 keys at the same time. Instead.

Docking Station vs. It has additional ports you can use to hook up other devices. and food and liquid can drop into the keyboard. and users often want more capabilities when they’re back at the office. Key Terms A docking station is a case or a cabinet that the laptop plugs into to give the laptop additional capabilities. such as external drives. People often eat or snack at their desks. The solution is to clean the keyboard with compressed air. Users can type normally through the cover. When you plug the laptop into the docking station. 274 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . the laptop is connected to other peripherals. It’s common for a docking station to be directly connected to a network. and it protects the keyboard from collecting food. What should you check if wireless suddenly stops working on a laptop? Quick Check Answers 1. compared to the full features available with a desktop computer. Another option is to use a plastic keyboard cover. Toggle the function key for the display. Press the function key to enable or disable wireless. Quick Check 1. In extreme cases. such as a standard-sized monitor. 2. and mouse. or at least reduce how often the keyboard needs to be cleaned. Docking Station Port Replicator Laptop Figure 8-3  Docking station and port replicator. you can remove all the keys and clean them individually with alcohol. However. laptops look and feel rather small. and sometimes has expansion slots you can use. How can a user easily get a laptop to send the display to an external monitor? 2. Docking stations and port replicators are often used with laptops to extend their capabilities. Figure 8-3 compares the two.Sticking Keys This is often a food issue. Educating the user about the source of the problem can help. keyboard. Port Replicator Laptops are very useful when users are traveling.

If the laptop is on battery power while it’s in the docking station. For example.Key Terms Port replicators are simpler devices. and network connections. In Figure 8-4. A docking station must be specifically designed for the laptop because the laptop plugs directly into it. you can disable the wired NIC in the Traveling profile and enable the wireless NIC. the user might want to use the wireless network interface card (NIC) while traveling or at home but prefer to use the wired NIC in the office. You can usually plug a port replicator into a single USB port on the laptop. in the screen shot on the left. docking stations are more expensive than port replicators. You could disable the wireless NIC in the Office profile and enable the wired NIC. you would plug it directly into the laptop. it indicates that it isn’t connected. If you want to use a full-sized monitor. Port replicators often include additional USB ports. and the hardware has been configured in this profile to use a docking station. you can see the Hardware Profiles page of a Windows XP system with these two profiles. Exam Tip  Docking stations usually provide power to the laptop. Similarly. The system is currently booted into the Office profile. Common Laptop Features CHAPTER 8 275 . Figure 8-4  Setting up hardware profiles. You can usually just remove the laptop and plug it back in to reseat it. The traveling profile has been configured with only the laptop’s hardware. sound ports. Because of this. Hardware Profiles Hardware profiles are used in Windows XP but not in Windows Vista or Windows 7. They allow a user to select the set of hardware to which the laptop is hooked up when the ­ system boots. and it provides additional ports. You can set up two hardware profiles and name them Office and Traveling.

276 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . 4. I know of one conference speaker who returned from a 15-minute break to find that the laptop he was using for his presentation had disappeared. Locks Laptops disappear quite easily. 3. and Delete buttons to copy. Control Panel.When you reboot the system. Rename. It’s similar to a cable lock used to secure a bicycle to a bike stand. To access the Hardware Profiles page. It’s very easy for someone to simply put a laptop under their arm and walk away. Double-click System to open the System applet. change the display to Classic View. Simple physical security measures can prevent these thefts. I’ve heard many stories of people returning to a conference after lunch to find their laptops missing. You can select any profile and use the Copy. Click the Hardware Profiles button. Click Start. Key Terms Figure 8-5  Cable lock for a laptop. rename. Figure 8-5 shows an example of a cable lock connected to a laptop computer. This is configured to give the user 30 seconds to choose a different hardware profile or boot into the Microsoft Office profile. you will see a menu choice similar to the screen shown on the right in Figure 8-4. use the following steps: 1. Click the Hardware tab. If necessary. or delete the profile. 2. For example.

but someone carrying around bolt cutters looks suspicious. along with some specific concerns. to a lesser degree. You first wrap it around something stable such as a desk. The primary difference is that the display is attached to laptops whereas it’s a separate piece of hardware in desktop computers. Laptop Displays As with any computer. A thief could use large bolt cutters to cut the cable. A dry lint-free cloth works for most situations. What provides additional features for a laptop while working in an office? 2. 2. but that risks damage to the laptop. This isn’t perfect. You can also use a cleaner that is specially designed for the screen. and the underlying technology is the same whether it’s on the laptop or as a stand-alone monitor. What provides physical security for a laptop? Quick Check Answers 1. Spin the combination and the laptop is secure. but it is enough to deter most thefts. Chapter 6. Laptop Displays CHAPTER 8 277 . “Exploring Video and Display Devices. Organic light emitting diode (OLED) and plasma are available but less common. a port replicator. Note  Cleaning the display Use the same method of cleaning a laptop display as you do with other LCD monitors. and then plug the cable into the laptop. laptops have a display. Quick Check 1. Display Types The primary display types you’ll find in laptop computers are liquid crystal display (LCD) and light emitting diode (LED) monitors. A thief might be able to hammer the lock off.The cable has a combination lock. Spray the cleaner on the cloth and then wipe the display. you can plug it into a port on the laptop.” provides information about these types of monitors. Cable lock. When set at the correct combination. Docking station or. The section covers the different types of displays you’ll run across with laptops.

the display is attached to the computer and the computer runs on direct current (DC) voltage. inverters often fail. In laptops. going through these crystals.Backlight Backlights are used in LCD and LED display monitors because the crystals in these monitors do not emit light. The backlight shines light from the back of the display to the front. This isn’t a problem for stand-alone monitors because the monitor is plugged into an AC outlet. You can see different colors based on how the crystals are oriented. and you should remove the battery before opening a laptop. An inverter is a small circuit board connected with just a couple of screws and two plug-in connectors. This DC voltage must be converted to AC voltage to power the CCFL. They sometimes include a fuse you can replace. you use a power adapter that converts the AC voltage to DC voltage. When you plug a laptop computer into an AC outlet. If it’s running on battery power. Important  Risk of serious electrical shock Dangerous voltages exist on the inverter when the system is turned on. When handling any printed circuit cards. Figure 8-6 shows a picture of an inverter held by technician José Vargas to give you an idea of its size. Unfortunately. One receives the DC voltage from the motherboard. Traditional LCD monitors use a cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) as a backlight. and the other sends the AC voltage to the CCFL. you should also use an Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) wrist strap. You should not open a laptop or handle the inverter when the system is turned on. Figure 8-6  Inverter inside a laptop computer. and the CCFL requires alternating current (AC) voltage. Laptops use an inverter for this purpose. 278 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . Inverter Key Terms Laptops that include a CCFL use an inverter to convert the DC voltage provided from the motherboard to the AC voltage needed by the CCFL. it’s also using DC voltage. but typically. you have to replace the entire circuit board when it fails.

a plasma display is susceptible to burn-in if the same image is left on the monitor for a long period of time. Because the LEDs do not require AC voltages. While a plasma display can provide vibrant images. Second. and blue tube that are used to produce different colors. Unfortunately. technicians have one less component to worry about checking for failure. They use very small gas-filled tubes that can emit lights. green. The biggest difference is that they require an inverter to power the CCFL backlight. Laptop Displays CHAPTER 8 279 . If either the inverter or the CCFL fails. Inverters often fail. while stand-alone monitors don’t need an inverter. LED monitors do not require inverters. Most important for a laptop computer is that a plasma display requires more power than an LCD or LED monitor. and they provide exceptional graphics. OLED OLED devices do not require a backlight at all. completely dark. possibly. but this isn’t a concern for LED monitors. the CCFL backlight doesn’t work. Each pixel includes a red. Most laptops are now shipping with LED display monitors instead of the LCD monitors. You might see them in small mobile devices such as smartphones. the manufacturer saves money by not requiring the inverter. but they are rarely used in laptops. they are still quite expensive when compared to LED or LCD monitors. This provides two important benefits. Second. Plasma Plasma displays also don’t require a backlight. The result is that a laptop with a plasma display won’t stay powered on as long when using a battery. the display will go dark and you’ll need to replace the failed component. The result is that the display will be dim or. LED LED monitors are LCD monitors that use LEDs as backlights. They are thinner and lighter. Exam Tip  When an inverter fails. Exam Tip  LED monitors (LCD monitors using LED backlights) do not use CCFLs. it has two problems. When used on laptop computers. the LED monitors do not require an inverter.LCD LCD displays used with laptop computers work like any regular LCD display. First.

jostled. If you can view the display on the second monitor but not the laptop’s display. Sometimes a dim display looks dark. Laptops are moved. An easy check is to toggle the function key and look for a change. either at the top. To connect with the wireless access point. This is also a clear indication that the problem is the backlight or the inverter.Wi-Fi Antenna Most laptops have built-in wireless (often called Wi-Fi) capabilities. the problem might be due to a failed inverter. the LCD screen has likely failed. and tossed around a lot more than desktop computers. this is caused by a loose connection within the laptop. The solution is to replace the backlight and/or inverter. It could be due to a problem with the backlight. It’s possible that it’s just a dim display. You’ll need to replace the LCD screen if it’s failed. You might need to toggle the display function key to enable output to this second monitor. Wires run from the antenna to a wireless card inside the laptop. resulting in a dim display. Flickering Display One of the symptoms you might see with laptop displays is a flickering display. always check the easy fixes first: ■■ Ensure that the laptop is on. All this activity 280 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . or the LCD panel itself. LED displays don’t use inverters. The following sections identify some common problems. On traditional LCD displays. ■■ Another check is to plug in a second monitor and view the display. The antenna is commonly located inside the display. it’s very likely the LCD screen has failed. the video card or the motherboard’s video capability has likely failed. but the backlight can fail. Ensure that the monitor hasn’t been disabled by using a function key. they need to have an antenna. the inverter powering the CCFL. However. If you can’t see a display on either monitor. you should check to verify that it is not displaying anything at all. when the display is opened. but if you shine a flashlight into the monitor you can see data displayed. Dim Display A dim display indicates a failed backlight. The solution is to replace the backlight. No Display If your monitor has no display at all. You’ll usually have some type of power indicator that verifies power is on. More often than not. or on one or more edges. Troubleshooting Display Issues You might need to troubleshoot problems with a monitor’s display. but before replacing the entire display.

Chapter 6 includes information about using multiple displays and how to configure them. the pointing stick. This means different things based on the symptoms. the inverter can become more sensitive to heat as it ages. Cannot Display to External Monitor The most common reason a laptop cannot send the output to the display monitor is that the function key is set to send it to the primary display only. but it is possible. As the computer is used and heats up.can jiggle something loose. users can use gestures on the touchpad to mimic mouse movements. and settings for the mouse. Similarly. the next best choice is the CCFL. Laptop Displays CHAPTER 8 281 . it will work fine. causing the flicker. the inverter can start failing. Ghost Cursor Occasionally users complain of a ghost cursor. Less common is flickering due to a problem with the LCD display itself. The three things to consider are the touchpad. Figure 8-7 shows a laptop with a touchpad and the common location for a pointing stick. If you can reproduce the symptom by moving the display. Just as a fluorescent light can flicker when it ages. Pointing stick Touchpad Figure 8-7  Laptop keyboard with touchpad. This should be your first check. the CCFL can flicker. Instead of using a mouse. it is most likely due to a loose connector. If this doesn’t resolve the issue. The pointing stick is a small pointing device that can be manipulated with your finger to move the mouse. The solution is to take it apart and reseat the display’s connectors. When the computer first turns it on. Another item to check is the dual-monitor display settings from within the operating system.

Put the tape on the wire and 282 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops .When the touchpad or pointing stick is enabled. You can use these settings to reduce the sensitivity of the touchpad or pointing stick. users sometimes inadvertently touch it. such as the inverter. With that in mind. Turn System Off Ensure the laptop is turned off and that the battery is removed before starting. it’s best to disable the The Pointer Options tab in the Mouse applet includes a setting labeled Display Pointer Trails. the easiest solution is to just disable them. have dangerous voltages that can harm you. If users are using an external mouse and not using these controls. and you’ll find that there are multiple differences in how they are assembled. there will likely be times when you need to install or swap out hardware. Some components. It’s worth your time to document and label everything as you go along. Some items can be incredibly easy to replace. However. Other components can be damaged if the system is opened with the power on. there isn’t a specific set of hardware replacement steps you can follow that will work for any laptop. Another possibility that might cause users to complain of a ghost cursor is a setting in the Windows Mouse applet. Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware When you work as a PC technician. while others will take a significant amount of time. The other option is to manipulate their sensitivity. causing the cursor to jump around. This will prevent the user from accidentally causing the mouse pointer to jump around the screen. and Apple has published a support article to address it (http://support. Exam Tip If users are not using the touchpad. the mouse pointer includes ghost images or trails of the mouse as it’s the solution is to enable the Trackpad setting to Ignore Accidental Trackpad Input. One method of labeling wires is with small pieces of tape and a pen. Apple users sometimes complain about this. Disassembling Processes Laptops are made by different manufacturers. there are some basic disassembling processes you can follow. When it is enabled. Manufacturers often modify the Control Panel’s Mouse applet so that it includes properties for these devices. On Apple systems. Document and Label Cable and Screw Locations A lot can happen between the time that you disassemble a laptop and when you put it back together.

It makes it easy to keep the screws and other parts separate. I used an HP Pavilion dv7 laptop for many of the pictures in this chapter. For example. If you’ll be handling the circuit boards.mark it so that you’ll know where it goes. Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware CHAPTER 8 283 . I used Bing to search for “dv7 manual” and quickly found and downloaded the manual. At the very least. This can be any piece of plastic strong enough to give a little leverage but thin enough to fit into tight spots. Organizing the screws in separate containers helps avoid this problem. which you can use to pry open the case. you can also take some pictures to help you remember. put the screws holding the case in one container and put screws holding specific components within the laptop in separate containers. Another valuable tool is a plastic wedge or plastic shim. ensure that you’re using an ESD wrist strap. especially when you start removing items such as the keyboard or display screen. I have several of these that I use as containers when I’m working on a system. Some screws are close in size but can be just a little longer or larger. If you have a camera phone. You can often find documentation for systems on the web. it’s also very important to prevent electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage. For example. I often include notes (such as “external screws” or “hard drive screws”) that I add to the container to help me remember. Refer to Manufacturer Documentation This is extremely important. The disassembling steps are usually different from one laptop to another. it’s very easy to destroy the laptop. Without this documentation. it’s best to organize them as you’re proceeding. and if you put a screw into the wrong location. NOTE Containers Blank CDs and DVDs come on spindles covered with a plastic case. but the manufacturer’s documentation shows the specific steps for your laptop. Connecting the wrist strap to yourself and a metal part of the laptop ensures that you have the same electrical potential as the laptop and thus prevents ESD damage. Organize Parts As you’re removing screws and parts. Use Appropriate Hand Tools You’ll find that a few different size screw drivers (flat-blade and Phillips) are the primary tools that you’ll need when taking a laptop apart. You can use something as simple as a guitar pick. you can damage the laptop.

Hardware and Device Replacement The majority of hardware that you’ll replace is accessible from the rear panel. This chapter has pictures of cases from one computer. The size and location of these covers varies widely from computer to computer. DVD Wi-Fi card RAM Empty hard drive bay Figure 8-8  Rear of laptop with access panel on (left) and removed (right). Some laptops have multiple panels. If you use a metal screwdriver you might scratch the case. Hard drive CMOS Battery Plastics Laptop computers commonly have plastic cases and covers that you need to remove to gain access to internal components. but there is no standard. You usually have only a few screws that you need to remove to access removable components. Important  Avoid serious electrical shock Always disconnect power and remove the battery before adding or replacing any hardware in a laptop computer. When these screws are removed. such as USB flash drives. They are normally secured with screws and often with clips or latches. but a plastic wedge will not cause damage. 284 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . Figure 8-8 shows the rear of a laptop with the case closed and opened. Exam Tip  A plastic wedge is useful when removing plastic covers or opening cases. you can remove the panel and access the internal components as shown on the right. The exceptions are hot-swappable devices. Even after removing the screws. you often need to pry the plastic cover off with a wedge. so you’ll see different covers. The case on the left has arrows pointing to the screws. and others have a single panel.

but if you do store it there. it will gradually lose its ability to hold a charge. Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware CHAPTER 8 285 . These often fit snugly in the laptop. Most batteries are very easy to remove and replace. All laptop batteries aren’t the same. It allows the system to run even when it’s disconnected from an AC power source. Battery goes here Removed battery Battery latch Figure 8-9  Removing a battery. sizes. You’ll see them in many different shapes. depending on the quality of the battery. and even types. remove the battery. It will typically last between one to three years or between 300 and 800 charge and recharge cycles. Key Terms The most common type of battery used in laptop computers is the lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery.Battery A core component of a laptop is the battery. and the battery will fall into your hand. Batteries are typically held in place with a latch that you can slide to one side to release it. As it ages. Figure 8-9 shows a battery removed from the underside of a laptop computer. If the laptop will not be used for two weeks or more or if it will remain plugged into an AC outlet for two weeks or more. but gravity can help you remove it. NOTE  Two-week rule for prolonging battery life Batteries age quicker if they stay fully charged or if they’re allowed to remain discharged. It doesn’t need to be stored in a refrigerator. Turn the laptop over and release the latch. you need to let it warm up to room temperature before using it.

and you’re done. 286 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . and then you can slide it away from the connector.5 inches in size. as you can see on the drive shown on the right in Figure 8-10. but you should observe local regulations when disposing of them or recycling them. When you’re removing the drive. Figure 8-10 shows a laptop with two drive bays and with one drive removed.Li-ion batteries are environmentally friendly. 3. Hard Drive (2. Replace the screws. Screws The hard drives fit into the drive bay with a little gap. NiCd batteries include cadmium.5 inches in size. you first need to remove the screws holding it in.5) Most hard drives in laptop computers use a Serial ATA (SATA) interface. When you’re putting a drive in. Most drives have a little plastic tab that you can use to pull them away and then out.5 vs. Key Terms Older batteries such as nickel cadmium (NiCd) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) were common but are used much less in laptops today. and they are very easy to replace. If you need to purchase a laptop hard drive. Plastic tab Gap Connectors Figure 8-10  Removing a hard drive. NiMH batteries are environmentally friendly but cannot be recharged as many times as a Li-ion battery. Standard disk drives are 3. this gap allows you to place it flat in the bay and then push it into the connector. ensure that you get one 2. They should not be incinerated because they can explode. which is toxic to the environment.

you might need to double-check your work and ensure that the SODIMM is seated properly in the slot. They are held in place with latches that fit into the round slot on each side of the SODIMM. Two primary concerns when replacing memory is ensuring that you use compatible memory and that you follow ESD practices. Figure 8-11 shows a laptop with one SODIMM installed and one removed. Flash A popular trend with many hobbyists is to replace the primary hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD) in laptop computers. The system should recognize the new RAM. Laptop computers use small outline dual in-line memory modules (SODIMMs). and turn the computer on. remove the hard drive first to retain user data. press it down so that it lays flat. In systems with two hard drive bays. and are extremely fast when compared with a standard hard drive. “Understanding RAM and CPUs” Chapter 3 covers different types of DIMM and SODIMMs. you might be able to replace them with two 2-GB sticks to double the capacity. the SODIMM lays flat. If you have an open slot. the other hard drive can be a 1-TB traditional hard drive to provide ample space for storage. It will usually boot without any problems. you can use something like a 256-GB flash drive for the operating system to get super-fast boot times. if a system has two 1-GB memory sticks. To replace the SODIMM. If the user needs more space for data. consume less power. it rises to about a 30-degree angle and you can easily remove it. which are smaller than dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) that are used in desktops. you can move the drive to another system of the same make and model. These use flash memory and are available in 2. They don’t have any moving parts. When secured. Put all the covers back into place. push it into the slot. If not.Exam Tip  If you need to turn in a laptop computer for hardware servicing. Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware CHAPTER 8 287 .5-inch SATA versions. When it is plugged in. If a laptop fails but the hard drive woks. The two latches will snap into place. More Info  Chapter 3. you can add additional memory to increase the system’s performance. plug the computer in. For example. you can also use two flash drives. which will secure it. Of course. Memory Memory is another item that is usually easy to replace on laptop computers. or you can replace the existing memory with higher-capacity RAM. but when you release the latches.

DVD. Optical Drive When a laptop computer includes an optical drive such as a CD. Most are held in place with a single screw. you can pry the drive away from the case with a plastic wedge. 288 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . you’ll find that they are very easy to replace. or Blu-Ray drive. After removing the screw. Figure 8-12 shows the location of the screw and an optical drive partially removed from a laptop computer. double-check the installation. Exam Tip  The power-on self-test (POST) will check the memory when the system boots. If you hear an unfamiliar beep after installing RAM.SODIMM latches Removed SODIMM Figure 8-11  Replacing a SODIMM.

Mini-PCIe is an upgrade to MiniPCI slots. Figure 8-13 shows a wireless card partially removed from a laptop computer. shown at the bottom of the figure. Mini-PCIe Laptop computers commonly include Mini Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (Mini-PCIe) slots for expansion. the wireless card is next to the RAM and is annotated with a wireless icon. In this system. It’s easy to identify because it will have two or three wires attached to it. the wireless card shown in the next section is a Mini-PCIe card. Wireless Card The wireless card is another easy component to replace.Single screw Figure 8-12  Removing an optical drive. similar to how PCIe is an upgrade to PCI. For example. Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware CHAPTER 8 289 . MiniPCIe circuit cards are smaller than typical PCIe cards used in desktop computers. depending on the type of wireless it supports.

indicating that it is used if the wireless card supports 802. and 802. More Info  Chapter 23. but the laptop computer has three wires. Multiple input multiple output (MIMO) is used with 802. so your best bet is to check the manual. They were already labeled in this system.11g. If the wires are not labeled. and the other wire must connect to pin 2 (AUX). Keyboard You’ll often have to remove the keyboard to access the motherboard and some other internal components. and the third cable is labeled MIMO. 290 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops .11n but not with other wireless standards such as 802.11n. 802. but there is also a rectangular keyboard icon next to a screw. This lets you know that this is one of the screws holding the keyboard in place. There are different methods for different motherboards. One wire must connect to pin 1 (MAIN). you should label them. This wireless card has two connectors. the transceiver is located on the sides of the display.Keyboard icon and keyboard screw Wireless connectors Wireless icon Figure 8-13  Removing the wireless card. “Exploring Wireless Networking” Chapter 23 covers wireless technologies in more depth. In some cases. including 802. The cables from the wireless card run to an antenna transceiver normally located on the top of the laptop display.11b. This provides an excellent example of the importance of labeling wires when you’re taking a system apart. It might not show up in Figure 8-13 very well.11a.11n.

RAM. Before removing it completely. and you’ll usually have to pry the case loose with a plastic wedge. With these removed. such as a webcam.NOTE  Give yourself plenty of time When you start removing components from the front of the laptop (such as the keyboard. you’ll first need to remove components from the bottom of the laptop. don’t try to remove the display screen without first disconnecting these cables from the wireless card. After removing the screws. and the wireless card. With the keyboard removed and the cables removed. and you’ll be able to remove it. such as the battery. Touchpad If you need to remove the touchpad. On some models. and you’ll be able to remove the speaker. Screen The display typically cannot be removed until you’ve removed components from the bottom of the laptop to gain access to the screws holding in the keyboard. many displays include other components. Carefully remove the clip and the connector. In some cases. you’ll find that the process becomes much more difficult. touchpad. It is often held in place with one or more screws and has a connection to the motherboard. Speaker You can usually access the speaker after removing the keyboard. you can flip the laptop back over and remove the laptop case or cover. Therefore. These often have a small icon of a keyboard. it can take you quite a while. Remove the screws and the connector. After removing the keyboard. It’s often tedious and time-consuming. and you’ll need to remove these connections. These are normally part of the hinged assembly used to open and close the laptop. Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware CHAPTER 8 291 . so ensure that you have plenty of time before starting. and screen). When the case is removed. you might need to remove additional screws after removing the laptop case. carefully remove the connectors. you can usually access it after removing the keyboard. It is usually held in place with a clip and connected to the motherboard with a cable. you’ll have access to the screws holding in the keyboard. It’s important to remember that the wireless card includes connections to the antenna transceivers and that these transceivers are in the display screen. you’ll be able to pull the keyboard out. Even when you have the manual with detailed directions. Additionally. you can then locate the screws holding the display to the case. you’ll usually have sufficient access to the display screen. DVD player.

This includes removing all the components accessible from the bottom of the laptop and then removing the keyboard and other components from the top. this might be called the RTC (real-time clock) battery or the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) battery. In laptops. System If you need to remove the system board (often called the motherboard). In other models. Laptops commonly have USB ports. make sure that you support the display. It is providing power to the system board to keep the clock running and should be removed before removing the system board. you might postpone the job for another day. As with other components. Instead of reinstalling the board the same day. you usually have to remove all the other components in the system. The other side of this adapter plugs into the DC jack. CPU The CPU is often soldered into the motherboard so you will rarely replace it individually. many laptops also include expansion slots that you can use without taking them apart. it can easily fall and break. Without the screws. but they will often have extra slots found only on laptops. if the CPU can be replaced on a laptop.Important  Support the screen When you remove the screws holding the hinged assembly in place. One important step you’ll need to add is to remove the clock battery. the DC jack connection becomes loose and needs to be replaced. you’ll need to take the display apart to access the LCD display panel. 292 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . This is rarely an easy endeavor because you often need to remove the system board to gain access to the DC jack. With that in mind. depending on the model and the additional components included in the display screen. Some manufacturers sell replacements of the entire display assembly. just as regular desktop computers do. This can be relatively simple or extremely complex. it becomes especially important to document the screw and cable locations. DC Jack Laptop computers run on DC power. follow the procedures in the manual. refer to the manufacturer's manual for detailed instructions. However. Unless you do this regularly. Expansion Options In addition to allowing you to add or replace hardware internally. expect it to take you quite a while to remove all the components from the laptop computer and then remove the system board. Occasionally. They use a power adapter that plugs into an AC outlet and converts the AC voltage to DC voltage.

ExpressCard/54. This card is 54 mm wide and has 26 pins. ■■ ■■ ExpressCards Key Terms Most laptops manufactured since 2007 include ExpressCard slots. the same thickness as a Type II PC Card.More Info  Chapter 5.5 mm and are often used for hard drives. They are available as adapters to add additional USB. an ExpressCard/54. This card is 34 mm wide and has 26 pins. An eSATAp port can be used as an external SATA (eSATA) port or as a USB port. or Type III slot. PCMCIA PC Cards were often used with laptop computers before the release of the ExpressCard. ExpressCard/34 26 pins 54 mm 26 pins Figure 8-14  Comparing an ExpressCard/34. which you’ll find on almost every laptop computer.3 mm. A Type III card can plug into a Type III slot only. sound cards. “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards” Chapter 5 covers USB connections. Figure 8-14 compares the size of these cards with the legacy PC Card. or FireWire ports. and much more. eSATA. and a PC Card. They are also available as wireless network cards.” covers external Serial ATA powered (eSATAp) ports. but they are very rare today. Chapter 4. That is. Some provide you with additional memory card slots. network. Notice that /34 and /54 refer to the overall width of the cards but that each ExpressCard has 26 pins and fits into the same type of slot. They came in three types with three different thicknesses. “Comparing Storage Devices. 34 mm ExpressCard/54 54 mm PC Card 68 pins Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware CHAPTER 8 293 . and there are a wide variety of ExpressCards available. including SecureDigital (SD) or CompactFlash memory slots. which are also found on many laptop computers. They were created by the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) and were previously called PCMCIA cards. A Type II card can plug into a Type II or Type III slot. as follows: ■■ Key Terms Type I cards are the thinnest at 3. there are two types of ExpressCards but only one type of ExpressCard slot.0 mm thick. ExpressCards come in the following two versions: ■■ ■■ ExpressCard/34. Both ExpressCard versions are 5. A Type I card can plug into a Type II. Type II. Type II cards are a little thicker at 5.0 mm. Type III cards are 10.

device power states that apply to individual devices. This is an update to an earlier standard called advanced power management (APM). a hard drive with a 1. but these batteries don’t last forever. ACPI defines many power states for systems and hardware. The ExpressCard/54 provides manufacturers with more space to house the components. For example. Most users don’t want to lug around a 50-pound battery with their laptop. ACPI can be used to turn off a display monitor after 10 minutes of inactivity. ACPI Key Terms An open standard supported by Windows operating systems and most hardware devices is advanced configuration power interface (ACPI). By using a larger card. Better heat dissipation. Most of the concepts in this section apply both to desktop computers and to laptops. Systems that support ACPI allow the operating system to send signals to devices to change their power state. ■■ Note  No performance differences between ExpressCard versions There are no performance differences between ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54. “Why are there two versions of ExpressCard?” There are two reasons: ■■ More space. Exam Tip  Conserving power isn’t limited only to laptop computers. They both fit into the same slot and use the same technology. and processor states that apply to the central processing unit (CPU). it has more surface space to dissipate the heat.A logical question is. Laptops have batteries that will continue to power the system. You can also take steps to conserve power and keep systems running longer. 294 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . Manufacturers try to strike a balance between how long a battery will last and how heavy it is. Conserving Power One of the great benefits of a laptop computer is that you can still run it even if you’re disconnected from a primary power source. but they also want the laptop to stay powered as long as possible.8-inch platter can fit on an ExpressCard/54 but not on the smaller ExpressCard/34. For example. such as global power states that apply to the entire computer. Some cards include components that tend to get hotter than others.

but for a PC technician. Other components. When a user takes an action. The CPU periodically checks to see whether you’ve taken any action indicating that it should wake the system. if you were taking notes on a laptop computer and then realized you needed to leave for an appointment. G3. Hibernate (G1 S4) Key Terms Hibernate mode saves the most power. When you turn the computer back on. Exam Tip If you are going to perform hardware maintenance on a computer. For example. The system would copy Conserving Power CHAPTER 8 295 . S4. The computer takes a snapshot of the entire contents of random access memory (RAM) and stores it on the hard drive. The S1 and S2 states define levels of sleep for the processor. A system can return to normal from sleep mode very quickly. it should be in the G3 power state. It can be turned on from the front panel power switch or from signals sent over a network.The following four global states identify the level of computer operation for the system: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ G0. or standby. it copies the snapshot from the hard drive and restores it into RAM. such as the disk drive and display. It’s also known as suspend mode or standby mode and is defined in the S3 sleeping state within the G1 global state. such as pressing a key. suspend. It provides trickle power to maintain the contents of the RAM and low power to the CPU. The system is in one of four low-power states. For example. It then completely shuts down the computer. you could close the lid of your laptop. Many laptops are configured to go into hibernation mode when you close the lid. The system is completely disconnected from power. This is known as hibernation or sometimes suspend to disk. It’s also known as suspend to disk and is defined in the S4 sleeping state within the G1 global state. administrators can send Wake-on-LAN “magic packets” to a system in the G2 state to wake it up. The G2 state supports soft power. the most important states are S3 and S4: ■■ ■■ S3. Sleep/Suspend/Standby (G1 S3) Sleep mode is a low-power state that allows the computer to quickly return to full power. This is commonly called sleep. G1. G2. G1 is divided into four separate sleep or low-power states. are powered off. The system is off but still has power available. The system has full power and is working normally. the system wakes up and returns power to normal for all the components.

It copies the contents of RAM to the disk as if it were hibernating. Power saver.the contents of RAM to the hard drive and turn itself off. This reduces energy consumption and can help a system stay on battery power longer. However. Hybrid Sleep Many systems support a hybrid sleep mode. It looks a little different in Windows XP than it does in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Power Plans When you open the Power Options applet in Windows 7. Power Options Windows XP. Windows XP uses power schemes. On Windows 7. it can return to operation from the hibernation mode. including on desktop computers. but the system can return to full operation much quicker. It’s recommended for most uses. it goes into a low-power sleep mode. you’ll see the following available power plans: ■■ Balanced (recommended). instead of shutting down. It can wake up quickly when it’s needed. You can use this to configure different power plans for a system. but it takes longer for the system to turn back on. Control Panel. Laptops often switch to this automatically when they are on battery power. Exam Tip  Hibernate saves the most power because the computer is turned completely off. This plan attempts to balance the performance of the system with how much power is used. Additionally. It is hidden by default. change the view to Large Icons. and Windows 7 all include an applet called Power Options in the Control Panel. Windows Vista. but Windows Vista and Windows 7 use power plans providing you with more control. You can then double-click the Power Options applet to start it. High performance. This favors performance over saving energy. if the system loses power. When you open the lid and turn the system back on. On Windows XP and Windows Vista. ■■ ■■ 296 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . You can access the Power Options applet by clicking Start. Standby or sleep modes still use power and will consume battery power. your session will be restored just as it was when you closed the lid. change the view to Classic View.

Notice that the display is set to turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity and that the hard drive will turn off after 20 minutes. The following sections describe the two common symptoms that you’ll likely encounter. Figure 8-15 shows the advanced settings page for the Balanced (Active) plan that is active on this system. you can configure some basic settings. Also. Troubleshooting Power Issues Power issues on laptop computers are normally limited to either the power adapter or the battery. there could be several reasons. This allows the system to wake up to perform a scheduled task. No Power If the system has no power. The obvious reason is that it isn’t plugged in. and the other end plugs into the laptop’s DC jack. First. most adapters have a small LED as a power indicator that illuminates Conserving Power CHAPTER 8 297 . You can usually check two indicators to determine whether the adapter is providing power to the system. This plan often ignores the special keyboard keys to increase the brightness. and if you click Change Advanced Power Settings. The adapter plugs into an AC outlet. ensure that the system is connected to AC power. you can view the advanced settings. Figure 8-15  Viewing the balanced plan settings. you can see that Allow Wake Timers is enabled for Sleep.Exam Tip  The power saver plan dims the display so that it uses less power. Laptops use special power adapters that convert AC power to DC. If the display is dimmed and it can’t be adjusted. If you click one of the plans.

You can open the system to verify that the wires are secured to the wireless card. it’s possible that the connections to the wireless card are loose. you might need to replace the DC jack. These often plug into a USB port. so they have a tendency to get hot. check to ensure that the system is receiving power. Stay Cool Heat is the enemy of any type of electronics. but you might also experience some issues with connectivity for wireless or Bluetooth connections. In some cases. If this isn’t possible. The simple solution is to move the laptop closer to the WAP. if the system has been worked on recently. adjust the antenna position. Chapter 23 includes information about common types of interference and how to change wireless channels to avoid it. Intermittent Wireless An intermittent wireless connection often indicates that there is interference with the signal. After reseating the connections. and the fans spin to keep the system cool when it’s turned on. If the adapter LED isn’t lit. Many laptops don’t include any internal fans. 298 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . If an LED isn’t lit. the battery will fail and just won’t be able to accept a charge anymore. The primary user complaints you’ll hear are related to intermittent connections or no connection at all. You might need to reseat the cables into the different jacks. If the LED at the DC jack isn’t lit but the adapter is working. The solution is to replace the battery. double-check the connections. Second. check the LEDs again. Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues This chapter covered many troubleshooting issues. and this includes laptops and batteries. you might need to replace it. Last. Laptop pads are available that include fans. it won’t charge.when it is plugged in. or move the WAP. Intermittent connection can also occur when the laptop computer is too far away from the wireless access point (WAP). most laptops have an LED at the DC jack that illuminates when it is receiving power from the adapter. The system will work with AC power without any problem but won’t work while on battery power. You can either identify the source of the interference to eliminate it or find a way avoid it. you might be able to boost the power output of the wireless access point. Without power. Battery Not Charging If the battery is not charging.

and a cable runs to a wireless Mini-PCIe card in the system. Laptops primarily use LCD or LED displays. including a plastic wedge. control the volume. check the function key or wireless switch on the keyboard. A port replicator provides additional ports for a laptop computer. you can follow the same procedures you used for no wireless connectivity. If you can’t see a display on the laptop monitor or an external monitor. make sure that you have the right tools. and if so. This includes keys used for dual displays.No Wireless Connectivity A good question to ask when a user complains about wireless connectivity is something like. and control the screen brightness. you might need to pair Bluetooth devices and configure them to work together. These plug into a USB port and can be used to connect to a wireless network. and organize the parts. it might be due to a loose cable. LCD displays include an inverter to convert DC to AC for the CCFL. Most laptops include a port used for a physical cable lock. The Wi-Fi antenna is normally in the display. Find out if it recently stopped. “Did it stop working recently?” If a system had wireless but it just stopped. A docking station extends the capabilities of a laptop when the laptop is plugged into it. No Bluetooth Connectivity If a user doesn’t have any Bluetooth connectivity. If it hasn’t worked at all. but they are not available in Windows Vista and Windows 7. the display will be dim or dark. If so. look for the function key to enable or disable it. Alternatively. Check out Chapter 23 for steps to take. Use specific steps when replacing components on a laptop. If it hasn’t worked at all. you might need to configure the wireless connection from scratch. the video card might have failed. you’ll need to replace it by using procedures mentioned earlier in the chapter. It’s also possible that the wireless card has failed. Last. Chapter 9 covers details about Bluetooth. to enable or disable wireless and Bluetooth. Document and label cable and screw locations as you’re taking the laptop apart. Windows XP uses hardware profiles with docking stations. Locate and use manufacturer documentation. This is almost always the case if other users can connect but one user cannot. starting with removing all power sources including the battery. Chapter Summary ■■ Laptop keyboards typically have special function keys that can control hardware. you can purchase a USB wireless dongle. It’s very possible that the user accidentally turned the wireless off. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 8 299 . If the display is flickering. If the LCD inverter or CCFL fails.

■■ ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54 slots provide expansion capabilities for laptops. Backlight B. Which key can often be used with a function key to disable wireless on a laptop computer? A. Hibernate mode does not consume any power but takes longer to start up than sleep mode does. you can replace the Wi-Fi card. 1. A device designed to enhance the capabilities of a laptop and allow it to function as a desktop computer B. Connectivity issues can be resolved by manipulating the wireless switch on the keyboard. A component used for laptop physical security 3. A device that has one connection and provides additional ports for the laptop C. F1 key B. If necessary. what is the problem? (Choose two. The answers to these questions. Windows-based systems use power plans to conserve energy. Hibernate mode stores the data in RAM onto the disk and turns off the laptop. Inverter C. A laptop display is dark. They replace older PCMCIA cards. Fn key D. but you can see information on the screen when you shine a flashlight into it.) A. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. Sleep modes consume very little power and can return to operation very quickly. The /34 and /54 specifications refer to the overall width but not the number of pins. LCD display D. ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Caps Lock key 2. Video card 300 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . Of the following choices. A component that provides AC power to an LED display D. Which of the following best describes a docking station? A. Num Lock key C. Laptops will commonly switch to a power-saving plan when they are switched from AC power to battery power.

Turning off disks after inactivity C. Which of the fol- lowing saves the most power? A. Obtain the manufacturer’s documentation for the laptop. You are preparing to replace the keyboard in a laptop computer. Install a Mini-PCIe card. Chapter Review CHAPTER 8 301 . Install a USB wireless adapter. D. Remove the LCD display first. Sleep D. Hibernate 6. Wireless has failed on a laptop computer. Of the following choices. C. Install an AGP wireless adapter. C. Remove all power including the battery.4. D. Install a PCI wireless card. Turning off the display after inactivity B. 5. what should you include in the process? (Choose all that apply. Toggle the Fn key before starting.) A. B. B. A user wants to conserve power on his system when he’s not using it. Which of the following options would restore the capability? (Choose two.) A.

C. so it can exhibit these symptoms. Correct: The documentation provides the steps you’ll use. Incorrect: The F1 key by itself is used to open Help. Correct Answers: A. Incorrect: Port replicators provide additional ports. C. 4. Correct: All power should be removed before starting. Correct: The Fn key is often used with a function key to disable wireless. D. Correct: Docking stations provide additional capabilities to laptops when used in an office. B. Incorrect: Data can be viewed when the flashlight is shined into the panel. Incorrect: The display usually isn’t replaced before the keyboard. Correct Answer: C A. 302 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . B A. the display will be dark or dim. Incorrect: Cable locks are used for physical security. D A. Incorrect: An inverter provides AC power to LED displays. 3. Correct: If the backlight fails. you wouldn’t see any display. Incorrect: If the video card failed.Answers 1. Incorrect: The Num Lock key configures the numeric keypad to use numbers or as navigation keys. B. D. Incorrect: The Caps Lock key configures letters to be always uppercase or lowercase. but the manual provides the specific steps. C. D. Correct Answers: B. B. Correct: The inverter powers the backlight on LCD laptop displays. B. so the LCD display has not failed. 2. C. Incorrect: It is not necessary to toggle any keys before starting. Correct Answer: A A. D.

C. Correct: A system turns off in Hibernate mode. but other components are still con- suming power. B. Answers CHAPTER 8 303 . Incorrect: Sleep mode reduces power consumption but not as much as hibernate. Incorrect: Turning off just the disks is useful. Correct Answers: A. D. Incorrect: Turning off just the display is useful. 6. Incorrect: AGP is a video technology bus. B. Correct: A USB wireless adapter can add wireless to a laptop. C. D.5. Incorrect: PCI cards won’t fit in a laptop. so this saves the most power. Correct: A Mini-PCIe card can add wireless to a laptop. but other components are still consuming power. B A. Correct Answer: D A.


2 Establish basic network connectivity and configure email.7 Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose. ■■ Speeds. you’ll learn about the different types of mobile devices. and it’s clear that they are here to stay. ■■ Android vs. These devices have enjoyed great popularity in recent years. with an emphasis on tablets such as Apple’s iPad. ■■ Cellular (mobile hot spot) Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 3. ■■ Wireless / cellular data network (enable/disable) 305 . You’ll also learn some basics about using these mobile devices and important information about how you can secure them. closed source/vendor specific App source (app store and market) Screen orientation (accelerometer/gyroscope) Screen calibration GPS and geotracking ■■ 3.7 Compare and contrast Internet connection types and features. This chapter compares tablets to laptops. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. compares different operating systems on the devices. distances and frequencies of wireless device connections ■■ ■■ ■■ Bluetooth IR RF ■■ 2.CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices I n this chapter. and covers methods used to connect them.1 Explain the basic features of mobile operating systems. iOS ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Open source vs.

4 Compare and contrast hardware differences in regards to tablets and laptops. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Passcode locks Remote wipes Locator applications Remote backup applications Failed login attempts restrictions Antivirus Patching/OS updates No field serviceable parts Typically not upgradeable Touch interface ■■ ■■ ■■ 3. ■■ ■■ ■■ Touch flow Multitouch ■■ ■■ Solid state drives Types of data to synchronize ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 3. ■■ Contacts Programs Email Pictures 306 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices .3 Compare and contrast methods for securing mobile devices.5 Execute and configure mobile device synchronization.■■ Bluetooth ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Enable Bluetooth Enable pairing Find device for pairing Enter appropriate pin code Test connectivity Server address ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Email configuration ■■ POP3 IMAP Port and SSL settings ■■ ■■ ■■ Exchange Gmail 3.

This location feature is common on most mobile devices. providing excellent speed when being rebooted and while running applications. Knowing what features are available will help you be a better technician. Laptops Key Terms Tablets are handheld devices such as the Apple iPad. Hardware for tablets is rarely upgradable or serviceable. you might be able to Tablets vs. Instead you use gestures (described later in this chapter) to operate them. and the overall weight of a tablet is less than that of a typical laptop. Laptops CHAPTER 9 307 . not just iPads. His puzzled look indicated that he didn’t know what I was talking about. even if you don’t have a mobile device of your own. the user needs to sign up with a wireless provider such as Verizon or AT&T. Tablets commonly include Wi-Fi capability. After a few minutes of searching. He used it all the time and was sure that someone had stolen it. he found it beneath some papers under a car seat. the Samsung Galaxy Tab. I assured him I didn’t have it but suggested it might be in his car. Tablets vs. I asked if he had enabled Location Services. This allows the rechargeable battery to be smaller. When using the cellular network. Not only can the device be located but you can also send signals to erase all the data or lock the device. and he signed in using his information. we pinpointed the exact location of his iPad. it was at my house. a friend of mine lost his iPad.■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Music Videos Software requirements to install the application on the PC Connection types to enable synchronization Real World  Locating your lost iPad Not too long ago. you need to buy a new one. If you buy a 16-GB iPad and later decide you want a 64-GB iPad. Some tablets also include the ability to access a cellular network for Internet access. We ended up downloading a location app. allowing them to connect to a wireless network. his brother-in-law helped him set it up. If it breaks. “Comparing Storage Devices”) are lighter and consume less power. or the HP Touchpad. but he did say that when he bought it. Solid state drives (covered in Chapter 4. When he mentioned it to me a few days later. It was possible that Location Services was enabled and that we could find it. These devices use solid state storage drives and flash memory. They have a touchscreens allowing you to operate them without a keyboard or mouse. Within a couple of minutes. The cellular network used by tablets is the same cellular network used by smartphones. which was in my driveway. Interestingly.

contributing to their high performance and lighter weight. Table 9-1  Comparing Tablets and Laptops Tablet Upgrades Repairs Hard drives Interface Rarely upgradable No field-serviceable parts Solid state drives Touch interface Laptop Memory and hard drives easily upgradable. a single chip includes ­ both. include more hardware. They include solid state drives. but tablets use a display keyboard that allows you to touch the keys on the touchscreen. which are much bigger than the 9. but this can be quite expensive if it isn’t under warranty. Tablets have many common features that aren’t always in laptops. The output of the accelerometer and gyroscope indicates the orientation of the device. Note  Tablet Sizes Tablet display sizes are commonly quoted as the diagonal display size. If the user changes the orientation 308 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices .3 inches. Exam Tip Tablets do not have field-serviceable parts and are rarely upgradable. laptops are bigger.send it back to the company to get it serviced. Some can use solid state drives but these are not as common. You can purchase laptops with display screens as big as 17. In many devices. In contrast. Table 9-1 summarizes some of the important differences between tablets and laptops related to the A+ exams. Most use traditional hard drives. The following sections cover these features. Keyboard and mouse.7-inch diagonal display of an iPad or the 10. Accelerometers and Gyroscopes Key Terms Many devices include an accelerometer and a Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) gyroscope to measure the orientation of the device. The most basic use of accelerometers and gyroscopes is to determine whether the device is positioned horizontally or vertically in front of a user. and are upgradable and serviceable. This is the length of the screen from an upper corner to the opposite lower corner and includes only the viewable area. Technicians can open and replace components. and the device can use this information to change the display.1-inch diagonal display of the Galaxy Tab. Laptops include keyboards along with the display screens.

For example. the display shows the names of everything in that direction. the software can automatically switch the screen orientation to landscape or portrait mode. Note  Landscape and Portrait Modes Landscape mode is used when the device is held horizontally. If you hold the tablet up with the back pointing toward the sky. The automatic change in orientation can be disabled in many devices by using a Lock Rotation setting. Laptops CHAPTER 9 309 . and more. constellations. you could scan the sky with the back of the tablet until Saturn was displayed. Move the device in any direction. you can hold the tablet like a steering wheel to make turns within the game. many games use this feature. For example. You could then look at the sky in that direction. and portrait mode is used when the device is held vertically. A more sophisticated use is to sense the exact orientation of the device and change the display to match. If you were looking for Saturn. Similarly. in some racing games. Figure 9-1  Star Walk application screen. planets.of the device. stars. Star Walk (shown in Figure 9-1) is an application that shows information about satellites. ­ Tablets vs. and the display automatically changes to show you what’s in the new direction.

and employers have used them to keep track of employer-supplied devices. if you use Google Earth. the azimuth or compass heading from the tower. Screen Calibration In some cases. you have to touch somewhere else close to the item. It can also record information if users connect to geographically tagged Wi-Fi hot spots. longitude. Parents sometimes use them to keep track of their children. the touchscreen can become uncalibrated. The location is used by many apps on tablets to provide location-specific data. Applications and the operating system use the output of these components to automatically adjust the display. You might find that instead of touching directly on an item. if you touch a button on the screen. weather service apps use the GPS to provide local weather reports. The location is identified based on cell towers accessed by the device and can provide specific information including latitude. There are also apps that you can install on devices to track their movement and location. GPS Key Terms Most tablets and smartphones include access to a Global Positioning System (GPS). but the time can be reduced to a few seconds by using the logged location data. they can track the location of the device over a period of time. For example. Similarly. and if someone knows how to retrieve it. which can be used to determine the exact location of the device. They mention that calculating a phone’s location by using only GPS satellite data can take several minutes. Some forensics classes teach specifically how to retrieve this information from a device.Exam Tip Tablets include accelerometers and/or gyroscopes to sense the position of the device. but if you touch to the right 310 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . For example. this feature allows GPS to zoom in on your location. Geotracking Key Terms Geotracking is the practice of recording the location of a mobile device and using it to track the movements of the device. it doesn’t respond. and the time and date. Similarly. Mobile devices store this data in a file on the device. This includes switching from landscape to portrait mode or making incremental changes in the display when the device is moved. some applications can retrieve the data from a device. Note  Apple’s Use of Geotracking Apple has stated this data is used for apps that need location-based information.

These operating systems are used on tablets and smartphones. The following sections describe the basics of the operating systems and some key differences between them. Some of the common features of smartphones today include surfing the Internet. and another circle appears with a prompt to touch it. it works. What’s the difference in upgradability between a laptop and a tablet? 2. Closed Source Key Terms When talking about mobile operating systems. If the device needs to be calibrated. Geotracking can track the movement of a device. Comparing Operating Systems CHAPTER 9 311 . GPS. and playing music as an MP3 player does. Each time you touch the circle. such as contact lists and/or an address book. Comparing Operating Systems The primary operating systems used on mobile devices are from Apple. Google. you see a circle or prompt displayed somewhere on the screen that you need to touch. the screen is calibrated. and Microsoft uses Windows-based operating systems. taking pictures with built-in digital cameras. A smartphone is a mobile device that includes additional features beyond making phone calls. the device records this as the correct calibrated location. Smartphones often include other personal digital assistant (PDA) features. What is used to identify the location of a device? Quick Check Answers 1. and note-taking capabilities. It’s common for the calibration program to display this circle in each of the four corners and at the center of the screen. Touch it. After the calibration program starts. For example. 2. This isn’t common with many current tablets but has been an issue with tablets and devices using touchscreens in the past. you start the screen calibration program by holding the menu button down for 10 seconds. After touching the last circle. Open Source vs. Closed source software is sometimes referred to as vendor-specific. it’s important to understand the basic differences between open source and closed source software. Apple uses iOS. Google uses Android. and Microsoft. calendar and appointment lists. although this term isn’t as common.of the button. on one version of an Android Samsung tablet. you need to follow the directions for the device to start the calibration program. sending and receiving email. Quick Check 1. Tablets are not upgradable.

Closed source software is code that is not freely available to the public but is instead protected by the company that developed it. iPads. A unique characteristic of the iOS is that Apple does not let anyone but Apple use it. More specifically. iOS Key Terms The iOS is the operating system used on Apple products including iPhones. Based on a recent query. Apple controls all software sales through the Apple App Store. The Android operating system is open source software. Cisco uses the Cisco IOS (shortened from Internetwork Operating System with an uppercase I ) for networking devices. iOS and IOS are two completely different operating systems. at least for now. ■■ Open source. 312 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . improve. However. Open source software is code that is freely available to anyone. Apple’s stock market value of over 500 billion dollars (yes. Both the Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows operating systems are closed source operating systems. If you want to use the Mac OS X operating system. and it was derived from the open source Linux operating system. Apple began using the lowercase i on its products in 1998 with the iMac. if you want to buy an app. and at times. Therefore. ■■ Exam Tip While you can also find open source and closed source applications. this strategy seems to be working for them. Closed source/vendor-specific.The primary differences are the availability of the code to the public and the cost to use the code. you should know that Android is open source and the Apple iOS is closed source. If you want to use iOS. Developers have access to the code and can modify. although the licenses are different. freely redistribute it. The benefit to Apple is that they receive about 30 percent from every sale. buy an Apple product. that’s a B as in billion). The benefit to users is that they are less likely to download malicious software from the App Store. Note  iPhone OS to iOS Apple’s iOS was previously called iPhone OS. iPod Touch. you purchase it through their store. Additionally. and Apple TV. With enough 99-cent apps. the A+ 220-801 exam is focused only on understanding the differences between open source and closed source operating systems. this starts to add up. It is often viewed and protected as a trade secret or intellectual property. buy a Mac from Apple. This is the same philosophy they’ve employed since their early Apple and Macintosh computers. and any usage of the software is subject to restrictions.

Additionally. the Android operating system is free for everyone. except for the Starter editions. and many more.Android Key Terms The Android operating system is a Linux-based operating system. As of February 2012. Google leads the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). This has resulted in an explosion of devices running the Android operating system. a consortium of 84 companies that work together to develop open standards for mobile devices. and the Android operating system is a major product developed by OHA. and they include the operating system license as part of the price. and Microsoft has developed its own tablets known as the Surface and the Surface Pro. or AOSP for Android. but it’s not owned by a single company. I’ll blog about it at blogs. the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) maintains and develops improvements for Android. Android is an open source operating system. most Windows desktop operating systems can run on tablets. Apple does not license iOS to anyone.. These hardware developers can then design the hardware around the operating system. Comparing Operating Systems CHAPTER 9 313 . the OHA. the Android operating system was reportedly running on over 300 million smartphones and tablets worldwide. However. Google purchased Android. As mentioned previously. Windows 8 is in a different category. Windows 8 can run both on tablets and on PCs. including smartphones (such as Droids). Inc. and any hardware developer can use it to create a device with Android as the base operating system. Currently. and it stated that Windows 8 will not be on these exams.getcertifiedgetahead. Some experts expect Android-based tablets to exceed sales of the iPad by 2015. It can run on desktops. Exam Tip As a comparison between the three mobile operating systems. If it does. There is no obligation to pay Google. CompTIA can change its mind later and decide to add Windows 8. tablet computers (such as the Kindle Fire or the Samsung Galaxy Tab). Microsoft licenses the operating system to hardware developers. For example. and Microsoft licenses the operating system to hardware vendors. Windows The Windows Phone operating system is used on smartphones such as Windows Phone 7. CompTIA had already released the objectives for the A+ exam before Windows 8 was released. in 2005 and ultimately came out with the Android operating system in 2007. all versions of Vista and Windows 7 can run on tablets. Windows XP had a dedicated version called Windows XP Tablet PC Edition that ran on tablets.

The user connects to the store with the device and makes a purchase. Mobihand. Links directly to Apple’s App Store are included in Apple mobile devices. and the app is immediately downloaded and installed. like Angry Birds. and Windows operating systems. Users can click the link. the primary application sources are: ■■ Apple App Store. Google Play was previously called Android Android-based apps are available through Google Play: https://play . and some apps really help people be more productive. indicating that many people are using mobile devices for some in the Appstore for Android section. For the iOS. are just fun. There have been over 500 million downloads of Angry Birds (including the Angry Bird spinoffs). Figure 9-2 shows the App Store on an iPad. Some. ■■ Google Play. and other sources. A logical question is. 314 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices .com/store. Figure 9-2  App Store as seen on an Sources Applications are what make these devices useful. shop. and buy. Apple-based apps are not easily available through other Other sources for Android apps include Amazon. “Where can you get these apps?” Apps for mobile devices are available almost exclusively online. and Handango. connect. Android.

2. Windows apps are ­ available through the Windows Store and the Windows Phone marketplace: http://www . iOS. Quick Check 1. Almost all mobile devices include this ability. you can configure the device to connect to the wireless and http://www. As mentioned previously. Note  Android and Google Play Store It is possible to configure Android-based devices so that they can download only apps from the Google Play store. RF (Wireless) Radio frequency (RF) connections on mobile devices enable the devices to connect to a wireless network. What is the major difference between the Android operating system and the operating system used on Apple devices? Quick Check Answers 1. Android is open source. For example. If your mobile device supports wireless connections and a wireless network is in range. Users can also use a regular browser to connect to the marketplace and purchase applications. you often can’t tell the difference between the functionality on the different devices. As with other mobile stores.■■ Windows Store and Windows Phone Marketplace. when developers recode the Two other connectivity methods are Bluetooth and infrared. What operating system is used on Apple devices? 2. while the iOS is closed source and vendor-specific. an app that runs on an iOS-based device will not run an on Androidbased device until the developers modify the code to match the Android operating system.windowsstore. Connectivity CHAPTER 9 315 . This adds an element of security because only developers with an account can upload apps to Google Play. However. users can connect to them from within a mobile device. Connectivity Mobile devices have the ability to connect wirelessly to an outside network by using one or more different technologies. many mobile devices include either Wi-Fi capability or cellular access. Application developers who create an app for one device must rewrite the code for other devices. These applications are then synchronized to their devices.windowsphone.

You can also limit bandwidth usage by disabling the connection. These were the first generation of digital phones. Wireless networks are covered in more depth in Chapter 23. 4G (fourth generation). In contrast. with limits such as 3 GB or 5 GB. For example. and 2G is still used in some rural areas. You can conserve the battery by disabling these connections when you’re not using them. Cellular has gone through the following generations. Telecommunications companies are regularly updating the capabilities of the cellular towers and steadily improving the service. This is very effective with tablets. Plans often limit how much data you can download in a month. and the 3G networks are widely available in both urban and rural areas. Some LTE networks are marketed as 4G LTE but don’t fully meet the specifications of a 4G network. you can pay additional money for these data services. 316 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . If you have a smartphone or a tablet that includes cellular access. LTE is a standard that is an improvement over 3G but doesn’t necessarily meet the requirements of 4G. Cellular Many mobile devices can tap into the same cellular network used by smartphones. A large portion of cellular devices connect with 3G today. 3G (third generation). you’re charged more. “Exploring Wireless Networking. Anywhere there’s a wireless network and you have the means to connect you can do so without paying a subscription fee. if you have a wireless capability. 4G is sometimes called WiMax. 2G (second generation). 4G networks are available in many major cities and major metropolitan areas but not in rural areas. The cellular network has been steadily improving and currently provides speeds up to 1 Gbps in some areas.” That chapter includes the information you need to connect any device to a wireless network. Exam Tip It takes power to periodically communicate with cellular towers and wireless networks. with each generation providing an improvement over the previous one: ■■ ■■ 1G (first generation). They give you Internet access anywhere that you have cellular access.When connected. These were analog phones that had no digital capabilities. If you exceed the limit. it will have access to the same resources as other devices on the wireless network. ■■ ■■ ■■ A subscription is required to use these cellular data services. you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription fee. you can connect smartphones and tablets to wireless networks and then use the network to surf the Internet or answer email. LTE (Long Term Evolution). and it increases the amount of time you can use the tablet before recharging it.

” covers other types of networks. Devices that support Bluetooth are called Bluetooth-capable or Bluetooth-enabled devices. and they provide access to up to five other wireless users. such as a city. you can have a Bluetooth-enabled phone and a Bluetooth-enabled headset like the one shown in Figure 9-3. More Info  Chapter 18 Chapter 18. similar to Wi-Fi). including local area networks (LANs). Pairing is the process of configuring the devices so that they can communicate with each other.Mobile Hotspot Many wireless providers also sell portable wireless devices that act as hot spots. They can connect to the Internet by using the cellular network. These types of headsets have an earpiece and microphone and are worn on the ear. Bluetooth Key Terms Bluetooth is a type of wireless protocol used with many mobile devices. and metropolitan area networks (MANs). They’re commonly called MiFi (pronounced My Fye. wide area networks (WANs). and it is common to use Bluetooth to create personal area networks (PANs). A WAN connects two or more LANs that are in separate geographic locations. wireless local area networks (WLANs). but the basic steps for pairing are: ■■ ■■ Enable Bluetooth if required Enable pairing if required Connectivity CHAPTER 9 317 . A MAN covers a large metropolitan area. Bluet ooth Figure 9-3  Bluetooth headset. “Introducing Networking Components. You need to follow the directions for the devices you’re pairing. the headset won’t work with the phone until you pair the two devices together. However. After pairing the devices. For example. you can keep the phone in your pocket or purse and use the headset to carry on conversations.

Infrared Key Terms Infrared (IR) is a line-of-sight wireless technology used with many computing devices. it’s not possible to enter a PIN on most Bluetooth headsets.1 uses Secure Simple Pairing (SSP). Additionally. Most are Class 2 devices so that you can use the mouse and keyboard from up to 33 feet away. you’d use either 0000 or the last four digits of the headset’s serial number. so they don’t require any user interaction. Of course. but sometimes one of the devices won’t have a way to enter a PIN. What PIN should you use? Normally. you can often transfer it between the devices with IR. For example. The IR standards are developed by the Infrared Data Association (IrDA). if someone has a ringtone you want. you can enter the PIN only on the other device. Table 9-2  Bluetooth Classes and Ranges Bluetooth Class Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Approximate Range 100 meters (about 328 feet) 10 meters (about 33 feet) 5 meters (about 16 feet) Many wireless mouse and keyboard combos use Bluetooth. you might not need to take these steps. most use the Just Works version of SSP. For example. For example. both devices must have IR capabilities. IR devices use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to send IR signals that can be picked up by IR sensors. In this situation. it just works without requiring the user to go through these steps.■■ ■■ Enter a personal identification number (PIN) if required Test connectivity Exam Tip The same PIN needs to be entered on both devices. it can support distances farther away than someone’s personal space. You can use IR to connect and transfer information between two mobile devices or between a mobile device and a PC. They include a USB transceiver (commonly called a USB dongle) that you plug into any USB port. Bluetooth version 2. and one type of SSP is called Just Works. Depending on the version of Bluetooth that the devices are using. While Bluetooth is normally used for PANs. 318 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . As a security precaution. As the name implies. the devices might require the user to approve the pairing process. Table 9-2 shows the three classes of Bluetooth and their ranges.

Quick Check 1. select a button. and you lose the connection. IR connections aren’t very common except on some smartphones. What PIN is used when a PIN can’t be entered with a Bluetooth device? 2. or about 33 feet. it has a primary weakness that you probably know: if there is anything between the remote and the TV. You need to go into the device settings to enable it. if there is anything between the two devices. or the last four digits of the serial number. However. ■■ ■■ Email Configuration CHAPTER 9 319 . Because of this. You’ll learn more about protocols in Chapter 20. Note  Infrared Needs to Be Enabled Infrared is usually not enabled by default on devices. There was a time when infrared was common on desktop PCs and laptops and used with some printers. “Understanding Protocols. 0000. All you have to do is put a book in the wrong location on your desk. 2.This is the same technology used with television remotes. Email Configuration One of the great benefits of mobile devices is the ability to access email while you’re on the go. Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3). you can usually access your email. the line-of-sight restriction has caused a lot of problems. This protocol allows users to access and manage email stored on a mail server. the following protocols are used for email: ■■ Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP). What is the range of Class 2 Bluetooth? Quick Check Answers 1. the IR signal is blocked. Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP). and it does your bidding. This is the primary protocol used to send email. As long as you have connectivity to the Internet via either a wireless network or a cellular subscription service. You point the remote at the TV. Similarly. the signal doesn’t make it to the TV. 10 meters. This is the primary protocol used to receive email. However.” but as a short introduction. A single piece of paper can block the signal.

I can send and receive email with this account on the iPad. and everything following the first period is known as the domain name. The incoming mail server (using POP3) is named mail. However. you probably don’t have an account with GetCertifiedGetAhead. so they are both added. you might have a Microsoft Exchange email account with your company or a Gmail account through Google. After saving this information. you need to have an account on the server and know the full server name. you can use it to send and receive While the example in Figure 9-4 shows the settings.GetCertifiedGetAhead.Configuring Settings Internet Service Providers (ISPs) manage mail servers for their has an FQDN of mail.GetCertifiedGetAhead. As an example. To use these servers. many organizations manage mail servers for their employees. Figure 9-4 shows the settings page to add a new email account on an iPad. and the outgoing mail server using SMTP is named smtp. After entering the correct information on the mobile device. 320 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices .com. a computer named mail in the domain getcertifiedgetahead. For example.GetCertifiedGetAhead. The first part is known as the host or computer name. Key Terms You need to enter the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) of the mail Similarly. This account (as with most accounts) requires a user name and password. Figure 9-4  Configuring email on an iPad.

respectively. For example. POP3. Most email apps have the name of the Gmail server. The well-known ports for the basic mail protocols are as follows: ■■ ■■ ■■ SMTP—port 25 POP3—port 110 IMAP—port 143 Many email servers require secure connections. If your company is using Microsoft Exchange and it has been configured so that it is accessible via the Internet. If you’re prompted to enter the SSL port number or the secure port number. For example. Port numbers 0 through 1023 are known as well-known ports and are used for specific you can usually simply enter the email address and password to connect. Email Port Settings Occasionally. instead of including the words “Simple Mail Transport Protocol” within the data packet. It’s also used to create secure connections for many other protocols. Chapter 20 provides more information about ports. it uses the port number of 25. but if you’re prompted to add it. when SMTP data is sent over the network. but as an introduction. you’ll need the following information to connect: ■■ ■■ ■■ Email address of your account User name and password of the account Name of the Microsoft Exchange server If you want to connect to a Gmail account. and IMAP. you’re required to enter port data when configuring email settings. These numbers indicate the type of data contained in traffic being sent over a network. including SMTP. and they use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) to create secure connections. Port 465 is not formally assigned for SMTPS but is commonly used. Email Configuration CHAPTER 9 321 . use the following: ■■ ■■ ■■ SMTPS (SMTP over SSL)—port 465 POP3S (POP3 over SSL)—port 995 IMAPS (IMAP over SSL)—port 993 Note  Ports Ports 993 and 995 are formally assigned to POPs and IMAPs. SSL is used with Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) as HTTPS to create secure connections in web protocols are mapped to numbers called ports.Microsoft Exchange is a server application that many organizations use for email. use smtp.

This is sometimes called pan or scroll.Quick Check 1. Pinch is sometimes called pinch close. you can zoom in. SMTP. most mobile devices are remarkably easy to use. It will often zoom in closer. This is similar to the finger pinch but is done in the opposite direction. Different items react differently to this action. or SMTPS. 2. This is done by placing your finger on the screen and quickly swiping it in the desired direction. you touch a selection but don’t remove your finger. when you understand the basic motions. This is commonly done by touching the screen with your finger and thumb at the same time and dragging them closer together. What is the well-known port number for a secure SMTP connection? Quick Check Answers 1. Understanding Mobile Devices ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 322 CHAPTER 9 . You select an item with your finger and then drag your finger across the screen to move the selected item. the gestures might take a moment to get used to. You can also do this with two fingers instead of a finger and a thumb. It will often allow you to zoom in or zoom out on an item. Spread is sometimes called pinch open. For example. What is the primary protocol used to send email? 2. Flick. Pinch. as if you were pinching the screen. It will often zoom out. This is sometimes called fling. Port 465 is used for SMTP over SSL. You touch the screen with your finger and thumb (or with two fingers) at the same place and spread them apart. This is sometimes called press or long press. Touch and Hold. the items will shake and you can move them or press the X to delete them. The common gestures are: ■■ Tap. However. For example. If you’ve never used the devices. In this action. Double-tapping is done with two quick taps and is similar to doubleclicking an item with a mouse. Using Mobile Devices Mobile devices have touchscreens that allow you to control the actions by touch using specific gestures. Some items can be moved with a drag action. You can flick the screen to scroll up or down or to pan from side to side. You can select items with a single tap with any finger. Double-Tap. You simply touch the screen by using a quick up-and-down motion with a finger. It is similar to clicking an item with a mouse. if you do this with a picture or a map. Drag. if you do this on the iPad’s main screen. Spread.

iTunes is available as a free download from the Apple website. you can use the iTunes application to synchronize most iOS-based devices. You can restore the data onto the original device or another device from the synchronized data. Touch flow refers to the ability of the screen to recognize users moving their finger across the screen. Note  Authorizing a Computer As a security precaution. you still have a copy of the data. This includes music. or contacts to an iPad. Exam Tip Touch flow and multitouch are two primary capabilities supported by the touch interface on mobile phones and tablets. Installing Synchronization Applications Mobile devices commonly have specific applications you use for synchronization. This usually requires you to enter a user name and password associated only with you. pictures. Synchronizing also provides you with a backup. This is important when a user is doing pinch and spread gestures.These capabilities are available on touch-based devices using two important technologies: multitouch and touch flow. Most mobile devices give you the ability to synchronize just about any type of data. This helps prevent someone from accessing your data through a synchronization program on their computer. pictures. For example. For example. and email. Key Terms Key Terms Multitouch refers to a device’s ability to sense a user touching the surface at two or more places at a time. contacts. pictures. If you lose the data on the device (or lose the device). videos. Using Mobile Devices CHAPTER 9 323 . if you add music. and contacts are on the PC. you are often required to authorize a computer with a mobile device. This is important when a user is doing flick gestures and when doing pinch and spread gestures. Synchronizing Data Synchronization is the process of storing the same data in two separate locations and ensuring it’s the same in both places. you can synchronize it with a PC so that the same music. programs.

Connection Types for Synchronization The connection type you use when synchronizing mobile devices is dependent on the device. the most common method is by using a USB cable from the device to a PC. After you connect the device. you can initiate the synchronization process with the application. IR. Using the cloud for synchronization is becoming more common. you can synchronize. Many devices use USB cables such as the ones discussed in Chapter 5. Some devices can use IR to connect to a PC and synchronize. However. 324 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . Instead of connecting using a cable. Bluetooth. cellular. You need to ensure that the devices are paired before the synchronization will work. What types of connections are commonly used to synchronize mobile devices? Quick Check Answers 1. They require a cable with a unique connection on the device and a Standard-A USB connector on the other end. “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards. ■■ ■■ Quick Check 1.” The cables have a Standard-A connector on one end to connect to a computer and a Mini-B. USB. This is granted to users differently. Micro-A. You can also set up many devices to automatically synchronize at different times without any interaction. Some devices have special one-of-a-kind connections.Exam Tip You need administrative rights to install an application on most systems. wireless. and IR. Bluetooth. Multitouch. Of course this requires the PC to have an IR interface and also requires a clear line of sight between the two. but if the user does not have administrative rights. When connected. What technology allows a tablet to sense a user touching the screen in two places at the same time? 2. or Micro-B connector that connects to the device. You‘ll need to first connect to the Internet via either a wireless network or a cellular connection. you might be able to connect using one of the following methods: ■■ Wireless or cellular to the Internet. 2. the installation will fail.

Failed Logon Attempts Restrictions In addition to using a passcode lock. it is a four-digit PIN. when a user writes the passcode on the device or attaches a sticky note with the passcode to the device. it locks. but more than a few users have done this. If you lose the device or it’s stolen. another person won’t be able to easily access the device because the person won’t know the passcode. Note  Defense in Depth Thieves have many tools at their disposal to circumvent or override many security settings. Securing Mobile Devices CHAPTER 9 325 . The user must then enter the passcode to use the device. it's called a screen lock. The Erase Data section can be turned on so that all data on the iPad is erased when the user enters the wrong passcode too many times. you can increase the security. None of the security methods described here are completely reliable. This prevents a thief from accessing data on a device by entering all the possible combinations. mobile devices have tools that you can use to help protect them or the data stored on them. You may laugh. When the device is idle for a period of time. Using multiple layers of security is referred to as defense in depth. many devices include failed logon restrictions. but by using a variety of tools. On some devices. These tools are available on many smartphones and tablets. Of course. For example. Figure 9-5 shows the screen for an iPad Passcode Lock. and it works like a password-protected screensaver.Securing Mobile Devices If lost or stolen. On other devices. Passcode Locks A passcode is a simple password or set of digits that you must enter to start using the device. it defeats the purpose.

If it is lost. If you lose the device or it’s stolen. it will ensure that any sensitive data on the device cannot be used by someone else. you can then send the remote wipe signal to the device. They use the GPS capability of the device and can pinpoint its location. when sent to a lost device. Exam Tip The remote wipe capability must be enabled before the device is lost.Figure 9-5  Enabling the Passcode Lock and Erase Data as a failed logon restriction. 326 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . and especially useful if it has been stolen. removes all data on the system. Locator Applications Many applications are available to identify the location of a lost device. Many mobile devices send a confirmation email when the remote wipe signal has been received and has erased the data on the ­ device. you can send the remote wipe signal to the device and it will wipe it clean. Remote Wipe A remote wipe is a signal that. While it won’t get the device back to you. These are useful if you’ve recently lost the device.

users can’t access the device unless they know the passcode. Remote Lock. Securing Mobile Devices CHAPTER 9 327 ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ . you miss it. you can have an email sent to you when the signal has been received by the device. It’s possible that a Good Samaritan has found your device and would love to return it if only she knew who you were. Figure 9-6  Locating an iPad. I’ve zoomed it out to show a general location on the East Coast of the United States. Remote Wipe. You can send a message to the device with your contact information to let the person know that you lost it. The application allows you to zoom in on the exact street address or zoom out. The sound continues to play until it’s dismissed on the device. This application also includes the following capabilities: ■■ Play Sound. Send Message. If you send any signal to the device. This sends the remote wipe signal to remove all data from the device. In the figure. After it’s set.Figure 9-6 shows an example of a locator application on an iPad. and you’d love to have it back. This sends a signal to play a sound on the device. Remote Lock works similarly to a passcode lock except that you can send the signal remotely. It’s useful if you’ve lost it between the cushions of a couch or somewhere else within earshot. This provides verification that it has been completed. Email When Found.

One of the things that Apple does is vigorously screen apps before they are offered for sale in the Apple App Store. However. which can automatically back up photos. or you’ve sent a remote wipe signal to it. Antivirus Software Sadly. However. as the malware for these devices increases. it is quickly removed from the store. Android-based systems support Android backup. locked (indicating it isn’t in use). this number is small. but as an introduction. Chapter 26. If users download apps from other sources. 328 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . At this writing. and Google has information about the developer who uploaded it. This includes Apple’s App Store. an application running on a PC. and Microsoft’s Marketplace. worms. Other sources aren’t policed as vigorously. Apple provides 5 GB of free storage. Recently. if an infected app is discovered. Compared with the millions of viruses that can infect PC-based systems. and settings. It senses when the unit is plugged in and receiving a charge. This grew to more than 400 infected apps by June 2011. you can expect antivirus programs to become available. In January 2011 there were a reported 80 infected Android apps. Windows 8 has a backup ability using Windows Azure–based technologies. It is difficult for an attacker to create an infected app and get it into the store. malicious software (malware) is making its way onto mobile devices. which allows you to back up all data to the cloud (the Internet). malware includes viruses. However. Apple’s iOS-based systems allow users to back up their data and settings with iTunes. Windows Azure is a group of cloud-based technologies used in several different Microsoft applications. documents. Exam Tip One of the safest steps you can take to protect mobile devices against malware infection is to purchase apps only from the official stores. Google Play requires developers to create an account before they can upload apps. there is a higher level of risk. rootkits.” covers malware in much more depth. and you can purchase additional storage if you need it. spyware. For example. The Apple iOS has had relatively few problems with malware. “Recognizing Malware and Other Threats. you can use the cloud-based backup to restore the data. The app is made available almost immediately. If the device is lost or destroyed. Apple launched iCloud Backup.Remote Backup Applications Many devices support storing backup data in the cloud. making it easier for attackers to upload malware. they have started and they’re on the rise. and more. and Google doesn’t follow the same vigorous screening process used for apps in the Apple App Store. Trojans. very few antivirus programs are available for mobile devices. accounts. Google Play. or connected to a wireless network.

Applications can be purchased only via Apple’s App Store. As issues are detected. Geotracking records the location of a device and stores the data in a log on the device. Windows-based systems can be configured to automatically download and install patches and updates without any user intervention. The orientation of a tablet’s screen is automatically sensed by an accelerometer and/or gyroscope. Apple iOS-based systems require you to connect your device to a PC with a USB cable and use iTunes to update it. Remote wipe. it’s always a good idea to synchronize the device. you can fully restore the device. Passcode lock. Apple devices use iOS.Patching/Operating System Updates Bugs and security issues are detected with any operating system after it is released. The method of patching the system varies by device. GPS identifies the exact location of the device. and settings. 2. In contrast. Applications use this data to change the display for the user. Quick Check 1. ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 9 329 . such as switching between landscape mode and portrait mode. What is used to remotely erase data on a lost device? Quick Check Answers 1. Android-based systems often prompt you when an update is available. Chapter Summary ■■ Tablets are not upgradable or serviceable by technicians in the field. This includes the operating systems on mobile devices and the operating systems on any desktop PC. the vendor updates and releases patches and operating system updates. It can be used to locate a lost device and is also used by geotracking. you should always ensure that your system is up to date. Exam Tip Before applying a patch or doing an update. What can be enabled to prevent a thief from easily using a stolen mobile device? 2. As a best practice. data. technicians can upgrade and service laptops. a closed source operating system that is not licensed to any other company. and if something goes wrong during the update. This will save all your applications.

Data and settings should be backed up before doing an update. Security for mobile devices is enhanced through several features. Disabling these connections reduces battery consumption. IR connections are limited by line of sight. Many devices allow you to synchronize with a PC through a USB cable. respectively. a PIN is needed. Of the following choices. In some cases. When configuring email. You might also need to know the basic and secure ports used for the connections. Accelerometer 330 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . It is used on mobile devices created by many different companies. When updates and patches are available. including passcode locks. The answers to these questions. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. SMTPS port 465. and/ or IMAP servers. Touch flow B. POP3 port 110. If you are unable to enter a PIN on a device (such as on a headset). Other connections are Bluetooth and infrared. Tablets have a touch interface using touch flow and multitouch capabilities to sense different gestures. POP3. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. you’ll need to know the full name of the SMTP. depending on what the email server is using. The basic and secure port numbers are SMTP port 25.■■ Android is an open source operating system developed by a consortium of companies led by Google. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. IMAP port 143. Users primarily buy applications from the Google Play website. what would cause a device to change from portrait mode to landscape mode when the device is moved? A. they often include security enhancements and should be installed as soon as possible. and some devices allow you to synchronize through a cloud-based service on the Internet. but applications can be purchased through other sources. POP3S port 995. Class 1 and Class 3 Bluetooth connections have a range of 100 meters (about 328 feet) and 5 meters (about 16 feet). and IMAPS port 993. Class 2 Bluetooth connections have a range of 10 meters (about 33 feet). and GPS locator applications. remote wipe. 1. the common PIN code is either 0000 or the last four digits of the device’s serial number. Bluetooth devices need to be paired before they can be used. Mobile devices commonly connect to the Internet through wireless or cellular connections. Synchronization allows you to keep a backup of all the data and settings for a device.

C. Passcode lock D. Pair them 4. 993 D. Connect to a Wi-Fi network C. 995 5. A business owner wants to ensure that her tablet is as secure as possible. Bluetooth pairing 6. Geotracking 2. Enable POP3 D. Upgrades are automatic D. 110 C. Gyro D. Flash the BIOS B. Subscribe to a cellular plan B. What should you do before updating the operating system of a mobile device? A. Of the follow- ing choices.) A. You are helping a user configure email on a tablet. Cheaper than purchasing at a store B. what represents a benefit to users of purchasing apps only through Apple’s App Store? A. Less chance of downloading malicious software 3. Remote wipe B. Enable remote wipe D. Automatically includes source code C. What is required before using two Bluetooth devices together? A. It is prompting you for the port used for secure POP3. 25 B. GPS location services C. what should she enable? (Choose all that apply. Back up the device C. What is the most likely port number you should enter? A. Disable Wi-Fi and cellular connections Chapter Review CHAPTER 9 331 . Of the following choices.

upgrades are not automatic with Apple App Store apps.Answers This section contains the answers to the questions for the Lesson Review in this chapter. B. Correct Answer: B A. C. Correct: Devices commonly include accelerometers (and electronic gyroscopes) to sense the orientation of the device and change the display. wrapped in a flatbread or pita. Incorrect: Cellular plans are used with smartphones and some mobile devices. Correct: Bluetooth devices must be paired before they can be used together. so software purchased through their site is less likely to be infected with a virus or other malicious software. Correct Answer: D A. 1. Incorrect: You can’t purchase Apple Apps at a store. 2. D. but they are unrelated to Bluetooth. so there is no cost benefit. This can be automatic or can require entering a PIN on one or both devices. Correct Answer: D A. Correct: Apple screens all software in their App Store. 3. B. Incorrect: While software can often be upgraded. C. Incorrect: Connecting to a wireless network is not required to pair two Bluetooth devices. Incorrect: Touch flow is used to sense when a user moves a finger across a touch screen. C. Incorrect: Geotracking uses recorded GPS information to track the past locations of a device. so it does not include the source code. Incorrect: Purchased software is typically closed source. D. Incorrect: Post Office Protocol v3 (POP3) is configured for email but not for Bluetooth. B. Incorrect: A gyro is type of sandwich sold in many Greek restaurants. 332 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices . D.

5. C. D. and settings during an update. Correct Answer: B A. Correct: Port 995 is the well-known port for POP3 over Secure Sockets Layer (POP3S). B. Correct: Passcode locks require a user to enter a passcode before using a device. Instead. and some- times the connectivity is required. C. so all data should be backed up before an update whenever possible.4. Correct: Remote wipe allows her to send a remote signal to a lost device to delete all information on the device. you don’t enable Bluetooth pairing. Incorrect: Flashing the BIOS is commonly done for a motherboard BIOS to update it. you pair devices after enabling Bluetooth. Correct Answer: D A. C A. It can be done on a mobile device. applications. D. Correct Answers: A. 6. B. Incorrect: Port 25 is the well-known port for Simple Mail Transport Protocol (SMTP). Correct: It’s possible to lose data. B. Incorrect: Port 110 is the well-known port for Post Office Protocol3 (POP3). Correct: Global Positioning System (GPS) location services allow a lost device to be located. Incorrect: Remote wipe is a security feature that allows you to remove data on a lost device. Incorrect: It is not necessary to disable connectivity during an update. but it is not necessary before an update. Incorrect: Bluetooth pairing is done to match two Bluetooth devices. Incorrect: Port 993 is the well-known port for IMAP over Secure Sockets Layer (IMAPS). D. C. B. However. Answers CHAPTER 9 333 .


■■ Graphic / CAD / CAM design workstation ■■ ■■ ■■ Powerful processor High-end video Maximum RAM Specialized audio and video card Large fast hard drive Dual monitors Maximum RAM and CPU cores Powerful processor High-end video/specialized GPU Better sound card High-end cooling Surround sound audio HDMI output 335 ■■ Audio/Video editing workstation ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Virtualization workstation ■■ ■■ Gaming PC ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Home Theater PC ■■ ■■ . but if you aren’t able to work with customers.9 Evaluate and select appropriate components for a custom configuration. you might end up with more opportunities to update your résumé than you’ll care to have. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. This chapter covers some core skills related to communicating with customers and troubleshooting problems effectively. The most successful technicians have a good mix of technical knowledge. communication skills. to meet customer specifications or needs. it ties some of the concepts from previous chapters together so that you can help customers identify the right components to meet their needs.CHAPTER 1 0 Working with Customers Y ou can be the best technician in the world. Additionally. and troubleshooting ability.

■■ ■■ Temperature. restate the issue or question to verify understanding) ■■ Dealing with difficult customer or situation ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 336 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers .3 Given a scenario. demonstrate proper communication and professionalism. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Use proper language – avoid jargon. slang when applicable Maintain a positive attitude Listen and do not interrupt the customer Be culturally sensitive Be on time (if late contact the customer) Avoid distractions ■■ ■■ ■■ Personal calls Talking to co-workers while interacting with customers Personal interruptions Avoid arguing with customers and/or being defensive Do not minimize customer’s problems Avoid being judgmental Clarify customer statements (ask open ended questions to narrow the scope of the problem. acronyms.2 Explain environmental impacts and the purpose of environmental controls.■■ ■■ ■■ HTPC compact form factor TV tuner Desktop applications Meets recommended requirements for running Windows Basic applications Meets minimum requirements for running Windows Media streaming File sharing Print sharing Gigabit NIC RAID array Standard thick client ■■ ■■ ■■ Thin client ■■ ■■ ■■ Home Server PC ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 5. humidity level awareness and proper ventilation Protection from airborne particles ■■ ■■ Enclosures Air filters ■■ 5.

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Purpose of virtual machines Resource requirements Emulator requirements Security requirements Network requirements Hypervisor Identify the problem ■■ ■■ 4. desktop.4 Explain the fundamentals of dealing with prohibited content/activity. ■■ First response ■■ ■■ ■■ Identify Report through proper channels Data/device preservation ■■ ■■ Use of documentation/documentation changes Chain of custody ■■ Tracking of evidence/documenting process 220-802 Exam objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. printer. actions and outcomes CHAPTER 10 337 . etc ■■ Deal appropriately with customers confidential materials ■■ ■■ 5.1 Given a scenario. ■■ Question the user and identify user changes to computer and perform backups before making changes ■■ ■■ Establish a theory of probable cause (question the obvious) Test the theory to determine cause ■■ ■■ Once theory is confirmed determine next steps to resolve problem If theory is not confirmed re-establish new theory or escalate ■■ ■■ ■■ Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution Verify full system functionality and if applicable implement preventive measures Document findings. explain the troubleshooting theory.9 Explain the basics of client-side virtualization.■■ Set and meet expectations/timeline and communicate status with the customer ■■ ■■ ■■ Offer different repair/replacement options if applicable Provide proper documentation on the services provided Follow up with customer/user at a later date to verify satisfaction Located on a computer.

Use Proper Language Whenever possible. However. After cleaning it out. Imagine that a system was having problems due to dust buildup within the case and around the CPU fan.Interacting with Customers Being a good personal computer (PC) technician requires more than just knowing about the hardware and software and how to fix the systems. and get the customer working with you instead of against you. you’ll either be unemployed or find yourself working alone in an isolated room. Remember. so I cleaned it out. If you think about a customer as an adversary. Exam Tip CompTIA took out customer service objectives in an earlier version of their A+ exams. An important principle to remember is that you and the customer need to have a collaborative relationship. An extremely important element is the ability to interact with customers. and it’s clear that they are really trying to help viewers understand. diffuse difficult situations. and slang. you could say. Communication and Professionalism Effective communication skills combined with a professional attitude are easily the most important skills you’ll need when interacting with customers. you could tell the customer. “The BIOS was reporting a thermal problem from the CPU causing intermittent reboots. If you think about customers as collaborators. but if you can’t maintain a professional attitude when working with customers. If you want to ensure that customers understand what you’re talking about. The internal cooling devices weren’t able to regulate the temperature due to foreign debris. you need to use language they can understand. which covers some pretty complex topics. They use terms and analogies that just about anyone can understand. You need them for a job. so I used an ESD-safe device to remove the excess particles. acronyms. you’ll end up with an adversarial relationship. they received a lot of feedback from companies about the importance of communication skills when working with customers and have since added these objectives back in. you should avoid jargon. They’ll help you collect information about the problem. You can often answer the questions if you simply apply the golden rule—treat customers as you want to be treated when you are a customer.” 338 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers .” hosted by Morgan Freeman. you’re much more likely to have rewarding experiences. You might be the best technician in the world. I have great respect for the scientists on the show who can explain complex scientific theories in easy terms. I sometimes watch “Through the Wormhole. with no room for advancement. they need you to fix the problem.” Or. “It had a lot of dust built up.

An open-ended question is any question that can’t be answered with a one-word response such as yes or no. but when talking to customers. When asking questions. or you might need to ask questions to get more information. After listening. Maintain a Positive Attitude Maintaining a positive attitude is an important part of troubleshooting and working with others. For example. how you respond when you run into these problems is entirely your choice. they are angry at the situation. you should use language that anyone can understand. you can help set their expectations. it’s useful to restate the issue or symptoms. Communicate Status After you have an understanding of a problem. Listen and Don’t Interrupt Customers When you’re working with customers. it’s important to take the time to listen to what they’re saying and not interrupt them. it could take days or weeks to complete the repair. Give them time to explain the problem. If you tell them it will take a week or longer because a part needs to be ordered. Jargon is often used when talking with other technicians. This lets the customer know that you have been listening and that you understand the problem. and by communicating the status. Sometimes. The customer might not know what is important and what isn’t important. You will run into problems—that’s unavoidable. However. As long as you remain positive. they are not angry at you. “Can you explain the problem?” or “What type of symptoms are you seeing?” are open-ended questions. From the customer’s point of view. However. it’s often useful to ask open-ended questions. Exam Tip Avoid jargon and acronyms when talking with customers. but they’ll Interacting with Customers CHAPTER 10 339 . giving the customer time to talk and listening to what they have to say will help you get a better idea of the problem. Other problems can take much longer. the customer will understand and might even ask what to do to prevent it from getting so dirty. you’ll have a good idea of how long it’ll take to resolve it. the customer might not understand and might think that you’re just full of yourself. Hearing the second explanation. they are coming to you because they have a problem they can’t solve. if you need to order new hardware and wait for it to arrive. They might not be happy with the situation. For example. Some problems are relatively easy to fix and can be resolved in minutes.If you give the first explanation. most people will understand. you might need to restate the issue a little differently to clarify it. They might be frustrated and even angry. you have a much better chance at getting them to remember that you’re there to help. Most people are reasonable. However.

You’ll likely come across an angry customer at some point. Follow-up. showing that you care. Instead. However. Documentation on services. including the following: ■■ Avoid arguing or being defensive. and it’s best to have different methods you can use to defuse the situation and help the customer. I was able to ask a couple of open-ended questions to get the customer to explain the situation. there might be different repair or replacement options available. There are a few things you can do in these situations. He became embarrassed and apologetic. A simple call to the customer at a later date can help you verify that the customer is satisfied. the customer recognized the huge disparity in our volumes and recognized that I wasn’t angry but truly trying to help. It might be a simple problem for you because ■■ 340 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . we began making much better progress at solving his problem. How you respond to these customers can make the difference between the customer becoming angrier and an adversary. Under no circumstances should you argue with a customer. and during this time. If your company has specific documentation for services. this follow-up helps build rapport. Do not minimize a customer’s problems. ensure that you provide it to the customer. but it’s unlikely that we would have solved his problem. However. Based on the problem. I became quieter. and the customer was passed to me. this is sad but true. including the following: ■■ Options.understand. That will only make the situation worse. Another technician was successful only at getting the customer angrier. consider providing additional information. If they aren’t. I didn’t respond with the same volume. Customers don’t come for help for problems that they know how to solve. I used a normal voice and when the customer became louder. At that point. If there are options. If they are satisfied. I could just as easily have matched this customer’s volume and anger. Dealing with Difficult Customers or Situations Not all customers calm down. Instead. At some point. I recognized the customer wasn’t angry with me. ■■ ■■ Real World  Defuse situations with a soft voice I remember dealing with a customer once who was extremely frustrated and angry. if you don’t tell them anything. I was well aware how loud the customer was. let the customer know so that the customer can decide based on his or her needs. they might expect it to be fixed within minutes and will get more and more frustrated as the days drag by. and I did my best to calmly focus on the problem. you’ll have an opportunity to fix the problem. or calmer and a collaborator. In addition to communicating the status.

For example. if you flick your hand from under your chin outward. Exam Tip It's never acceptable to yell or argue with a customer. It’s possible that you are doing all the right things but the customer is not calming down and is not giving you the information you need to solve the problem. Interacting with Customers CHAPTER 10 341 . assertive language to get unreasonable customers to calm down. However. They might be frustrated or angry with the situation. Other people can feel it when you’re doing it to them. the customer can end up becoming angry with you. find a way to defuse the situation. You can feel when someone is talking down to you or acting in a condescending manner. but it’s best not to minimize the impact on the customer. Be Culturally Sensitive A culture has a set of’re knowledgeable and experienced. do this to someone from Italy and you might have a fight on your hands. For example. In some cases. passing the customer to another technician who might be able to get the customer to calm down. A little empathy goes a long way. If that’s not possible. but not with you as a person. some technicians use cutesy phrases camouflaging their dislike of customers. most organizations have a method of passing the customer off to someone else. this is done by referring the customer to a manager or. Being culturally sensitive means that you recognize that there are differences among cultures and that you respect those differences. What they mean is that the customer is as dumb as a stone (S T one) or is an idiot (I D 10 T). seek assistance based on your company policies. if you respond to the customer’s emotions instead of to the problem. sometimes. Managers will often have training for how to deal with these customers and will use forceful. ■■ Avoid being judgmental. I’ve heard technicians refer to a problem as an ST1 problem (pronounced as S T one). However. values. If a situation is escalating and you find yourself getting angry or losing your control. It’s valuable to remember that customers do not start out being angry with you. You’ll often end up with an adversarial relationship with customers without understanding why. this is likely to come across in your dealings with customers. it means very little to many people living in the United States. and practices that are shared among people within that culture. or an ID 10 T problem (pronounced as I D ten T ). Some language and communication techniques can be completely acceptable in one culture but quite offensive in another culture. If you take a judgmental attitude toward customers in general. In that case.

this is often referred to as a security incident. they’ll be waiting. hand these to the customer as you begin your work. Prohibited content and activity is anything that is against the law and anything that is counter to an organization’s policy. You should respect the privacy of the individual and not read through the material. ■■ ■■ ■■ 342 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . Unauthorized access. ■■ Responding to Prohibited Content/Activity In the course of your job. contact the customer and let them know. Any types of attacks. if you’re called to work on a printer and it has printouts marked as confidential. Unauthorized drives. This includes unauthorized individuals in secured areas of a building or the unauthorized access of sensitive data. Other times. If something is holding you up. Within the realm of information technology (IT). Some organizations restrict the use of USB flash drives as a security precaution. you might want to hand it to the customer. Rebooting systems often solves many problems. If you tell customers that you’ll be there at a certain time. so you might choose that course of action. any types of external drives are prohibited. If a coworker contacts you for help or assistance. and papers on their desk or printer.Respect Customer Materials When you assist customers at their work area. These are many of the same behaviors that you would want professionals to demonstrate when you are the customer. Be Professional Successful technicians regularly demonstrate common professional behaviors. Some examples include the following: ■■ Unauthorized applications. Avoid distractions and interruptions. Many organizations prohibit users from installing applications on their systems. Attacks commonly come from external sources but can also come from a malicious insider. Some of these include the following: ■■ Be on time. you might occasionally run across content or activity that is prohibited. Let customers know that you plan on rebooting a system so that they have a chance to save and close any files they’re working on. If material is in your way. offer to help them when you’re done with the customer. Rebooting without saving files could result in the loss of the customer’s data or recent work. For example. It could be an action on the part of an external attacker or by an employee. they’ll often have work materials open and accessible. but you might find an unauthorized application running on a user’s system. This could include open files or emails. This includes not taking personal phone calls.

It includes going to some forums and blogs. If you run across content or activity that is clearly illegal. Similarly.■■ Online activities. depending on the content. You can compare them to first responders in the medical community. Illegal pictures or video. First Response Within IT security. and forwarding pictures or jokes that can offend others. If it’s prohibited by a company security policy. trained individuals. Offensive pictures and video might be more than just inappropriate in a workplace. it’s an incident. Medical first responders are dedicated. Understanding your organization’s security policies will help you identify incidents. you’re obligated to report it. and know what to do to preserve life until help arrives or until they get a patient to a hospital. and your first step is often to report it to your supervisor. If you don’t report it. they can identify life-threatening injuries. You aren’t expected to know how to perform in-depth computer forensics. know when to call for help. and they aren’t expected to do surgery. who respond to auto accidents. the first IT professionals on the scene of an incident are referred to first responders and they provide the first response to an incident. However. ■■ NOTE NSFW NSFW is an acronym for not safe for work. such as emergency medical treatment (EMT) personnel. They aren’t doctors. Often. However. This is where you recognize that the content or activity is either not authorized or illegal. you might be the first responder for a security incident. the best thing you can do is not touch it and not allow anyone else to touch it until help arrives. Report through proper channels. and know how to preserve evidence. Their goal is to treat and ­ stabilize injured people and get them to a medical facility if needed. you‘ll be expected to identify an incident. For example. they could be illegal. you’ll need to take the following three basic actions: ■■ Identify. viewing pictures of people in various stages of undress. Many employees have been reprimanded and even fired for engaging in NSFW activities because they fall into the category of prohibited content and activity. Preserve data or devices. Some online activities might be illegal and/or counter to the organization’s policy. or not suitable for work. If you do come across any prohibited content or activity. gambling during company time is very likely prohibited. ■■ ■■ Interacting with Customers CHAPTER 10 343 . There might be activities that people are comfortable with at home but should not engage in at work. Organizations commonly have procedures to follow in these situations. you might inadvertently become an accessory to the crime. Any data or devices involved in the incident need to be protected as evidence. know how to report it. Turning a system off or manipulating the keyboard or mouse can destroy or modify evidence.

Many organizations include specific procedures to isolate or contain an incident in certain situations. and preserve data or devices. Inform the customer that you’ll be late. it is lost. What should you do? 2. You are due to arrive at a customer’s location in 10 minutes. What three things should you do? Quick Check Answers 1. the first step is to protect it. For example. If so. You shouldn’t just leave it on a desk where anyone can access and manipulate it. A chain of custody log verifies that evidence presented in court is the same evidence that was collected. such as in a locked cabinet. For example. Occasionally. Data within the system’s random access memory (RAM) can be retrieved with forensic tools. Exam Tip Data in a computer’s RAM is lost when the power is removed. but you’ll be late. you should establish a chain of custody log to document how the drive was protected after it was collected. Files have attributes that identify when they were last accessed or modified. This means that someone has it in their physical possession or that it is secured. Similarly. you might be required to collect evidence. procedures often state that the network cable should be disconnected from the system. you should ensure that it is controlled at all times. report. these attributes will be changed and the original evidence is lost. you should establish a chain of custody log to verify that the evidence has been controlled. Quick Check 1. Key Terms Additionally. don’t turn it off or reboot it. 2. but if you turn it off. if a computer is running. Protecting Evidence and Chain of Custody If there is any possibility that evidence needs to be collected and analyzed for an incident. You have come across a security incident. Computer forensics tools are available to retrieve data from volatile RAM. if you must collect an external hard drive or USB flash drive. if a system is infected with a virus or worm. This isolates the system and prevents the infection from spreading to other systems. If you access or modify the files. 344 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . This RAM is commonly referred to as volatile RAM. but they cannot retrieve the data after the system has been turned off. For example. you should not access any files. Identify.

Verify full system functionality. it’s worthwhile to ask them whether they’re having the same problem. CompTIA is known to ask questions specifically related to the troubleshooting theory. and outcomes. Identify the problem. you’ll gather information about the problem. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem. 6. Identify the Problem In this step. and if applicable. This is especially true when troubleshooting network problems. implement preventive measures. If it’s affecting one user. if you think of the user as a partner in your quest to resolve the problem. Establish a theory of probable cause. CompTIA has specifically stated six steps in troubleshooting theory. actions.” However. “When did it last work?” and “Do you know whether anything has changed since then?” doesn’t attack the user and is likely to get you more information. “Nothing. asking something like. the problem is likely with that user’s system. Troubleshooting Theory CHAPTER 10 345 . For example. When questioning users. ask someone. However. if a user is working in an environment with other users. Users often make changes to their system and don’t recognize the impact that the change can have. Exam Tip The preceding steps are not the only troubleshooting steps that you’re likely to see in your career. Document findings. know them exactly when preparing for the A+ exam. Test the theory to determine cause. Troubleshooting is more than just fixing a system. which they include with the A+ objectives. 4. For example.Troubleshooting Theory An important part of working as a PC technician is troubleshooting. 3. especially if a technician asks questions in a threatening manner. and implement the solution. 5. Also. “What did you do?” and the answer is very often. it’s very easy for them to get defensive and stop giving you helpful answers. so it’s important to ask the user whether anything has recently changed. and you’ll need to know each of these and in the following order: 1. Successful technicians employ several steps in the troubleshooting process to ensure that they can identify and resolve problems as efficiently as possible and not cause additional problems. 2. Many problems occur because of a recent action. If it’s affecting all users. you can start a conversation and get them to help you. the problem is likely a network problem.

you might go through the following steps. It’s common for technicians to reboot the system after they’ve identified the symptoms of a problem and then see whether the symptoms have disappeared. Test theory: Verify cable plugged into extension card port instead of into motherboard onboard connector. It’s very possible that your educated guess about the cause wasn’t correct. If a computer display is dark. ■■ Theory: Computer not on. Many help desk procedures include this as one of their first steps. Test theory: Check for power indicator on monitor. A useful troubleshooting practice is to check the easy things first. If it’s a simple problem. but it gets the user back to a working state quickly. the technician escalates it to the next level. if you have a blank display. and a technician from that level will try to resolve it. an obvious theory is that the monitor isn’t plugged in and turned on or that the computer isn’t plugged in and turned on. you might need to escalate the problem by calling in some help. it can be as easy as checking all the plugs and power connections. ■■ Theory: Monitor not plugged in or turned on. For example. If so. ■■ If you run out of ideas. such as a blank display. ■■ ■■ Theory: Monitor not plugged into correct graphics port. Test the Theory to Determine Cause Next. Many organizations have several levels of technicians. Establish a Theory of Probable Cause In the next step. If a technician on one level can’t solve the problem. ■■ Test theory: Check to see whether it’s on. but experienced technicians go through the steps very quickly. During this step. Some problems aren’t so simple and obvious. so you might need to take a few steps to test the theory. you’ll test your theory by looking at the system. 346 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . you’ll make an educated guess to identify the source of the problem. This doesn’t always explain why a problem occurred. it’s important to question the obvious.Note  Consider rebooting as first step Rebooting solves many ills. look for a new theory of the probable cause. You’ll probably be using different hardware or operating system tools described throughout this book to help identify the problem. Establishing and testing are listed as separate steps.

Eventually. Troubleshooting Theory CHAPTER 10 347 . replace the power supply. technicians made multiple changes in an attempt to resolve the problem but never undid them. you’ll end up with better results. If you end up working for several hours on a problem. Each time you test a theory. It’s important to take your time with this. I’ve witnessed several problems that started as a simple configuration issue that could be resolved by making one change. ■■ ■■ Theory: Faulty expansion card. This theory should not be tested before doing simpler checks. You can then reinstall the cards one by one to see if the problem comes back when you install a card. the original problem is resolved. This is especially important when making configuration changes. It’s very possible for a card to be damaged while a technician is removing it. faulty motherboard. a faulty expansion card can load down a system and prevent anything from working. and the fans are spinning but nothing else is working. You might get lucky and fix the problem. Experienced technicians sometimes use the term shotgunning. You could just start replacing everything one by one. If not. referring to a process of just trying everything without taking the time to think things through or analyze the problem. If you replace the power supply without checking the voltages. One more thing: if you implement a change and it doesn’t resolve the problem. you might find that your actions from a couple hours ago aren’t crystal clear. In some cases. This could be a faulty power supply. faulty RAM. Ideally. However. it’s very possible cables and connectors might not get returned to their original locations when the cards are reinstalled. but if you take the time to test your theories and implement fixes individually. or faulty expansion card. ■■ Test theory: Measure voltages supplied via the primary motherboard connector and CPU power connector with the system turned on. faulty CPU. but unfortunately these other changes have caused a host of other problems. you’ll need to go back to step 2 to establish a different theory. Plan of action: If these are out of tolerance. ■■ When you’re faced with a challenging problem. ■■ Test theory: About the only way to test this theory is to remove all the cards to see whether the problem disappears. such as checking the power supply voltages. it’s important to document your steps. Plan of action: This will be time-consuming and very risky.Establish a Plan of Action and Implement It After you’ve confirmed your theory. Consider the following problem. you’ll need to establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution. and list the results of your actions. Additionally. take some notes so that you can easily recall what you did. You turn a computer on. you should undo your change. this will solve the problem. ■■ Theory: Faulty power supply. you might be replacing a good component and inadvertently cause another problem in the process.

such as tracking trends. Actions. For example. 348 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . if you’re troubleshooting a system and notice that the fans and the inside of the system are clogged with an excessive amount of dust. However. This will often take you directly to a KB article that describes the problem and the solution. This information is searchable to allow technicians to easily share their knowledge or to research the solution to a previously solved problem. Verify full system functionality. Some systems fail more than others. and Outcomes In the last step. Also.Verify Full System Functionality After implementing a solution. What’s the first step in the CompTIA troubleshooting model? 2. you can type the error in as a search phrase on Bing. Document Findings. you should use the proper tools and vacuum it out. and verify that it works. Trouble ticket databases are also useful in other situations. management often uses information in the database as justification for hiring additional workers and sometimes to identify the most productive workers. What should you do after establishing a plan of action and implementing it? Quick Check Answers 1. test it. For example. you document what you did to resolve the problem. If you’re troubleshooting a software problem that is giving you a specific error. In some situations. it’s possible to take proactive steps to reduce the problems. Problems that have been troubleshot and resolved are documented as KB articles. Many organizations have dedicated applications used to track all troubleshooting activity in trouble tickets. it’s important to check out the entire system to ensure that it is operating as expected. Microsoft uses a Knowledge Base (KB) system. Quick Check 1. preventive measures are needed when you implement a fix. you should also check the second paper tray to ensure that you can print using this tray. These trouble tickets track the progress until it’s resolved. Identify the problem. For example. imagine that you’re troubleshooting a printer with two paper trays. 2. You could fix a problem with one paper tray. and when the trend is identified. too.

Graphics/Video. If you understand these components. Many applications require high-end graphics. and they are important for gamers and home theaters. the newest and fastest are the most expensive. Disk. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Identifying Customer Needs CHAPTER 10 349 . Network Interface. some require faster hard drives for better performance. Some roles require large drives to store more data. One of the core questions you’ll need to ask is. Some people want only the newest and fastest. If the computer will be used to transfer a large amount of data over a network. you might want to add more. The following sections describe these components and the common workstation roles. This includes a highend graphics card with onboard memory and monitors that provide the best display. and some require fault tolerance with a redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID).Identifying Customer Needs Customers are often confused by the dizzying array of options available when buying a computer and simply don’t know which options are best for them. you’ll be better prepared to help them. you can often save a significant amount of money with an earlier CPU version. These include processors with multiple cores and faster speeds. but this is rarely noticeable to the average user. speed. ■■ CPU/Processor. Audio. and that might be what they need. The three basic options related to disks are size. it might require a fast network interface card (NIC) to provide the best performance on the network. They often look to experts like you to help them buy the computer that will meet their needs. You want to make sure that you get at least the minimum recommended amount of RAM for the operating system. and redundancy. Some systems require powerful processors to meet the demands of the applications that they’ll run. The amount of memory a system has is the second most important resource behind the processor. Note  Newest CPUs are the most expensive When shopping for CPUs. most can be summarized in five specific components. The earlier version might have a little less power. when new CPUs are released. Based on the role. While there are many different options available for computers. However. “What do you plan on doing with the computer?” If you have an idea of what they’ll use it for. you can then match their importance to different workstation roles. Sophisticated audio systems provide realistic sound. older versions are almost always reduced in price. ■■ RAM. However.

résumés. For example. the individual netbooks don’t require much 350 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . employees doing day-to-day work could be using standard thick clients. Note  Thick vs. track appointments. The thin client computer is used to boot into the operating system and connect to a remote server. It isn’t used for any dedicated role but instead is for day-to-day use.Standard Thick Client Key Terms A standard thick client is a computer that has an operating system and basic applications. a standard thick client will often meet the customer‘s needs. In contrast. Microsoft OneNote to create digital notebooks. ■■ Thin Client Key Terms A thin client is one that has only minimal resources and applications running on it. thin clients The term thick isn’t referring to size. and more. a student might use a computer to do research on the Internet and write papers. many people commonly have a computer for Internet access. it simply means that the computer has applications installed. email. and everyone has connectivity to a server hosting a specialized application and data. and Microsoft Outlook to manage contacts. It is commonly used in larger organizations that deploy computer images that include both the operating system and user applications. but they access the application and data on the server. Start by ensuring that the system has at least the minimum amount of processing power and RAM recommended by the vendor. Because the application is actually running on the server. For example. and social networking. Desktop applications. Microsoft Excel to work with finances. Nurses and doctors walk from room to room with wireless netbooks. If you ask for what purpose a customer plans on using the computer but the customer really isn’t sure. Similarly. When applying it to individual user systems. consider the following points: ■■ Minimum recommended for operating system. They are running Windows 7 with very basic hardware installed. One is the absolute minimum to run the operating system. the recommended minimum refers to what is needed for a satisfying user experience. thin clients access applications that are installed and running on remote systems. but for little else. newsletters. You’ll often see two minimums. but little is actually done on the thin client. Customers might need assistance in identifying applications to do basic tasks. Within an organization. When shopping for a thick client. It includes Microsoft Word to write papers. personnel at my doctor’s office use netbooks as thin clients. Microsoft’s Office suite includes several basic applications that can be useful to users. and exchange email. For example. However.

Gaming PC The PC gaming industry is big business and grosses billions of dollars annually. High-end audio. and a 5. if you need to provide some assistance to a gamer. Also. and the game developers deliver. ensure that the system includes the following items: ■■ Powerful processor. Games often have three dimensional (3D) sound. It ensures that the graphics are quickly displayed without any lag or latency. Gamers expect top-notch graphics and audio. Identifying Customer Needs CHAPTER 10 351 . They can also include liquid-cooled systems that circulate water to keep it cool without the noise generated by fans. However. If you are helping someone identify the resources needed for a thin client. These can include high-quality variable speed fans that spin faster when the system is hotter. It includes right and left front speakers. High-end cooling.1 system adds speakers to the right and left of the user in addition to the right and left front speakers and the right and left rear speakers. such as the Xbox 360. and a subwoofer for deep bass sounds. High-end cooling systems protect these systems from overheating.processing power. You’ll often find that gamers are very knowledgeable about PCs. Other PCs can use high-quality variable speed fans without liquid cooling. Some of the most popular games are first-person shooter and online role-playing games. including realistic explosions. which is something the nurses and doctors appreciate. so a fast processor with multiple cores is a must. A 7. Games often consume a significant amount of processing power. A top-notch video card with onboard memory and a specialized Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is needed for many of the games.1 surround sound system provides a realistic experience. right and left rear speakers. a central speaker (often used for dialog). and some even overclock their processors to get the highest performance possible. the netbooks are very small and light. ensure that it meets minimum recommended requirements for the operating system and the application used to connect to the remote systems. and many of the games are available on separate consoles. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam Tip Gaming PCs are the primary type of end-user PC where you’ll see liquid-cooling systems. High-end video. so you might not need to educate them. Gamers often run their systems close to full capacity.

This section will give you some details on virtualization and the basic hardware requirements. each VM can access the Internet through the host NIC. Figure 10-1 shows an example of how a Windows 7 system can be used to host a virtual network with four VMs. and reboot them. It’s possible to configure each VM to be completely isolated from any other. Don’t be surprised if someone asks you for help picking out a computer that they plan to use as a virtualization workstation. Understanding Virtualization Key Terms A virtualization workstation is used to run one or more virtual computers within a single Each VM runs as if it is a separate physical PC. You can run separate applications within them. Additionally. The following are some popular VM software products used on workstations for virtualization: ■■ Windows Virtual PC. Hypervisor Key Terms The software running on the physical host is called the hypervisor and acts as the virtual machine manager. Windows 7 Server 2008 Internet Linux Windows 8 Windows 7 Figure 10-1  One physical host running four VMs. This is available as a free download from Microsoft at http:// www. and one Server 2008 VM. and virtual systems are commonly called virtual machines (VMs) or guests. they are connected via a virtual You can also access Windows XP Mode from Working with Customers 352 CHAPTER 10 . Linux-based. all without affecting the other VMs.Virtualization Workstation Virtualization has become quite popular in recent years. and Windows 8–based systems running as desktop VMs. The network includes Windows 7–based. It provides access to the host hardware and ensures that the VM runs in its own space without affecting other VMs or the host system. shut them down. The workstation is commonly called the host. but in Figure 10-1.

It supports running both 32-bit and 64-bit guest operating systems. Figure 10-2 shows the settings page for a Windows Virtual PC VM that I’m using to run Windows 7. Windows XP Mode is a fully functioning version of Windows XP that can run as a virtual system on Windows 7. Oracle has published VirtualBox as an open source virtualization tool. If you want to dig a little deeper. Figure 10-2  Virtual PC settings showing RAM. I’ve also attached several virtual hard disks and configured one network adapter for the VM.html. You can get it from http://www. ■■ Note  Virtualization on your own Installing and using each of these products is beyond the scope of this A+ book. In the figure. the following blog article includes detailed steps to install Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 using Virtual Box on a Windows 7–based system: http://blogs. It allows you to run both 32-bit and 64-bit guest operating systems. It is available as a free download at https://www.getcertifiedgetahead. ■■ VMware Player. These hypervisor applications allow you to adjust the resources dedicated to each VM.virtualbox. VirtualBox.vmware. but the VMware Player is free. and you can see that I’ve dedicated 2. You can run 32-bit guest operating systems but not 64-bit operating systems in Windows Virtual PC. but they are worth your You can adjust how much RAM is assigned to the VM and control access to other resources such as the network. Identifying Customer Needs CHAPTER 10 353 .com/products/player/ I’ve selected the memory.048 MB of RAM for this system. VMware has several products.

the processor should support hardware assisted virtualization (HAV). updating the host does not update any VMs. “Understanding Motherboards and BIOS. You’re free to experiment without fear of causing any real damage. The host machine remains unaffected. As you install applications on the VM or add data to it. it can be released in an isolated VM without fear of it infecting the host system. Hardware Requirements Each VM will consume some of the host system’s resources. Depending on how you’re using the VMs. New operating systems and new applications can be installed on a virtual system. This is commonly available in current processors but might need to be enabled in the BIOS. The amount of RAM you need depends on how many VMs you’ll run and their requirements. You need to update each VM separately. Working with Customers ■■ ■■ ■■ 354 CHAPTER 10 . Windows XP Mode lets you run legacy applications that aren’t compatible with Windows 7. all VMs and the host will share the bandwidth of this NIC. when a new virus is discovered.Purpose There are several reasons why people use virtualization on workstations. If you want the VMs to have access to a physical network. The VMs are stored as one or more files on the disk. Many security professionals use VMs for security testing. If the software is buggy. you’ll need at least 8 GB beyond what you’ll use in the host. Testing. This is true for the host system and for each VM. only the VM is affected. For example. Disk. you can install it on a VM within an older operating system. However. Network requirements. so heavy network usage by one VM will affect the others and the host. you’ll need to have a network interface card (NIC) in the host system. Security.” Maximum RAM. as mentioned in Chapter 2. so you need to ensure that the disk drive is big enough to hold them. The worst that can happen is that the VM no longer works and you get to install it again. even when they’re in the beta stage. including the following: ■■ Learning. you can install them as VMs. these files grow. If an application won’t run in a newer operating system. Also. A system with 12–16 GB will meet most needs. A fast processor with multiple cores is a must. You should ensure that the system has the following: ■■ Key Terms Powerful processor. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam Tip It’s always important to keep operating systems up to date with current patches and updates. if you want to run four VMs with 2 GB each. For example. Legacy applications. these files can become quite large. Additionally. When learning new operating systems and applications. causing random problems. For example. but the most important resources are the processor and RAM.

Media streaming. You’ll want a sound system that is at least as a good as the 5. Some of the components that you’ll need to ensure are included are as follows: ■■ TV tuner within the computer. and video player for movies. High-quality TVs support HDMI. there is a special case called the HTPC compact form factor that looks a little nicer than a bulky computer when placed on a shelf by a TV. and disappear in the distance in front of you. such as from cable TV into the tuner. Some common uses of a home server include the following: ■■ File sharing. roar over your head. If you want to be able record one station while watching another or record two at a time. A RAID-5 array gives you all three. However. Disk space.1 surround sound system described in the Gaming PC section. users can back up their data to the home server. Using software such as Windows Media Center. which is included with Windows 7 Home Premium. you can use just about any computer as an HTPC. It’s common to have a least a gigabit NIC. A home server can be an effective way of sharing resources among multiple users. The disk system needs to be both large and quick. you’ll need two TV tuners. so you’ll want the maximum bandwidth supported by your network. and it’s common to share resources among these users. Users can share files via the home server.Home Theater PC Key Terms A home theater PC (HTPC) is a personal computer that has been configured to work as a digital video recorder (DVR) for television. Movie makers do some exceptional magic with 3D positional sound. the two primary resources to which you’ll need to pay attention are the NIC and the disk subsystem. you can Identifying Customer Needs CHAPTER 10 355 . For example. ■■ ■■ When using a home server. so you’ll want to ensure that the theater has an HDMI output. Print sharing. Additionally. audio player for music. All users will be sharing the same NIC. If you plan on recording TV shows. Additionally. High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) output. Surround sound audio. This allows you to easily share a single printer for all users. ■■ ■■ ■■ Home Server PC Many people manage networks at home with multiple users connected on a network. Audio and video files can be stored on the server and streamed to user systems. You can configure the server as a print server. For example. you’ll often want to add some fault tolerance with the disks. You plug in the TV signal source. you’ll be able to hear a jet approach from behind. Print jobs are sent to the print server and spooled to printers from there. you’ll need to ensure that you have plenty of disk space to hold them.

depending on the drawings. ■■ Audio/Video Editing Workstation PCs can also be used to edit audio and video as the final stage of processing. Instead of moving the windows around a single monitor. Large. fast hard drive.use four 1-TB disk drives for a total of 3 TB of disk space. This will often have a dedicated processor to take some of the load off the computer’s CPU. Professionals editing audio and video files often need multiple views of the data that they are editing. To render and display the graphics as fast as possible. And with a RAID-5. many companies create professional videos used for courseware and other types of training. CAD applications are used to create two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) drawings for tools. but having as much as 16 GB might be needed. machinery. ■■ ■■ 356 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . It includes computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) uses. For example. Exam Tip RAID-5 was described in more depth in Chapter 4. You’ll want to ensure that you have enough storage space on the drives to store them. RAID-5 can tolerate the fault and will continue to operate. These types of drawings take a lot of processing power to render and display. Resources on which you should focus for this type of workstation include the following: ■■ ■■ Powerful processor. many companies create their own videos and post them on YouTube as advertisements. Audio and video files become very large. This includes fast speeds and multiple cores. a high-end graphics card with onboard memory is needed. Similarly. dual monitors allow them to make a modification on one monitor and view the results on the other monitor. Reading and writing is spread across all four drives. a single disk can fail and you’ll still be able to continue operating. Graphic/CAD/CAM Design Workstation A graphics design workstation is used for high-end graphics and video processing. You should start with at least 8 GB of RAM. When it has a fault. Maximum RAM. and buildings. High-end video. and the equivalent of one disk is dedicated to storing parity bits. such as one drive failing. Some of the hardware that you’ll need to consider for this system includes the following: ■■ Specialized audio and video card. Ensure that the motherboard will support more RAM if needed. “Comparing Storage Devices.” It includes at least three disks. improving performance over a single system. Dual monitors.

For example. Processor. ■■ ■■ You might run across these environmental conditions in busy work areas. Also. If there is an excessive amount of airborne particles. When the humidity level is too low. resulting in a quick buildup of pet fur on the vents. Cleaning the vents more often is one way to prevent problems. Free airflow through the system helps to keep it cool. it can often damage components or cause intermittent symptoms such as random reboots. If the work area is hotter than normal. humidity. humidity level. Similarly. What are the primary hardware resources needed for a virtualization workstation? 2. you can also run across some of these conditions in a home. you might need to consider the impact of the working environment on the systems. More specifically. When advising the customer. it results in condensation and water damage. The ideal humidity level is about 50 percent. if a user is putting a home server into a closet or a basement. it becomes harder to keep the system cool. static can build up and result in electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage. Temperature.Environmental Impacts In some cases. However. Ventilation. Quick Check 1. 2. What are the primary environmental factors that can affect a PC’s performance? Quick Check Answers 1. RAM. You wouldn’t want to pour a glass of water into your system. the particles can build up within the system and clog up the vents. and disk. Heat is an enemy of any electronic device. such as a liquid-cooling system. Identifying Customer Needs CHAPTER 10 357 . the location might not have the same temperature or humidity controls. you can point this out to help him or her prevent a problem. As they build up. you don’t want a high humidity level to build up condensation. When the humidity level is too high. you can use advanced methods of cooling. and ventilation. you can use air filters on the computer vents or place the computer within an enclosure to filter out airborne particles. In some extreme situations. If a system gets too hot. NIC. a user might have pets that shed. and ventilation: ■■ Temperature. you need to consider the temperature. Humidity level.

virtualization workstations. listening. You sometimes need hard drives that are large. and that provide fault tolerance with RAID. If the area has a high amount of dust or other airborne particles. implement preventive measures. learning. Verify full system functionality. Audio and video editing workstations need large. such as graphics workstations. If the humidity is too high. It requires the maximum amount of RAM and CPU power and often requires a large amount of disk space. and outcomes. A hypervisor is the application that runs the virtual machines. If it is too low. and some have differing needs. it can cause water damage from condensation. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem. Test the theory to determine cause. actions. ■■ Workstations are used for different purposes. audio and video editing workstations. and giving the customer status information. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 358 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . especially for graphics workstations. and gaming PCs. and implement the solution. fast hard drives. being defensive. When responding to prohibited content or activity. The CompTIA troubleshooting model includes the following six steps: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Identify the problem. Virtualization within a workstation is often used for testing. fast. you can use enclosures and/or air filters to protect PCs. A chain of custody form is used to document how evidence has been protected after it was originally collected. Home servers need disks protected with a RAID array. and preserve evidence. You can clarify customer statements and verify that you understand the problem by restating the issue to the customer. Asking open-ended questions helps you get more information about a problem. avoiding distractions. you should avoid arguing. When dealing with difficult customers or situations. The processor and RAM are often the most important. maintaining a positive attitude. Establish a theory of probable cause. and security purposes.Chapter Summary ■■ Effective communication skills include using proper language. you should identify the issue. Environmental controls help ensure that the temperature is not too hot and that humidity is close to 50 percent. report it based on existing laws or your organization’s policies. it can cause ESD damage. and if applicable. or being judgmental. Specialized graphics cards with powerful graphics processing units (GPUs) and onboard RAM are needed for some workstations. and gaming PCs. Document findings.

what is acceptable? A. Virtualization workstation. A network printer with multiple paper trays was no longer printing due to a network problem. Thin client. Ignore it. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem. Documentation. Chapter Review CHAPTER 10 359 . 3. You are working with a customer to resolve a problem with his laptop. Identify the problem. HTPC. you see some confidential company papers on her printer. Verify full system functionality. 1. and writing some documents. While helping her. C. Which of the following choices best meets her needs? A. D. C. C. A technician reconfigured the printer and verified that it was connected. Sally wants to purchase a computer that she’ll use as a basic computer at home.Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. Later. C. B. She plans on doing research on the Internet. customers complained that the printer could print to one tray but not the other. What should you do? A. Throw them away. Explain that it is an emergency and that you have to answer the phone. You are a technician helping an executive resolve a problem with her computer. B. Look at the papers only if she leaves. 2. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. Switch the cell phone to vibrate. D. The answers to these questions. accessing email. B. Excuse yourself and answer the phone. Thick client. What troubleshooting step did the technician miss? A. Ignore them. and your per- sonal cell phone rings. Tell her she shouldn’t print them. 4. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Of the following choices. B. D. D.

HDMI-compatible. Home server. Gaming PC. D. Blu-ray. C. B. B.5. A user is planning to add a home server PC that will be used by five users in his home for data sharing. which would most likely use a high-end liquid- cooling system? A. 6. C. Home theater PC. Thick client. 360 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . Solid state disk. Of the following types of workstations. RAID array. D. He asks you what type of disk storage would be best. What would you recommend? A.

Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: A ringing phone that can be heard by you and the customer is disrup- tive. Correct: The fifth step in the CompTIA troubleshooting model is to verify full system functionality after resolving a problem. so it should not be ignored. and lying about it will easily be recognized by the customer. C. Incorrect: You have no idea whether it’s an emergency or not. Correct: The best choice is switch the phone to vibrate and return your attention to the customer. Correct Answer: B A. B. B. Incorrect: Documentation is the last step. Incorrect: The first step is to identify the problem. C. Incorrect: There is no indication that she should not use her printer for printing confidential papers. 2. Incorrect: The technician did establish a plan of action and did resolve the original problem.Answers This section contains the answers to the chapter review questions in this chapter. so the best solution of those given is to ignore them. In this case. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: You should not throw away someone else’s property. D. Answers CHAPTER 10 361 . C. D. and the technician did so for the original problem. B. Incorrect: Your attention should stay with the customer. and it could be that the technician was documenting that the problem was resolved at the same time that the customers identified the second problem. D. Correct: You should respect customers’ confidential property. Incorrect: It is not acceptable to snoop through someone’s papers even if they leave the room. preventing it from printing. 1. 3. the technician likely bumped or opened the second tray.

D. Incorrect: A Blu-ray player would be needed in a home theater PC but is not used for shared disk storage. but not high-end cooling. and provides fault tolerance. Incorrect: A High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is used for graphics. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: A home theatre PC (HTPC) is used for TV. C.4. Incorrect: A thin client has minimal software and connects to a remote system for most applications. Incorrect: A solid state disk (SSD) is quick but is often very expensive and not the best choice for a home server that will be storing a high volume of data. B. and a TV tuner. and music. sound. D. C. 362 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . 6. Incorrect: A virtualization workstation is used to run one or more multiple VMs within the host but isn’t needed here. B. Incorrect: Home servers require high-end disk subsystems and fast network inter- face cards but would not require high-end cooling. not disks. Correct Answer: A A. D. have better performance than typical drives. 5. Correct: A redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID) array is a good choice for a home server. Correct: A standard thick client includes an operating system and application needed by typical users. B. Correct: Gaming PCs often use high-end cooling. such as a liquid-cooling system to keep the systems from overheating. Correct Answer: C A. movies. C. Incorrect: A thick client is a standard PC and doesn’t require any high-end components. A RAID-5 can be configured to store a high volume of data. Incorrect: A home theater PC requires high-quality graphics.

file structure and paths.1 Compare and contrast the features and requirements of various Microsoft Operating Systems. This chapter introduces the different versions of Windows and compares their features. compatibility mode. system restore. Windows 7 Enterprise Features: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 32-bit vs. Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: 1. Windows XP Professional. Windows 7 Professional. XP mode. ■■ Windows XP Home. security center. Windows Vista Business. sidebar. Windows Vista Enterprise Windows 7 Starter. Windows Vista Home Premium. Windows XP 64-bit Professional Windows Vista Home Basic. It’s important for an A+ technician to know the basic differences between the different versions of Windows and the differences between editions of specific versions. Windows Vista Ultimate. easy transfer. ready boost. bit-locker. Windows XP Media Center. Windows 7 Ultimate. gadgets. event viewer. defender. administrative tools. 64-bit Aero. shadow copy. user account control. classic view 363 . category view vs. Windows 7 Home Premium.CHAPTER 1 1 Introducing Windows Operating Systems W ■■ indows operating systems are used more than any other operating systems in the world. Windows firewall.

If you remember some of the topics from Chapter 3. Years ago. you point and click with a mouse to interact with the computer. he couldn’t run a 64-bit operating system. He quickly realized he didn’t have enough RAM to run many virtual machines. this did not meet his needs. Windows 7 usage continues to climb as Windows XP and Windows Vista systems are upgraded or replaced with Windows 7. An Overview of Windows Operating Systems Three elements that make a computer useful are the hardware. I helped him find a 64-bit system with plenty of RAM for virtualization. Unfortunately.Real World  Know the limitations of 32-bit systems Not too long ago. so he couldn’t even upgrade his system with more RAM. In a GUI operating system. the operating system. and applications. Today. We talked about the requirements. an information technology (IT) research group. and 7 percent were Windows Vista. That is. In April 2012. a friend of mine was planning to study for some certification exams and decided to purchase a computer. One of his primary goals was to run virtualized operating systems so that he could create his own virtual network. He ended up buying a 32-bit computer with 4 GB of RAM running Windows 7 Ultimate. and he gave the 32-bit system to her. Key Terms An operating system interacts with the hardware and allows you to run programs or applications. every time you wanted to run a program. 364 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . Microsoft desktop operating systems are commonly used in enterprises around the world. but Microsoft systems make up more than 90 percent of the systems in use. A survey in 2012 by Net Market Share. A 32-bit CPU and a 32-bit operating system cannot address more than 4 GB of RAM. you had to type in a command. indicated that more than 92 percent of desktop computers use Windows operating systems. Earlier chapters focused heavily on the hardware and its capabilities. Worse. about 46 percent were Windows XP. 39 percent were Windows 7. the majority of operating systems are graphical user interface (GUI)-based. This section of the book focuses on operating systems.” you probably recognize the problem. Certainly. there are other desktop operating systems. The only winner in this scenario was his daughter. operating systems were all text-based.25 of the 4 GB of RAM his system had. he found out that his system recognized only about 3. “Understanding RAM and CPUs. but because his computer had a 32-bit processor.

and it has become a wellestablished operating system since it was released in 2001. Similarly. The central processing unit (CPU) is the primary hardware component that determines whether a system is a 32-bit or 64-bit system. 64-bit operating systems are the best choice if the hardware supports it. However. The three primary Windows operating systems are as follows: ■■ ■■ ■■ Windows XP—Oldest of the three Windows Vista—Released between Windows XP and Windows 7 Windows 7—Newest of the three Windows 7 is the newest of the three. In some cases. x86 vs. They offer better speed and enable you to use more memory. you might see the term AMD64 instead of x64. you can install either the 32-bit or 64-bit operating system versions. systems that are being upgraded today from Windows XP are typically skipping Windows Vista and going straight to Windows 7.With this in mind. If the hardware is 64-bit hardware. it can work in 32-bit mode. However. However. some Intel processors are designated as Intel 64. and some of the editions support 32-bit and 64-bit computers. and new desktop systems that include Windows have Windows 7 installed. the hardware is named a little differently: as x86 and x64. x64 The operating systems are referred to as 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. Key Terms 32-bit processers are commonly called x86 processors referring to the x86 family of processors. Comparing 32-Bit and 64-Bit Capabilities Current operating systems are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The first x86 processor was the Intel 8086 processor released in 1978. Windows Vista was released between Windows XP and Windows 7. indicating that the processor is an AMD processor instead of an Intel processor. it is slower than it would be if it used the full 64-bit capabilities. If you install a 32-bit operating system on 64-bit hardware. if the system has 32-bit hardware. Key Terms An Overview of Windows Operating Systems CHAPTER 11 365 . Each of these operating systems has multiple editions. Windows XP is the oldest of the three. If you install a 32-bit operating system on 64-bit hardware. However. any A+ technician can fully expect to run across Windows-based systems and needs to know about their features. it can’t take advantage of extra benefits of the 64-bit hardware. you can install only 32-bit versions. and it went through multiple improvements over the years. 64-bit processors are commonly called x64. Note  64-bit Operating Systems As a general recommendation today.

it will all be available to the operating system. Where’s the missing RAM? It’s still in the computer.Exam tip The hardware on 32-bit systems is identified as x86.2 GB to 3. many power users have applications that require more RAM. it would instead indicate that only about 3. For example. but it needs to reserve some of the addressable space for hardware devices such as graphics cards and other peripherals. Exam tip Even though a 32-bit operating system can address 4 GB of RAM. Even though the processors can address as much as 16 exabytes of RAM. In the figure. and exabyte (EB). Missing RAM If you install 4 GB of RAM on a 32-bit operating system. you won’t see desktop systems with this much RAM in the near future. A 32-bit operating system can address only 4 GB of RAM. Exam Tip For reference. megabyte (MB). A 32-bit operating system can address only 4 GB of RAM. but it is unusable. it’s reserving about 760 MB of addressable space. Users who only surf the Internet or answer email don’t need much memory. Figure 11-1 shows the System Properties of a Windows XP system. and that’s exactly how much RAM is installed. The maximum RAM for Windows XP and Windows Vista is 128 GB. gigabyte (GB). you’ll find that some of it appears to be missing. whereas a 64-bit operating system can theoretically address as much as 16 exabytes of RAM. It commonly can use only about 3.25 GB was installed. The hardware on 64-bit systems is identified as x64 (sometimes AMD 64). and only 32-bit operating systems can be installed. Windows 7 supports as much as 192 GB. You can’t install a 64-bit operating system on 32-bit hardware. petabyte (PB). This is especially true when users have multiple applications open at the same time. terabyte (TB). and they support 64-bit and 32-bit operating systems. 64-bit operating systems do not have this limitation. you can see that the system is reporting 512 MB of RAM. Increased Memory One of the biggest benefits of using a 64-bit operating system is access to more random access memory (RAM). the order of byte names is as follows: kilobyte (KB). 366 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . so the extra RAM that is supported by 64-bit systems isn’t necessary. If you install 4 GB of RAM or more into a 64-bit system. it can’t use it all. On this Windows XP system. If this system had 4 GB installed.5 GB of RAM installed on a system. On the other hand.

Figure 11-2  Windows 7 system properties. You can use the same steps on Windows Vista and Windows 7. and selecting Properties. Figure 11-2 shows the display on a Windows 7 system with the RAM highlighted. Figure 11-1  Windows XP System Properties dialog box. right-clicking My Computer. An Overview of Windows Operating Systems CHAPTER 11 367 .If you’re running Windows XP. although the display is different. you can view the page shown in Figure 11-1 by clicking Start.

Africa. following a progression of good. and it’s installed on some netbooks (very small lightweight laptops). This includes areas in South America. Professional Edition. This is targeted at home users and includes several features. The Microsoft Software Assurance program provides customers with a wide range of services. which are not available in the Professional Edition. The CompTIA A+ objectives do not reference this edition. and the Middle East. and the Windows Media Center. and only a limited number of features are enabled. This edition includes all the features available in any edition of Windows 7. Ultimate Edition. Windows 7 Editions Microsoft has released several editions of Windows 7. What type of operating system is supported by an x86 processor? 2. such as Aero. 368 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . Home Premium Edition. How much RAM are you likely to see on a 32-bit system with 6 GB of RAM? Quick Check Answers 1. but they can get the Enterprise edition features by purchasing this edition. This edition is the most basic and has the fewest features. 2. such as 24/7 phone support. homegroups. The Windows 7 editions are as follows: ■■ Starter Edition. A step above the Home Premium Edition is the Professional edition. reduced costs for training.Quick Check 1. The Starter edition is available only in 32-bit editions. About 3. It is available only in regions that are designated as emerging markets. best. It’s available only to manufacturers. A major difference compared to the Home Premium Edition is that computers can join a domain within a network. Home users cannot purchase the Enterprise edition. better. 32-bit operating system. including Windows 7 Enterprise. The Enterprise edition includes some additional features. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Note  Windows 7 Home Basic Edition Another edition of Windows 7 is the Windows 7 Home Basic Edition. Windows 7 Enterprise. such as BitLocker Drive Encryption. Enterprise is available only to Microsoft Software Assurance customers. and access to additional software. Many medium-to-large organizations participate in this program and likely run the Enterprise edition.25 GB.

The minimum system requirements for Windows 7 are as follows: ■■ ■■ Processor—At least 1 GHz or faster Minimum RAM ■■ ■■ 1 GB required for 32-bit systems 2 GB required for 64-bit systems At least 16 GB of free hard drive space required for 32-bit systems At least 20 GB of free hard drive space required for 64-bit systems ■■ Available hard drive space ■■ ■■ ■■ Graphics hardware supporting DirectX 9 with a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 1. If the hardware doesn’t meet the minimum system requirements. In short. Windows 7 Editions CHAPTER 11 369 . or the amount of RAM that provides the best user experience for most users. If you do. any operating system that uses only the minimum amount of resources won’t perform as well as a system that has more resources. It’s valuable to know what the minimum requirements are. On the other hand.0 or higher driver Exam tip CompTIA A+ exams often focus on the minimum requirements for different operating systems. it’s also important to understand its limits related to hardware support. you won’t be able to run the operating system. Even though you can run Windows 7 Ultimate with a 1-GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. Power users running multiple resource-intensive applications need more. a user who is only browsing the web and using email might need fewer resources. The exception is Windows 7 Starter. Most editions are available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Table 11-1 shows a comparison of hardware limitations related to memory and processors with the different Windows 7 editions. Purchasing faster processors and more RAM than the minimum provides much better performance. which is available only for 32-bit systems.Windows 7 System Requirements One of the primary decisions when deciding which edition to use on a system is identifying the hardware requirements. that doesn’t mean you should. it might not be a very satisfying experience. Windows 7 System Limits When deciding on an operating system. A figure often recommended is 3 GB for 32-bit systems and 4 GB for 64-bit systems. Many technicians talk about the “sweet spot” for RAM.

At this writing. Enterprise is available only to Microsoft Software Assurance customers. Windows 7 32-bit systems include support for processors with up to 32 cores. What is the difference between Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 7 Ultimate? 2. For example. The limitation on physical processors does not include processor cores. 370 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . each of these processors can have multiple cores. it will still work. For example. it will use only one of the processors. What is the maximum amount of RAM supported by Windows 7 Enterprise? Quick Check Answers 1. However. 192 GB. and 64-bit systems can support up to 256 cores in any single processor. All cores on the processor are supported. However. some 12-core processors are emerging. but you probably won’t see 32-core or 256-core processors for a while. 2. but anyone can buy Windows 7 Ultimate. Quick Check 1. Exam tip It’s valuable to know the limitations of different operating systems. Windows 7 Professional supports two physical processors.Table 11-1  Windows 7 System Limits Max RAM 32-bit Starter Home Premium Professional Enterprise Ultimate 2 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB Max RAM 64-bit n/a 16 GB 192 GB 192 GB 192 GB Max processors 1 1 2 2 2 If you install Windows 7 Home Premium on a system with two processors. You can let them know that Windows 7 Home Premium supports only one processor and recommend that they upgrade to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate to access the additional processor. users might complain that they have two processors but their Windows 7 Home Premium operating system recognizes only one.

Microsoft continued to provide mainstream support for Windows XP systems until April 2009. Windows XP Professional. and they will continue to provide extended support until April 2014. The relevant editions of Windows XP are as follows: ■■ Windows XP Home. The Home edition was targeted for home users. Windows XP Media Center.” ■■ ■■ ■■ Note  Retail sales of Windows XP discontinued in 2008 Microsoft stopped retail sales of Windows XP in June 2008. For example. encrypt files. It runs on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processors designated with “AMD64” and on Intel processors designated with “Intel 64. Extended Support M icrosoft provides support for operating systems long after they stop selling them. so you’re likely to see these products even if you can’t purchase them any- more. Windows XP 64-bit Professional.Windows XP Editions Windows XP operating systems have been around since /lifepolicy. users can join a domain. For example. and listen to music. Windows XP Editions CHAPTER 11 371 . Customers can continue to use the product and will continue to get updates. The Professional edition was targeted for business users and included many more capabilities. Customers receive security updates and other non-security hotfixes and can also receive support for bugs or problems. However. Mainstream vs. This edition was for users who wanted more memory and power and is also known as Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. and use remote desktop capabilities. and they are well-established. view DVD movies. However. It provided basic capabilities. The extended support phase ends sometime after the mainstream support phase. Customers will still continue to receive security updates. Media Center is an enhanced edition of Windows XP Home and gives users additional multimedia capabilities. users can watch and record TV shows. and sales of PCs with Windows XP preinstalled stopped in October 2010. you can think of mainstream support as normal support. Microsoft refers to two types of support: mainstream support and extended You can read more about it here: http://support. In general. other updates and support are available only to customers who purchase an extended hotfix support agreement.

372 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . Windows XP System Requirements System requirements for Windows XP are very light compared to the power that most computers have today. The minimum system requirements for each edition of Windows XP are as follows: ■■ Processor ■■ ■■ Pentium 233 MHz minimum Pentium 300 MHz recommended 64 MB minimum 128 MB recommended ■■ RAM ■■ ■■ ■■ 1.5 GB minimum free hard drive space Windows XP System Limits Windows XP editions also have limitations on the maximum amount of RAM and the maximum number of processors they support. Table 11-2 shows a comparison of these limitations with the different Windows XP editions. compared to the 4 GB limit of 32-bit systems. This edition ran on x86-64 compatible processors sold by both Intel and AMD. when Windows XP first came out. However. the Home and Media Center editions are available only in 32-bit editions. In contrast. In contrast. making the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 very popular. Windows XP 64-bit systems ran on the Intel Itanium family of processors. Hewlett Packard sold Windows XP 64-bit systems for a while but stopped selling them in 2005. The two editions of 64-bit Windows XP systems are as follows: ■■ Windows XP 64-Bit Edition. most vendors created both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of their drivers for Windows 7 systems. The 64-bit editions of Windows XP weren’t as popular as the 32-bit editions. One of the challenges was that many drivers were available only in 32-bit versions and weren’t compatible with the 64-bit operating systems. many computers didn’t have the hardware to support the recommended minimums. Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. ■■ Each 64-bit edition supports as much as 128 GB of RAM.Windows XP 64-Bit Windows XP Professional included two 64-bit editions.

It includes additional features. use encrypted files. but it wasn’t widely embraced. Windows Vista Business. The Business edition is targeted for businesses and enterprises. This is a basic edition of Windows Vista for home users. Microsoft has indicated that it will continue to provide mainstream support for Windows Vista systems until April 2012 and extended support until April 2017. such as Windows Aero. However. and they are covered on the A+ exams. In Windows 7.Table 11-2  Windows XP System Limits Max RAM Home Professional Media Center XP 64-bit Professional x64 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 128 GB 128 GB Max processors 1 2 2 2 2 Windows Vista Editions Windows Vista operating systems were released in 2007. Enterprise is available only to Microsoft Software Assurance customers. The Ultimate edition includes all the features available in any edition of Windows Vista. there are still many Windows Vista systems out there. However. Windows Vista Home Premium. such as games and active backgrounds using Windows DreamScene. the Ultimate edition has some additional features that aren’t in any other edition. and sales of PCs with Windows XP preinstalled stopped in October 2011. Similar to the Windows 7 Enterprise edition. Windows Vista Editions CHAPTER 11 373 . and use offline files. The “Ultimate Extras” included more features. the Enterprise and Ultimate editions have the same features. In Windows Vista. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Note  Retail sales of Vista discontinued in 2010 Microsoft stopped retail sales of Windows Vista in October 2010. The relevant editions of Windows Vista are as follows: ■■ Windows Vista Home Basic. such as BitLocker Drive Encryption. Windows 7 was released in 2009 and is much more popular than Windows Vista. The goal of Windows Vista was to replace Windows XP. This edition provides many more capabilities for home users and is comparable to the Windows XP Media Center Edition. Windows Vista Ultimate. Some additional features include the ability to join a domain. It doesn’t include many of the features of Windows Vista. Windows Vista Enterprise.

The minimum system requirements for Windows Vista are as follows: ■■ Processor ■■ ■■ 800-MHz processor minimum 1-GHz processor recommended 512 MB minimum 1 GB recommended 20-GB hard drive with at least 15 GB free space 40-GB hard drive with at least 15 GB free recommended 32 MB video RAM for the Home Basic edition 128 MB video RAM for other editions ■■ RAM ■■ ■■ ■■ Available hard drive space ■■ ■■ ■■ Graphics hardware supporting DirectX 9 with WDDM ■■ ■■ Windows Vista System Limits Windows Vista editions have limitations on what hardware they support. just as other operating systems do. it required quite a bit more processing power and RAM and often required hardware upgrades.Windows Vista System Requirements Windows Vista took advantage of improved hardware available at the time it was released. Table 11-3 lists the hardware limitations with Windows Vista Editions. Compared to Windows XP. Table 11-3  Windows Vista System Limits Max RAM 32-bit Home Basic Home Premium Business Enterprise Ultimate 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB 4 GB Max RAM 64-bit 8 GB 16 GB 128 GB 128 GB 128 GB Max processors 1 1 2 2 2 374 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems .

Table 11-4  Comparison of Windows Features Feature Action Center Aero BitLocker Gadgets Easy transfer Homegroups Ready boost Sidebar Shadow copy Security Center UAC Windows Libraries Windows XP Mode Windows XP ---------Yes ---- Windows Vista Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes -Yes Yes Yes -Yes --- Windows 7 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes -Yes -Yes Yes Yes Chapter 13 11 25 11 12 24 15 11 15 13 11 13 11 Note  Features vary by editions Some features are not available in every edition of an operating system. Home Premium. Other tables in this chapter focus on the differences between editions of each of these operating systems. and Windows 7 are described in the following list. Table 11-4 identifies features available in the different versions of Windows and identifies the chapter in this book where each topic is covered. It is available in the Ultimate edition. or Professional editions of Windows. Windows Vista. but it’s not available in the Starter. whereas some features are available only in specific versions. For example. Windows Features CHAPTER 11 375 .Windows Features Some features are common to all three versions of Windows (Windows 7. Windows XP. and Windows Vista). Common Features Many of the features that are common in Windows XP. BitLocker is available in Windows 7.

If a system update or change causes a problem. users can log on to the domain with the computer.” covers Administrative Tools.” Compatibility Mode. Event Viewer. “Using Windows Operating Systems. ■■ Administrative Tools. Backup. Many organizations use domains with central domain controllers for centralized management. It allows you to undo system changes without modifying any of the user’s files.” covers System Restore. Windows Firewall. System Restore. Windows Firewall is covered in Chapter 22. and photos. Administrators and advanced users access these tools to configure and troubleshoot a system. The available tools are slightly different between operating systems. “Recognizing Malware and Other Threats. documents. “Network Security Devices. This is a free download that you can use to protect your systems from viruses and other malicious software (malware). Backup tools allow you to back up data so that you can restore it if it becomes corrupted. “Configuring Windows Operating Systems.Exam Tip The following list represents the items that are specifically listed in the CompTIA A+ objectives and are common to each of the operating systems.” covers different types of malware and Windows Defender. Other features are also common. Chapter 16 covers Offline Files. mobile computers don’t have connectivity to these servers when they are disconnected from the network. Offline Files. this can reduce a system’s vulnerability to attacks. Windows Defender. but each version includes an Administrative Tools group via the Control Panel. In many cases. Offline Files stores a copy of the files on the user’s computer and synchronizes the files when the user reconnects to the network. If a computer has joined the domain and a user has a user account in the domain. Steps to join a domain or a workgroup are included in Chapter 18. Chapter 17 covers the Event Viewer. such as email. you can use System Restore to revert the system to a previous state. Chapter 26. Join Domain. and you can view these events in the Event Viewer. Chapter 15. but this list identifies the key features you should know about when preparing for the exam.” ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 376 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . Firewalls provide a layer of security protection for systems by filtering network traffic. “Configuring Windows Operating Systems. Backup capabilities are discussed in Chapter 15. If an application doesn’t work in the current operating system. you can use Compatibility Mode to run it with settings from a previous operating system. Users often access files that are stored on a server when connected in a network. Each operating system logs events in one of several logs as they occur. Chapter 13. Methods are presented later in this chapter. However.

it’s valuable to know that Windows XP Mode is supported in the Professional and Ultimate Editions of Windows 7 and that you can back up to network locations in the Professional and Ultimate Editions. For example. along with the chapter(s) in which you can read more about each feature. Table 11-5  Windows 7 Features Feature 64-bit support Aero Back up and Restore Back up to network BitLocker Drive Encryption Encrypting File System (EFS) Join a domain Join homegroup Offline Files Windows XP Mode UAC Starter --Yes ----Yes --Yes Home ­Premium Yes Yes Yes ----Yes --Yes Professional Yes Yes Yes Yes -Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Ultimate Enterprise Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Chapter 11 11 15 15 25 16 18 24 16 11 11 Exam Tip CompTIA A+ exams often focus on the different features available in different systems. but that these features are not supported in the Starter and Home Premium editions. along with the chapter where you can read more about the feature. Windows Features CHAPTER 11 377 . Windows Vista Features Table 11-6 shows some of the features that you‘ll find only in specific editions of Windows Vista.Windows 7 Features Table 11-5 shows some of the features that you‘ll find only in specific editions of Windows 7.

In the figure. By holding down the Windows key and tapping the Tab key. You can hover the mouse over any item on the taskbar. Which operating systems use libraries? 2. Only Windows 7. It uses a variety of graphics features. and Enterprise. and Snap. 25 11 11 Quick Check 1. 2. and Aero displays the item. Tip Windows+Tab An easy way to access different applications on your system is by using the Windows+Tab keys. although the display isn’t the same. Shake. the screen will scroll through open applications. Task Manager is running. It also includes some great features that enhance the usability of the system. such as translucent effects and animations that enhance the user interface. you can use the Alt key instead. 378 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . Windows Aero Key Terms Windows Aero is a new feature that became available in Windows Vista and was improved on in Windows 7 with additional features such as Peek. Figure 11-3 shows an example of Aero Peek. and the cursor hovering over the Task Manager icon on the taskbar displays a thumbnail view of the application.Table 11-6  Windows Vista Features Feature Aero Automatic Backups BitLocker Share documents Sidebar Windows Complete PC Backup Home Basic ----Yes -- Home ­Premium Yes Yes -Yes Yes -- Business Yes Yes -Yes Yes Yes Ultimate Enterprise Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Chapter 11 11 25 22. Ultimate. Which Windows 7 operating system(s) can back up data to a network location? Quick Check Answers 1. If you don’t have the Windows key on your keyboard. Windows 7 Professional.

the window will be resized to half of the screen. Rights indicate what a user can do on a system. giving you easy access to your desktop. all the windows minimize. it’s worthwhile to understand the problem that it is addressing. Permissions indicate the access that users have to resources such as files or printers. User Account Control User Account Control (UAC) is a security feature that first appeared in Windows Vista. You can drag one window to the right. Click and hold the title bar of a window. users are strongly encouraged not to use an administrator account for regular work. and shake the mouse. Because of this. If you drag it to the right or left. all the other windows will be restored as they were before they were minimized. All the other windows will be minimized. It helps prevent malicious software from taking action on a user’s computer without the user’s knowledge. If you drag it to the top. the virus has full administrator access. another to the left. Snap is an easy way to resize windows by dragging them to the edge of the screen. left. or top of your screen. To understand the benefit. If you click this area. such as change the system time or install a driver. Peek also allows you to view the desktop.Figure 11-3  Windows Aero showing Task Manager from the taskbar. even with multiple windows open. Shake allows you to minimize all the windows on the system except for the one you’re shaking. you can grant users permissions to read and modify files or to print to a printer. For example. Windows Features CHAPTER 11 379 . and easily compare the two windows side by side. and drag the window to the right. all the windows become transparent. Understanding the Risk Without UAC If a user is logged on with administrative privileges and the system is infected with a virus. it maximizes the window. Note Privileges Privileges are rights and permissions. If you hover over the end of the taskbar on the far right (just to the right of the time and date display). If you shake the window again. Click and hold the title bar.

An administrator account has complete control over the computer. If a user takes action that requires elevated administrator rights. which identifies who created the application that is being started.exe) is being started. UAC works as if the user actually has two accounts (a standard user account and an administrator account) by using two access tokens. Account Separation with UAC Windows Vista and Windows 7 have two types of accounts: a standard user account and an administrator account. If the publisher can be verified. or click Hide Details to hide this information. it isn’t reasonable to expect regular users to use two accounts. such as change a system configuration or install drivers. the user needs to access a second administrator account to complete these tasks. UAC prompts the user to approve the action with a pop-up window similar to Figure 11-4. One token provides the user with regular user access. You can click Show Details to get the location of the program that caused the UAC dialog box to appear. Whereas IT professionals commonly use two accounts in this way. Figure 11-4 shows the result after clicking Show Details and indicates that the Microsoft Management Console (Mmc. Instead. The icon is the same as the UAC shield icon shown in Figure 11-4.The administrator account is required to do some tasks. However. if a user with an administrator account is logged on. Figure 11-4  User Account Control prompt. An important piece of information in the UAC dialog box is the Publisher. When necessary. A standard user can do regular work and configure settings that do not affect other users. making them more susceptible to virus infections. the 380 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . many end users are always logged on with an administrator account. the second token provides the user with administrative access. Note  Shield icon Any actions requiring administrator rights have a small icon of a shield to provide a visual cue to the user. If a user isn’t logged on with an administrator account.

the publisher appears as Unknown. but you can override the warning by clicking Yes. attackers trying to install malicious software on your systems will always appear as Unknown. UAC will prompt the user to enter the user name and password for an account that does have appropriate permissions. If you see a UAC dialog box with Unknown.publisher appears as a Verified Publisher. from running. if the publisher cannot be verified. 4. It’s worth your time to explore the Control Panel by using these views. UAC dims the desktop and disables all other interaction with the system. The dimmed desktop is also called the secure desktop. Control Panel. You can accept the settings by clicking OK. If a user does not have administrator permissions with the current account. or you can click Cancel. However. Windows Features CHAPTER 11 381 . In other words. as shown in Figure 11-5. Figure 11-5  User Account Control prompt with Unknown publisher. 2. change the display from Category to Large Icons. especially if you didn’t take action to modify your system. If necessary. and it prevents any other programs. However. Exam Tip There are multiple methods of finding applets in Control Panel. The user must either click Yes to approve the action or click No to block it. Your display will look similar to the following graphic. You can manipulate the settings for UAC on Windows 7 with the following steps: 1. you should be suspicious. the action can be approved only with user interaction. Legitimate companies can usually be verified. By default. Select Action Center. 3. Select Change User Account Control Settings. Click Start. UAC is trying to protect your system. However. the objectives specifically list using Classic View or the Large Icons view. including malicious software.

This is the default setting and is shown as selected in the graphic from the previous steps. Uses secure desktop. Uses secure desktop. Table 11-7  UAC Settings UAC Setting Always Notify. or if a program outside of Windows tries to make changes to a Windows setting. Same as Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer.) Notify Me Only When Programs Try To Make Changes To My Computer. but without using secure desktop. (Desktop is dimmed. You’ll be notified before programs make changes to your computer that require administrator permissions.) Desktop is not dimmed. 382 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems .Table 11-7 explains the actions associated with the different UAC settings on a Windows 7 system. (Do Not Dim My Desktop. Comments The most secure setting.) Notify Me Only When Programs Try To Make Changes To My Computer. You won’t be notified if you try to make changes to Windows settings that require administrator permissions. (Desktop is dimmed. UAC Action You’ll be notified before programs make changes to your computer or to Windows settings that require administrator permissions. Applications can make changes.

If you’re logged on as a standard user. 4. Click Start. Instead. Select Turn User Account Control on or off. malicious software can make changes without the user’s knowledge. If prompted by UAC.Never Notify. Windows Vista did not have the preceding options with UAC. 2. any changes that require the permissions of an administrator will automatically be denied. If necessary. users could only turn UAC on or off. Select User Accounts. Desktop is not dimmed. Least secure setting and not recommended. You won’t be notified before any changes are made to your computer. change the display from Category to Classic View. Your display will resemble the following graphic. click Continue. and with it disabled. Important  Disabling UAC is not recommended UAC protects against unauthorized changes. You can use the following steps to disable or enable UAC on a Windows Vista system: 1. 3. Windows Features CHAPTER 11 383 . You can select or deselect the check box to enable or disable UAC. ­ If you’re logged on as an administrator. programs can make changes to your computer without you knowing about it. Control Panel.

you can install and run any applications from within this virtual system. Exam Tip Windows XP Mode is available on the Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions. but it is not available on Windows Vista. after it’s started. Figure 11-6  Windows XP Mode.aspx. 384 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . It is very valuable if an application is incompatible with Windows 7 but will run on Windows If you are but it is available as a free download. you can find the instructions and download it from here: http://www. You can start XP Mode just as you can start any other application on your Windows 7 system. Windows XP Mode includes a fully functional version of Windows XP. This allows users to migrate to Windows 7 even if they need to run legacy applications. This also installs Windows Virtual PC. Figure 11-6 shows Windows XP Mode running within Windows Virtual PC.Windows XP Mode Key Terms Windows XP Mode is a cool feature available in Windows 7 that allows you to run Windows XP applications on Windows 7 in a virtual Windows XP environment. XP Mode is not installed on Windows 7 systems by default. Additionally. which allows you to run other virtual operating systems from within your Windows 7 system.

Even better, after you’ve installed applications in the Windows XP Mode virtual system, you can shut down the Windows XP Mode Virtual PC and start the application from the Windows 7 All Programs menu. Users don’t have to start Windows XP Mode to start the program. This makes it seamless for the end users. Chapter 15, “Configuring Windows Operating Systems,” talks about the importance of keeping Windows systems up to date with patches. This also applies to Windows XP Mode if it’s being used.

Start Bar Layout
Often, the first step in starting an application is clicking the Start button. That sounds simple enough. However, the Start button has changed somewhat between operating systems. Figure 11-6 shows how the Start button looks in Windows XP. Figures 11-7 and 11-8 show the Start button in Windows Vista and Windows 7. (Also, the figures show you some of the changes in the interfaces between the operating systems.)

Figure 11-7  Windows Vista Start button.

Note  Easy search

Windows Vista and Windows 7 include a text box right above the Start button, labeled Start Search in Windows Vista and Search Programs And Files in Windows 7. You can often type in the name of the program here and a link to the program will appear. For example, if you type in Backup, several links appear related to the Backup And Restore program.
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Figure 11-8  Windows 7 Start button.

Notice that in Windows XP the button is actually labeled Start, but it’s not labeled on Windows Vista and Windows 7. However, if you hover over the button on these operating systems, a tooltip will appear indicating that it is the Start button. In Windows XP, items were labeled as My Documents, My Computer, and so on, but this terminology isn’t used on the main menu anymore. It caused a few humorous problems with help desk professionals talking to users over the phone. If the professional asked the user to “open my computer” or “open my documents,” the user sometimes became a little flustered, responding with, “I’m not at your computer.” You can see many commonalities between the operating systems. Each Start menu provides access to All Programs, Control Panel, the user’s documents, Help and Support, Windows Security, and more.
Note  Context menus

Many of these menu items provide additional capabilities by right-clicking (sometimes called alt-clicking) the menu item. This often brings up a context menu. For example, you can start Computer Management by right-clicking Computer (or My Computer in Windows XP) and selecting Manage.

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Windows Sidebar and Gadgets
Key Terms

The Windows Sidebar hosts gadgets that users can add to their system in Windows Vista. Gadgets are mini-programs that have a specific functionality. For example, a weather gadget will show the weather for a specific location. Windows Sidebar isn’t available in Windows 7, but users can still add gadgets to their desktop. The sidebar is normally on the right side of the screen with the gadgets docked in the sidebar. However, you can manipulate the settings and the gadgets. You can also add more gadgets by right-clicking the sidebar and selecting Add Gadgets. Your display will be similar to Figure 11-9.

Figure 11-9  Adding gadgets to the Windows Vista Sidebar.

You can also add gadgets to the Windows 7 desktop, even though it doesn’t have a Sidebar. If you right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Gadgets, you‘ll see what gadgets are available. You can then double-click any of them to add them to your desktop ­ and even move them wherever you like on the desktop. Figure 11-10 shows the gadgets available on a Windows 7 system, with two gadgets added to the desktop. Several gadgets are available by default, but many more are available online. By clicking the link Get More Gadgets Online (shown at the bottom of the Gadgets window in Figures 11-9 and 11-10), users can browse through available gadgets on Microsoft’s website.

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Figure 11-10  Viewing gadgets on Windows 7.

Important  Download only from trusted developers

Malicious attackers can write gadgets, so it’s important to download gadgets only from trusted developers. Some of the gadgets posted to Microsoft’s site are unverified submissions. They can potentially access system files, show objectionable content, or change the behavior of your system.

Sidebar vs. SideShow


indows Sidebar and SideShow are not the same thing. The sidebar is on the Vista desktop and displays different types of gadgets after a user logs on.

Windows SideShow allows a user to connect a device (such as a Bluetooth or USB device) to the computer. For example, a user could connect a digital photo frame to a computer that has a weather SideShow gadget. The SideShow gadget displays the information on the photo frame. In contrast, the Sidebar gadget is displayed only on the desktop.

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Compatibility Mode
You can often manipulate the settings for a legacy application to get it to work without using XP Mode. You can use the Program Compatibility program wizard, or you can manually configure compatibility settings. The following steps show how to start and run the Program Compatibility program wizard on Windows 7:
1. Click Start and select Control Panel. 2. Select Programs. 3. Select Run Programs Made For Previous Versions Of Windows. 4. On the Program Compatibility screen, click Next. The wizard will identify applications

installed on your computer.
5. Select the application that is having problems and click Next. 6. If the program is not listed, select Not Listed (the first item in the list) and click Next.

You’ll then be able to browse and select the application.
7. You’ll be asked to answer some questions related to the problem, and the wizard will

configure the settings for you. Alternatively, you can use Windows Explorer to browse to the application, right-click it, and select Properties. Select the Compatibility tab, and you’ll see a display similar to Figure 11-11.

Figure 11-11  Manually configuring compatibility settings.

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The Compatibility mode section allows you to select a previous operating system. The figure shows the check box that enables the program to run using compatible settings for Windows XP (Service Pack 3). You can select other operating systems all the way back to Windows 95. Some applications have problems with the advanced graphics features of Windows Vista and Windows 7, and the Settings area allows you to disable some of the graphics features or to use the most basic settings. For example, if the Themes feature is causing problems for the legacy application, select the box to Disable Visual Themes. Additionally, UAC sometimes causes problems for applications that require administrator privileges to run. You can select Run This Program As An Administrator to overcome this problem.

Quick Check
1. What Windows security feature helps prevent malicious software from taking
action on a user’s computer without the user’s knowledge?

2. What can you use to run an application using settings that mimic a previous
operating system?

Quick Check Answers
1. User Account Control (UAC). 2. Compatibility Mode.

Examining Directory Structures in Windows
One of the challenges when using any operating system is finding the data and files that you need. As operating systems are improved, these locations are often changed. This section identifies many of the common file locations on different operating systems.

Windows Explorer
The primary tool you use to access files is Windows Explorer. As with many tools in any version of Windows, you can choose from multiple methods to start Windows Explorer. The following steps outline some methods you can use to start Windows Explorer in different operating systems. Certainly, there are other ways, but the most important thing here is that you should be able to open Windows Explorer to browse the files.

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Tip  Windows Explorer vs. Internet Explorer

Windows Explorer is different than Internet Explorer. Windows Explorer allows you to access and manipulate files on a computer. You can use Internet Explorer to surf the Internet. Sometimes people shorten the name of both to just “Explorer,” but this is often confusing. Some people interpret Explorer as Internet Explorer, and others interpret it as Windows Explorer.

To start Windows Explorer on Windows XP, click Start, right-click My Computer and select Explore. To start Windows Explorer on Windows Vista, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, and select Windows Explorer. To start Windows Explorer on Windows 7, right-click Start and select Open Windows Explorer.
Tip  Keyboard shortcut

If your keyboard includes the Windows key (usually between the Ctrl and Alt keys on the left of the spacebar), you can open Windows Explorer on any Windows-based system by pressing Windows+E.

Common File Locations
There are many common files and folders among all of the Windows versions. Some of these files are in common locations in each version of Windows, and some are in different locations. Table 11-8 shows the location of common files and folders in each of the Windows editions covered in this chapter.
Table 11-8  Common File Locations

Default location Root drive Program files Windows files System files Temporary files Offline Files Fonts C:\ C:\Program Files C:\Windows C:\Windows\System32 C:\Windows\Temp C:\Windows\CSC C:\Windows\Fonts

Comments Also called system partition Includes application files Also called boot partition Includes Windows system files Operating system for temporary file storage Also called Client Side Cache Numbers, symbols, and characters with different typefaces

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Windows 64-bit operating systems can run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. In some cases, an application will have both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, giving the user the option of which one to run. However, many potential conflicts are possible if both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the files are stored in the same location. To avoid problems, these different versions are stored in different locations. On 64-bit systems, you’ll see two Program Files folders. One holds 32-bit application files, and the other folder holds 64-bit application files. They are shown in Table 11-9.
Table 11-9  Locations of 32-Bit and 64-Bit Application Files

32-bit Windows C:\Program Files C:\Program Files (x86) 32-bit application files Not used

64-bit Windows 64-bit application files 32-bit application files

You might remember from earlier in this chapter that x86 indicates a 32-bit system. The folder with (x86) holds all of the 32-bit application files, and the folder without (x86) holds the 64-bit application files on 64-bit systems. Because 32-bit systems don’t support 64-bit applications, they have only the C:\Program Files folder.
Note  x86 folders on 64-bit systems

Both the C:\Program Files and C:\Program Files (x86) folders are needed on 64-bit systems. Occasionally, users think that because they’re running a 64-bit operating system they can delete the (x86) folder. This will break many applications and, most often, requires a complete reinstallation of the operating system to restore functionality.

Boot vs. System Partition
You’re likely to hear the terms boot partition and system partition as you work with operating systems. The functions of these are fairly straightforward, but the names can be confusing.
Key Terms

The system partition is the location where files necessary to boot the computer are found. It is usually the root of the C drive. The boot partition is the location where operating system files are found. On Windows-based systems, the boot partition is usually C:\Windows. This sounds backward to many people (me included), but it’s accurate. The system partition holds the boot files. The boot partition holds the system files. When preparing for the A+ exams, it’s valuable to know the difference.

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Profile Locations
Any system can support multiple users who can log on to the same computer at different times. These users can personalize the system by changing different settings based on their preferences. For example, users can change the background, modify themes, and save different Favorites in Internet Explorer. Windows keeps these personal settings for each user in the user’s profile. When any user logs on, the user’s profile is loaded, giving the user the same settings from the last time the user logged on. Table 11-10 shows the locations of the profiles for different operating systems.
Table 11-10 Profile Locations

Default Profile Location Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7 C:\Documents and Settings C:\Users C:\Users

Figure 11-12 shows Windows Explorer opened to the profile of a user named Darril on a Windows 7 system. You can view these folders with Windows Explorer, but most settings are manipulated through the operating system. For example, when a user creates a Favorite in Internet Explorer, the information is stored in a folder in the profile but the user manipulates only Internet Explorer.

Figure 11-12  User profile location on Windows 7.

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Quick Check
1. What tool would you use to browse files on a disk? 2. Where are 32-bit application files stored in a 64-bit system?

Quick Check Answers
1. Windows Explorer. 2. C:\Program Files (x86).

Chapter Summary

32-bit operating systems are based on x86 processors, and 64-bit systems are based on x64 processors. 32-bit systems can address up to 4 GB of RAM but will utilize only about 3.2 to 3.5 GB of RAM if 4 GB of RAM is installed. XP and Vista 64-bit systems can use as much as 128 GB of RAM, and Windows 7 64-bit systems can use as much as 192 GB of RAM. Windows 7 Starter is not available in 64-bit versions. Windows 7 requires at least 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of hard drive space for 32-bit systems and at least 2 GB and 20 GB of hard drive space for 64-bit systems. Windows 7 Starter and Home Premium use only one processor, whereas Professional and Ultimate use as many as two processors. XP requires a minimum of 64 MB of RAM, but 128 MB is recommended. Windows Vista requires a minimum of 512 MB of RAM, but 1 GB is recommended. Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows Vista Ultimate both support BitLocker Drive Encryption. Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions support Windows XP Mode, joining a domain, Remote Desktop Connection, EFS, offline folders, and backing up to a network. User Account Control (UAC) is a security feature that helps prevent unauthorized changes. The default setting notifies the user when programs try to make changes to the computer. Windows XP Mode is available in Windows 7 Home Premium and Ultimate editions. It allows users to run legacy programs on Windows 7 in a virtual XP environment. Application compatibility settings can be configured to allow some legacy applications to run in Windows 7 without installing Windows XP Mode. Vista Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate editions support backing up to a network, but full image backups using Windows Complete PC Backup cannot be used to back up data to a network.











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Windows Explorer is the primary tool used to browse files. The system partition is the location where the boot files are located (C:\ by default). The boot partition is the location where the operating system files are located (C:\Windows by default). On a 64-bit system, 64-bit application files are in the C:\Program Files folder, and 32-bit application files are in the C:\Program Files (x86) folder.


Chapter Review
Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. The answers to these questions, and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect, are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter.
1. Which of the following Windows 7 editions include both 32-bit and 64-bit versions?

(Choose all that apply.)
A. Starter B. Home Premium C. Professional D. Ultimate 2. A user is running a 32-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium with 6 GB of RAM

installed. However, the system is recognizing only 3.2 GB of RAM. What is the problem?
A. Home Premium does not support more than 3.2 GB of RAM. B. A 32-bit Windows operating system can recognize only about 3.2 GB of RAM. C. The processor is not configured in x64 mode. D. The processor is an x86 processor. 3. A user is shopping for a computer and sees some computers labeled as x86 and some

as x64. What does x86 mean?
A. The processor supports 32 bits for addressing RAM. B. The processor supports 64 bits for addressing RAM. C. The processor supports 86 bits for addressing RAM. D. The processor includes eight cores but defaults to two 6 cores. 4. What’s the minimum amount of RAM required for Windows 7 on a 32-bit system? A. 512 MB B. 1 MB C. 1 GB D. 2 GB

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5. What’s the maximum number of processors that a Windows 7 Home Premium system

can recognize?
A. 1 B. 2 C. 32 D. 256 6. Which of the following editions of Windows 7 support Windows XP Mode? (Choose all

that apply.)
A. Starter B. Home Premium C. Professional D. Ultimate 7. A user is trying to enable BitLocker on a 32-bit edition of Windows 7 Professional with

2 GB of RAM but is having problems. What is the likely reason?
A. BitLocker is not supported on 32-bit editions of Windows 7. B. BitLocker has not been enabled in the Control Panel. C. BitLocker is not supported on systems with less than 3 GB of RAM. D. BitLocker is not supported on Windows 7 Professional. 8. A user was able to run a program in Windows XP but cannot get it to run in Windows 7

Home Premium. What’s the best solution?
A. Enable Windows XP Mode B. Use the Program Compatibility wizard C. Enable UAC D. Reinstall Windows XP 9. A user was able to run a program in Windows XP but cannot get it to run in a 64-bit

edition of Windows 7 Professional. What’s a possible solution?
A. Use Windows XP Mode B. Upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate and use Windows XP Mode C. Enable BitLocker D. Reinstall Windows 7 using a 32-bit edition

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10. Which of the following Windows 7 editions support backing up to a network location?

(Choose all that apply.)
A. Starter B. Home Premium C. Professional D. Ultimate 11. Where are 32-bit application files stored in a Windows 7 64-bit system? A. C:\Windows B. C:\Program Files C. C:\Program Files (x32) D. C:\Program Files (x86)

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1. Correct Answers: B, C, D A. Incorrect: Windows 7 Starter edition comes only in 32-bit versions. B. Correct: Windows 7 Home Premium edition comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit

C. Correct: Windows 7 Professional edition comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. D. Correct: Windows 7 Ultimate edition comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. 2. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit versions support up to 16 GB of RAM. B. Correct: Any 32-bit operating system can address only 4 GB of RAM, and it also

reserves some of this space to address other hardware in the system.
C. Incorrect: Processors don’t have an x64 mode, but even if a system had a 64-bit

processor, a 32-bit operating system could still access only about 3.2 GB of RAM.
D. Incorrect: Because the operating system is a 32-bit edition, it’s likely the proces-

sor is an x86-based processor, but the reason it can’t address more RAM is directly related to the operating system, not the processor.
3. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: The x86 label indicates that the processor is a 32-bit processor and can

address only 4 GB of RAM.
B. Incorrect: An x64-based processor supports 64-bits for addressing RAM. C. Incorrect: There aren’t any processors that use 86 bits for addressing RAM. D. Incorrect: The 8 and 6 in x86 do not have anything to do with the number of cores

in the processor.
4. Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: All editions of Windows 7 require more than 512 MB. B. Incorrect: All editions of Windows 7 require more than 1 MB. C. Correct: Windows 7 32-bit versions require a minimum of 1 GB of RAM. D. Incorrect: Windows 7 64-bit versions require a minimum of 2 GB of RAM. 5. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: Windows 7 Home Premium can recognize and use a maximum of one

B. Incorrect: Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions can recognize and use a

maximum of two processors.

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C. Incorrect: Windows 7 32-bit systems can recognize and use as many as 32-cores

within any processor.
D. Incorrect: Windows 7 64-bit systems can recognize and use as many as 256-cores

within any processor.
6. Correct Answers: C, D A. Incorrect: The Windows 7 Starter edition does not support Windows XP Mode. B. Incorrect: The Windows 7 Home Premium edition does not support Windows XP

C. Correct: The Windows 7 Professional edition does support Windows XP Mode. D. Correct: The Windows 7 Ultimate edition does support Windows XP Mode. 7. Correct Answer: D A. Incorrect: BitLocker is supported on 32-bit editions of Windows 7 Ultimate edition. B. Incorrect: BitLocker needs to be enabled in the Control Panel, but it is not sup-

ported in Windows 7 Professional, so it can’t be enabled on this system.
C. Incorrect: BitLocker does not have any restrictions related to memory. D. Correct: BitLocker is not supported on Windows 7 Professional, but it is supported

on Windows 7 Ultimate.
8. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: Windows XP Mode is not available in Windows 7 Home Premium, but it

is available in the Professional and Ultimate Editions.
B. Correct: The Program Compatibility Wizard can be used to run an application

using settings from previous operating systems.
C. Incorrect: User Account Control (UAC) is a security feature that is normally

enabled, but enabling it if it was disabled will not help the compatibility of older applications.
D. Incorrect: Many programs can run using older compatibility settings without rein-

stalling Windows XP, so a reinstallation is not the best solution.
9. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: Windows XP Mode is a feature available in Windows Professional and

Ultimate editions.
B. Incorrect: Windows XP Mode is supported in Professional, so it is not necessary to

upgrade to Ultimate.


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C. Incorrect: BitLocker provides full disk encryption but does not assist with compat-

ibility issues, and it is not available in Windows 7 Professional.
D. Incorrect: It is not necessary to reinstall Windows 7, and there is no indication that

the application will run in a 32-bit edition.
10. Correct Answer: C, D A. Incorrect: Windows 7 Starter does not support backing up to a network location. B. Incorrect: Windows 7 Home Premium does not support backing up to a network

C. Correct: Windows 7 Professional supports backing up to a network location. D. Correct: Windows 7 Professional supports backing up to a network location. 11. Correct Answer: D A. Incorrect: Operating system files are stored in C:\Windows. B. Incorrect: The C:\Program Files folder stores 64-bit application files on a 64-bit

C. Incorrect: There is no such folder as C:\Program Files (x32). D. Correct: The C:\Program Files (x86) folder stores 32-bit application files on a 64-bit


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Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems
common task that any A+ technician needs to know is how to install or upgrade Windows. Chapter 11, “Introducing Windows Operating Systems,” mentions some of the basic requirements for different versions of Windows. In this chapter, you’ll learn about different methods of installing Windows, and supported upgrade paths.

Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter:

1.1 Compare and contrast the features and requirements of various Microsoft Operating Systems.

Upgrade paths – differences between in place upgrades, compatibility tools, Windows upgrade OS advisor


1.2 Given a scenario, install, and configure the operating system using the most appropriate method. Boot methods
■■ ■■ ■■ ■■


USB CD-ROM DVD PXE Creating image Unattended installation Upgrade Clean install Repair installation Multiboot Remote network installation Image deployment


Type of installations
■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Load alternate third party drivers when necessary Workgroup vs. Domain setup Time/date/region/language settings Other

1.4 Given a scenario, use appropriate operating system features and tools.

User State Migration tool (USMT), File and Settings Transfer Wizard, Windows Easy Transfer


4.6 Given a scenario, troubleshoot operating system problems with appropriate tools.

Common symptoms

RAID not detected during installation

Real World  Have You Ever Installed an Operating System?

Teaching IT classes over the years, I’ve been a little surprised at how many students have never installed an operating system from scratch. I realize it seems daunting if you’ve never done it before, but it’s not a difficult task. Also, after you install one operating system, you’ll find that it is relatively easy to install any operating system. For example, after you’ve installed Windows 7, you’ll find it’s easy to install Server 2008 R2 when it comes time to expand your knowledge. I strongly encourage you to actually go through the steps of an installation to experience it. If you don’t have a spare system, install one of the free virtualization products such as Microsoft Virtual PC or Windows Virtual PC and install a 32-bit version of Windows in a virtual environment. There’s no substitute for experience.

Installing and Upgrading Windows
When a new operating system is released, it’s common to upgrade existing systems to take advantage of the new capabilities. In some cases, organizations perform clean installations of the new operating system. Before starting, it’s important to ensure that the hardware is compatible. Chapter 11, “Introducing Windows Operating Systems,” listed the system requirements for different operating systems. For example, Windows 7 requires at least 1 GB of RAM for 32-bit systems and at least 2 GB of RAM for 64-bit systems. It’s important to know the difference between a clean install and an upgrade. The following sections go a little deeper, but briefly, the primary differences are as follows:

Clean install. Windows is installed as a fresh installation. It does not include any applications or settings from previous installations. Windows 7 calls this a Custom installation.

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Upgrade. This is an installation on a system with an existing operating system. Supported programs and settings in the previous operating system will be included in the new installation.

Note  Programs and applications

The terms programs and applications mean same thing. For example, Internet Explorer is a program that is also called an application. End users commonly refer to them as programs, but IT professionals often call them applications. You’ll see the term applications used in the A+ objectives most often.

Clean Install
An installation is often referred to as a clean installation. This helps emphasize the point that the installation starts fresh. Applications and settings from any previous installation are not included in the new installation. For example, if a user had the game “Age of Empires” installed on Windows and then did a new installation, the game would not be included in the custom installation. There are two types of new installations:

Bare metal installation. This is an installation on a system with no software or operating system on it. For example, if a system’s hard drive failed and had to be replaced, you could do a bare metal installation after replacing the hard drive. Install on existing system. If the system already has an operating system installed, you can perform a clean install over it. None of the applications that worked in the previous operating system will work in this new installation. In some instances, it is possible to preserve the previous operating system and create a dual-boot system.


Dual-Boot System
Key Terms

A dual-boot system is one that can boot to multiple operating systems. For example, you can have a system running Windows XP and then do a custom install of Windows 7 on the same computer. When you’re done, the system can boot to either Windows XP or Windows 7.
Note  Multiboot system

It is possible to add multiple operating systems to a computer, making it a multiboot system. However, you’ll often hear technicians refer to systems as dual-boot systems even if they can boot to three or more operating systems.

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After creating the dual-boot system, users will see a screen similar to Figure 12-1 when they boot. They can use the Tab key to choose which operating system to start. If they choose Earlier Version Of Windows, it will boot to that version of Windows. If they choose Windows 7, it will boot to Windows 7.

Figure 12-1  Dual-boot menu.

The menu gives users some time (typically 30 seconds) and will automatically boot to the default operating system. In Figure 12-1, the default operating system is Windows 7, and it will boot to Windows 7 in 27 seconds. The user can press the Tab key or use the Up and Down Arrows to select different choices, and then press Enter to start it. There are two important rules you need to follow when using any dual-boot system:
■■ ■■

Always install operating systems on different partitions. Always install the newer operating system last.

Exam Tip

Dual-boot systems should always be installed on different partitions, and newer operating systems must be installed after earlier operating systems. If these rules aren’t followed, one or both of the operating systems will stop working.

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However. but they can be avoided by installing Windows 7 last.old\Documents and Settings folder. there are limitations on what systems can be upgraded. A newer operating system is aware of the older operating system and preserves critical files. Upgrade An upgrade will include files. If you install Windows 7 on the same partition as in previous installation. it would corrupt Windows XP. such as documents.old. Windows 7 recognizes Windows XP and preserves critical files needed by Windows XP. You wouldn’t have to reinstall Microsoft Office. Windows 7 would also include Microsoft Office. an older operating system isn’t aware of newer operating systems and often corrupts critical files. If the previous installation was Vista or Windows 7. Windows 7 retains data from the previous installation in a folder named Windows. and user profiles. it will detect the previous installation and move data and settings to a folder named Windows. if you have Microsoft Office on a Windows Vista Ultimate installation and you upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate. It includes the Windows folder. If you were able to boot into Windows 2000. You won’t be able to boot to the previous operating system anymore. However. and applications from the previous installation.old. the Program Files folder. profiles are in the Windows. it doesn’t recognize files needed by Windows 7 and deletes or overwrites them. The “Upgrade Paths to Windows 7” section later in this chapter provides more information. In many cases.If you install two operating systems on the same partition. Windows 7 will no longer be bootable. old\Users folder. if Windows 2000 is running on the C partition and you installed Windows XP on the same partition. When upgrading an earlier operating system to Windows 7 on the same partition. you can install Windows 7 on the D or E partition as long as it exists. and more. There are advanced methods to fix Windows 7 after installing Windows XP. If you’re running Windows XP on the C partition. For example.old folder to anywhere else on your system. You can copy data from the Windows. An upgrade is often the easiest path for many users. For example. if you install Windows XP after Windows 7. Exam Tip The Windows. the profiles are in the Windows. they will corrupt files on the other operating system when they are booted. music files. if you install Windows XP first and Windows 7 last. However. settings. The user profiles include data that a user might have stored. Installing and Upgrading Windows CHAPTER 12 405 . If the previous installation was Windows XP. For example.old folder holds data from a previous installation of Windows. The second point to remember when creating a dual-boot system is to install the newer operating system first. The system retains most of the functionality of the previous operating system but gains the additional features of the newer operating system. Windows XP would corrupt Windows 2000 after you booted into it once or twice.

■■ All versions of Windows support both FAT32 and NTFS for reading and writing files. NTFS. Click Start. FAT refers to an older 16-bit version of FAT. type in Disk Cleanup.” covers file systems in more depth. However. “Understanding Disks and File Systems. and FAT32 refers to the 32-bit version. File Systems Chapter 16. However. some versions of Windows cannot be installed on FAT32 drives. It provides increased security and reliability compared to FAT32. and it has additional features that improve its performance.When you’re satisfied that you no longer need the data in the Windows. On which file system(s) can you install Windows 7? 406 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . It does not include security features such as the ability to assign permissions to files and folders. What is not included in a new installation of Windows that is included in an upgrade? 2. there are two file systems you should understand when installing an operating system. Technicians sometimes refer to FAT32 as simply FAT. The File Allocation Table (FAT) 32-bit file system is a basic file system. and press Enter to start this program. Select Previous Windows Installation(s) and click OK to delete the folder. as shown in Table 12-1. You can assign permissions to files and folders. but in short. What is a computer that can boot to two different operating systems called? 3.old folder. The New Technology File System (NTFS) is the preferred file system for Windows. Most USB flash drives and USB external drives use FAT32. you can delete the folder by using Disk Cleanup. Table 12-1 Installing Windows on FAT32 or NTFS Install on FAT32 Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7 Yes No No Install on NTFS Yes Yes Yes Quick Check 1. Both of the following file systems provide access to files and folders stored on disks: ■■ FAT32.

The “Installing Windows 7” section later in this chapter includes steps you can follow to install Windows 7 from scratch.Quick Check Answers 1. Exam Tip When preparing for the A+ certification. it doesn’t mean that it’s an upgrade. However. performing an installation over the network. 3. During the installation. The three primary types of installations are as follows: ■■ ■■ ■■ With installation media such as a CD or DVD Over the network Using images Each of the preceding methods allows you to install Windows on a computer with an existing operating system or on a new computer. This includes installing Windows with installation media. NTFS only. Dual-boot computer. it comes on a bootable CD or DVD with all the files you need. 2. and start the installation. However. Methods of Installation CHAPTER 12 407 . Existing applications and settings. you can configure your hard drives by partitioning or formatting them as desired. you’ll need to configure your BIOS to boot to the DVD first. even if you’re installing it on a system with an existing operating system. Methods of Installation There are several methods you can use to install a copy of Windows. Applications needed by the user will still need to be installed. turn it on. Windows 7 can read FAT/FAT32 disks after the installation. Exam Tip If your system doesn’t boot to the DVD by default. You can place the CD or DVD into your system. Installation Media—CD or DVD If you purchase a retail copy of Windows. you should understand the basic methods of installing Windows. and using images.

so a single DVD can be used with multiple license keys. it’s more convenient to install Windows over the network. However. Image Deployment Key Terms A very common method of installing Windows today is with imaging. The administrator could do all 30 computers individually or could use imaging to speed up the process. Figure 12-2 shows a Windows XP system connected to a network share named Win7Install on a computer named power-PC. Each system still needs a valid license key to activate it.Remote Network Installation In some cases. A drawback to this installation method is that it can consume a lot of network bandwidth. Users can then connect to the network share and start the installation. After connecting. For example. the contents of the DVD are not tied to the license key. 408 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . If the server is named power-pc and the share name is Win7Install. it can be deployed to multiple systems. For example. It saves a lot of time and reduces the cost of deploying systems. and after this snapshot is captured. you can copy the entire contents of the Windows 7 installation DVD onto a network share and install systems from there. Figure 12-2  Connecting to a share over the network. an administrator might need to install Windows 7 on 30 new computers. If the network is already busy. the path is \\power-pc\Win7Install. also known as the Universal Naming Convention (UNC). An image is a snapshot of a system. users can double-click Setup to start the installation. this added network traffic can slow network performance down for all users. You first copy all of the installation files to a folder on a server and then share the folder. Note  Universal Naming Convention The path to a network share is \\ serverName\ shareName. Figure 12-3 shows an overview of this process.

The administrator configures security and desktop settings and then tests the system to ensure that it works. but it’s also possible to store the image on an external USB drive or even a DVD if the image is small enough. the administrator captures the image and stores it either on a server or on an external drive. so each system needs to have a unique computer name. The administrator can then deploy these images to multiple systems. and deploy images. For example. based on the needs of the users. Exam Tip Imaging is a valuable tool to deploy Windows to multiple systems. After this image is captured. such as the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) or Windows Deployment Services (WDS). the administrator can deploy it to multiple computers. you can’t have 100 computers all named Computer1. The administrator first installs Windows 7 onto a reference computer and then installs applications.Target Computers Imaging Server Image Reference Computer Image Image Image Figure 12-3  Installing Windows with imaging. Methods of Installation CHAPTER 12 409 . some setup is still required. WDS is installed on a server. However. it is possible to automate this process. After deploying the images. such as Microsoft Office. Note  Imaging tools There are many tools you can purchase to create images. you can also use free tools provided by Microsoft. It is common to store the image on an imaging server. such as Symantec’s Ghost. The WAIK includes the imagex and dism command-line tools that you can use to capture. After preparing the system. manipulate. reducing overall costs. It reduces the time needed to configure and deploy systems. However.

wim file are the same types of images that can be created by using Microsoft tools such as WAIK or WDS. This is a Windows Image file. and it includes all the files needed for different Windows 7 editions. you can look in the sources folder and find the Install. 4. Professional. The system is turned on. Exam Tip The two requirements for a PXE client are the PXE-aware NIC and BIOS that can be configured to boot via the NIC. and Ultimate. so you won’t have both versions on the same DVD. pronounced as pixie) components that are used during the imaging process. 3. In some cases. The overall steps of a PXE boot are as follows: 1. an installation DVD will be either a 32-bit version or a 64-bit version. PXE Clients Key Terms Many desktop systems include preboot execution environment (PXE. this can be a predetermined image for the computer. For example.wim file. Instead.All Windows 7 Installations Use Images I t’s worthwhile pointing out that all Windows 7 installations actually use images. That is. An image is downloaded and installed onto the client. The system contacts an imaging server. These systems include a network interface card (NIC) and Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) that can be configured to boot the system by using the NIC.wim file normally includes images for Windows 7 Home Premium. Image files in the Install. the system boots without any operating system on the disk drive. However. it connects to an imaging server over the network and downloads an image. In other cases. If you have a Windows 7 installation DVD.wim files for 32-bit versions and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. the Install. There are separate Install. Sometimes the user needs to press F12 to start the PXE boot process after it is turned on. the user is prompted to log on and choose from a selection of images. The system queries a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server for an IP address and other network configuration data. 2. 410 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems .

you’ll have problems. After you install Windows 7 on a reference computer. Sysprep One of the potential problems with imaging is that you can have multiple computers with identical settings that should be unique. Key Terms The system preparation (Sysprep) tool helps you avoid these problems by preparing a system for imaging. If you have two or more computers with the same SID. Sysprep sanitizes the computer by removing the SID along with other unique settings. Figure 12-4  Running the system preparation (Sysprep) tool. and the SID must be unique. Similarly. Figure 12-4 shows the Sysprep tool with the recommended settings to prepare a system for imaging. install appropriate applications.7 GB of data. It can be run from the GUI or from the command line. For example. The typical command from the command line is Sysprep /oobe /generalize /shutdown. computers need different computer names. so an 8-GB or larger USB flash drive will easily hold the data needed to boot from the USB and the image. Methods of Installation CHAPTER 12 411 . the system is shut down and the image is ready to be captured. resets the required settings to prepare the system for imaging. A DVD holds 4. the operating system identifies computers with a security identifier (SID). The System Out-Of-Box Experience (OOBE) option. although it’s much easier to change the name of a computer than it is to change a computer’s SID. Exam Tip Sysprep must be run on Windows-based systems before capturing the image. You can find the Sysprep program in the C:\Windows\System32\Sysprep folder by default. with the Generalize check box selected. and configure it. you run Sysprep.Installing from a USB It’s also possible to create a bootable USB flash drive and then copy the image onto the USB. After running this.

The user won’t be prompted to configure the drive but will be prompted to provide other answers. and other times the vendor installs a recovery partition. the installation program looks for the information it needs from it instead of prompting the user for the answer. they can specify this in the answer file. Sometimes the vendor provides a recovery CD or DVD. The recovery partition is a partition on the hard drive. The SIM has a lot of functionality. these settings are automatically answered without any user action. It can be used to add drivers and applications to an answer file. Recovery Partition. ■■ 412 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . You can use answer files when installing the operating system with installation media or over the network. It holds all the files needed to recover the system if the system fails. The differences are as follows: ■■ Recovery Disc. Both methods allow the user to recover the system if Windows is no longer bootable. and administrators can configure many more details of Windows 7 installations by using this feature. Recovery Disc or Factory Recovery Partition Many computer vendors provide a method for users to return their system to the way it was when it left the factory. This partition is often hidden. The installation program prompts the user to answer questions for other settings. You can also create an answer file to be used with images so that after an image is deployed. but instructions from the vendor show how to use it to recover the system. the installation program prompts the user for the answer. if administrators want to ensure that games are not included in an installation of Windows 7 Ultimate. For example. For example. It includes an image that can be reapplied to the computer to return it to its original configuration.When you deploy this image to a system and boot it up. This is a bootable CD or DVD. If the answer isn’t there. an answer file could include information needed to format the hard drive as a single formatted partition but not include other information. The WAIK includes the System Image Manager (SIM). The answer file can include all the answers so that the entire installation is automated. It’s also possible to include the answers for part of the installation and prompt the user for other information. many of the settings will be automatically re-created for the new system. Many of the choices made available by using an answer file are not available when manually installing Windows 7. such as the primary user name and the name of the computer. When an answer file is used. and the SIM is used to create answer files. This is very useful if the operating system becomes corrupted and can no longer boot. Unattended Installation with Answer Files Key Terms You can use answer files to perform unattended installations.

However. You’ll have to reinstall applications after the install. the primary system to which you’ll upgrade is Windows 7. it’s important to understand which operating systems can be upgraded to Windows 7 and which can’t. Run Sysprep. using the recovery disc or recovery partition will remove all data on the user’s system. You can’t buy retail versions of Windows XP or Windows Vista systems anymore. What do you run to prepare a Windows-based system before capturing an image of it? Quick Check Answers 1. but you can migrate user data and settings from Windows XP to Windows 7. What are the three primary methods of installing Windows? 2. 2. With that in mind. Upgrade Paths to Windows 7 CHAPTER 12 413 . If an upgrade path is not available. or with images. over the network.Important  Possible loss of data when using recovery disc or recovery partition In most cases. Quick Check 1. Table 12-2 lists the available upgrade paths from earlier versions of Windows. you must do a clean installation of Windows 7. With installation media. You cannot upgrade Windows XP directly to Windows 7. but Windows 7 is available. Upgrade Paths to Windows 7 When considering upgrading a Windows operating system today. most IT professionals recommend performing a clean install. you can upgrade Windows XP to Windows Vista and then upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7. Both are discussed later in this chapter. If desired. Two key points to remember are as follows: ■■ ■■ You can upgrade Windows Vista to Windows 7. Note  Data migration tools The two tools used to migrate user data and settings are the Windows Easy Transfer tool and the User State Migration Tool. You should try to recover any data from the system before using one of these methods.

Table 12-2 Windows 7 Upgrade Paths Upgrade to Home Premium From Windows XP From Windows Vista Home Premium From Windows Vista Business From Windows Vista Ultimate From 32-bit to 64-bit From 64-bit to 32-bit No Yes No No No No Upgrade to ­Professional No Yes Yes No No No Upgrade to ­Ultimate No Yes Yes Yes No No Note that when you’re doing an upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7. Operating systems can be purchased at full retail price or at a reduced upgrade price if a user is running a qualified earlier version. For example. you can upgrade only to a comparable edition or higher. they need to purchase the retail version at full price. when doing the installation. and the other is related to how Windows can be installed. If they don’t have a qualifying version of Windows. if users are running Windows 2000. Upgrade vs. However. they can do an upgrade only from Windows Vista to Windows 7. For example. One is related to the purchase price. or Vista. This is primarily targeted at home users who decide that they want to increase the capabilities of Windows 7 installed on their systems. you can’t upgrade a consumer version of Windows 7 to a business version (that is. you can upgrade Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate. If they are running Windows 2000 or XP. Likewise. The only difference between this version and the full retail version is that this version checks to ensure that users have an earlier ­ version of Windows. You cannot upgrade Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Home Premium because Home Premium is a step down from Ultimate. not an upgrade. Upgrade U pgrade means two different things depending on the context. they can purchase and install the upgrade version of Windows 7 at a reduced cost. Windows Anytime Upgrade Key Terms You can use Windows Anytime Upgrade to upgrade some editions of Windows 7 to a higher edition. XP. For example. the actual installation will be a clean install. from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 7 Enterprise). if users are running 414 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems .

some features are enabled or disabled based on the Windows 7 edition. Table 12-3 Anytime Upgrade Paths Upgrade to Premium From Windows 7 Starter From Windows 7 Home Premium From Windows 7 Professional Yes No No Upgrade to ­Professional Yes Yes Yes Upgrade to ­Ultimate Yes Yes Yes Exam Tip Windows Anytime Upgrade allows users to upgrade to a higher edition of Windows 7. Users can complete the process online by purchasing a new license key. This will work only if the upgrade path is supported. However. it is possible to upgrade the operating system from an earlier edition to a new and it doesn’t require any additional installation -out-of-your-pc-with-windows-anytime-upgrade. Table 12-3 shows the available paths for Anytime Upgrades. One way to fix it is to complete a repair installation. However. Repair Installation In some extreme cases. If you want to get more information about the Windows Anytime Upgrade. When a computer is upgraded with Windows Anytime Upgrade. or they can purchase a retail key at a store and enter it on their computers. It was available for Windows Vista when Vista was being sold. as shown in Table 12-2.Windows 7 Home Premium edition and want to upgrade to the Ultimate edition. Upgrade Paths to Windows 7 CHAPTER 12 415 . Windows will no longer boot. During the process. you can watch this short video: http://windows. Anytime Upgrade is no longer available for Windows Vista. The upgrade process usually only takes about 10 minutes. they can use Anytime Upgrade to do so. and the upgrade is completed without the installation DVD or ­ downloading files. the additional features are enabled. Note  Anytime Upgrade availability Anytime Upgrade is available only for Windows 7 at this time. sometimes called a repair-in-place upgrade. Any installation of Windows 7 includes all the appropriate files to enable all the features. This reinstalls Windows and repairs any corrupted files. Users purchase a license key.

2. Quick Check 1.” covers some tools you can use to troubleshoot and repair a system before trying /upgrade-advisor. Can you upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7? 2. but don’t count on it. No. Note  License key needed A repair-in-place upgrade is also called a repair You can also download it from here: http://windows. Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor Key Terms If you’re considering an upgrade to Windows 7 on an existing system. You should first attempt to back up any data before attempting the by searching on Windows Upgrade Advisor. No. Can you upgrade a 32-bit edition of Vista to a 64-bit edition of Windows 7? Quick Check Answers 1.A repair installation should be completed only when all other methods have been exhausted. this upgrade path is not supported. you cannot upgrade 32-bit editions to 64-bit editions. 416 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . Note  Online Upgrade Advisor You can also find the upgrade advisor from Microsoft’s download site (http://www­ .­microsoft. You can access the site to download it by clicking the Check Compatibility Online link from the initial Windows 7 installation screen.old folder. The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor is a free tool that you can use to check a system. When performing a repair installation on Windows 7. the upgrade process will attempt to save existing data in the Windows. You’ll need the installation CD or DVD as well as the license key to complete the installation. You can often retrieve data from this folder after the repair. you might want to verify that your system doesn’t have any compatibility issues. You can use this same method to find many free downloads provided by Microsoft. Chapter 17. “Troubleshooting Windows Operating Systems.

the installation wizard will ensure that .com/. but you should be aware of what you’ll see during the installation. “Yes.NET Framework 2. ■■ If you want to get more information on software and hardware ­ Windows Logo’d Products list (LPL).com/en-US/windows7/help/videos/software-andhardware-compatibility-in-Windows-7. Selecting Time/Date/Region/Language Settings The first screen you’ll see when installing Windows 7 is shown in Figure You are prompted to choose settings based on where you’re installing Windows 7. After installing the Upgrade Advisor. you can run on it the system from the Start.If you’re running the Upgrade Advisor on Windows /compatibility. You can access it here: http://www. You can access it here: https://sysdev. Compatibility Tools The following two websites are useful when checking compatibility for a Windows-based system: ■■ Windows Compatibility Center. Installing Windows 7 CHAPTER 12 417 . so it’s important to ensure that you have connected them and turned them on before starting the check. “Have you ever installed Windows 7?” You want to be able to reply. All Programs menu. This section describes the process. Installing Windows 7 A simple job interview question might check out this video: http://windows. If it isn’t installed. The advisor will check all devices that are connected to your system and turned on. the installation wizard will prompt you for approval and will then download and install it.0 is installed. This site lists hardware and software that is compatible with Windows.” It’s not difficult. It was previously known as the hardware compatibility list (HCL). This site lists hardware devices that have been verified to work with different versions of Windows.

and currency are displayed. July 4. You’ll normally have only one choice for the Language To Install field. Custom (Advanced) is used for new installations. Choosing the Install Method When installing Windows 7 from the installation DVD. date. However. as shown in Figure 12-6. you can use the Date And Time applet in the Control Panel. Keyboards have alternate keys to support different languages. using English (United States). The same date. you’ll also be prompted to verify the correct time and date and to set the time zone. If you want to modify this later. For example. you’ll have two options. During the installation. These settings can also be manipulated by using the Region And Language applet in the Control Panel after the installation completes.Figure 12-5  Choosing the installation settings. is displayed as 7/4/2013. using English (Australia). is displayed as 4/07/2013. 418 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . 2013. The time and currency format affects how the time. Upgrade or Custom (Advanced). the Time And Currency Format and the Keyboard Or Input Method fields will have multiple choices. and there are also several alternate layouts available. You’ll choose Upgrade if you’re upgrading from an operating system that is included in the upgrade path.

you are prompted to identify where you want to install Windows. Additionally. Figure 12-7 shows the options that will appear if you click Drive Options (Advanced) on the Where Do You Want To Install Windows? screen. some people like to have one partition for the operating system and another partition for data. you’ll have more choices. If you have a single drive with a single partition.Figure 12-6  Choosing the type of installation. Most of the time. you’ll have only a single disk. Additionally. the choice is clear. The installation program gives you several options for configuring the hard drive. if you plan on creating a dual-boot system. select it and move on. if you have multiple drives or multiple partitions on a drive. For example. Drive Options When installing Windows 7. However. you’ll need at least two partitions. Installing Windows 7 CHAPTER 12 419 . you might want to manipulate existing drives and partitions during the installation. but sometimes you will want to create additional partitions. You can also choose where to install the operating system.

Figure 12-7  Manipulating partitions. The space from the deleted partition will be reported as unallocated space. including the following: ■■ Load Driver. I clicked New and entered 40960 to create a partition of about 40 GB in size. DVD. Delete. it might not be recognized until you load the driver. Chapter 16 covers RAID configurations in more detail. This is often required if your system is using a hardwarebased redundant array of independent disks (RAID) subsystem and the RAID is not detected during installation. The installation program also created the 100-MB system partition (described in the next section). CD. you can load the required drivers by clicking Load Driver. it might be that Windows 7 doesn’t have a driver for it. For example. You have multiple options available to manipulate the hard drive. Drivers can be loaded from a floppy disk. If your hard drive is not recognized. EXAM TIP If your disk drive is not recognized by the installation program. Choose this to delete an existing partition. so be careful when choosing this option. if your system is using a hardware-based RAID system. Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems ■■ 420 CHAPTER 12 . ­ Figure 12-6 shows two partitions and 87 GB of unallocated space on the drive. or USB flash drive. All data and files on the partition will be lost. The hard drive shown in the figure started as a single 127-GB disk listed as Disk 0 Unallocated Space.

This option will format the partition with NTFS. Installing Windows 7 CHAPTER 12 421 . partition 2 is about 40 GB. ■■ ■■ ■■ You can use the following steps to manipulate partitions. 4. In the Size text box. After making a modification to a drive. 1. in Figure 12-7. Format. These steps assume that your hard drive is a single hard drive without any allocated space. Click Apply. I entered 40960 for a size of about 40 GB. Refresh. Click New. 3.■■ Extend. enter the desired size of the partition. For example. All data on this partition will be lost. 2. For example. you can click the unallocated space. you might need to click Refresh to show the changes. You can extend an existing partition onto unallocated space. If your drive has unallocated space. select New. New. You can extend this to include any amount of the 87 GB of unallocated space. in the follow- ing graphic. Click Drive Options (Advanced). and doesn’t give you any options. This gives you the option of choosing the size of the partition. and create a partition.

If you want to delete a partition. bootsect. D. and the boot folder. and space from this partition will be added to the unallocated space. You will not be able to recover data after deleting or formatting the partition. The partition will be resized to the size you specified. do the following: A. If you want to extend a partition to included unallocated space. If the system partition is not created during the install. 7. Review the information and click OK. The partition is formatted with NTFS.5. A dialog box appears indicating that this is not a reversible action. These files are used during the boot of the system. Review the warning and click OK. you can see the system partition listed first as Disk 0 Partition 1: System Reserved. do the following: A. Select a partition and click Extend. Windows 7 often creates an additional 100-MB partition during the installation. Review the warning and click OK. ■■ 422 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . Important  Deleting or formatting a partition deletes all the data on the partition. Enter the size that you want the partition to be after it is extended in the Size text box.bak. Windows 7 stores these files in the system partition. A warning appears indicating that any data stored on the partition will be lost. BitLocker drive encryption. This reserved space ensures that BitLocker can later be enabled on the system. do the following: A. All the data on the partition will be deleted. I clicked New and entered 39960 to create a partition. B. This partition started as an unallocated 127-GB disk. If you want to include all the unallocated space. If you want to format a partition. B. C. This system partition doesn’t have a drive letter but instead is listed as a system partition. B. leave this text box unchanged. System Reserved Partition If there is unallocated space on a drive. and the installation program automatically created the 100-MB system partition. In Figure 12-7. Select the partition and click Delete. Select a partition and click Format. 6. and the unallocated space will decrease by that amount. Click Apply. The text box defaults to the maximum size. This partition is reserved for the following: ■■ System boot files. The partition includes bootmgr.

Browse to the DVD and double-click the setup program. Click Install Now. Review the license terms and select I Accept The License Terms. When prompted to select an Upgrade or a Custom (Advanced) installation. Place the DVD into the DVD drive. If the system partition was created during the installation of Windows 7. The system partition isn’t always created. You can manipulate the drive partitions by clicking Drive Options (Advanced) as mentioned in the “Drive Options” Installing Windows 7 CHAPTER 12 423 .■■ Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). “Understanding Motherboards and BIOS. time and currency format. If you’re running another Windows-based system. B. click Custom (Advanced). similar to Figure 12-5.” covers the command prompt in more detail. Click Next. Performing a Clean Install You can complete a clean installation of Windows 7 Ultimate with the following steps: 1. If a user does manage to delete it.” A. Click Next. Select the appropriate lan- guage. If you want to ensure that the system partition isn’t created. it should not be deleted. 6. 4. you can recover the system by using Windows 7 recovery procedures and the installation DVD. if the drive does not have any unallocated space available. The WinRE can be used to recover from many system errors after a failure. You can access the command prompt from within the installation program by pressing Shift+F10. and keyboard or input method based on your location. Place the installation DVD into the DVD drive and start the system. you can format your drive using 100 percent of the space before starting the installation of Windows 7. You’ll be prompted to choose where to install Windows.  3. the installation program does not create the system partition. “Using the Command Prompt. if you are installing Windows 7 on a system with another operating system as a dual-boot system. the install program does not create the system partition. If the system is not configured to boot to the DVD. 5. Note  Accessing command prompt during install An advanced method that you can use to prevent the system partition from being created is to have diskpart available at the command prompt. you can also start the installa- tion from within the operating system. An installation screen will appear. Similarly. For example. Chapter 14. The Microsoft Software License Terms screen appears. 2. you might need to change the BIOS settings as described in Chapter 2.

starts installing them. you can enter a different computer name if desired. 7. Note  Passwords provide security You can skip the password. On the Password page. Select the drive and partition where you want to install Windows 7 and click Next. 424 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . Type a word or phrase in the Type A Password Hint text box. When the Set Up Windows screen appears. and restarts on its own. but it does not require any interaction until the Set Up Windows screen appears. Click Next. Windows 7 will begin the installation. it’s recommended to use a password to protect your user account from other users. It copies files to your system. 9. 10. enter a user name. 8. The name of the com- puter will be created automatically by appending the user name with -PC as shown in the following graphic. enter a password in the Type A Password (Recommended) text box and in the Retype Your Password text box. but as a security precaution. If you forget your pass- word. This process can take some time. However.section earlier in this chapter. Windows will show you your hint.

Select the option you want. If you know it. select your time zone and click Next. If you’re connected to a home network that has a homegroup. Click Next. enter your product key. 14. you’ll be prompted to enter the homegroup password. 15. “Introducing Networking Components. Install Important Updates Only. you’ll be prompted to choose your com- puter’s location. If you don’t want to join the homegroup. as shown in the following graphic. your system will be automatically configured in a workgroup named WORKGROUP. including steps to join a workgroup or a domain. and networking concepts are presented in the Chapters 18 through 24. More Info  Chapter 24. On the Update page.11. “Connecting and Troubleshooting a Network” Homegroups are explained further in Chapter 24. you can enter the password here and click Next. or Ask Me Later. but this can be changed.” includes information about workgroups and domains. Click on your location. you can click Skip. On the time and date page. 13. The recommended settings will automatically install updates and are the easiest settings for many uses. On the Windows Product Key page. you can select Use Recommended Settings. 12. Installing Windows 7 CHAPTER 12 425 . Also. Chapter 18. If your computer is connected to a network.

Activation Microsoft operating systems use an activation program. How can you add drivers for a disk drive during an installation of Windows 7? 2. Note  Hardware replacement may require reactivation If a hardware failure requires you to make a significant hardware change. Windows 7 will complete the setup. If you chose the recommended settings for updates. If you need to reinstall Windows 7 on the same computer. However. but in some cases. if you try to install it on a different computer. It also ensures that Windows has not been used on more computers than the Microsoft Software License Terms allow. This helps verify to users that their copy of Windows is genuine. 2. The activation program pairs the activation key with details on the computer hardware. users must call Microsoft to reactivate the system after replacing hardware. Windows 7 needs to be activated within 30 days after installation and can be activated over the Internet or by phone. updates will automatically be downloaded.16. 426 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . Quick Check 1. space for BitLocker. Select Load Driver from the Drive Options screen. If prompted to restart the computer. System boot files. the activation key will not work. Automatic activation begins trying to activate Windows three days after the user logs on for the first time. What does the 100-MB partition created during some installations of Windows contain? Quick Check Answers 1. Most installations are configured to automatically activate Windows when the users are online. you can use the same key. This can usually be completed over the Internet. and the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). click Restart Now. and your desktop will appear. you might need to reactivate the system.

but things can go wrong. the user often wants to keep data and settings from the previous installation. apply Service Pack 2 to Vista before upgrading. Each of these tools can capture a wide variety of data and settings. You should ensure that the current service pack is applied to Windows Vista before upgrading. Note  Back up data before an upgrade An upgrade is considered a risky operation. Migrating User Data CHAPTER 12 427 . there is no need to migrate the user data and settings. There are two valuable tools you can use to capture this information from the older version of Windows and reapply it the new version of Windows: Windows Easy Transfer and User State Migration Tool. applications such as Internet Explorer. It’s important to back up all important data before starting an upgrade. Migrating User Data When you install a new operating system for a user who had a previous computer.Upgrading Windows Vista If you are upgrading Vista to Windows 7. and it’s unlikely that another service pack will be released for Windows Vista. contacts. This information will be migrated to the newer version as part of the upgrade process. you can start the installation program after booting into Windows Vista. including the following: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Files and folders User accounts and profiles Multimedia files such as photos. Windows Service Pack 2 was released in April 2009. Everything will usually work fine. music. Place the installation DVD into the drive. Therefore. and other programs Each of these tools is described in the following sections. and if it doesn’t start automatically. you’ll choose Upgrade. the upgrade will try to keep all of the applications. Note  Migration not needed for upgrade If you’re doing an upgrade. instead of choosing Custom (Advanced) on the installation screen. browse to the DVD and double-click the setup program. and videos Email files such as Outlook data files. Second. including email. and calendar events Settings for Windows. First. This works very much like the clean installation of Windows 7 but with a couple of differences. and data intact. settings.

Windows Vista. You can purchase it on the web or in an electronics store. Music. Free versions are available for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP and for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Vista. For example. if you are migrating data from Windows XP or Windows Vista. However. Because this tool can access files and folders for all users on the system. Exam Tip Windows Easy Transfer can capture data from Windows XP. Go to the Windows download site (http://www. It replaces the Files And Settings Transfer (FAST) wizard used with Windows XP. Windows Easy Transfer Key Terms You can use Windows Easy Transfer to transfer files and settings from one computer to another. you can transfer the files over the Windows Easy Transfer enables you to migrate information by using one of the following methods: ■■ An Easy Transfer cable. For example. For example. You can later connect the drive to new computer and transfer the files from the drive. the user profiles are stored in ­ C­ :­ \D ­ ocuments and Settings by default. based on your needs. you can download Windows Easy Transfer for XP and install it on the Windows XP–based computer. System Tools. from Windows Vista to Windows 7. and Pictures folder. This is a special cable that plugs into the USB port of the two computers. or even from one computer running Windows 7 to another computer running Windows 7. If the computers are connected to each other in a network. It allows you to transfer files directly between the old computer and the new computer. You can transfer the files to an external disk or a flash drive connected to the old computer. and Windows ) and search for Windows Easy Transfer for Windows XP or Windows Easy Transfer for Windows Vista. you’ll first need to download and install the appropriate Windows Easy Transfer tool onto that system. you can transfer files and settings from Windows XP to Windows 7. Accessories. and also gives you the option of selecting additional files and folders. Figure 12-8 shows the 428 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . An external hard disk or USB flash drive. and selecting Windows Easy Transfer. All Programs. In Windows 7. A network. you must have administrative access to run it. if you want to capture data from Windows XP. This tool automatically selects files in the Documents. ■■ ■■ Windows Easy Transfer is included in Windows 7. You can start the Windows Easy Transfer tool on Windows 7 by clicking Start.One of the tasks that these programs perform is to move the files and folders to locations that Windows 7 understands. they are stored in C:\Users. the migration tool moves them to the C:\Users folder on Windows 7. If you migrate user accounts and profiles from Windows XP to Windows 7. in Windows XP.

screen you can use to select or deselect categories such as Documents or Music. it can transfer settings for the application. Figure 12-8  Windows Easy Transfer. If you click Advanced on this It is easy to use when migrating a single user’s computer. you can view any reports it has created by running the Windows Easy Transfer Reports. if the application is installed on both the old and the new operating Exam Tip Windows Easy Transfer is used to transfer files and settings from earlier editions of Windows to Windows 7. if a user had specific settings for Microsoft Word. You can view a video of the Windows Easy Transfer tool in action here: http://windows . The report identifies any files or settings that weren’t transferred. For example. Migrating User Data CHAPTER 12 429 . The Windows Easy Transfer tool doesn’t transfer applications. such as in a home or small office environment. You must be logged on with an administrative account to run it. these settings would be migrated. However. After you’ve run this program. you can select individual files and folders to migrate.

You cannot use this to transfer files to Windows Vista or Windows 7. System Tools.old was created during the installation. you need to use Windows Easy Transfer or the USMT. you can use scanstate and loadstate to migrate data after you’ve installed Windows 7 over the older operating system. Loadstate. However. a valuable benefit of running commands from the command line is that they can be scripted. File And Settings Transfer Wizard The File And Settings Transfer (FAST) wizard is included in Windows XP. Loadstate reads the data from the migration file and loads it into the new operating system. Exam Tip The USMT is used to migrate data and settings in a business or enterprise environment. Accessories. if Windows. you can use scanstate to capture data from the Windows. You can store this migration file on an external USB drive or on a network share.User State Migration Tool Key Terms The User State Migration Tool (USMT) is a tool you can use to save user data and settings in larger environments. It includes the following two primary tools that run from the command line: ■■ Key Terms ■■ Scanstate. scanstate provides administrators with more ). and loadstate restores it. You run loadstate after replacing the computer or completing a new installation. Additionally. available as a free download from the Windows download site (http://www. Scanstate scans a system for data and settings on the computer and stores it in a migration file. Administrators can configure additional files to restrict what information is migrated or to include additional data. That is. The USMT is included in the WAIK. 430 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . and selecting Files And Settings Transfer Wizard. Instead. You need to use a version that is compatible with the newer operating system. However. as long as the computer can access the share. Scanstate captures information. Search for Windows Automated Installation Kit Windows 7. The USMT is more difficult to run than the Windows Easy Transfer tool. Scanstate can capture a wide variety of data and settings. That is. It was designed to migrate user files to Windows XP from another Windows XP system or from older operating systems such as Windows 2000 or Windows ME. All Programs. the command can be placed into a batch file and then run via automated methods. just like the Windows Easy Transfer tool. You can access FAST by clicking Start.

You can manipulate installed drives during an installation. Scanstate. You cannot upgrade Windows XP to Windows 7. You can upgrade Windows Vista to a comparable edition or higher of Windows 7. 2. This partition includes system boot files. what will capture user data and settings? Quick Check Answers 1. Before capturing an image. Windows Anytime Upgrade allows users to upgrade Windows 7 editions to editions with additional features. installing over the network. Drivers can be loaded from a floppy disk. Windows Easy Transfer allows you to migrate user data and settings from previous installations of Windows to Windows 7. or via an external hard disk or USB flash drive. formatting. and deleting partitions. over the network. When running loadstate and scanstate. This includes creating. Chapter Summary ■■ A clean install does not include any applications or settings from a previous installation. and it should not be deleted. you must run Sysprep to remove any settings that need to be unique. you can click Load Driver to load a driver. If the Windows 7 installation program doesn’t recognize the drive. DVD. space for BitLocker. CD. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 12 431 . An upgrade will include compatible applications and settings from a previous installation. Name two tools used for migrating user data and settings to Windows 7. and the WinRE. The Windows 7 installation often creates a 100-MB hidden system partition during the installation. extending. You cannot upgrade 32-bit versions to 64-bit versions. Data can be transferred by using an Easy Transfer cable. 2.Quick Check 1. or USB flash drive. such as the SID. and using images. Windows Easy Transfer. Installation methods include using installation media. and the User State Migration Tool (USMT).

Yes. 1. No. 2. Yes. A clean installation starts by formatting the hard drive. The user wants to access data files that were stored in the user’s My Documents folder. Scanstate captures the user’s data and settings from a previous installation. 4.old folder. Install both operating systems on different partitions. What is the difference between a clean installation and an upgrade? A. 3. Install Windows XP first. D. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. D. Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. these file locations were not modified at all. C. B. C. Install both operating systems on the same partition. these files are in the Windows. as long as the file system is formatted with NTFS. XP cannot be directly upgraded to Windows 7. B.) A. B.■■ USMT includes two tools used to migrate user data and settings in larger environments. A user is running Windows XP and wants to upgrade to Windows 7. the user can do an upgrade directly to Windows 7. The answers to these questions. they are the same. Yes. Install Windows 7 first. C. A user has completed a clean installation on a single-partition system running Windows XP. Yes. existing files are deleted during a clean installation. Is this possible? A. the user can reinstall Windows XP to access the older data files. as long as both versions are 32-bit versions. A user wants to create a dual-boot system running Windows XP and Windows 7. Yes. Yes. D. No. There is no difference. 432 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . Is this possible? A. Loadstate will load this information onto Windows 7. What is important to remember? (Choose two. C. A clean install includes applications and settings from previous installations. An upgrade includes applications and settings from previous installations. D. B.

You want to install Windows 7 with several applications onto 25 existing computers in your network. Windows backup Chapter Review CHAPTER 12 433 . Install drivers for the hard drive from the Drive Options page of the installation program. What tool can you use to capture the user’s data and settings? A. C. B. Installation using the installation DVD. 8. B. Repartition the hard drive from the Drive Options page of the installation program. You are upgrading a home user’s computer from Windows XP to Windows 7. Reformat the hard drive from the Drive Options page of the installation program. C. You are tasked with installing Windows 7 onto several systems within a network. C. but the hard drive is not recognized. How can you do this without carrying the installation media to each computer? A. Copy the contents of the installation DVD to a network location and install Windows 7 from this drive. USTM D. Copy the contents of the installation DVD to a USB flash drive and install Windows 7 from this drive. 6. Installation using the USMT. Installation using images. Create an image of the installation media and copy it to a bootable DVD. Installation over the network. What should be done? A. Copy the contents of the installation DVD to a USB external drive and install Windows 7 from this drive. You are installing Windows 7 on a system. D. Replace the hard drive. File and Settings Transfer (FAST) B. 7. Windows Easy Transfer C. B.5. What can make this job easier? A. D. D.

C. C. Incorrect: Existing files are not deleted during a clean installation unless the drive is reformatted. Incorrect: It is not possible to upgrade Windows XP directly to Windows 7. Correct: The Windows. Incorrect: In a clean installation. Incorrect: There are significant differences between a clean install and an upgrade. Incorrect: A clean installation can start with a freshly formatted operating system. Correct: An upgrade includes compatible applications and settings from the previ- ous operating system. D. but XP still can’t be upgraded to Windows 7. 2. D. Incorrect: If they are installed on the same partition. B. Incorrect: Reinstalling Windows XP won’t provide access to older data files. C. Incorrect: You can upgrade 32-bit versions only to 32-bit versions. includ- ing files in the user’s profile. B. 3. C A. such as the My Documents folder. Correct Answer: B A. B. Correct: Windows XP should be installed first. C. but it can be upgraded to Windows Vista and then to Windows 7. B. 434 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems . but it can also be installed on an existing partition without the partition being formatted. the user must reinstall all the applications. Correct Answer: A. Correct Answer: D A. and Windows 7 second. Correct Answer: C A. D.old folder holds files from the previous installation. Incorrect: The files are moved to the Windows. Incorrect: If Windows 7 is installed first. Incorrect: Windows 7 requires NTFS for an installation.Answers 1. they will modify and corrupt files in the other operating system. but XP cannot be upgraded to Windows 7.old folder. Windows XP will overwrite key files needed by Windows 7 and Windows 7 won’t be bootable. D. Correct: You cannot upgrade Windows XP directly to Windows 7. 4. Correct: Both operating systems should be installed on different partitions to pre- vent each from interfering with the other.

5. 6. 8. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: The User State Migration Tool helps migrate user data and settings. but it won’t install Windows 7. you can then deploy this image to multiple computers. Incorrect: You can repartition the hard drive from the Drive Options page. C. 7. you can install drivers for the hard drive from the Drive Options page of the installation program. Correct: If you create one image with all the required applications. you’ll still need to carry the flash drive to each computer. D. B. Incorrect: Windows Backup utilities can be used to back up data. Incorrect: While it is possible to copy the contents to a bootable USB flash drive and install from there. but only if it is recognized. Incorrect: While it is possible to copy the contents to a USB external drive and install from there. Correct Answer: C A. C. Incorrect: The User State Migration Tool (USMT. but it will not capture settings. Correct: This step allows you to install Windows 7 from a network location. C. C. Incorrect: The Files and Settings Transfer (FAST) wizard was used to transfer files to Window XP from earlier operating systems but is replaced with Windows Easy Transfer in Windows Vista and Windows 7. B. Correct: If the hard drive is not recognized. If you create an image of this DVD. Answers CHAPTER 12 435 . Incorrect: You can reformat the hard drive from the Drive Options page. B. Incorrect: Installing it using the DVD takes longer and doesn’t address the installa- tion of the applications. Correct Answer: D A. Incorrect: You should replace the hard drive only if it is faulty. D. although it is harder to use than Windows Easy Transfer. D. B. D. but not if it is not recognized. Correct: The Windows Easy Transfer tool can be used to capture and transfer user’s data and settings. Incorrect: Installing it over the network takes longer and doesn’t address the installation of the applications. Correct Answer: B A. you’ll still need to carry it to each computer. Incorrect: The installation DVD already includes an image of Windows 7 on a bootable DVD. not USTM) can also be used to transfer files and settings. you’ll still need to carry the USB drive to each computer.


4 Given a scenario. applets within the Control Panel.CHAPTER 1 3 Using Windows Operating Systems I t’s important for any PC technician to be able to navigate through the Windows operating systems and access the different tools. and the tools within the Administrative Tools group. Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. You’ll learn about all of these tools in this chapter. use appropriate operating system features and tools. including some basics about navigating Windows. ■■ Administrative ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Computer management Performance monitor Services Task scheduler Component services Data sources Applications Processes Performance Networking Users MMC ■■ Task Manager ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Run line utilities ■■ 437 . You should have a clear understanding of how to use tools like the Task Manager.

5 Given a scenario.■■ 1. ■■ Common to all Microsoft Operating Systems ■■ Internet options ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Connections Security General Privacy Programs Advanced ■■ Folder options ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Sharing View hidden files Hide extensions Layout Add/remove programs Network connections Printers and faxes Automatic updates Network setup wizard Tablet PC settings Pen and input devices Offline files Problem reports and solutions Printers HomeGroup Action center Remote applications and desktop applications Troubleshooting ■■ Unique to Windows XP ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Unique to Vista ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Unique to Windows 7 ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 438 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . use Control Panel utilities (the items are organized by “classic view/large icons” in Windows).

For example. You might see right-click referred to as alt-click so that it applies in both situations. This is also known as a context menu. It selects an item. Many items include a mini-menu of items that you can view by right-clicking an item. and the system was back. Double-click. you should be familiar with common terms and actions.Real World  First Ending Unresponsive Applications A common problem you’re likely to run across as a PC technician is an unresponsive application. It can slow down the entire system and sometimes lock it up completely. Windows Basics Most people understand how to use and get around within an operating system but don’t always understand the terminology. Note  Right-click and alt-click ■■ ■■ Left-handed people often reconfigure their mouse so that the buttons are reversed. This indicates a single click with the left button on the mouse. By the end of this chapter. I pressed three keys. The user’s system quickly became operational again. but anyone can do the same thing—including you. It normally opens an item. if you know how. The mouse button can be changed by using the Mouse applet within the Control Panel. This is done with two quick clicks of the left button. a right-click is actually accomplished by clicking the left button. Right-click. Mouse Actions Some common actions used with a mouse include the following: ■■ Single click. you can quickly identify the misbehaving app and terminate it instead of it rebooting the system. and I was also able to let the user know what application was causing the problem so that they could investigate the issue further. In this case. I then used the Task Manager to identify the problem application and terminate it. you’ll know how. Windows Basics CHAPTER 13 439 . As a PC technician. However. I was able to press three keys (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) and start Task Manager. I recently helped a user whose system apparently locked up. clicked the mouse a couple of times. The user thought I was a hero. That’s it.

■■ Minimize. If you move your mouse over an item but do not click. Hover. Figure 13-1 shows the Windows Calculator open on top of Windows Explorer. a scroll bar appears. This button resizes the window to full screen. Scroll bar. Minimize Menu bar Maximize Close Resize Scroll bar Scroll bar button Command bar Calculator has the focus Figure 13-1  Windows Explorer and Windows Calculator. with several common elements labeled. you’ll see common commands associated with that item that you can select. it returns to the previous size. Menu bar. and you’ll see a list of choices. Most windows include drop-down menus. or you can click within the empty space of the scroll bar to move it. When there are additional items for a screen. Select any menu item. and you can manipulate these windows with common methods. Press and hold the button to select the item. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 440 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Many applications include tooltips that appear when you hover over an item. Maximize. If you select it on the taskbar. release the mouse button. If you have unsaved work. Clicking the X closes the application. When you’ve reached the new location. Click this button and the window is minimized to the taskbar. ■■ Windows Actions Windows applications are displayed in a window. it is called hovering. Command bar. When you select an item.■■ Dragging. You can drag the scroll bar. and then move the mouse. many applications will prompt you to save it before it closes. Some applications include a dynamic command bar. Close. Use this to move items.

you might have MP3 files stored in C:\Rock and C:\Pop folders on your system. Notice that it has multiple tabs that you can select to get different views. You could add these folders to the Music library so that you can access them. Music. Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and select Start Task Manager. Release the mouse to set the change. The default libraries are Documents. Task Manager Key Terms A common tool that you should master early as a PC technician is the Task Manager. it shows all the folders. When the arrows appear. You can open multiple windows at the same time. You can click the small arrow to move the scroll bar down just a little. Pictures. and select Task Manager in Windows XP and Windows Vista. and then move the mouse to resize the window. The top window has the focus and responds to commands. ■■ ■■ Libraries Windows 7 includes libraries. no matter where they are located. or select Start Task Manager in Windows 7. it’s open to the Applications tab. For example. In the figure. Right-click on the Windows taskbar (at the bottom of the screen). Starting Task Manager You can start Task Manager using one of the following methods: ■■ ■■ ■■ Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc. which provide a method of organizing files and folders stored in different locations. You can use it to easily view activity on the computer and close misbehaving programs. A library can include pointers to multiple folders on a local hard drive. and folders on a network drive. You can select the bottom window to change the focus to that window.■■ Scroll bar button. Many windows allow you to resize them by hovering over an edge or corner. the calculator is the top window and has the focus. After starting it. but the bottom window is still open and running. an external hard drive. Libraries don’t hold any data but instead are pointers to the actual location. click and hold the mouse button. and Videos. Exam Tip Libraries are included in Windows 7 but not in Windows XP or Windows Vista. In Figure 13-1. Task Manager CHAPTER 13 441 . you’ll see a display similar to Figure 13-2. Resize window. Focus. When the user clicks on a library folder.

along with their current status. Applications The Applications tab shows all the applications that are running. You don’t need it very often. type in msconfig. the status might be “Not Responding. start Task Manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc. you might run across an application that is not responding to any key presses or mouse clicks.” A simple way to kill the application is to select it and click End Task. if you want to start the System Configuration tool. This is similar to entering a command from the command prompt. 442 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Exam Tip If an application locks up. If the application doesn’t respond normally. If you look here. you can click New Task. but you can click the New Task button and enter a command to start another application. and click OK.Figure 13-2  Task Manager with the Applications tab selected. If the application is interfering with the operating system. For example. Task Manager will display a dialog box and ask if you want to proceed. or the most memory. The most common use of this tab is to determine what process is consuming the most CPU processing time. Processes The Processes tab identifies all of the running processes within a system and shows the resources currently being used. Try it. Occasionally. use Task Manager to terminate it.

but services are not normally visible. Normally. If you want to see which one is using the most CPU time. it shows all the processes on the system. killing it can reduce the system’s stability. it might be consuming all of the CPU’s time. it’s currently idle 93 percent of the time. and services are started by the operating system. Click on any title to reorder display Right-click for context menu Shows how much free time the system has Clicking here kills a process Figure 13-3  Task Manager with the Processes tab selected.Note Processes A process can be either an application or a service. You can select it and then click End Process. Task Manager CHAPTER 13 443 . Both are software. In Figure 13-3. Figure 13-3 shows the Task Manager open with the Processes tab selected. but if you select Show Processes From All Users. if a process has stopped responding. You can change the display order by clicking the title of any of the columns. it’s showing the processes in ascending order based on their name. click the CPU column title. You’ll see applications visible on the desktop. Applications are started by users. The System Idle Process gives you an indication of how much time the CPU is not doing anything other than waiting for a command. Important  Be careful when killing processes If a process is needed by the system. but there are differences. In contrast. It could fail or reboot without warning. you can see only processes associated with your account. Currently.

Figure 13-4 shows the Services tab with the print spooler selected and the right-click menu showing. Instead. Often. Services The Services tab shows a list of all the services in the system. The Services tab is not available in Windows XP. Sometimes looking at the related service helps you identify it. your job as a PC technician won’t require you to fix anything. you can simply share your knowledge. it indicates that the CPU isn’t being tasked. A useful tool here is to select Go To Service(s). but it won’t let me. The user told me. I remember helping a user who was convinced that the System Idle Process was causing problems. if you have a process running in the background and you want to minimize the impact it can have on work you’re doing. For example. Occasionally. my system will be faster. You can also change the priority of a service from this menu. you’ll see the context menu. a process is running and you’re not sure what it is. a description. Real World  You Cannot End the System Idle Process You can’t kill the System Idle Process.” I explained that this process is simply recording how much time the CPU is idle. you can change the priority to Below Normal or Low.If you right-click over any process. but that doesn’t mean that people won’t try. 444 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . “If only I could end this process. This brings up an important point. or not doing anything. but it is available in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Figure 13-4  Task Manager with the Services tab selected. When it’s high. The user said that the system was slow and that the System Idle Process was consuming over 90 percent of the CPU’s time. and the current state such as Stopped or Running.

Exam Tip Chapter 7. Physical Memory. or you can use the Services applet to manipulate the services. ■■ ■■ ■■ Task Manager CHAPTER 13 445 . it indicates that the system needs more RAM. You can stop and restart any service by using Task Manager.” covers printers and the spooler service. it might be because the spooler service has failed. Figure 13-5  Task Manager with the Performance tab selected. Physical Memory and Physical Memory History. ■■ CPU Usage and CPU Usage History. This shows the current usage as a percentage and the usage over the last 60 seconds. Performance The Performance tab gives you a quick visual indication of the computer’s performance. This shows how much RAM the operating system is using. Figure 13-5 shows the display on a Windows 7 system.056 MB). “Exploring Printers. This shows the total RAM (3. If the print queue backs up.071 MB). This identifies how much memory is being used now and recently. When the Available memory is close to zero. and this tab includes the following listed items. and the available RAM (2. Kernel Memory.

■■ System. If additional users show up. It includes a graph to show how much data is being transferred and indicates the Network Utilization as a percentage. 2. Resource Monitor. hours. If another user is logged on. What would you use to identify what is consuming a processor’s time? Quick Check Answers 1. What tool can you use to end an application that won’t respond? 2. you’ll see only your account listed on this tab. If you click this button. ■■ More Info  Chapter 20. Processes tab. you can use this tab to send the user a message by rightclicking the user and selecting Send Message. Users The last tab on the Task Manager is the Users tab. A key piece of information here is the uptime reported in days. This feature allows more than one user to be logged on to the system. Remote Desktop Connections. the user shows up on the Users tab. This identifies all the users who are logged on to the system. Normally. Remote desktop services allow users to connect into a system remotely. Quick Check 1. Users connected via remote desktop services show up on the Users tab. and seconds. but there are two ways that other users show up: ■■ Fast User Switching. you can use the Networking tab to show how much bandwidth your network interface card (NIC) is using. You can also select the user and click the Disconnect or Logoff buttons to disconnect or log off the user. “Understanding Protocols” Remote Desktop Connections and the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) are covered in more detail in Chapter 20. it starts another tool that you can use to get more information. 446 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . The Resource Monitor is not available in Windows XP. minutes. Task Manager. Task Manager. ■■ Networking If your computer is connected to a network.

Click Finish. indicating that it is the local computer. indicating that it is a remote computer named Vista1. 3. Note  Administrative privileges You can add the snap-in for other computers. but you can also add snap-ins to an MMC to create your own tool. your display will look similar to the following graphic. 2. For example. and type MMC in the Search Programs And Files text box. Select Services and click Add. 5. 4. If you expand the Component Services and select COM+ Applications. Click OK. but you will not be able to use it if you do not have administrative privileges on the remote computer. If prompted by User Account Control. click Yes to continue.Microsoft Management Console Key Terms The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a blank console used by many configuration tools. You’ll have a blank MMC open at this point. Microsoft Management Console CHAPTER 13 447 . The center pane shows some component services that are running on this system. Some tools come preconfigured within an MMC. You can also add Services from other computers in your network by selecting another Computer and entering its name. Your Local Computer will be selected. Select MMC. Select Component Services and click Add. Click Start. The second Services snap-in is labeled Vista1. you can use the following steps on a Windows 7 computer to create an MMC for your own use: 1. and select Add/Remove Snap-In. The first Services snap-in is labeled Local. Click the File menu.

On Windows Vista and Windows 7. Table 13-1 Commands to Start Common Snap-Ins Command taskschd.msc eventvwr. many are accessible via the Control Panel in the Administrative Tools category. 7. and click Save. press F1 while an applet is open and the Help page will open. Control Panel The Control Panel is a central location for many common tools that you’ll use to view and manipulate computer settings. you can click Start and type the command into the text box. Click File. View. 448 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems .msc wf.msc secpol. Use to monitor system performance. stop. If there are steps. and type in the command.msc gpedit. Use to view logs. This command does not work on Windows XP. Save As. Table 13-1 shows the command for some common snap-ins. Type in MyConsole as the name. Exam Tip As you go through this chapter. Many snap-ins can be started directly without having to be added as snap-ins in an MMC. go through them more than once. Tools within the Control Panel are mini-programs and are commonly called applets. Use to manipulate advanced settings for firewall. For example. View and manipulate local Group Policy settings. and manipulate services. On Windows XP. Select Desktop. you can click Start. you need to include the . You can follow the steps explicitly and then use them as a guide to explore the applets on your own. I strongly encourage you to start these applets and look at them. View and manipulate security settings for local system. Run.6.msc services. Anytime you want to get more information.msc perfmon. Exam Tip You can use multiple methods to access any of these tools. You can now start this console from the desktop without reconfiguring it.msc extension when using these commands. With few exceptions.msc Snap-in name Task Scheduler Event Viewer Performance Services Local Security Policy Group Policy Editor Advanced Windows Firewall Description Use to schedule tasks. start.

On Windows XP and Windows Vista. If you’re looking for an applet. Figure 13-6 shows the Control Panel in Windows XP on the left and in Windows 7 on the right. type its name or partial name in this box. On Windows XP. and Windows 7 has 45 applets. By default. choose Large Icons or Small Icons to list them individually. everything disappears except for items that have “admin” in the title or description. the applets are grouped together in categories instead of listed individually. On Windows 7. On Windows 7. the view is set to Large Icons. Applets The Control Panel has some differences between versions. That is. If you type administrative tools in the text box. Windows Vista and Windows 7 Control Panels include a useful Search feature (in the upper-right corner in Figure 13-6). For example. The following sections introduce them and describe their purpose. use the Large Icons view in Windows 7. For example. Control Panel applets are displayed in a Category view. everything disappears except for the Administrative Tools group. You don’t need to know the functions of all the applets when preparing for the exam. if you type only admin in the text box. You can modify the view so that the applets are listed individually. some are modified. and use the Classic View in Windows XP and Windows Vista. and others are new. Windows Vista has 49 applets. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 449 . When preparing for the CompTIA A+ exam. choose the Classic View to list the applets individually. you’ll probably use the Search feature to quickly find applets. Figure 13-6  Selecting a View in Control Panel. Exam Tip On the job.Views You can start the Control Panel in any of the Windows Systems by clicking Start and selecting Control Panel. but you should know the ones that are specifically mentioned in the objectives. and items that don’t match the search disappear from the view. You can click Switch To Category View to switch back. the view is set to Classic View. Some of the applets have the same function between versions. Windows XP has 29 applets.

such as “A+ Study Notes. The name is something you give it so that it’s meaningful to you.” showed steps you can use in different operating systems to open it. Note  Full Path In Title Bar Without this selected. the extensions often confuse the users. Showing Hidden files and Extensions on Windows Vista and Windows 7 1. 4.docx” and you double-click it. 3. You can use the steps listed in the following sections. Folder Options A primary tool you’ll use when working with files in Windows is Windows Explorer. you’ll often need to see all the files and the extensions. When you double-click a file to open it. And Drives. Windows recognizes the . Select Show Hidden Files. Chapter 11. and some of these applets are described in this section. Most users don’t need to access these files.” but the extension is needed by the computer. Similarly. Control Panel. “Introducing Windows Operating Systems. It’s also important to know how to manipulate the Folder Options applet to control the views. As a technician.docx. It will open Word and then open the document within Word. if you have a file named “A+ Study Notes. If the file was named “A+ Study Notes.” Windows would open Microsoft Excel when you double-clicked it.docx extension as a Microsoft Word document. Select Display The Full Path In The Title Bar (Classic Theme Only). to make the changes. Hiding them avoids confusing users with files they don’t need to access and prevents them from accidentally manipulating the files. Instead of a user seeing “A+ Study Notes. modify the view to Large Icons or Classic View.Common Applets Several of the applets are common to each version of Windows.” only “A+ Study Notes” appears. so extensions are hidden by default. As a technician. Windows opens the correct application to view the file based on the extension. If necessary. Understanding Extensions Files within Windows have two parts: the name and the extension. the title bar shows a limited view of the path. 2. Showing Hidden Files and Folders and Extensions Many files and folders are hidden by default in different operating systems. on different operating systems. For example. Double-click Folder Options.xlsx. you might need to see the full path. Select Start. 450 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Folders.

Your display will look similar to the following graphic. The one on the left is a normal view. and click Yes to display the files.5. The one on the right shows some of the hidden folders that appear after making the change. Figure 13-7  Windows Explorer with two views in Windows 7. Figure 13-7 shows two views of Windows Explorer opened to a user’s profile on Windows 7. OK will make the change and close the dialog box. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 451 . Deselect Hide Extensions For Known File Types. 6. so I changed the theme to show it. You can select either OK or Apply to make the change. The full path shows in the title bar only with the Classic theme. Deselect Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended). 7. but Apply keeps it open so that you can view or manipulate other settings. Review the warning.

5. 3. Click the View tab. Select Folder Options. Select Start. each version has Internet Options. Deselect Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended). 4. but you can’t find it. Figure 13-8 shows two views of Windows Explorer on Windows XP. 6. 7. Control Panel. Deselect Hide Extensions For Known File Types. If necessary. What would you change to show file extensions in Windows Explorer? Quick Check Answers 1. The one on the right shows some of the hidden files and folders and the extensions of the files that appear after making the change. The one on the left is a normal view.Showing Hidden files and Extensions on Windows XP 1. Change the view in Folder Options. Your display will look similar to the graphic shown in the Windows 7 and Vista steps. Review the warning. 2. 2. and click Yes to approve the change. Figure 13-8  Windows Explorer with two views in Windows XP. Quick Check 1. What should you do? 2. You need to manipulate a hidden file. Click OK. Select Show Hidden Files And Folders. 452 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Select Display The Full Path In The Address Bar. Even though you’ll have different versions of IE on different operating systems. Internet Options Key Terms The Internet Options applet is used to manipulate the settings for Internet Explorer (IE). modify the view to Classic View. Change the view to show hidden files.

Browsing History. there are seven tabs. To reduce risks. You can change some elements on webpages by using the options available here. You can use this section to change the home page or even add multiple home pages. IE keeps a record of sites visited and keeps a temporary copy of files. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Security Tab Unfortunately. Search. Appearance. You can delete the data or use the settings page to modify how much data is retained. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 453 . General Tab This page includes the following settings that you can manipulate: ■■ Home page. which open in separate tabs. As you can see. Figure 13-9  Internet Options in Windows 7. IE uses security zones with varying levels of security. many websites include malicious software (malware). This provides some options to modify how tabs and pop-up windows are used. a drive-by download occurs when you visit a website and it runs active content that downloads and installs malware such as a virus on your system. For example. Tabs. and the General tab is selected.Figure 13-9 shows the Internet Options applet in Windows 7. Use this to modify the default search engine used with the browser. IE opens the URL listed here when it’s started.

you can add it to the Trusted Sites zone so that it runs. Pop-up Blocker. You can turn the pop-up blocker on or off. This zone strikes a balance between security and usability. but the settings prevent the site from running active content that might damage your computer or steal your data. You can still visit a website in this zone. The four security zones are as follows: ■■ Restricted Sites. Internet. To add a site to any zone. you can use several settings on the Privacy tab. and enter the address. Local intranet. If you want to block cookies. Chapter 26. “Recognizing Malware and Other Threats. and steal personal information. Sites that you access in an internal network using non-HTTP addresses. Criminals use a wide variety of methods to infect systems. Administrators can use tools to automatically add sites to the zones. It allows some active content to run but also restricts some active content. click the Sites button. it reads the cookie to identify you or your behaviors. or HTTP addresses without periods (like http://success) are recognized as intranet sites. you can configure the blocking level so that some pop-up windows are allowed or so that they are all blocked. Websites commonly use information in cookies to enhance the user’s experience on the website or to change the advertising based on the user’s activities. Any site that is not in one of the other zones is considered an Internet site. This zone has the most restrictive settings. including the following: ■■ Location. The security settings for this zone are relaxed to allow more content to run. Location is determined by your IP address. Cookies are small text files that a website can store on your system when you visit them. take them over remotely. You can prevent or allow a website from learning your location. if your employer has a website that has content that is blocked normally. ■■ 454 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . but it’s important to always have up-todate antivirus software running on your system. When you return to the site. and you can manually add sites to the zones. You can add sites to this zone that you trust not to damage your computer or information. select the zone. This zone has relaxed security settings so that a website can run more programs.” provides more information about malware and ways to protect systems. Privacy Tab The Privacy tab allows you to configure how cookies are used. When turned on.Important  Keep your antivirus software current Security zones provide a layer of protection. For example. Trusted Sites. ■■ ■■ ■■ There aren’t any sites in any of the zones by default.

This section has ratings that can be used to restrict content based on different categories. such as when you use a credit card to buy something. This can make browsing easier. this setting disables toolbars and add-ons.■■ InPrivate. If you want to delete data that has already been saved. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 455 . but there might be times when you want to delete it. AutoComplete. select the items you want to delete. By default. When enabled. If you click Settings. Content Tab The Content tab includes the following settings that you can use to control what content is displayed and what data is saved after a session: ■■ Parental Controls. click Delete AutoComplete History. you can disable AutoComplete for any of the options. AutoComplete remembers information you’ve typed in previously and can retrieve it to automatically fill in different forms or addresses for you. InPrivate browsing is a feature in IE that prevents any data from a session from being stored. the administrator can enter a password to bypass the restriction and view the content. Figure 13-10 shows the different actions you can take. but you can use this setting to enable them. Content Advisor. Administrators use this section to view and manipulate the certificates. Parents can use this setting to set limits on Internet usage for specific accounts. You can use this to control the schedule for Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds or sites using Web Slices. Not all sites use these features. Certificates. Websites commonly use certificates to encrypt some sessions. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Figure 13-10  AutoComplete and deleting browsing history. Feeds and Web Slices. and click Delete.

Connections Tab The Connections tab shows Dial-up and Virtual Private Network (VPN) Settings that exist on your computer. you can set it here. Chapter 22. They are valuable to know as a PC technician and as a regular user. This setting is used by webpage developers. Internet programs. For example. you can select the settings in the Multimedia section. If not. IE checks to see whether it is the default browser when it starts. Figure 13-11 shows this page opened to the Multimedia and Security sections. You can use the Local Area Network (LAN) settings to configure how IE connects to the Internet through your network. including dial-up and VPN connections. Check the settings on your computer. and you can use this area to enable or disable them. search providers. which you can use to link applications to specific files. It includes toolbars. Default Programs is discussed in the next section. HTML editing. If you have installed another web browser but want to set IE as the default. You should do this only if you are confident the CD does not contain malicious software. You can set the default tool used to edit Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) files from this page if desired. Many training CDs have active content that is blocked. “Network Security Devices. you can get it to run. You can change this behavior here. but by clearing this check box. Programs Tab The Programs tab includes the following sections: ■■ Default web browser. An item you might need to adjust is the setting that allows active content to run from a CD. Add-ons can sometimes slow IE down. Manage add-ons. 456 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . By default. and you can configure when to use these connections. “Connecting and Troubleshooting a Network” Chapter 24 includes steps to establish networking connections. and other tools.” covers how to configure the LAN settings to use a proxy server. if you want to stop animations or sound from playing within webpages when you visit. ■■ ■■ ■■ Advanced Tab The Advanced tab includes several low-level settings that you can manipulate for specific purposes. it prompts you to set it as the default browser. This page also includes several security settings. This link brings you to Default Programs. More Info  Chapter 24.Exam Tip You should know how to manipulate all of the AutoComplete settings. An add-on is additional software that can work with IE.

This is the same applet that starts from the Set Programs button in IE. Select any extension in the list. you can use the Default Programs applet to restore the correct setting. you can access Default Programs with the following steps: 1. On Windows 7. Default Programs Extensions were mentioned earlier in this chapter. as shown in the following graphic. In the graphic.docx extension starts Microsoft Word. If a user has made changes to the Advanced settings and you want to return to the original settings. and select Control Panel. For example. It might take a moment for the list of extensions to display. 2. 4. You might want to look at what extensions are registered with your system. If this is changed. It also removes or disables any toolbars or add-ons. you can use the Reset button. Click Start. the . 3. . You’ll see a description and the current default program associated with the extension.Figure 13-11  Resetting Internet Explorer settings. Select Associate A File Type Or Protocol With A Program. Select Default Programs from the Large Icons list. Notice that you can choose to save or delete your personal settings before resetting IE. you can click the Restore Advanced Settings button.mp3 is selected and the Windows Media Player is the default program. If IE is having serious problems. and you can do so from the Default Programs applet within the Control Panel. This restores all of the IE settings to their original settings. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 457 . including what they’re used for and how to hide them.

What would you manipulate to show file extensions? Quick Check Answers 1. This applet is used to manipulate network interface cards or to set up new network connections.” covers updates. Network Connections. Automatic Updates. or disable Automatic Updates.You can change the default program from this applet if desired. 2. so this isn’t needed to install an application. ■■ ■■ 458 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . “Configuring Windows Operating Systems.msi) files. What view should you select to view all the Control Panel applets in Windows 7? 2. You can enable. Windows Vista and Windows 7 include the Network And Sharing Center. However. Networking topics are covered in Chapters 18–24. Quick Check 1. It is replaced with Programs And Features in Windows Vista and Windows 7. It is replaced with Windows Update in Windows Vista and Windows 7. configure. Applets Unique to Windows XP You’ll find the following applets only in Windows XP: ■■ Add/Remove Programs. Users can use this to add and remove programs or components on their computer. which provides many tools to configure networking. so you normally don’t need to modify them. Large Icons (or Small Icons). applications do this automatically. Many programs are installed with Microsoft Installer (. Folder Options. The exception is when software modifies the extensions without your knowledge or permission. Chapter 15.

this feature checks with a Microsoft site to see whether the problem is known and whether a solution is available.” provides more information about offline files. Use this to configure settings when Vista is running on a tablet. It’s used only on mobile devices. “Understanding Disks and File Systems. Use this applet to create and join a homegroup. and selecting Tablet PC. Homegroups are covered in Chapter 24. Printers And Faxes. Action Center. such as tablets. Sync Center). It can also be used to configure handwriting recognition. Offline Files. the user can keep a copy of shared files stored on the server locally. This applet allows you to configure how different pen actions (such as a single tap or double-tap) are interpreted and whether the system provides visual feedback. Accessories. Clicking on the solution provides steps that a user can take to resolve a problem. ■■ Control Panel CHAPTER 13 459 . It is replaced with the Printers applet in Windows Vista and p with the Devices And Printers applet in Windows 7. ■■ Applets Unique to Windows Vista The following applets are available only in Windows Vista: ■■ Tablet PC Settings. Chapter 16. Pen And Input Devices. This is similar to the Printers and Faxes applet in Windows XP and the Devices and Printers applet in Windows 7.■■ Network Setup Wizard. A similar wizard is available through the Network And Sharing Center in Windows Vista and Windows 7. If you click Set Up A Home Or Small Office Network. Users can access offline files even when they are disconnected from the network. it adds a flag in the notification area of Windows (at the bottom right). When enabled on a server hosting files and the user’s computer. This applet is used to manually add printers or manipulate ­ rinters and their drivers. The Offline Files feature is accessible via the Folder Options tool in Windows XP and via the Sync Center in Windows 7 (by clicking Start. All Programs. When the Action Center has an alert. All Programs. This wizard is available from the Network Connections applet. it starts the wizard. You can access a Tablet PC menu on Windows 7 by clicking Start. It includes the same features but also includes additional alerts and notifications for other issues. Problem Reports And Solutions. A similar feature is available in the Windows 7 Action Center. When a system problem is detected. Accessories. Printers. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Applets Unique to Windows 7 The following applets are available only in Windows 7: ■■ HomeGroup. The Action Center replaces the Security Center (mentioned in the next section) used in Windows XP and Windows Vista.

It’s available in Windows XP as part of Computer Management but not via the Control Panel. “Working with Laptops. It’s very valuable for laptops when they are on battery power but can be used for desktops too.” covers the Power Options applet. “Understanding IT Security. Power Options. Chapter 22 covers the Windows Firewall in more depth. The Windows Firewall helps protect a system by filtering traffic going in or out of the system. Chapter 22 covers the Security Center. User Accounts. Security Center. which is in each of the operating systems. For example. This feature provides users with a quick link to any remote programs or desktops if they are configured on their computer. This tool allows you to control power settings. These must first be published by a network administrator. The Security Center monitors key security settings on a computer and provides notifications to users if a setting is making their computer less secure. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 460 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . You can use this applet to manipulate settings for the display. Chapter 6. Device Manager is covered in Chapter 15. It’s available via the Control Panel in Windows Vista and Windows 7. and each of the operating systems includes it in the Control Panel. and improving power usage. ■■ Other Applets If you’ve clicked through the Control Panel applets. It’s available in Windows XP and Windows Vista.” shows how to configure the resolution with this applet. such as the resolution. you probably recognize they weren’t all covered in this chapter. Many additional applets are covered in other chapters. It was introduced in Windows XP. It’s available in each operating system via the Control Panel but works a little differently in each one. “Exploring Video and Display Devices. if a system doesn’t have a firewall enabled. Windows 7 has the same features but includes them within the Action Center. troubleshooting audio problems. Display. it includes links for Program Compatibility. Windows Firewall. Chapter 8. For example. You can add user accounts and manipulate their properties with this applet. Troubleshooting. the user will be periodically reminded of the risks. including the following: ■■ Device Manager. Chapter 25.” covers User Accounts. Use this applet to manage devices and device drivers. such as the behavior of the power button or when a computer will sleep or hibernate.■■ Remote Applications And Desktop Applications. This applet provides a central location for several other applets that you can use to troubleshoot problems.

Quick Check 1. and if you don’t have administrative privileges. Component Services is not available in Administrative Tools but is still available on the computer. Control Panel. you’ll probably remember opening the Fonts applet in the Control Panel. If you’re asked a question about one of these obscure applets. Administrative Tools CHAPTER 13 461 . The available tools are slightly different in different versions of Windows. Administrative Tools Key Terms Administrative Tools is a group of tools within Control Panel used by advanced users and administrators. you’ll at least know where it is.Exam TIP This section has not covered all the applets in Windows 7. in Windows Vista. 2. On Windows Vista and Windows 7. To access Administrative Tools in any system. Windows 7. What operating system(s) includes the HomeGroup applet? 2. For example. you won’t be able to use the tool. but I strongly recommend you simply go through each one and open it. Exam Tip Many of these tools require you to have administrative privileges on the system. Windows XP and Windows Vista. you might be challenged by User Account Control for different applets. Computer Management Key Terms The Computer Management tool is a valuable tool within the Administrative Tools folder that includes multiple snap-ins. For example. What operating system(s) includes the Security Center? Quick Check Answers 1. The following sections describe many of the common Administrative Tools. click Start. Figure 13-12 shows Computer Management on a Windows 7­ –­ based computer. if you’ve opened them all and someone asks you where they can find a list of fonts. change the display to list applets individually. Windows 7 uses the Action Center. and select Administrative Tools.

Task Scheduler is available in both Windows Vista and Windows 7 from within Administrative Tools. Local Users and Groups is covered in Chapter 25. More Info  Where to find information about other administrative tools Shares and share permissions are covered in Chapters 16 and 25. Other tools are covered individually in other chapters. Task Scheduler Key Terms You can use the Task Scheduler tool to schedule tasks to automatically run. In Figure 13-12. but not the Task Scheduler as part of Administrative Tools. Storage. Device Manager is covered in Chapter 15. Disk Management is covered in Chapter 16. Exam Tip Windows XP included Scheduled Tasks within the Control Panel. Windows includes many preconfigured tasks. The following sections describe some of the tools. If you open Task Scheduler. 462 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . which is preconfigured to run at 1:00 AM every Wednesday. and Services And Applications. Figure 13-13 shows the Task Scheduler opened to the Defrag task. you can view existing tasks or create your own.Figure 13-12  Computer Management. you can see that the tools are organized in three sections: System Tools.

expand Reports. double-click Data Collector Sets to expand it. change the view to Large Icons. Click Start and select Control Panel. You can quickly run a check on your system and view a comprehensive report by using the following steps on Windows 7. Settings. 3. Double-click Performance Monitor. These settings allow you to fine-tune the behavior of the task. This shows details about when the task has run. and network. 1. Conditions. This identifies when the task runs and is normally based on a day and time. When it stops. The Task Manager gives you a snapshot of the performance of your system. such as running only when the computer is using AC power (not on battery power). Right-click System and select Start. Administrative Tools CHAPTER 13 463 . For example.Figure 13-13  Task Scheduler. 6. Performance monitors four primary resources: processor. Double-click System. If necessary. Actions. including the following: ■■ ■■ ■■ Triggers. 4. History. You can set conditions. If necessary. disk. Select Administrative Tools. memory. and System Performance. 5. ■■ ■■ Performance Key Terms Performance (also called Performance Monitor) is an extension of the Task Manager. you can select it to run as soon as possible if a schedule start is missed. It will run for one minute and then stop. but Performance provides many more details. This tool was enhanced in Windows Vista and Windows 7 by adding Data Collector sets. Tasks have several configurable properties. 2. System. This identifies the task that will run.

If the print spooler stops sending print jobs to your printer. You can scroll up and down to view more of the report. a service starts without user intervention. and many services will start automatically when the system starts. Services Key Terms The Services applet is an important tool that you can use to stop. Figure 13-14 shows the Services applet with the Windows Defender service selected and its property page opened. Additionally. and you can click the arrows in the headers to expand or collapse different sections.7. You can also right-click the service to manipulate it or to select Properties. you can expand the report to get more details. As a reminder. options appear on the left to stop. The center pane shows a small portion of the report. Chapter 7 covers printers and introduces a common reason why you might need to go into the Services applet. A common solution is to restart the Print Spooler service. print jobs will back up. and configure services. Select the report you just ran. depending on its current state. Key items to look for that can indicate problems are high CPU utilization and high memory utilization. Your display will resemble the following graphic. When you select any service. start. The left pane of the graphic highlights the System Performance Data Collector set and the System Performance report. 464 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . If any items are high. a short description appears. start. or restart the service.

If a service fails to start. This option is available only in Windows Vista and Windows 7. but in some cases components need to be manually added or configured. ■■ ■■ Some services will run only if another service is running. When it is created as a COM object. This is most common when an application is created by in-house developers. If required.Figure 13-14  Services applet. Exam Tip If you’re seeing messages in Event Viewer logs indicating that a service cannot start. That is. The service cannot start. For example. Manual. Component Services Many developers use the Component Object Model (COM) as a standard for reusable code. Administrative Tools CHAPTER 13 465 . Disabled. it can be used by multiple applications. developers will provide specific directions about how to add or configure the component. Verify that it is enabled and that the services it depends on are also enabled. The service starts when an application sends it a start signal or when a user manually starts it. It isn’t common. it could be due to a problem with a dependent service. This is referred to as a dependency. they code something once and reuse the code in other applications. The delay allows Windows to start more quickly. The service starts a short time after Windows has started. You can click the Dependencies tab to view a list of dependent services. The service starts when Windows starts. Automatic (Delayed Start). go into the Services applet and examine it. a developer could create code to determine the square root of a number. The Properties page allows you to configure how the service will start by using the following four options: ■■ ■■ Automatic.

including steps to start it and how to view the results in the Event Viewer. Print Management. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 466 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . The Windows Firewall helps protect a system from malicious traffic. Data Sources Many applications use databases to provide dynamic data to users. Windows Vista. It’s available in Windows Vista and Windows 7 but not Windows XP. Most applications using a database will automatically connect to it. add additional data. Windows Memory Diagnostic. The application typically allows users to choose what data they want. and it’s used to manage multiple shared printers. Type the command in the text box after clicking Start. System Configuration. Chapter 3.Note  Windows Vista Component Services Component Services is available in Administrative Tools in Windows XP and Windows 7. Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. Chapter 7 covers this tool. Other Administrative Tools The following Administrative Tools are covered in other chapters: ■■ Local Security Policy. you can use the Windows Memory Diagnostic to test it. “Troubleshooting Windows Operating Systems. You can add it as a snap-in in an MMC. Chapters 15 and 17.” cover it. and modify existing data. Windows 7. This provides several settings administrators commonly use to lock down security for a computer. It is not available in Windows Vista. “Understanding RAM and CPUs. If you suspect memory problems. and Windows Server products include this tool. The System Configuration tool (commonly referred to as msconfig) is a valuable tool that you can use to help identify problems that can prevent Windows from starting correctly. or you can start it with the comexp. Chapter 22 covers this tool in more depth. but occasionally you might be required to manually add the connection.” and Chapter 17 cover this tool. Chapter 25 discusses the Local Security Policy. You would use the Data Sources (ODBC) applet and follow the directions provided by the application developer. For the application to use the data.msc command. and this tool provides additional capabilities to the Firewall. it must connect to the database.

Action Center. You can use the Applications tab to kill applications that are not responding. Privacy. Remote Applications And Desktop Applications. What tool would you use to restart the print spooler? Quick Check Answers 1. Windows 7 lists the applets individually using Large Icons or Small Icons. Internet Options is an applet used to control many options in IE. and Troubleshooting. by restarting the Print Spooler service. You can use it to show or hide hidden files and folders and to show or hide file extensions. What are the three groups of tools in Computer Management on Windows 7? 2. and you can add snap-ins based on your needs. and the Services tab shows the status of all services. and Advanced. It includes seven tabs: General. System. A Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is an empty console. Services And Applications. Automatic Updates. Applets common to Windows XP. Network Connections. Services. Offline Files. such as HomeGroup. Use the Performance tab to see a snapshot of the system’s performance displayed in graphs. Problem Reports And Solutions. Programs. Some applets are included only in Windows XP. User Accounts. Windows 7 includes some unique applets. such as Tablet PC Settings. and Printers. Windows Vista. and Services. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 13 467 . Many tools are available with snap-ins already added to the MMC. Windows XP and Windows Vista list the applets individually. Chapter Summary ■■ The Task Manager includes several tabs. Connections. Security. Display. Pen And Input Devices. It includes several tools. System Tools. You need administrative privileges to use these tools. such as Add/Remove Programs. Internet Options.Quick Check 1. The Processes tab shows which processes are consuming the CPU’s time. including Computer Management. Performance. and Power Options. Some applets are unique to Windows Vista. using the Classic View. The Administrative Tools group is accessible from the Control Panel. Content. 2. and Windows 7 include Folder Options. Folder Options is an applet used to control views in Windows Explorer. Printers And Faxes. and the Network Setup Wizard. Storage. Windows Firewall. Task Scheduler. The Control Panel includes several mini-programs called applets.

How can you restart it? A. and you need to access a folder in Windows Explorer. C. D. You’re working on a Windows 7–based system. are located in the “Answers” section at the end of this chapter. 1. and the explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect. Use the Applications tab of Task Manager. C. Change the View to Large Icons. Users tab of Task Manager. 4. D. Use the Default Programs applet to modify the view. D. Use the Task Scheduler. Use Folder Options to show extensions. You can’t find the folder. 3. The Performance tab of the Task Manager.Chapter Review Use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in this chapter. B. Use the Programs tab of Internet Options. Use the Services applet. 468 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Use Folder Options to show hidden files and folders. and you suspect it’s hidden. D. The answers to these questions. B. C. Performance tab of Task Manager. What would you use to end a program that is not responding? A. A printer is no longer printing print jobs. 2. The Services applet. The System applet. Services tab of Task Manager. Application tab of Task Manager. What can you use to identify what is consuming most of the CPU’s processing power? A. B. and you suspect a problem with the print spooler. What should you do? A. B. The Processes tab of the Task Manager. C.

B. A user regularly accesses websites by using Internet Explorer. Chapter Review CHAPTER 13 469 . How can this be accomplished? A. D. D.5. Which of the following tools is in the Administrative Tools group on Windows 7? (Choose all that apply. Use the Security tab of Internet Options. C.) A. B. Action Center. C. Computer Management. Event Viewer. 6. Use the Privacy tab of Internet Options. Use the Programs tab of Internet Options. The user entered pass- words in website forms and wants to remove them from the computer. Use the Content tab of Internet Options. HomeGroup.

3. such as its name and the hardware. B. D. start. 470 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Incorrect: The Performance tab of the Task Manager provides graphs to show the computer performance. 4. Incorrect: Internet Options is used to manipulate settings for Internet Explorer. Correct Answer: A A. Correct: The Folder Options applet includes settings to show hidden files and folders. Incorrect: The Services applet is used to stop. D. Correct: The Processes tab includes a CPU column that shows the percentage of CPU time each process is taking. Incorrect: The System applet shows information about the system. Correct Answer: C A. Incorrect: Showing extensions will not show hidden files. C. Incorrect: The Services tab shows the status of services. Incorrect: The Default Programs applet associates applications with file types. Incorrect: The Users tab shows what users are logged on to a system but cannot be used to stop an application. C. Correct Answer: C A. Correct Answer: D A. Incorrect: The Performance tab provides a graph to show current performance. Incorrect: Task Scheduler is used to schedule tasks. B. D. Correct: You can restart the Print Spooler service from the Services applet. B. so you can’t manipulate it from the Applications tab. D. 2. Incorrect: The Large Icons view is in Control Panel. B.Answers 1. C. Correct: You can select an application in this tab and click End Task. C. and manipulate services. Incorrect: The Print Spooler is not an application. not to end or restart services.

Incorrect: The Security tab is used to configure security zones. can be deleted from the AutoComplete Settings on the Content tab of Internet Options. Correct: Computer Management is in this group. including stored passwords. B. Correct Answer: B A. Incorrect: The Action Center is in the Control Panel on Windows 7 but not in the Administrative Tools group. C. B. Incorrect: The Privacy tab is primarily used to configure how cookies can be used. Correct: Event Viewer is in this group. Correct Answer: B. Incorrect: The Programs tab is used to configure default programs for web applications. This can also be done from the Browsing History settings on the General tab.5. 6. C A. C. Correct: Browsing history. D. Answers CHAPTER 13 471 . Incorrect: HomeGroup is in the Control Panel on Windows 7 but not in the Administrative Tools group. D.


■■ Networking ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ PING TRACERT NETSTAT IPCONFIG NET NSLOOKUP NBTSTAT KILL BOOTREC SHUTDOWN TLIST MD RD CD DEL ■■ OS ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 473 . Many end users can get by without ever using the command prompt. You’ll need to enter the appropriate commands to answer the question correctly. it provides a wealth of tools for technicians and administrators and is extremely valuable.CHAPTER 1 4 Using the Command Prompt T he command prompt provides technicians with another way to accomplish tasks.3 Given a scenario. When you’re taking the live exams. Instead of an answer consisting of multiple choices. you might see a command prompt. However. 220-802 Exam objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. use appropriate command line tools. don’t be surprised if you come across a performance-based question that requires you to use the command prompt.

■■ Run line utilities ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ MSCONFIG REGEDIT CMD SERVICES. use appropriate operating system features and tools.MSC MMC MSTSC NOTEPAD EXPLORER MSINFO32 DXDIAG ■■ 4.4 Given a scenario. troubleshoot hard drives and RAID arrays with appropriate tools.■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ FDISK FORMAT DISKPART CHKDSK COPY XCOPY ROBOCOPY SFC [command name] /? 1. troubleshoot operating system problems with appropriate tools.3 Given a scenario.6 Given a scenario. ■■ Tools ■■ Sfc 474 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . ■■ Tools ■■ ■■ ■■ CHKDSK FORMAT FDISK ■■ 4.

aspx. you must first launch the command prompt. This chapter isn’t intended to make you an expert. Before you can start entering command prompt commands. If you want to view more details about any command prompt commands. Windows Vista. you can type command in the Search text box and select Command Prompt. but much of the same functionality of MS-DOS is built into the command prompt. and you’ve created a script. type in cmd. all commands were typed at the command line. What’s this have to do with the command prompt? Scripting starts here. If you can enter a command at the prompt. you’ll see how much you can accomplish. You can start it on Windows XP. You might not become an IT rock star overnight. and they make you look like an IT rock star. check out this link: http://technet. All Programs. Note  CLI The command prompt is sometimes called the command-line interface (CLI ). “The difference between a good administrator and a great administrator is the ability to script. Starting the Command Prompt Key Terms The command prompt originated from the older Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). The “Using Notepad to Create a Batch File” section in this chapter walks you through the steps to create a batch file. and selecting Command Prompt. On Windows XP. you’ll probably learn a lot more. you can click Start. Simple scripts are just a string of command prompt commands inserted into a batch file. Windows has come a long way since the old MS-DOS days. Before There’s a lot of depth to the command prompt that isn’t apparent at first. On Windows Vista and Windows 7. as you dig into the commands. but if you can do some basics with the command prompt.” Scripts allow you to automate tasks and complete complex tasks quickly. Run. or Windows 7 by clicking Start. and press Enter. As your IT career progresses. but it will give you enough to get around and pass the related questions on the A+ exams.Real World  Become a great administrator A sentence many students hear me say in the classroom is. you can copy it and save it as a batch file. you’ll find it’s a short leap to create scripts. Starting the Command Prompt CHAPTER 14 475 . However.

permissions in other applications are not affected. After the Command Prompt window opens. However. 476 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . You type in a command. you might enter a command and see one of the following errors: ■■ ■■ Access is denied The requested operation requires elevation These errors indicate that the command needs to be executed with administrative privileges. you can start entering commands. you might have a simulation where you have to perform a task. instead of just multiple choice questions. Take the time to start the command prompt and enter all of the commands in this chapter. Access Denied Errors Occasionally. You’ll see a blinking cursor after the >. prompting you to enter a command. Note  Administrative privileges If you start a command prompt with administrative privileges.Figure 14-1 shows the basic Command Prompt window in Windows 7. If you start the command prompt with administrative privileges. The text preceding the greater-than character (>) is called the command prompt. For example. or sometimes just the prompt. and you’ll have a better chance at getting these performance-based questions correct. Exam Tip CompTIA has indicated that the 220-801 and 220-802 A+ exams will have performancebased questions. That is. all commands entered within the prompt have administrative privileges. The command prompt environment is a good candidate for these types of questions. For example. press the Enter key. the command will execute without the error. and the command is executed. you‘ll need to start the command prompt with administrative privileges. you can type ipconfig at the Command Prompt window and press Enter to view Internet Protocol (IP) configuration information for your system. Figure 14-1  Command Prompt window on Windows 7.

Figure 14-3  Command Prompt with administrative privileges. ­ Figure 14-2  Launching the command prompt with administrative privileges. right-click Command Prompt and select Run As Administrator as shown in Figure 14-2. You can see that the title bar is labeled Administrator: Command Prompt instead of w just Command Prompt. Starting the Command Prompt CHAPTER 14 477 . and enter the credentials for an administrator account. On Windows XP. select Run As. Figure 14-3 shows the differences you‘ll see in the administrative Command Prompt ­ indow. click Yes to continue. The next section identifies some of the other differences. If prompted by User Account Control (UAC).Starting with Administrative Privileges On Windows Vista or Windows 7. right-click Command Prompt.

it creates a shortcut in your user profile that points to the C:\Windows\system32\cmd. in Figure 14-1.­ exe application runs. or folder. and select Properties. the path is C:\Users\Darril. This identifies the path. type in command. Quick Check 1. and selecting cmd. What should you do? 2. Figure 14-4 shows this same path from Windows Explorer.exe application. it will start the cmd. Another way of starting the command prompt in Windows Vista and Windows 7 is by clicking Start. and the current directory. What is the name of the program that runs the command prompt? Quick Check Answers 1. Cmd. and you’ll see C:\Windows \system32\cmd. you‘ll see the properties of the cmd. you see an error indicating that the operation requires elevation. but the shortcut creates a slightly different environment.exe. 2.exe application. The system will use this as the default path for any commands that you execute.exe. In contrast.exe program directly. Understanding Paths You might have noticed that the > prompt includes some other information. 478 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . This shows all the properties of the shortcut. right-click Command Prompt. Cmd The application that runs the command prompt is cmd. Start the command prompt with administrative privileges. which is the current disk drive. In contrast. There are fewer property options for the application than for the shortcut. the previous instructions said to type in ­ command and select Command Prompt.exe in the title bar of the window. There are some subtle differences. it lists the contents of the current path. and select Properties. if you enter the dir command to list the contents of the directory. right-click cmd. Click Start. if you click Start. If you use command. For example. For example. If you use cmd. After running a command.Command Prompt vs. typing cmd in the search text box. The same cmd­ ­ . with Command Prompt in the title bar. type in cmd.

Note  Folders vs. In other words. If you run a command that is not included in the current directory. Default Paths In addition to the current path you see from the command prompt. the system will search through these other paths for the command. For example. These folders are the exact same folders you see from the command prompt. but when using the command prompt. the system will first look in the current path (such as C:\Users\Darril) for ipconfig. so this actually includes the following paths: C:\Windows\system32 C:\Windows C:\Windows\System32\Wbem C:\Windows\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1. You can view the known paths for your system by typing at the prompt and pressing Enter. You’ll see something like this: PATH=C:\Windows\system32.C:\Windows\System32\ WindowsPowerShell\v1.C:\Windows. directories You‘ll commonly hear the term folders to refer to the folders in Windows Explorer. you‘ll often hear the term directories. Figure 14-4  Windows Explorer folders.0\ Understanding Paths CHAPTER 14 479 . If it can’t find the command. it searches through other known paths. folders and directories are the same thing.C:\Windows\System32\Wbem.0\ Each path is separated by a semicolon. the system also knows about other paths. if you enter the ipconfig command.

ipconfig. The cmd. Understanding Extensions In the early days of MS-DOS. When the batch file is executed. . it will start the DirectX tool. An external command is a command that is executed from an external file. . Executable program. . Batch file.exe program is located in C:\Windows\system32. so it will be run from that location. if you incorrectly enter ipconfig as ipnfig.In this example. An executable program is any file that includes one of the following extensions: .wsh. if someone sends you a file with .doc extension. For example.exe. Programs. . the ipconfig command will run the ipconfig. Similarly. and .vbs.exe program located in the C:\Windows\system32 folder. you’ll see this: 'ipnfig' is not recognized as an internal or external command.exe.exe program. and the operating system associates many extensions with specific applications. if someone emails you a file with . It tells the operating system what type of file it is. The major difference in this context is that external commands are considered those that have been around since the days of MS-DOS. all of the commands are executed. . With this in mind. For example.exe program includes many built-in commands. and Batch Files If you enter a valid command at the prompt. it will give an error.exe includes eight letters (ipconfig). the file will open Microsoft Excel with the Excel spreadsheet showing. it will run. . . 480 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . a dot.jse.bat extension and is a grouping of one or more commands in a text file.msc. For example. the copy command is a core command and doesn’t require an external application. Commands. you can double-click it and it will open Microsoft Word with the document showing. External command. . If the system can’t locate the command in the current path or in any of the known paths. For example.wsf. ■■ ■■ ■■ Note  External commands and executable programs An external command could also be considered an executable program because it usually has an extension of .exe is the program name for the DirectX Diagnostic Tool. you might be asking yourself. all files were named with an eight-dot-three format.js. “What is a valid command?” It can be one of the following: ■■ Internal command. It’s not built into the cmd. and a three-letter extension (.vbe. A batch file uses the . For example. If you enter dxdiag at the prompt. For example. The extension is especially important. operable program or batch file.xls extension. the ipconfig.exe).

they are the same. and extension to 260 characters. Command Prompt Basics CHAPTER 14 481 . For example.Note  The assoc command You can look at the known extension associations by entering assoc at the command prompt. If you double-click this file. You can view the applications that will start for specific extensions by entering ftype. Command Prompt Basics There are some basic rules and guidelines that are important to understand when using the command prompt. It might not be apparent right away.xlsx. consider an Excel file stored in the C:\Data folder. but this is for state taxes for the first quarter of 1995. on Windows Vista and Windows 7.xlsx . Nothing. and State Taxes First Quarter 2012. File names and extensions can now be longer. they often had to be creative when naming files. the same accountant might name a file State Taxes First Quarter 2012. it starts Microsoft Excel 2010 with the file showing. The following sections cover basics from using uppercase and lowercase letters to using wildcards. type assoc in the Search box. an accountant might name a spreadsheet file stax1Q95. What is the difference between a folder and a directory? 2. especially when a user is trying to copy them. the more advanced topics are much easier to understand. 2. For example.xls. By entering the path command and the command prompt. allowing you to name a file just about whatever you want. When users were restricted to using only eight characters for the name. file name. How can you identify paths known to your system? Quick Check Answers 1.xlsx is 35 characters). The full name is C:\data \State Taxes First Quarter 2012. This is 43 characters (C:\Data is 8 characters. Exceptionally long paths that cause the file to exceed the 260-character limit sometimes cause problems. Alternately. Windows Vista and Windows 7 limit the full path. Quick Check 1. For example. When you've grasped the basics. Windows is no longer restricted to the eight-dot-three format. and select Change The File Type Associated With A File Extension to see the known extensions and associated applications. start the Control Panel.

The command with the switch appended is ipconfig /all. That is. Different commands support different switches.Case Sensitivity For most commands entered within the command prompt. documentation usually provides emphasis if the case matters. you can append it with the /all switch to get detailed information on the IP configuration. instead of the slash (/). However. enter the command with /? to retrieve help on it. but they are rare. You can use all uppercase. The following two commands show how to get help on the chkdsk command: chkdsk /? help chkdsk 482 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . I’ll stress its importance. or a mixture. Note  Dashes and slashes Many commands also support the use of the dash (-) as a switch. You can type in help followed by the command. It’s best to use a space before all switches because this will work consistently. the best thing to do is ask the system for help. If you don’t know the valid switches for a command. ipconfig/all works the same as ipconfig /all. Just because the /all switch works with ipconfig. If you can’t remember the exact syntax of the command. Similarly. Where the case matters for any commands in this book. For example. the ipconfig command provides basic information on a computer’s IP configuration. For example. some commands will work without a switch. you can’t expect it to work with the xcopy command (as xcopy /all). A switch is appended to the end of the command with a forward slash (/). all lowercase. the following three commands work exactly the same: ■■ ■■ ■■ ipconfig IPCONFIG IPConfig There are some exceptions where you must enter the command using specific uppercase or lowercase letters. Understanding Switches Most commands can be modified by using a switch. Getting Help You can get help for almost all command prompt commands by appending the command with the help switch (/?). For example. However. you can use ipconfig -all and it will work the same as ipconfig /all. it doesn’t matter what case you use when you enter them. Some commands also support the use of the help command. The switch should be preceded with a space.

txt Study backup. However. Exam tip When you can’t remember the syntax of a command.txt: copy study. so it will return an error indicating that it can’t find the specified file. The following command is a little better. Command Prompt Basics CHAPTER 14 483 . use the /? switch to get help.txt as the destination file because there is a space between study.txt" Study backup.txt backup. For example. so it gives an error indicating the syntax of the command is incorrect. What if the study.txt" Notice that both the source file name and the destination file name include spaces. consider the copy command. file names can have spaces. This will show the syntax and all of the options that you can use with the command. For example. if you enter help ipconfig.txt file was named A Plus Study Notes. the help command isn’t as universal as the /? switch.You can use these two commands for most commands by just substituting chkdsk with the name of the command. The syntax is as follows: copy sourceFile destinationFile You could enter the following command to create a copy of the study.txt In this case.txt It would see “A” as the name of the source file. but it will still fail: copy "A Plus Study Notes. However.txt. However.txt as two separate elements. the system will instead prompt you to enter ipconfig /?. it interprets everything within the quotes as the name of source file (A Plus Study Notes.txt). The correct command is: copy "A Plus Study Notes. you probably won’t have a file named A.txt file and name the file copy backup. It’s expecting only one destination file.txt" "Study backup.txt and backup. However. so they are both enclosed with quotes.txt) as the source file.txt? If you tried the following command.txt The command is copy and it recognizes the name after the space (study. it wouldn’t work: copy A Plus Study Notes. it then sees Study and backup. Using Quotes with Spaces The command prompt interprets spaces as the next part of a command. It also recognizes backup.

It can be a huge timesaver. It might be that you’re using invalid switches. the system will give you an error indicating that it can’t locate the program ipcnfig. certain characters aren’t recognized. For example. You don’t need to type it in from scratch every time. Often. or not using quotes correctly. Launch a command prompt. but using them is a good habit to get into. Table 14-1  Recalling Commands in History Key Up Arrow Down Arrow Page Up Page Down Esc Comments Retrieves the previous command in the history list Retrieves the next command in the history list Retrieves the first command in the history list Retrieves the last command in the history list Clears the current command I strongly encourage you to play around with this. In some cases. This is very useful if you need to reenter a command. Recalling Commands The command prompt keeps a history of all the commands you’ve entered in the current session. Table 14-1 shows keys you can use to recall information in the command prompt history. However. you’ll see an error like the following: The syntax of the command is incorrect. 484 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . missing a space. and then use these keys to see how they work. With this in mind. you can find the problem by looking at the command one character at a time. but enclosing the command in quotes resolves the problem. but it can’t recognize the other parts of the command. you must type in the commands with the correct spelling. that day isn’t here yet. Beware of Typos There might come a day when computers will do what we want them to do instead of what we ask them to do. Sometimes. one of the first things you should do is double-check the spelling. if you mean to enter ipconfig but enter ipcnfig instead (with the “o” missing). When you see an error. enter a few commands. This indicates that your computer understands the command name.Note  Using quotes Quotes aren’t always needed.

2. Note that you don’t have to move your cursor to the end of the line to run the command. 4. This retrieves the last command.You can also use a few other keys to move the cursor around after you’ve retrieved a command. Press the up arrow. Instead. Table 14-2  Using Keys to Move the Cursor Key Home End Left arrow Right arrow Comments Moves the cursor to the beginning of the command Moves the cursor to the end of the command Moves the cursor to the left one space Moves the cursor to the right one space For example. Copying and pasting in the command prompt is easiest if you enable QuickEdit mode. imagine that you entered the following command and the system complained with a syntax error: copy "a+ study notes. 2. 3. Type in the quote (“). Copying and Pasting You can also copy and paste data to and from the command prompt. but it is possible to copy and paste data into the command prompt. Launch the command prompt. You could type it in from scratch. but it won’t work in the Command Prompt window. Use the following steps to enable QuickEdit mode. Table 14-2 shows some of these keys. and then copy and paste data to and from the Command Prompt window: 1. Press Enter. You need to use the arrows to move the cursor’s position. Note  Mouse does not change cursor position It’s common to try to reposition the cursor with the mouse. you could do the following: 1. you realize you forgot the quote (“) before Study. but you might actually end up with another typo. Press the left arrow until your cursor is before the S in Study. Command Prompt Basics CHAPTER 14 485 .txt" study backup.txt" After looking at it. It doesn’t work with the typical Ctrl+C to copy or Ctrl+V to paste. Right-click the title bar and select Properties. This can also save you some time.

This will open an instance of the Notepad editor. Click OK. 6. 486 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . The text you copied from Notepad is pasted into the window. Click in the upper left of the Command Prompt window and drag the mouse to the bottom right. 9. 10. 5.3. Layout. Press Ctrl+A to select the text you typed. Right-click within the Command Prompt window. and Colors tab. Your display will look similar to the following graphic. Release the mouse when you’ve completed the selection. but don’t press the Enter key. Select the Command Prompt window. Type notepad and press Enter. Use the mouse to select the text displayed in the Command Prompt window. 8. Many users like to manipulate the Colors tab for personal preferences. Press Enter to run the command. Note  Personal preferences You can manipulate the appearance of the Command Prompt window by selecting the Font. 7. 4. Select the check box for QuickEdit mode. Type ipconfig within Notepad. and press Ctrl+C to copy the text to the clipboard.

every computer has a name.txt. Both actions copy the text to the Clipboard. After you’ve selected the text. If you hold the mouse button down and drag the cursor below the bottom of the Command Prompt window. Press Ctrl+V to paste the text into the Notepad document. For example. For example. you can copy the output of a command to the Windows Clipboard using | clip. Understanding Variables Windows uses variables to identify many system elements. You can also view the contents of the text file with the following command: type myconfig. instead of copying the output of ipconfig /all and then pasting it into a text file. For example. Windows uses the %computername% variable to identify the name of the local computer. which redirects the output to a file. you could use method to save the IP configuration of a system in a file. press Enter. Saving the Output in a Text File The previous section showed how you can copy text from the command prompt. you could use the following command: ipconfig /all > MyConfig. Command Prompt Basics CHAPTER 14 487 . you can scroll to the beginning of the Command Prompt window and select from there. For example. but sometimes you might want to send the output directly to a text file. At this point. it will automatically scroll and select the text until you release the mouse button.txt. as follows: ipconfig /all | clip You can then paste the contents from the clipboard into any file with Ctrl+V. Return to Notepad. 12. 11. but the name will be different on each computer. As an alternative. you could open it with the following command: notepad myconfig. you can save the Notepad document. You can do so with the > symbol.Note  Selecting multiple pages of text You can also select multiple pages of text. You can also right-click the mouse.txt After entering the command.

In other words. or name of computer if computer is not joined to a domain Location of the profile for the logged on user You can view a list of all variables known by your system by entering the set command. you can click Start. you can view the name of your computer with the following command: echo %computername% Table 14-3 shows some common variable names along with what they represent. the system will output what you entered with the percent symbols. Table 14-3  Command Variable Names Variable %systemdrive% %systemroot% %windir% %computername% %homepath% %path% %temp% %username% %userdomain% %userprofile% Comments System drive (such as C:\) Location of Windows (such as C:\Windows) Name of local computer Path to user’s profile (such as C:\Documents and Settings\username on Windows XP or C:\Users\username on Windows Vista and Windows 7) List of paths known to the system Path to temporary folder in users profile User name for logged on user Name of domain if computer is joined to a domain. and select Properties. If you want to view the value of one or more variables. Note  Looking at variables in the GUI You can look at variables in Windows Vista or Windows 7 by clicking Start. 488 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . Press the up arrow to retrieve the previous command and correct it. double-check your spelling.All variables start and end with a percent symbol (%). For example. You can view the value of a variable with the echo command. and clicking Environment ­ Variables. echo %computername%). Alternatively. typing Environment . If you enter a typo. select Advanced System Settings. set system and set sys both show the value of the system drive and system root variables. you can use the set command followed by the first letters of the variable. right-click Computer. For example. I encourage you to look at each of these names by opening a command prompt and typing in echo followed by the variable (for example. if you see an output with the percent symbols. selecting Edit The System Environment Variables. and select Environment Variables from the Advanced tab. The output shows each variable name (without the percent symbols) along with the value of the variable.

The up arrow. ­ File Commands CHAPTER 14 489 .Using Wildcards You can also use the following wildcards when using the command prompt: ■■ ■■ * The asterisk (*) can be used in place of zero or more characters. What can you press to retrieve the last command you entered at the command prompt? Quick Check Answers 1. the dir command can be used to provide a listing of files in a directory. ? The question mark (?) can be used in place of a single character. imagine that you have several study documents but that each one has different versions.doc. For example. and so on. Table 14-4 shows you can use the * wildcard to view different results. StudyV2.doc Quick Check 1. For example. While you’re going through this section. Table 14-4  Using the * Wildcard Command dir dir d* dir *g dir *.doc. 2. You could use the following command to list them all: dir studyv?. Chkdsk /? or help chkdsk.txt Result List all files in the current directory List all files that start with a d List all files that end with an g List all files with a . I strongly encourage you to open up a command prompt and try these commands out. File Commands There are several commands you can use from the prompt to view and manipulate files and folders. What are two methods of viewing help for the chkdsk command? 2.txt extension The ? symbol can be used only for a single character. This section identifies the relevant commands for the A+ exam and shows how to use them. such as StudyV1.

system. read-only file. For example. it indicates a file has been archived (or backed up). Users cannot modify a read-only file without changing the attribute. ­ 490 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . I for not indexed. and then the system will let you copy over the file. Indexed files can be more easily located by the system.Attrib Key Terms The attrib command is short for attribute. When set.txt If you want to clear the read-only attribute. You can see that some of the files have specific attributes assigned. H for hidden.rtf A SH C:\Study\A+Study\System and Hidden File. The file is not normally displayed unless the user changes settings to view hidden files. For example. However. it indicates the file has not been archived or has been modified since the last archive. Indicates whether the file is included in the index. and S for System.rtf A R C:\Study\A+Study\Readonly File. You can set or clear any attributes with the + or . it will list all the files in the current directory along with any attributes that are assigned.txt read only use the following command: attrib +r study. The operating system protects system files to prevent users and malicious software from causing damage. use the following command: attrib -r study.txt Exam Tip Sometimes you might need to delete or copy over a hidden. if you want to make a file named study. you can change the attributes by using the attrib command.rtf A H C:\Study\A+Study\Hidden File. If you enter the attrib command at the command prompt. Table 14-5 lists the attributes that can be assigned.symbols. Table 14-5  Common File Attributes Attribute A Archive H Hidden I Not Index R Read-only S System Comments When cleared.txt A I C:\Study\A+Study\Not Indexed File. But others show A for not archived.sys The first file in the output doesn’t have any attributes showing. Output from attrib command C:\Study\A+Study>attrib C:\Study\A+Study\Archived File. This is not possible when these attributes are set. and it is used to list and manipulate attributes assigned to files and folders. the following code listing shows the output from the attrib command.

rtf 09/08/2012 02:12 PM 24 Hidden File. The following code listing shows the output you can expect from the dir command. so you can’t do so from Windows Explorer. Click the Advanced button.rtf 09/08/2012 01:05 PM 198 Archived File. However. 09/08/2012 01:05 PM 198 A+Notes. Figure 14-5  Attributes within Windows Explorer. respectively. 09/08/2012 02:16 PM <DIR> . you’re unlikely to come across these commands in the A+ exams. and your display will look similar to Figure 14-5.txt File Commands CHAPTER 14 491 . Using the dir command C:\Study\A+Study>dir Volume in drive C has no label. The “Using Wildcards” section earlier in the chapter showed some examples of how to use it. The compress and encryption attributes shown in Figure 14-5 can be manipulated with the compact and cipher commands..You can also see most of these attributes from Windows Explorer. It’s not common to manipulate the system attribute of a file. Right-click any file and select Properties. and it is used to list files and directories. Volume Serial Number is 78B1-B7A9 Directory of C:\Study\A+Study 09/08/2012 02:16 PM <DIR> . You can see the Read-only and Hidden attributes on the General tab of this page. Dir Key Terms The dir command is short for directory.

For example.rtf 5 File(s) 816 bytes 2 Dir(s) 119. as follows: Cd \ Some of the common switches used with the dir command are listed in Table 14-6. and all subdirectories The dir command with the /s switch can be very useful when you’re looking for a specific file. The single dot refers to the root of the drive. However. system (/as).. which is C:\ in this case.). the output also includes two other entries at the beginning: a single dot (.. or read only (ar) Displays files in a bare format without heading information or a summary Includes the name of the owner for each file Lists all files in the current directory. Table 14-6  Common dir Switches Switch /w dir /w /a dir /ah /b dir /b /q dir /q /s dir /s Comments Formats the output in a wide list with fewer details Displays files that have specific attributes such as hidden (/ah). The double dot refers to the parent folder.09/08/2012 09/08/2012 01:05 PM 198 Not Indexed File.378. You can use the double dot to change to the parent directory as follows: Cd . you can use the following command: dir *study*.rtf 01:05 PM 198 Readonly File. If you want to search the entire drive from the root. and a double dot (. If you want to change to the root.* /s Or if you only know that the word study is somewhere in the name of the file. The following command would ensure that the search starts from the root of the drive by using the \ symbol to identify the root: dir \*study*. imagine you’re looking for a file that starts with study but you’re not sure about the rest of the file’s name.* /s These commands will search subdirectories only within the current directory.). you can’t use the single dot to change to the root.* /s 492 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . You can use the following command with wildcards: dir study*.903.040 bytes free Notice that in addition to the files. you have to use the backslash. you would need to either change the directory or include the path in the command. which is C:\Study in this case.

which works exactly the same way. and the directory will be created with the case you use. so the command changes to the C:\Study directory. but you want to list the contents of the C:\Study folder. You can include the full path for commands or files in the command. you could use the following command: md C:\Study\A+Study The preceding command creates the Study directory and creates the A+Study directory as a child within C:\Study. As a reminder. You could use the dir command with the path as follows: dir C:\study Or. or just the path if you are creating the directory on the current drive. File Commands CHAPTER 14 493 . and it is used to create directories. Alternatively. which works exactly the same way. all command prompt commands execute from the context of the current path. For example. You can later access it by using either uppercase or lowercase. imagine that you are currently in the C:\Study\A+Study path. you could first change the directory and then run the dir command as follows: cd \study dir Notice that the backslash (\) is used in this command. but very often it’s easier to change the directory. and it is used to change the current path. As an alternative. if you wanted to create a directory named Study. CD Key Terms The cd command is short for change directory.Md Key Terms The md command is short for make directory. You can also include the hard drive and the path. If your system didn’t currently have a directory named Study but you wanted to create it along with a child directory named A+Study. if your current path is C:\Data and you want to create a directory at the root of the C: drive. you can use the chdir command. you can use the mkdir command. you could use the following command: md Study You can use uppercase or lowercase for Study. The backslash refers to the root of the drive. For example. you can use either of the following commands: md C:\Study md \Study You can also create multiple directories with the same command. For example.

so it used this path when it returned to the C: drive.Because you’re only moving up one folder. it uses the root. If your current path is C:\Study\A+Study. Suppresses the Are You Sure question. dir If you want to change to the root of the drive. the system uses a different path. it knew the path for C: was \Windows\System32. Notice that when you change drives. shortcut to change to the parent directory. Table 14-7 shows the two switches used with the rd command. The system remembers the path for each drive in the session. so it used the root of D:. the parent folder is C:\Study. This will prompt you with Are You Sure (Y/N). simply enter the drive letter followed by a colon. Rd Key Terms The rd command is short for remove directory. you might be in the C: drive but want to access files on the D: drive. Table 14-7  Common rd Switches Switch /s Subdirectory /q Quiet Comments Used to remove a directory and all files and subdirectories within the subdirectory. For example. and the second command (c:) changed back to the C: drive. To change drives. you could also use the . You can press Y to confirm the action or N to cancel it. there wasn’t a known path for D:. As an alternative.. The following commands can also work: cd . In the example.. you can use the following command: cd \ Changing Drives Often you’ll want to view or manipulate files on different drives. This is useful if you include the command in a batch file. and it is used to remove or delete directories. you can use the rmdir command which works exactly the same way. However. 494 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . but if there isn’t a path set. as follows: C:\Windows\System32>d: D:\>c: C:\Windows\System32> The first command (d:) changed to the D: drive.

The basic syntax is as follows: del targetFile You can use wildcards with the del command. Table 14-8  Common del Switches Switch /p Prompt /f Force /s Subdirectories /q Quiet Comments Prompts you for confirmation before deleting a file del study. Del Key Terms If you want to delete individual files instead of full directories. you can use the erase command. you can use the del command.txt /p Forces the deletion of read-only files del study.* /q Copy Key Terms As the name implies. As an alternative.For example.txt /f Deletes the file in all subdirectories del study. if you want to delete all the files in a directory. you can use the following command to delete all files and directories within a directory named test: rd c:\test /s Exam Tip If you try to remove a directory that has files or directories within it. you can use the following: del *. which works exactly the same way. the copy command can copy files and folders. The basic syntax is as follows: copy sourceFile DestinationFile File Commands CHAPTER 14 495 . you’ll see an error unless you use the /s switch. For example.txt /s Suppresses confirmation prompt when using wildcards del *.* Table 14-8 shows some switches used with the del command along with examples. The copy command was introduced in the “Using Quotes with Spaces” section earlier in this chapter.

the source file path isn’t included.txt" C:\Study\Sec+\A+StudyNotes. you must include the directory for at least one. The third example includes both the source path and the destination path.txt extension. You don’t always need quotes. In the second example. Table 14-9  Common copy Switches Switch /a ASCII /v Verify /y Suppress prompts Comments Indicates files are ASCII-based text files. You can also use wildcards with the copy command. In the first example.txt. The /y switch suppresses this prompt. 496 CHAPTER 14 Using the Command Prompt . you can use any of the following commands: C:\Study\A+> copy "StudyNotes. This verifies that the files are written correctly when they are copied.txt to the C:\Study\Sec+ folder. Table 14-9 shows three important switches you should know about with the copy command.You can include the full path of the source file. The copy command uses the end-of-file character (Ctrl+Z) with these files. It uses the current directory by default. so if either of the files are in different directories.* "C:\Study\Sec+" C:\Study\A+> copy *.txt file in the current path (C:\Study\A+). the command prompt gets confused by the + symbol. the same file name is used.txt" "C:\Study\Sec+" Note  Using quotes These commands are using quotes to identify the source file and destination file. so the quotes are needed for any paths that include the + symbol. In the second example. the copy command prompts the user to confirm the operation before overwriting the destination file. if your current path is C:\Study\A+ and you want to copy a file named A+Notes. the name of the destination file is given.txt" C:\Study\A+> copy "C:\Study\A+\StudyNotes. However.txt" "C:\Study\Sec+" C:\Study\A+> copy "StudyNotes. This is useful if you include the command in a batch file.txt "C:\Study\Sec+" The first command will copy all files in the current folder to the C:\Study\Sec+ folder. The following commands provide two examples: C:\Study\A+> copy *. If the name isn’t given. the destination file. in this example. it copies only files with the . so the copied file will be named A+StudyNotes. it considers the files binary files and doesn’t look for the end-of-file character. If the same destination file already exists. For example. so the copy command looks for the StudyNotes. or both. If omitted.

Exam Tip The xcopy command includes all of the same functionality of the copy command but adds a lot more. Robocopy Key Terms The robocopy command name sounds like it’s related to robots. imagine you have three log files named log1.txt. such as when you created it. The file’s metadata includes information about the file. if you wanted to copy the entire contents of the C:\Study directory. File Commands CHAPTER 14 497 . log2. This is a very rich tool.txt + log2.txt: copy log1.txt + log3. and log3. or often stated as “data about data. the xcopy command can copy entire directories and subdirectories. As an example. For example. It is commonly used to copy entire directories and includes all the features of copy and xcopy. Note  Metadata (data about data) Metadata is information about data. you might have a file named Studynotes. including all subdirectories. You can use the following command to combine them all into a single file named logall. and who has permissions to access it.docx. when you last saved it. to the C:\Data directory. and the content of the file is the data—your notes. but it’s actually short for robust copy. In this context.txt. and all of its capabilities are beyond the scope of the A+ exam. It can copy directories and subdirectories.txt. The second command includes empty subdirectories. you could use the following commands: xcopy c:\Study c:\Data\ /s xcopy c:\Study c:\Data\ /s /e The first command copies files and subdirectories but does not include subdirectories that don’t have any