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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

. . System Partition Profile Locations 390 391 392 393 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 417 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395 Answers. . . 407 Upgrade Paths to Windows 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 390 Windows Explorer Common File Locations Boot vs. . . . . . 402 Methods of Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 413 Installing Windows 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Examining Directory Structures in Windows. . . .

461 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441 Microsoft Management Console. . . 447 Control Panel. . . . . . . . . . . .Activation 426 Upgrading Windows Vista. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427 Windows Easy Transfer User State Migration Tool File And Settings Transfer Wizard 428 430 430 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 427 Migrating User Data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 439 Task Manager. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 434 Chapter 13 Using Windows Operating Systems Mouse Actions Windows Actions Libraries Starting Task Manager 437 439 440 441 441 Windows Basics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 470 Chapter 14 Using the Command Prompt Access Denied Errors Starting with Administrative Privileges Command Prompt vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 481 File Commands . . . . 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 475 Understanding Paths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 467 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . 478 Command Prompt Basics. 468 Answers. Cmd Default Paths Commands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Programs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Other Administrative Tools 466 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . 489 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 504 Answers. . . 502 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 524 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 500 Disk Commands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 515 Understanding Paging. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 501 Networking Commands. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 503 Chapter Review. . . . . 510 Using the System Applet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Xcopy Robocopy Sfc Using Notepad to Create a Batch File 497 497 498 499 Operating System Commands . . . . . . . . . . . . . 520 Working with Device Manager. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 537 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 538 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 541 Chapter 16 Understanding Disks and File Systems MBR Partitions GPT Partitions Recovery Partition Basic Disks vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 544 File Systems . . . . . 555 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Partitions and Volumes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 539 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 550 Disk Management Tools . . . . . . . . . . .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. . . . . . . . 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. . . . . . . . . 536 ReadyBoost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 529 Backup Capabilities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 572 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Keys. . . . . . . . . 583 . . . . . . . . 569 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 581 Advanced Boot Options. . . . 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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 573 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 579 Understanding the Registry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . 600 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Windows Troubleshooting Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 610 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . 611 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 617 Contents xxv . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .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. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . 642 Answers. . . . . . . . 621 Network Interface Card Hub Switch Router Bridge Modem Network Attached Storage (NAS) VoIP Phones Link. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 640 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 633 Standards Organizations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Plenum-Safe Jackets Understanding Interference and Crosstalk 650 651 651 Comparing Half-Duplex and Full-Duplex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 641 Chapter Review. . . . 629 Connecting to the Internet. . . . . 654 Common Network Cables and Connectors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Activity. . . . 644 Chapter 19 Exploring Cables and Connectivity 647 Introducing Ethernet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 649 Safety and Environmental Issues . . . . . . . . . .Identifying Basic Network Hardware. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 657 Ethernet Twisted-Pair xxvi Contents 657 . . . . . . . . 650 Cable Management and Trip Hazards PVC vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 680 Introducing Ports . 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . 669 Chapter Summary. . . . . 674 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 666 Topologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 673 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . 683 Exploring Network Protocols . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . 717 Examining IPv6 Addresses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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. . 727 xxviii Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . Broadcast. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 696 Sending an HTTP Query Using Ports A Web Server Response Using Ports 697 698 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and Multicast Addressing Default Gateway Public vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dynamic IP Addresses. . . . . . . . . . 699 Chapter Review. . . 706 TCP/IP Addressing in a Network. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 700 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 714 Static vs. . . . . . . . . . . . 723 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Summarizing Well-Known Ports. . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . 760 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 762 Chapter 23 Exploring Wireless Networking Wireless Access Point Wireless Router Wireless Device Infrastructure Mode vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ad-Hoc Mode Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Alliance 765 767 767 769 769 770 Contents xxix Wireless Components . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 766 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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. . . . . . . . . . . 734 Windows Firewall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 747 Other Security Tools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 759 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Chapter Review. . . . . . 728 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 754 Chapter Summary. . . . Work vs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Wireless Standards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 797 Establish Networking Connections . . . . . . . . . 789 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 782 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 801 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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 . . . . . . . . 775 Configuring Wireless Network. . 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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 806 Command Prompt Tools . . . . . . . . . 830 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 832 Chapter 25 Understanding IT Security User Education Principle of Least Privilege Authentication 835 837 837 838 Contents xxxi Prevention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 811 Hardware Tools. . . 824 Troubleshooting Network Problems. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 825 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 837 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 829 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 868 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 861 Destruction and Disposal of Data and Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 869 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 854 Understanding Encryption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 847 Understanding Permissions. . . . . . . . 871 Chapter 26 Recognizing Malware and Other Threats Botnets Virus Worm Trojan Horse Rogueware Rootkits 873 876 877 878 878 879 880 Exploring Malware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 875 xxxii Contents . 864 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 897 Chapter Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Spyware Spam and Malware Phishing Antivirus Software Antispyware Keeping Systems Up to Date Disabling Autorun 880 880 881 882 887 888 888 Digital Security . . . . . 891 Removing Malware. 882 Symptoms of an Infection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 900 Chapter Review. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . To participate in a brief online survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .com/learning/booksurvey/ Contents xxxiii . . . . . . . . . . . . please visit: www. . . . . . . . . .microsoft. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 901 Answers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


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

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. 2006. and hardware. you’ll have the same number of questions. 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. Prerequisites CompTIA recommends that test takers have a minimum of 12 months of lab or field work experience prior to taking the exams. That is. but you’ll probably have longer to complete them due to the addition of performance-based questions. This includes troubleshooting operating systems. Because of this. but some will require you to perform a task. xxxvi Introduction . 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. 2003. This gave you a little less than a minute to answer each question. and you won’t need to spend a lot of time analyzing the question. more than 900. For example. the questions were straightforward. Previous versions came out in Most of the questions will be simple.000 people around the world have earned the A+ certification.comptia. CompTIA has not published how many questions will be on each exam. what’s 10 + 10? Either you know it or you don’t.About the Exams The 220-801 exam is focused on skills required to install and maintain hardware. 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. how long you’ll have to complete each exam. or what the passing scores are. As I write this. each exam included 100 questions and you had 90 minutes to complete the exam. and over the years. security issues. and 2009.aspx. More than likely. You can look here for up to date information: http://certification. In previous versions.

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

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

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

) Ideally. The following page includes the download link after you identify your operating system and the desired language: Next. Windows Virtual PC allows you to run multiple virtual Windows environments. The following page introduces the Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode: ­ / As an alternative to Windows Virtual PC. and if you have you can use either VirtualBox or ­ /Downloads. ■■ ■■ ■■ Software Requirements You should have a computer running Windows 7. 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. you can easily run Windows XP in a virtual environment. (Note: you can run Windows Virtual PC without Intel-VT or AMD-V. You can download a 90-day trial copy of Windows 7 Enterprise here: http://technet. 80 GB of available hard disk space. If you haven’t completed the exams by the time the 90-day trial expires.Hardware Requirements for Virtualization If you plan on using virtualization.vmware. ­ xl Introduction . Oracle provides VirtualBox as a free download here: https://www. Windows 7 (32-bit). the processor will be a 64-bit processor so that you can have more ­ RAM. ■■ After following the instructions to download and install Windows Virtual PC and ­ indows XP but you can only run 32-bit hosts within Windows Virtual PC. Both VirtualBox and VMware player support 6 4-bit host machines. create a V new VM and install it again.0 GB of RAM.virtualbox. which is enabled in the download the 90-day trial of Windows 7 and install it as a VM within Windows ­ irtual PC. and you can download a free version of VMware player here: http://www .com/en-us/evalcenter/cc442495. you will have Virtual PC installed on your system. Additional requirements include the following: ■■ Windows Virtual PC and Windows XP Mode. your computer should meet the following requirements: ■■ A processor that includes hardware-assisted virtualization (AMD-V or Intel VT). Internet connectivity. The objectives heavily cover Windows 7.aspx. At least 2. The experience is worth it. but more is recommended.aspx.

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

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

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

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. To safeguard the integrity of the exam. While there is no substitution for on-the-job experience. For example.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. Choose the combination that you think works best for you. authors do not have access to the live exam. 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. Note that this training kit is based on publically available information about the exam and the author's experience. xliv Preparing for the Exam . preparation through study and hands-on practice can help you prepare for the exam.

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

brownouts.2 Explain environmental impacts and the purpose of environmental controls. ■■ ■■ ■■ 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. use appropriate safety procedures.■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ATX Micro-ATX Dual voltage options ESD straps ESD mats Self-grounding Equipment grounding Personal safety ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 5.1 Given a scenario. blackouts ■■ ■■ 5. humidity level awareness and proper ventilation Power surges.

a friend was complaining to me about a computer she had. ■■ 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. RAM. and removed the case. with all the dust gone. troubleshoot common problems related to motherboards. CHAPTER 1 3 . She said she was going to have to replace it because it was just too loud and slow. the computer was humming along quietly and returned to its previous speed. There was dust gunked up in just about every vent and throughout the inside of the computer. However. and louder. CPU and power with appropriate tools. and sure enough it reminded me of being next to a jet engine. I bought a can of compressed air. I took a look.2 Given a scenario. the A+ technician (you) with just a little bit of knowledge can be the hero for these people. the computer was quieter and quicker. or perhaps I should say a listen. However. Sure enough. without the extra dust. and it was running slower as a result. It made me wonder how many people toss out perfectly good computers when all they need to do is clean them. You can help them restore their computer to its previous glory. I certainly understand how intimidating it can be for some users to open up a computer case and look inside. However. The extra dust on the central processing unit (CPU) and its fan was causing the CPU to quickly overheat. took the computer outside. I methodically blew out all the dust and put the computer back together.Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 4. I knew how to solve this problem. The extra dust in the vents was making the fans work harder.

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

the computer begins sending results to the graphics card. If you see a number like 2. computers can work with these ones and zeros very quickly. because there are ten digits in the numbering system. After you get up to 9. fifty. Table 1-1 shows the underlying math. and a computer will do so in a flash. 5. three hundred. Admittedly. The preceding IPO process is constantly repeated. When Microsoft Word is in memory and started. Specifically. When the file is in memory. Numbering Systems CHAPTER 1 5 . Note IPO Computer troubleshooting can often be reduced to identifying what is not working: input. When you save the file. Numbering Systems You and I count by using decimal numbers. it must first translate any input you give it to a string of ones and zeros. 4.3. the next number is 10. it’s important for any A+ technician to have a rudimentary understanding of some basic numbering systems. the computer locates the Word Study Notes file and moves it from the hard drive to memory. it’s much easier to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. you know that its decimal parts are two thousand. and displays it on the screen. showing the process of Microsoft Word starting. it’s worth pointing out that computers are pretty dumb. or output (IPO). Ask it to multiply two five-digit numbers.357. However. When you identify this. process these strings. and then translate the result of ones and zeros into a usable display. they can work only with ones and zeros. Each key press is another input that is processed and generates an output. Everything that is written to a disk drive or to memory is a series of ones and zeros. They can work only with numbers. stores its value in memory. processing. With this in mind. Consider typing your A+ notes about fans or power supplies into your study file. This is also known as a numbering system with a base of ten. 6. which should make a lot of sense to you if you’re familiar with decimal numbers. and seven. The computer begins sending results to the graphics card. Despite being able to do so much. When the program is in memory. the computer can actually run it. it writes everything in its memory to the file on the drive. The computer identifies what key you pressed. We understand the meaning of the numbers 0 through 9.

Table 1-2 shows how you can convert this number to a decimal value that has more meaning to you and me.000. Last. you get 2.000 + 300 + 50 + 7. so it represents 2. Base ten numbers aren’t very efficient for computers. it is considered to be on. The number 2. you probably don’t think of it this way. or 10 squared. Any number raised to the one power is itself. When you see the number 2. any number raised to the zero power is 1.357 has 3 in this column.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. they only use the numbers 0 and 1. Instead of using numbers 0 through 9. 6 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . so 101 is 10. but you do recognize the value. The value of 10 x 10 is 100. so its value is 50.357 or $7. it’s considered to be off.532. Consider the binary number 1001. When the bit is a 0.357 has 7 in this column. computers use different numbering systems. For example. so its value is 300. a single digit is referred to as a bit. The value of 10 x 10 x 10 is 1. Note  Binary bit In binary. The number 2. They result in a lot of wasted space. The next column is 102. When it is a 1.357 has 5 in this column. ■■ ■■ ■■ If you add 2. The number 2. it’s easier to bridge that knowledge to something that might be new to you. A bit can have a value of 1 or 0.357 has 2 in this column. Binary Binary numbers have a base of two. so its value is 7. such as binary and hexadecimal. or 10 cubed.000 The column on the far left is 103.000. Because of this. By reviewing what you know. if I said I was going to give you your choice of $2. or true.357.357. or false. you’d easily recognize that the first choice is a little over $2 thousand and that the second choice is over $7 thousand. and the number 2. so 10 0 is 1.

The number 1001 has 1 in this column. so its value is 0. the binary number 1001 has a decimal value of 9. Hexadecimal uses a base of 16.468 because the commas make it easier to see that it starts with 135 million. The value of 2 x 2 x 2 is 8.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 23.792. That string of ones and zeros is a little difficult to communicate. it’s common to separate groups of four with a space. The value of 2 x 2 is 4. you could also express the same number as C9 by using hexadecimal. so it represents a calculated decimal value of 8. The binary number 1100 1001 can also be expressed as C9. However. and hexadecimal equivalent for the numbers up to hexadecimal F. you get 9. any number raised to the zero power is 1. adding six extra digits to the base ten numbers of 0–9. Any number raised to the one power is itself. Therefore. they aren’t so easy for people to digest. or 2 cubed. 135792468 is often expressed as 135. 11001001 isn’t as easy for most people to process as 1100 1001. Last. binary. The number 1001 has 0 in this column. The second column is 2 squared. Hexadecimal Although binary and bits work well with computers. ■■ ■■ ■■ If you add 8 + 0 + 0 + 1. The number 1001 has 1 in this column. and the number 1001 has 0 in this column. although both numbers mean the same thing. It is easier to express than binary and more efficient for computers than base 10 because it easily translates to binary. If you need to tell someone to use the number 201. that’s rather easy. so 20 is 1. For example. Note  Binary grouping When grouping several binary numbers. Similarly. This is similar to adding commas to decimal numbers. it’s 1100 1001. so 21 is 2. Numbering Systems CHAPTER 1 7 . because 1100 is C in hexadecimal and 1001 is 9 in hexadecimal. so its value is 1. Table 1-3 shows the decimal. But if you need to tell someone to use the binary equivalent. Hexadecimal uses the characters 0–9 and A–F. so its value is 0.

or hexadecimal code 2E. For example. and both equate to 1100 in binary. An uppercase C is the same as a lowercase c. You can extend binary as far as you need to. technicians and other Information Technology (IT) professionals still express the numbers as bytes.Table 1-3  Decimal. 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 . (This error code indicates a problem with memory. or 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2. Network interface cards are assigned 48-bit MAC addresses. and these are commonly listed in six pairs of hexadecimal numbers like this: 6C-62-6D-BA-73-6C. Bits vs. They are expressed both ways by different applications.) A common example of how hexadecimal numbers are used is with media access control (MAC) addresses. it is 128. the MAC would be listed as a string of 48 bits. The column on the far left is 27. Binary. and eight bits makes up a byte. They certainly can. Additionally. If you convert this to decimal. Bytes Key Terms A single binary number is a bit. This is not to say that computers can’t work with more than eight bits. if Windows 7 stops responding. However. the screen will display an error code such as STOP Error 0x0000002E. 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. but most computer technicians deal with numbers that do not go beyond a byte. Without hexadecimal. Table 1-4 shows the value of each of the bits in a byte. hexadecimal numbers are often preceded with 0x that to indicate that they are hexadecimal numbers.

an IPv4 address of 192. For example.024 bytes. and terabytes (TB). the groups are usually expressed in decimal format. If you plug these numbers into a calculator. megabytes (MB). Mega.Note  IPv4 is 32 bits In networking. How many bits are in a byte? Quick Check Answers 1. 8 Numbering Systems CHAPTER 1 9 . Note  One thousand or 1024 You may be wondering why a KB is 1. Giga. or four bytes. 12 2.024 bytes instead of one thousand bytes. Additionally. A KB is 1. but most technicians shorten this to “about a thousand” bytes.1.024. so you’d think that one KB would be one thousand bytes. 0000 0001 . Kilo literally means thousand. you’ll see that it works out to 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). These addresses are commonly divided into four groups of eight bits. 0000 0101.5 could also be expressed in binary as 1100 0000 . gigabytes (GB). What is the decimal value of the hexadecimal character C? 2. which are often expressed as kilobytes (KB). IPv4 addresses are 32 bits long.168. 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. Kilo. However. and Tera Key Terms Computers handle huge numbers of bytes. 1010 1000 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

or smell smoke. Molex connectors. and 12-V DC voltages. This connector is formally called ATX12V but is also known as P4 because it was first used with the Pentium 4 CPUs. 4. orange wires carry 3.3 V. when the system includes floppy drives. you should be aware of valid voltages on the different connectors. such as Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA) disk drives. 5-V. red wires carry 5 V. SATA power connector. On the other hand. yellow wires carry 12 V. 18 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . Computers typically have a separate power button and power indicator on the front of the case. Primary power connector. A 20-pin or 24-pin connector provides primary power to the motherboard.3 VDC. if you set it to 115 and you plug it into a 230-VAC power source. When on. This does not indicate that the actual computer is turned on. allowing you to plug it into an older system with only 6 pins. unplug it as quickly as possible and check this switch. Power indicator. Exam Tip You might need to troubleshoot a power supply and verify that it is supplying the correct voltages. 3.3-V. These provide 5 V and 12 V to different devices. They provide 5-VDC and 12-VDC power to 3. These are sometimes called Berg connectors or mini- Molex connectors.5-inch floppy drives. With this in mind. smell burning components. Black wires are ground (or a zero potential). This is formally known as EPS12V. Most current motherboards use a 4-pin connector that provides 12 VDC used by the CPU. and blue wires carry -12 V. It includes 3.Exam Tip If you have this selection set at 230 and you plug it into a commercial power source providing 115 VAC. it won’t have enough power to run the computer. It’s commonly called the P1 connector and provides 3. and 12 VDC to the motherboard. Systems with more than one CPU use an 8-pin connector (or two 4-pin connectors) to provide power for multiple CPUs. Many power supplies also have a PCI Express (PCIe) power connector. 7. but new systems use an 8-pin connector similar to the one shown in Figure 1-6. it indicates that the power supply has power. Floppy drive mini-connectors. 8. you will likely destroy the power supply. or a newer system with 8 pins. 5 VDC. Some power supplies use a 6+2 connector. If you hear pops. This was originally a 6-pin connector. 6. Secondary motherboard power connection. This 15-pin connector provides power to Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) disk drives. 5.

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

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

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

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

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

it can be damaging to computers. at least 3. The chassis ground is then connected to the Earth ground via the power cable. Earth ground is the path directly to Earth. Dangerous voltages can be redirected to the computer case. ESD Static electricity builds up on different types of objects.000 volts. This is also called electrostatic discharge (ESD). You won’t see it. Signal ground connections are commonly connected to the chassis. Signal ground refers to the return path for a signal. The good news is these voltages won’t kill or hurt people.Important  Equipment ground connections should always be connected Disconnecting ground connections can bypass safety circuits. Ground is referred to differently based on the location of the connection. An ESD wrist strap wraps around your wrist and has a metal component touching your skin. Chassis ground refers to the path to the equipment case or chassis. Steps you can take to reduce ESD damage include the following: ■■ Key Terms Use an ESD wrist strap. You’ve probably experienced a static discharge after walking across a carpeted floor and touching a doorknob. some screws connecting a motherboard to a computer case connect the motherboard signal ground to the case. For example. This results in you and the case being at the same potential. resulting in a shock if a user touches the case. For example. If you felt it. Earth ground Chassis ground Signal ground Figure 1-9  Ground symbols. the static discharges. computer components can be damaged by as little as 250 volts. ESD straps are used to 24 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers . it was at least 8. However. but it wasn’t harmful.000 volts were discharged from your hand to the doorknob. The primary way to prevent ESD damage is by ensuring that the worker and the equipment are at the same ground potential. You won’t feel it. On work benches. If you actually saw the spark when it discharged. The shock you felt might have been unpleasant. and when one object touches another. Figure 1-9 shows the three primary symbols used for ground. However. A wire leads from the strap to an alligator clip that you can clip to the computer case. the damage will be real. mostly because they aren’t combined with current to generate power. and it prevents static discharge. In contrast.

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

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

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

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

Additionally.2 V to 12. you might damage the meter. you can see that the multimeter has two probes. Using a multimeter to verify that the voltages are stable can eliminate the power supply as a problem source. malicious software such as a virus can cause a system to randomly restart. It can measure both DC and AC voltages by using this setting. You would connect the Tools CHAPTER 1 29 . and then measure 12 V. If you set it at a low voltage. but one probe is red and one is black. you can use a multimeter to measure the voltages.minus 0.6 V). this is an autorange digital multimeter (DMM). If you’re experiencing random problems and suspect the power supply. In Figure 1-10. such as 5 V.6 V (11. meaning that it can automatically sense the voltage range. Overheating and in some cases faulty memory can cause a system to occasionally restart. Less expensive multimeters require you to set the range at the highest possible voltage to avoid damage. Additionally. VOLTCRAFT ON/OFF FUNCTION SET/RESET DC/AC UP DOWN ((( ))) V A AUTORANGE DMM VOLTCRAFT Figure 1-10  Digital multimeter. It might not be apparent in the black-and-white picture. Exam Tip Random restarts can also indicate other problems. Figure 1-10 shows a multimeter set to the V setting.

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

and desktop power supplies commonly have two rails but can have more. The easy solution is to clean them. Multimeter Chapter Summary ■■ The three functions of a computer are input. and -12 V to system components through various power connectors. and the system can slow down or intermittently fail. ATX-based power supplies provide 3. including motherboards. Compressed air. MB. Binary numbers use only ones and zeros. Case fans can be replaced. Power to disk drives is provided via 12-V rails. 6. If a fan fails. Eight bits make up a byte.Quick Check Answers 1. If disk drives are failing. or 8 pins. Power supplies are rated based on the power they provide. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 1 31 . the system can overheat. Molex connectors provide 5 V and 12 V to PATA disk drives. and power supplies. The P1 power plug is the primary power connector for the motherboard and includes 20 or 24 pins. Many systems have a secondary power plug that includes 4. 5 V. expressed as watts (W).3 V. GB. They can become quite loud. so the fan should be replaced as soon as possible. 12 V. Hexadecimal numbers are created from four binary bits and include the characters 0–9 and A–F. Case fans help keep a system cool by drawing air into the case. Dual voltage power supplies have a switch identified as 115 or 230 to identify the source voltage. PCIe connectors use 6 pins. Ensure that it is set to the correct voltage supplied by commercial power. Large numbers of bytes are expressed as KB. The SATA connector provides 3.3 V. 8 pins. and TB. or a computer vacuum that doesn’t generate static electricity 2. you might need a power supply with an additional rail. These are often shortened to I/O. and 12 V to SATA disk drives. Replacement power supplies need to meet or exceed the power requirements of the computer. Cases and fans often get dirty. case fans. 5 V. Computer cases house key computer components. Power supplies convert commercial AC power to DC voltages. These voltages can be measured with a multimeter or a power supply tester. or 6+2 pins. and output. processing.

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

What is a likely power rating you’ll purchase to ensure that the power supply doesn’t fail again? A. 115 VAC D. Which of the following can you use to protect against power sags? A. 3. Molex connectors provide power to disk drives from ATX-rated power supplies. 12 VDC. 250 V 4.3 V and 5 V B. A power supply failed after a technician added some hard drives to a desktop com- puter. 3. and 12 VDC B.3. 15 VDC. UPS D.) A. -12 VDC C.3 VDC. 300 W D. 600 W B. 12 VDC. A system is no longer booting to the SATA hard drive.3 VDC. 5 V and 15 V D. 12 V and 15 V 6. and you suspect that the ATX-based power supply might not be providing the correct voltages. 600 V C. and 15 VDC D. What voltages are supplied through the Molex connector? A. and 15 VDC C. 5 VDC. Which of the following voltages are not provided by ATX-based power supplies? (Choose two. 5 VDC. 3. Commercial power B. 15 VDC 5. Power supply C. MSDS Chapter Review CHAPTER 1 33 . 5 V and 12 V C. 12 VDC B. What voltages should you see on the SATA power connector? A. 12 VDC. and 24 VDC 7. You need to purchase an additional power supply.

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

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

5 VDC. so commercial power doesn’t protect against it.5. Correct: An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) uses a battery backup to protect against power sags. C. Incorrect: 3. Incorrect: Low humidity generates more static. but 15 V is not used in ATX power supplies. C. Ideally. Incorrect: A power sag occurs when the commercial power is lower than normal. humidity should be around 50 percent. Correct Answer: A A. Incorrect: Power supplies convert AC to DC. Correct Answers: A. Correct: ESD mats also protect against ESD. D. C. Incorrect: ATX power supplies do not provide 15 VDC.3 VDC. 6. 7. but not on the Molex connector. D A. Correct Answer: B A. but they cannot protect against power sags. 8.3 V is provided to the motherboard through the 20-pin or 24-pin P1 connector. B. Incorrect: Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) provide safety-related information for items used within a work environment. D. B. Correct Answer: C A. but 15 V is not used in ATX power supplies. Flickering lights are an indication of power sags. D. B. Incorrect: Carpets generate static easily. B. C. D. Incorrect: ATX power supplies do not provide 15 VDC or 24 VDC. so it’s best not to store computers on carpets. Correct: Electrostatic discharge (ESD) wrist straps protect against ESD damage. Correct: The correct voltages on a SATA connector are 3. Incorrect: ATX power supplies do not provide 15 VDC. Correct: Molex connectors supply 5 V and 12 V from the power supply to different drives in a computer. Incorrect: 12 V is provided through both Molex and the P1 motherboard connec- tor. Incorrect: 5 V is provided through both Molex and the P1 motherboard connector. and 12 VDC. 36 CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Computers .

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


The BIOS includes a program that you can use to view and configure hardware settings. view and manipulate the settings. drive encryption: TPM. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. which is used to start the computer. commonly called Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). lo-jack) ■■ BIOS configurations ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Use built-in diagnostics Monitoring 39 .1 Configure and apply BIOS settings. This chapter shows how to start BIOS. 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. you learn about motherboards. The motherboard also includes firmware. including the different types and how to identify different motherboard components. ■■ ■■ 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. You also learn about some basic troubleshooting related to the motherboard and BIOS. and update the BIOS program through a process called flashing.CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS I n this chapter.

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Temperature monitoring Fan speeds Intrusion detection/notification Voltage Clock Bus speed 1. ■■ Sizes ■■ ■■ ■■ ATX Micro-ATX ITX PCI PCI-X PCIe miniPCI CNR AGP2x. 4x.2 Differentiate between motherboard components. and properties. their purposes. 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 .

By the end of this chapter. we discussed the installation of Windows. CPU and power with appropriate tools. boot to the DVD. Most of the students using these computers quickly recognized that they needed to reconfigure the BIOS to boot to the DVD. About half the student computers were configured to boot to the DVD first. but it did slow him down. and these didn’t give the students any trouble. ■■ 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. RAM. and you never know when you’ll need it as a PC technician. Each of the students had an installation DVD. CHAPTER 2 41 . Lacking this basic knowledge didn’t stop him from learning. He remarked that this was the first time he had ever accessed this program. troubleshoot common problems related to motherboards. you’ll have an opportunity to access the BIOS and see exactly how to manipulate these settings. one of the students didn’t understand why his system wouldn’t boot to the DVD. We ended up working together to reconfigure the BIOS on his system. and begin the installation. Early in the class.2 Given a scenario. so he got another one and tried again and then became convinced his computer was faulty. and then the students had an opportunity to install it on their system.Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 4. Unfortunately. However. He first thought his installation DVD was faulty. and they needed to put the DVD into the drive. It is important knowledge. many of the computers in the company’s training room were configured to boot to the hard drive instead of the DVD. and they quietly did so.

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

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

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

Motherboards CHAPTER 2 45 . or SFF-SIG.6 x 9. it has fewer expansion slots. They don’t need to be cooled with fans. They are referred to as embedded boards and consume very little power compared to ATXbased boards. ■■ ■■ Exam Tip Although there are additional types of motherboards. Additionally. However.7 4. it is designed so that it will fit into any case that supports an ATX motherboard. and many will fit into a case designed for an ATX motherboard.7 x 6. Because it is smaller. nano-ITX. This is a smaller version of the ATX and is very popular with desktop computers. They can fit into any case by using standard ATX mount points.7 x 4.6 largest 6. Pico-ITX.45 mm 17 cm x 17 cm 120 mm x 120 mm 10 mm x 7.45 mm x 171. ■■ ■■ Key Terms Mini-ITX.6 9. These are envisioned for use in home theater systems.8 Metric Size 305 mm x 244 mm 244 mm x 244 mm 171. These extremely small boards can be embedded in different types of mobile devices.75 smallest 6. Nano-ITX. 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. 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.■■ Micro-ATX (mATX or µATX).2 mm Note  The Micro-ATX form factor The Micro-ATX form factor is the only one that comes in different sizes. The ATX motherboard and ATX variants are still the most popular. the preceding list provides an idea of the types you might see on the exam. ITX. These small boards are designed for smaller devices such as digital video recorders (DVRs) and set-top boxes.75 x 6. and pico-ITX.9 x 2. The Pico-ITX has been adopted as an open standard by the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group. including mini-ITX. organized from the largest form factors to the smallest.7 3. Table 2-1 shows the sizes of common motherboard standards. all the ATX variants are smaller than the ATX. ITX motherboards originated with VIA technologies and come in several different small form factor (SFF ) designs.

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

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

if a crystal generates a 100-MHz signal and the motherboard uses a two-times (2X) multiplier. You can purchase a top-of-the-line video card with onboard RAM. The standards are as follows: ■■ Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI). your motherboard can have basic video capabilities built into it. install it in an expansion slot. Computers can process data more quickly than the base frequencies of these crystals. Therefore. and enjoy some awesome graphics. you should know what expansion slots are available in your computer. Expansion Slots Motherboards include expansion slots so that you can add expansion cards. 100 MHz crystal 100 MHz Figure 2-3  Crystal and multiplier. 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. 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. Two common data bus widths in use today are 32 bits and 64 bits. It allowed high-end graphics to transfer data at speeds up to 2.133 MB/s without competing with other PCI device data transfers. the amount of data a bus can transfer is dependent on how many bits can be transferred at a time. For example. Note  Data throughput Data throughput is commonly expressed as megabytes per second (MB/s) or gigabytes per second (GB/s). Additionally. the output is 200 MHz. For example. This comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and reaches speeds up to 533 MB/s. If it’s a 64-bit bus. Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP). The following sections cover the common types of expansion slots you should know about for the A+ exams. the system will send 32 bits of data. For example. the more data the bus can transfer. Before you buy any expansion card. as shown in Figure 2-3. Newer motherboards might still include a PCI slot.edge as another clock tick. That is. ■■ 48 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . it can send 64 bits of data at a time. and they use additional multiplier circuitry to increase the frequency. a system will commonly have two clock ticks for each cycle. AGP was introduced as a dedicated slot for a graphics card. for each clock cycle on a 32-bit bus. some expansion boards can reach speeds of 16 GB/s. but you might want video that is faster and crisper.

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. ■■ PCI The Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) standard was a replacement for earlier industry standard architecture (ISA) and extended ISA expansion cards. Even though PCI has been largely replaced by PCIe. It originally used a 32-bit data bus but was later improved to use a 64-bit bus. Each of these types is keyed differently. This is the primary standard in use today and replaces PCI.3 V 32-bit PCI slot 5 V 64-bit PCI slot Figure 2-4  PCI slots. 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.3 volts. AGP.3-V or a 5-V slot.3 V than it does to reach 5 V. 3. Table 2-2 shows the data rates and frequencies available with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of PCI. This was an improvement over PCI and could reach up to 1. It is primarily used in servers. so it is easy to tell the difference between PCI and PCIe expansion slots and cards. PCI Express (PCIe).3 V 64-bit PCI slot 3. However.064 Mb/s. Lower voltages decrease the heat generated by the cards. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 49 . They also increase the speed of the devices because it takes less time for a signal to reach 3. to prevent plugging a board into the wrong slot. you will likely still see some PCI expansion slots on motherboards. as shown in Figure 2-4. The two versions have different slots.■■ PCI-Extended (PCI-X). It can reach speeds up to 2 GB/s on multiple lanes simultaneously. 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. and PCI-X on many motherboards.

066 MB/s 2. PCI-X also came in versions with different frequencies and data rates. giving a data throughput rate of 1. AGP came in four versions. as shown in Table 2-4. 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. The most common frequency used with PCI-X is 133 MHz.AGP Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) is a dedicated expansion slot used for graphics. 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. but 133 MHz remained the most common. It came in 64-bit versions and was primarily used on servers. Table 2-4  PCI-X Data Rates Standard PCI-X PCI-X PCI-X PCI-X Data Rate 532 MB/s 1.15 GB/s 4. with each successive version doubling the data rate.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.064 MB/s 2. Notice that AGP always uses a 66-MHz bus.3 GB/s Frequency 66 MHz 133 MHz 266 MHz 533 MHz 50 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS .064 MB/s. A benefit was that PCI-X was backward-compatible with PCI so the PCI-X expansion cards could plug into PCI expansion slots. Table 2-3 shows the data rates available with the different versions. graphics cards were plugged into a PCI slot and all PCI devices shared the same data bus. Before AGP. Graphics-intensive applications such as computer-aided design (CAD) applications and some games were extremely slow without AGP.

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

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

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

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

a data bus for RAM. The chipset takes care of the rest. the CPU has three separate busses: a PCIe bus for graphics. you can see the differences. Figure 2-7 shows the configuration for the Intel X79 Express Chipset. DDR3 RAM 40 lanes PCIe 1 GB/s each lane CPU PCIe graphics DMI 20 Gb/s Disk SATA and eSATA PCI.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. 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. Motherboards CHAPTER 2 55 . and a Direct Media Interface (DMI) bus for the chipset. and the chipset. RAM. Instead of using a single front side bus for graphics. 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. If you compare this to Figure 2-6. However.

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

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

One PCI expansion slot.] ­ 1. such as AGP slots or IDE connectors. 6. The heat sinks keep the voltage regu- lators cool. It’s a newer motherboard.0 GB/s ports are included. This motherboard includes eight dual in-line memory module (DIMM) slots for double data rate type 3 (DDR3) memory. 5. you saw a line drawing of a motherboard with an explanation of many of the components. One is providing power for the CPU. It’s not apparent in the figure.Viewing an Actual Motherboard Earlier in this chapter. 3. but the 3 GB/s ports are black and the 6 GB/s ports are blue. 2 1 7 3 4 4 5 7 6 7 8 12 13 13 1 9 10 11 Figure 2-9  Intel motherboard. CPU socket. and one is providing power to the chipset. 4. This socket is for an Intel Core i7 processor with either four or six cores. Intel X79 Express Chipset. so that they can be distinguished from each other. Voltage regulators covered by heat sinks. Four SATA 3 GB/s ports and two SATA 6. RAM slots. in Figure 2-1. Used by permission. This is for earlier-version PCI cards. Figure 2-9 shows a picture of an Intel DX 79SI Extreme series motherboard with the individual components identified. This chipset uses the Direct Media Interface (DMI) as an interface to the CPU. [Copyright © Intel Corporation. 58 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . 2. so it doesn’t have some of the older components. Photo provided by Intel. SATA ports. All rights reserved.

to erasable read-only memory (EPROM). The programming provided by BIOS is referred to as the bootstrap programming. 8.0 connections. Older computers used an electrically erasable programmable read-only memory chip (EEPROM) for the BIOS. Back panel ports. CMOS battery. The program within BIOS is stored in a chip on the computer that can be rewritten. 10. These are accessible via the back panel. These are for newer PCIe boards. BIOS CHAPTER 2 59 . Three PCIe 3.0 ports. The BIOS allows the computer to start without any user intervention other than turning it on. and then to EEPROM. For example. PCIe x1 expansion slots. and BIOS provides the initial instructions on how to locate the hard disk and start the operating system. 12.7. one IEEE 1394 firewall connection. and it includes software that runs code on the computer. Other connectors on the board can be routed to USB connectors on the front panel. 11. Power-on self test (POST) decoder. it runs the program within BIOS to do some basic system checks. locate the operating system on a disk. Note  What is firmware? Key Terms The BIOS is often referred to as firmware. The combination of hardware and software is firmware. When a computer is turned on. 13. BIOS The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) includes software code that provides a computer with basic instructions so that it can start. It is a hardware chip that you can physically see and touch. This group includes multiple connections for different types of audio. This group includes two RJ-45 network interface connections. and six USB 2. This motherboard is using a circular battery. most computers have the operating system on a hard disk. and starting a computer is commonly called booting a computer. These are for smaller x1 cards. This displays different numbers as the system progresses through the startup cycle. It can be used for troubleshooting the motherboard in place of a PCI or PCIe card used for providing the same information.0 x 16 expansion slots. and start. USB ports 3. Read-only memory (ROM) has gone through several iterations over the years. including 7. but the battery is inserted sideways into a battery slot.1 systems. Audio back panel ports. from programmable read-only memory (PROM). New computers use a type of flash memory similar to what is used with USB thumb drives. 9.

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

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

The RAM has a speed of 1. This page shows information about the processor type. Go into BIOS. or as hard disk drives. Sometimes these settings are reported in the Standard CMOS Features page. most BIOS systems will automatically detect the presence of different drives and report their presence within BIOS. If it’s not recognized. Drives might be reported as SATA1. giving a CPU speed of 2. they might be reported as IDE.066 MHz (using a 133-MHz clock multiplied by 8) and is DDR3 SDRAM. EIDE. such as DVD drives. and other times the settings are on a dedicated page for the drives. Additionally. processor cache. find the drive settings. the BIOS can sometimes give you insight into the problem. and memory. This includes hard disk drives and different types of optical drives.288 MB) of RAM installed. if it exists. you need to check the hardware such as the cables or configuration.BIOS Component Information You can use the BIOS to verify the different components that are installed on a system. if you install new RAM but it’s not recognized. with a 133-MHz clock multiplied by 20. For example. and ensure that the new drive is recognized by BIOS. This can be useful if you’ve installed a new drive but find that it’s not recognized after starting. SATA2. Figure 2-11  BIOS setup utility.66 GHz. You can also see that the system has 12 GB (12. You can see that the processor is an Intel Core i7. If the system is using an EIDE interface. This can be useful to ensure that the system is recognizing newly installed hardware. 62 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . and so on if the system is using a SATA interface. Figure 2-11 shows a screen from a different BIOS version with the system information page selected.

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

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

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

One of the core requirements for virtualization applications to run is CPU support. However. Any time you wanted to play around with a VM. the relevant BIOS settings. 66 CHAPTER 2 Understanding Motherboards and BIOS . the multiplier. you can see the CPU and memory speeds. or AMD Virtualization.55 GHz. It’s important to understand the basics. These were detected from the SPD chip. and reduce system performance.You can configure the VMs so that they can communicate with each other and share Internet access with the host machine. Virtualization Technology. for the promise of a quicker PC. The BIOS either reads the data from the SPD chip or automatically detects the clock speeds and reports them. you have a speed of 3. Exam Tip Virtualization is popular technology frequently used by many IT professionals. For example. or the voltage. if you look again at Figure 2-11. if a system has a 133-MHz clock and a 20x multiplier. and the requirements.” lists the requirements in a virtualization workstation and mentions virtualization software. Locate the setting in the System Configuration menu. you would start it by using your virtualization software. Some Intel-based motherboards require you to enable virtualization in the BIOS before it’s used. Locate the setting in the Virtualization Support menu and enable the Intel Virtualization Technology setting. Intel refers to its HAV features as VT-x. It’s referred to differently depending on the BIOS vendor. “Working with Customers. but they are identified differently depending on the CPU vendor: ■■ ■■ VT-x. two common names and locations are as follows: ■■ Virtualization. ■■ Clock Speeds Motherboards typically include a serial presence detect (SPD) chip that detects and stores the speed of the CPU and the RAM. many hobbyists are willing to take the risk. Most current CPUs include hardware-assisted virtualization (HAV) features. the speed is 2. This section provides some basics and lists BIOS settings. you have a speed of 2. If you also change the multiplier from 20x to 24x. Some BIOS utilities allow you to manipulate these clock speeds by altering the frequency. For example. Chapter 10. Manufacturers commonly warn that modifying these settings can cause additional heat or other damage. However. AMD refers to its HAV features as AMD-V. cause the CPU or other components to fail. AMD-V.96 GHz. If you change the clock from 133 MHz to 148 MHz.66 GHz.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C. but you should check the BIOS first. and ATX form factors are 12 x 9.6 inches. 1.9 x 2. micro-ATX are between 6. Incorrect: You would flash the BIOS only if it needed to be upgraded. Incorrect: The bit size determines the data throughput. Correct Answer: B A. You should try to change the settings first. D. C. not the speed. 4. but you should check the BIOS first. Correct Answer: C A. Mini-ITX are 6. 3. Correct: Pico-ITX form factors are 3. Incorrect: The bit size (such as 32-bit or 64-bit) determines the data throughput. D.7 x 6. Incorrect: PCIe cards are not compatible with PCI-X slots.75 x 6. Incorrect: Pico-ITX is the smallest. D. so a PCIe x2 card will fit in a PCIe x4 slot. C. Answers CHAPTER 2 77 . 2. Incorrect: Replacing the DVD drive might be necessary.6 x 9.7 inches.8 inches. B. Incorrect: A larger PCIe card will not fit in a smaller PCIe slot. Correct: The frequency of the oscillator crystal and the multiplier combine to determine a bus speed.75 inches and 9. Correct: You can change the boot order in the BIOS so that the system tries to boot to the DVD first. B. not the smallest.6 inches. but it doesn’t determine the speed. D. Incorrect: The CPU uses the clock speed. B. B. Correct: You can plug smaller PCIe cards into larger PCIe slots.Answers This section contains the answers to the chapter review questions in this chapter. Incorrect: PCIe cards are not compatible with PCI slots. Incorrect: ATX is the largest. Incorrect: Micro-ATX is smaller than mini-ITX. Correct Answer: C A. Correct Answer: A A. Incorrect: Replacing the DVD might be necessary. C.

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

non-parity ECC vs. and properties.CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs I n this chapter. Both continue to be steadily improved and include a significant amount of technical detail that can easily confuse a regular user. non-ECC RAM configurations ■■ Single channel vs. A CPU is the brain of the computer. dual channel vs. ■■ CPU sockets Types ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 1.3 Compare and contrast RAM types and features. their purposes. This chapter will help you understand many of the terms used when describing them.2 Differentiate between motherboard components. ■■ DDR DDR2 DDR3 SDRAM SODIMM RAMBUS DIMM Parity vs. you’ll learn about two important concepts for any A+ technician to understand: random access memory (RAM) and central processing units (CPUs). Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. performing most of the processing. triple channel ■■ ■■ Single sided vs. double sided RAM compatibility and speed 79 . and RAM is used to store applications and data being used by the CPU.

they are primarily talking about random access memory (RAM). it means that data in RAM is lost when power is removed. Most RAM is volatile. RAM. ■■ Common symptoms ■■ ■■ ■■ Unexpected shutdowns System lockups Overheating RAM When technicians are talking about a computer’s memory. 775. 1156. RAM is used for short-term storage of applications or data so that the processor can access and use this information. 1366 AMD: 940. ■■ Socket types ■■ ■■ Intel: LGA. AM3. 1155.6 Differentiate among various CPU types and features and select the appropriate cooling method. In contrast. AM2+. AM3+.■■ 1. computers use hard drives for long-term storage of data. F Speeds Cores Cache size/type Hyperthreading Virtualization support Architecture (32-bit vs. troubleshoot common problems related to motherboards. 64-bit) Integrated GPU Heat sink Fans Thermal paste Liquid-based ■■ Characteristics ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Cooling ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 4. FM1. This doesn’t mean that it’s explosive. Key Terms 80 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs .2 Given a scenario. CPU and power with appropriate tools. AM2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

■■ DDR speed calculation: ■■ ■■ Clk × 2 (DP) × 64 (bits) / 8 (bytes) 100 MHz × 2 × 64 / 8 = 1. 133 1/3. 266 2/3. and 200 MHz DDR2: 100. 200. the clock multiplier. For example. 166 2/3. DDR3 uses a 4-times multiplier and double pumping.312 MB/s. 166 2/3. and each newer version supports faster clocks. You can see that the standard name is derived from the clock. DDR2. you can see that the names include the version (DDR. it’s eight times faster than SDRAM. Some manufacturers advertise this as PC2-5300. 200. you can plug the fractional number 166 2/3 into the speed calculation formulas and see that they don’t work out exactly. Therefore. 133 1/3. 133 1/3. DDR2-667 works out to about 5333. The module name is a little more cryptic. and double pumping. while others round it up to PC2-5400. but if you calculate the speed by using the clock. and 400 MHz 88 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . 166 2/3. 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.600 MB/s Clk × 2 (Clk Mult) × 2 (DP) × 64 (bits) / 8 (bytes) 100 MHz × 2 × 2 × 64 / 8 = 3. Also. Some of the clock speeds supported by different DDR versions are as follows: ■■ ■■ ■■ DDR: 100.200 MB/s Clk × 4 (Clk Mult) × 2 (DP) × 64 (bits) / 8 (bytes) 100 MHz × 4 × 2 × 64 / 8 = 6. The standard name is derived by multiplying the clock by 8. or DDR3). For example. and 266 2/3 MHz DDR3: 100. Each DDR version supports multiple clock speeds.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. you can see that the PC name indicates the calculated speed in MB/s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In some systems. and AMD refers to it as Turbo Core. and more expensive processors can handle faster speeds. Liquid cooling is discussed later in this chapter. When a boost in a CPU core is needed. Note  Speeds are variable Most current processors can dynamically adjust the speed based on requests from the operating system or an application. 2. Intel refers to this as Turbo Boost. In the BIOS. increasing the multiplier. Exam Tip Overclocking a system is not recommended. The faster the speed. or both. but it is sometimes possible to manipulate the clock or the multiplier to overclock the system. CPUs CHAPTER 3 97 . if the crystal speed is 100 MHz and the multiplier is 20. the faster the CPU.Quick Check 1. If you overclock a system. the CPU has a speed of 2 GHz (20 × 100). For example. in Figure 3-7 you can see that the processor is an Intel Core 7 CPU 870 and the clock is listed as 2.93 GHz. Processors are rated based on the maximum speed they can handle. the operating system can send a signal to make the core run faster. You can increase the speed by increasing the clock frequency. You commonly see the speed of the processor listed as only the multiplied speed. you need to take extra steps to keep it cool. the BIOS includes a Cell menu that enables you to increase the base frequency and increase the CPU Ratio (multiplier). Where is hyper-threading enabled? Quick Check Answers 1.333-MHz clock (commonly listed as 133 MHz) and a 22-times multiplier. L1 is the cache closest to the CPU. For example. Most motherboards have this preselected. but it is frequently done. and it is the fastest. The system is using a 133. Which is faster: L1 or L2? 2. such as using liquid cooling. Speeds The speed of a CPU is based on the speed of the crystal and the multiplier.

A cold boot completely powers down the computer. If you want to verify that a CPU or motherboard supports virtualization. In contrast. similar to Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe). Intel’s QuickPath Interconnect (QPI). You should wait about 10 ­ seconds and then restart the computer. ■■ ■■ You still see CPUs advertised with a speed that you can use for comparisons. Most Intel and AMD CPUs include native support for virtualization. virtualization is enabled by default and cannot be disabled. and there are a few different ways this is done. but does not shut down the power. Today. AMD uses HyperTransport with the FSB to increase the speed. As a reminder. virtualization software allows you to run multiple virtual machines (VMs) as guests within a single physical host computer. HyperTransport. it’s common to watch high-quality video streaming from a website or to play games with computer-generated graphics and amazingly realistic scenery. The CPU needs to support virtualization.4 GHz. Intel refers to its virtualization support as VT-x. many CPUs have taken over the functionality of the north bridge.4-GHz CPU is faster. and the two are starting to merge. Early computers could display only letters on a screen 80 characters wide. The exception is laptop computers. look for those terms. it’s recommended that you do a cold boot. Virtualization Support Chapter 2 introduced virtualization concepts and instructions on how to enable virtualization in BIOS. which sometimes include CPUs that do not support it. For example. Note  Cold boot required If you change the virtualization setting in the BIOS. 98 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs . On many AMD-based systems. In the past. a warm boot shuts down the software and restarts it. Each core in a processor has a separate twoway 20-lane QPI link to the chipset. The DMI can use multiple lanes. one CPU might have a speed of 2. CPU speeds were stated as the FSB speed. It’s safe to assume that the 3.8 GHz and another might have a speed of 3.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. and AMD calls its support AMD-V. Integrated GPU Graphics is one of the areas of a computer that has been increasing as quickly as the CPU area. but the speed isn’t always tied to the FSB. and it usually needs to be enabled in BIOS. Today. including the following: ■■ Intel Direct Media Interface (DMI). The CPU still needs to communicate with the chipset.

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

Xeon Celeron. 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 i5. Table 3-3  Intel Code Names and Processors Architecture Name Core Nehalem Sandy Bridge Ivy Bridge CPU Family names Core 2 Duo.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. 90-nm.wikipedia. Core i7. The Ivy Bridge versions have smaller processes and are more powerful. i5. Core 2 Quad. and i7 family names are frequently repeated. Core i3. Core i3. You can see that the Core i3. If you want to see a list of Intel or AMD processors.wikipedia. Xeon The Core i3. More Info  Wikipedia This chapter does not list all the existing Intel and AMD CPUs. Pentium. Core i5. with the i3 versions representing the basic version and the i7 versions providing the most power. Core i7 Core i5. and i7 series represents a Good. i5. and 130-nm processes K9—processors were never released K10—65-nm process /List_of_AMD_microprocessors. Core i7. Best philosophy. Better. 100 CHAPTER 3 Understanding RAM and CPUs .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. check out these two Wikipedia pages: http://­en .org/wiki/List_of_Intel_microprocessors and http://en. The number (such as i3 or i5) doesn’t refer to the number of cores.

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

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

each of these Intel sockets is an LGA socket.156 CPUs will work in LGA 1155. LGA 1156. but the BIOS may need to be upgraded. Diagram provided by Intel. It replaces LGA 1366 sockets in high-end desktop systems. Manufacturers can fit more pins on a BGA CPU. 1. Intel CPU Sockets The following list describes recent Intel sockets: ■■ ■■ LGA 775. 1. to melt the solder. the pins on the CPU are replaced with balls of solder. All rights reserved. Also called Socket B and designed to replace LGA 755 in highend desktop computers. Also called Socket H2 and replaces LGA 1156 in basic desktop systems. Used by permission. and supported DDR channels. In a BGA chip. [Copyright © Intel Corporation. 2.] Another type of array you might run across is ball grid array (BGA). LGA 1. Table 3-5 lists the common Intel sockets along with some CPUs used with them.011 pins and released in 2011. LGA 2011. 775 pins. Replaced Socket 478.156 pins. busses they support. CPUs CHAPTER 3 103 . LGA 1155. The chip is mounted in the socket and then heated. LGA 1366.366 pins. Also called Socket R. Also called Socket H or Socket H1.155 pins. Also. and they are sometimes used in mobile devices. 1. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam tip Notice that the numbers indicate the number of pins and are not a reflection of newer or older sockets.Figure 3-10  Removing processor from a flip-top case. often in an oven. Also called Socket T.

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

4-GHz clock speed is the internal speed of the processor. and one of their goals is to keep temperatures within acceptable limits. all connected with extremely small wires. Sempron. they can easily break. If these transistors or wires get too hot. Heat Sinks. Fans. I’m hoping these names make a lot more sense at this point. Phenom II X4 965 AM3 3. ■■ Cooling CPUs have millions—and sometimes billions—of miniaturized transistors within them. I listed two CPUs using common marketing names. Opteron FSB with HyperTransport version 3. Athlon II. it indicates the L2 cache size for each of the cores. and Thermal Paste Common methods of cooling a CPU include using a heat sink. rendering the CPU useless. X4 indicates that the processor has four cores. and thermal paste. here are the two CPUs with an explanation of the names. Cache size is indicated by 512 KB. Sempron. and in this case. Last. single channel DDR2 RAM Comparing Names Earlier in this chapter.2-GHz multiplied clock. Take a look at Figure 3-11 as you read about how these components work together.4 GHz 512 KB 45 NM. and AM3 indicates the socket type.2 GHz 8 MB Cache Socket LGA 1366. This name indicates that it is an Intel processor in the Core i7 family with a model number of 960 and a 3. ■■ Intel Core i7-960 Processor 3. To tie some of this together. Athlon 64 FX FSB with HyperTransport version 3. Opteron FSB with HyperTransport version 3. dual channel DDR3 RAM Fusion and Athlon II APUs FSB with HyperTransport version 3. LGA 1366 indicates the type of socket into which the processor will plug. This indicates that it is an AMD Phenom II processor with a model number of 960. most of the cooling occurs externally. However. single channel DDR2 and dual channel DDR3 RAM Phenom II. The 8-MB cache phrase refers to the total amount of cache. CPUs CHAPTER 3 105 .AM3 AM3+ FM1 F Phenom II. Athlon II. The process is 45 nm. a fan. The 3. Manufacturers spend a lot of time designing these chips. dual channel DDR3 RAM Opteron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but the operating system shows it has four CPUs. LGA 1156 D. What feature allows this to happen? A.) A. which is fastest? A. Power supply D. Of the following choices. Dual-channel RAM D. L1 cache B. You are asked to troubleshoot a computer that is randomly rebooting or failing. Of the following choices. what hardware can cause these symptoms? (Choose all that apply. L2 cache 4. LGA 1366 C. LGA 1155 6. Triple-channel DDR3 5. Fan C.3. An Intel CPU has two cores. Which of the following replaces the Intel Socket H? A. Virus Chapter Review CHAPTER 3 115 . Hyper-threading B. HyperTransport C. L2 cache C. RAM B. L3 cache D. LGA 775 B.

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

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


■■ 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 .” you’ll build on this knowledge to configure and troubleshoot disks. “Understanding Disks and File Systems. optical drives.5 Install and configure storage devices and use appropriate media. and in Chapter 16.CHAPTER 4 Comparing Storage Devices I n this chapter. Many different types of interfaces are currently used to connect drives. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. This chapter covers the hardware elements of hard drives. and it’s important to know what is available and how to connect them. including hard drives. and fault tolerant arrays. you’ll learn about the different types of storage devices. solid state drives.

000 rpm 15. IDE and SCSI ■■ ■■ IDE configuration and setup (Master. 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 . Slave.■■ Internal SATA.

IDE speeds ■■ 1. SATA2 vs. eSATA. ■■ 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 ■■ ■■ . SATA3.7 Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose. ■■ Device connectors and pin arrangements ■■ ■■ ■■ SATA eSATA PATA ■■ ■■ IDE EIDE ■■ ■■ SCSI SATA eSATA IDE EIDE Floppy SCSI ■■ Device cable types ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 68pin vs.3 Given a scenario. troubleshoot hard drives and RAID arrays with appropriate tools. ■■ Physical connections ■■ SATA1 vs. 50pin vs.■■ 1. 25pin Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 4.11 Identify connector types and associated cables.

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



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

Quick Check 1. Tape Drives Tape drives are often used to back up large amounts of data. All disc drives have a small pinhole in the front. 2. In many organizations. A tape drive can read and write data by using reusable magnetic tapes. Figure 4-12 shows the back of an IDE-based drive that includes audio connections. 25 GB. Audio out Jumpers 40-pin IDE Molex power Figure 4-12  Connectors on back of optical drive. 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. Recordable Erasable. the technician checks Tape Drives CHAPTER 4 143 . The next day. so this extra cable is not needed. How much data can you store on a single-layer Blu-Ray disc? 2. A technician ensures that a tape is in the drive before leaving.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. and the tapes are contained within tape cartridges. Tape cartridges that hold 320 GB of data are widely available. Unbend a paperclip and poke it into the hole to manually open the drive. Newer drives can send the audio through the IDE or SATA cable. It could be that the drive has failed and won’t power up. What does RE indicate with an optical disc? Quick Check Answers 1. backups are scheduled to occur in the middle of the night. You can open the drive with a paperclip. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many disks are used in RAID-5? Quick Check Answers 1. 2. RAID-1. Three or more. RAID-5. The heads are riding on an extremely thin pocket of air. technicians often refer to it as a hard drive crash. 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. it’s hitting something it shouldn’t. 2. This is why. and RAID-10. and if they are jarred just the slightest bit. Common Symptoms CHAPTER 4 151 . Name three RAID configurations that provide fault tolerance. It indicates that as the platter is spinning. The only hardware tool you’ll need when working on hard drives is a screwdriver.RAID Summary Table 4-9 compares key points for each of the RAID configurations. The Read/Write Benefits column compares the benefits of reading and writing data to the array instead of to a single disk drive. Loud Clicking Noise This is never a good noise to hear from a hard drive. 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. they can crash onto the spinning platter.

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

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

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

or 80-pin ribbon cables. ATA-7 (UDMA/133) can transfer data at a rate of 133 MBps.44-MB drives but are rarely included with computers today. and Ultra-640 640 MBps (5. and Blu-Ray discs. Optical disk capacities are as follows: CD 700 MB. DVDs.5-inch 1. Motherboards have a single connector for each SATA drive. Some common SCSI speeds are as follows: Ultra-160 160 MBps (1. Floppy drives support 3.56 Gbit/s). Data is written onto ferromagnetic material on the platters. Digital cameras and recorders use a similar type of portable memory. PATA drives use 80-wire. indicating data can be written to them once. or cable select. mini-SD. and dual-layer Blu-Ray 50 GB.000 revolutions per minute (rpm). The controller is normally assigned ID 7. Data cables include seven wires.7 GB. and SATA 6G 600 MBps (6 Gbit/s). Tape drives can be used for backups but are rarely used on desktop computers.28 Gbit/s). 50-pin. Most motherboards include two IDE connectors. providing 3. duallayer DVD 8. 7200.5 Gbit/s). selecting master. SATA speeds are as follows: SATA 1. Common brands are CompactFlash. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 4 155 . A single SCSI controller supports as many as 15 devices identified with a device ID. and power connectors use a 15-pin L-shaped connector. DVD 4. 5 V.5 GB. SATA connectors have a distinctive L shape. You need to configure jumpers. Blu-Ray RE discs are recordable and erasable. and micro-SD. IDE (or PATA) interfaces are being replaced by SATA interfaces. RW indicates rewritable. Many eSATA connectors on laptops use combo eSATA and USB ports. and 15. Platters spin at rates such as 5400. and eSATA connections. slave. Secure Digital.12 Gbit/s). They are much quicker than hard disk drives but also more expensive. SATA data connectors use a 7-pin L-shaped connector. 10. and data can be written to the disc many times. 4-pin Molex power connectors provide 5 V and 12 V.5G 150 MBps (1. SATA 3G 300 MBps (3 Gbit/s).000. Power cables have five wires. which has the highest priority. and each connector supports two drives. SSDs have no moving parts but instead are nonvolatile RAM used as a drive. 68-pin. Ultra-320 320 MBps (2. Combo drives can read and write data to multiple types of optical discs. read/write heads. and actuator arms. SCSI devices use 25-pin. and 12 V.3 V. Optical discs designated with R are recordable. including CDs. FireWire. External drives can be connected to a computer with USB. 40-pin ribbon cables for data. single-layer Blu-Ray 25 GB.Chapter Summary ■■ Hard disk drives include platters. but the power connector has 15 pins. mini-CD 194 MB.

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

Normal operation C.7 GB C. One B. Three D. Disk thrashing D. 700 MB B. 4. 8. Four 6. 17. What does this indicate? A. Bad clusters Chapter Review CHAPTER 4 157 .1 GB 5. Two C.4. Failing hard drive B. You hear a hard drive making loud clicking noises. How much data can you store on a DL DVD disc? A. What is the minimum number of drives in a RAID-1? A.5 GB D.

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

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


■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 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 ■■ ■■ 1.4 Install and configure expansion cards. mini.0 speed and distance characteristics ■■ Connector types: A. but there are other methods such as FireWire. micro ■■ FireWire 400 vs. B. you can add expansion cards to give your computer additional capabilities.0 vs. 3. In addition to using available connections to add components.CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards I n this chapter. and a variety of miscellaneous connections are available at the rear of a computer.7 Compare and contrast various connection interfaces and explain their purpose.1 vs. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. 2. FireWire 800 speed and distance characteristics 161 . ■■ USB 1. you’ll learn about different components that you can add to a computer and how you can do so. The most common way of connecting external devices is with Universal Serial Bus (USB) connections.

■■ Display connector types ■■ miniDIN-6 USB IEEE1394 PS/2 Parallel Serial Audio USB IEEE1394 Parallel Serial ■■ Device connectors and pin arrangements ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Device cable types ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 1.12 Install and configure various peripheral devices.11 Identify connector types and associated cables. ■■ 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 .■■ Other connector types ■■ ■■ ■■ Serial Parallel Audio ■■ 1.

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

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

as an A+ technician. so I’m betting this is familiar to you. meaning that it retains data without power and it is hot-swappable. Figure 5-1  USB flash drive.USB Key Terms The most common method of connecting peripherals to a computer is by using Universal Serial Bus (USB).1 USB 2.0 USB 3. Note  Flash memory The memory used in USB flash drives is flash memory. you should be aware of some important details about USB. However. 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. Exam Tip Know the speeds of each of the USB versions when preparing for the exam. This is the same type of memory commonly used to store the BIOS program on a motherboard. Table 5-1  USB Versions Version USB 1. pictures.0 Common Name Low Speed Full Speed High Speed Super Speed Speed 1.1 and USB 2. USB CHAPTER 5 165 . and other files.0 is relatively new and not as common. You’ve probably seen USB flash drives before. but USB 3.0. It is nonvolatile. and a popular USB device is a USB flash drive (also called a USB thumb drive).5 Mbps (low speed) or 12 Mbps (full speed) 480 Mbps (60 MBps) 5 Gbps (625 MBps) Most computers support USB 1. Table 5-1 outlines some details about the three versions of USB.

One connector plugs into the port on the computer. Each of the mini and micro connectors has five pins and also provides 5-V power to the device on pin 1. Smaller devices. You find at least one Standard Type A port on almost every PC and laptop computer. USB 3. Some larger devices. when you connect an external USB hard disk drive. and the other connector plugs into the port on the external USB hard disk drive. use the Standard Type B port.0 Connections While USB 1. a port is the connection on a device and a connector is the connection on a cable that plugs into a port. 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. USB 3. Figure 5-2 shows a picture of the three most common USB connectors (Standard Type A. such as smartphones. digital cameras. Note  Ports vs. and global positioning system (GPS) devices. 166 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . However. and Micro-B) along with a diagram of all the connectors. For example.0 connectors have some significant differences. Despite these differences. connectors In general. you use a cable with two connectors. USB 3. Other connection types are the Standard Type B. and many devices also use the Standard Type A port.1 and 2.0 connectors are identical. Standard Type A Standard Type B Mini-B Micro-A Micro-B Figure 5-2  Common USB connectors.1 and 2. Micro-A. Standard Type B. and the other end of the cable is a Standard Type B connector that plugs into the device. don’t be surprised if you see these terms interchanged.0 Connections The most common USB port is the Standard Type A port.USB 1. Mini-B. One end of the cable is a Standard Type A connector that plugs into the computer. and Micro-B connections. The extra pin is used to distinguish the host from the device. The Mini-A connector is no longer used. need smaller connections and use the mini and micro connections.0 ports still accept connections from older USB devices. such as printers and video recorders.

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

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

127. Additionally. 2. meaning that you can insert and remove them without powering a system down. How many devices are supported by a USB hub? 2. More Info  Chapter 16. The maximum recommended cable length for USB 3. When you open and modify a file in Windows.0? Quick Check Answers 1. This is useful for devices such as printers.” If you choose to scan and fix it. 5 Gbps. but USB extension cords are available. Exam Tip Know the maximum cable lengths when preparing for the exam. ensure that the computer is not writing to the flash drive before you remove it. the cable can be as long as 5 meters (about 16 feet). This can happen if you remove the device or disc before all files have been written to it. This bit is commonly called a dirty bit.USB Cable Lengths When connecting devices by using a USB cable. However. You can avoid this completely by ensuring that all files are closed before removing a flash drive. “Understanding Disks and File Systems” Chkdsk can also be used to manually check disks for problems and repair them. 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. When all the files have been saved. What is the speed of USB 3.0 is 3 meters (almost 10 feet). a bit is set indicating that the disk has an unsaved file. Chapter 16 explores chkdsk in more depth. the dirty bit is cleared. the system might corrupt the file. If you remove a drive while a file is being modified. Dirty Bit Key Terms USB devices are hot-swappable. It’s very rare to find a device with a 5-meter USB cable. Quick Check 1. the system will run a program called chkdsk on the drive and resolve the problem. USB CHAPTER 5 169 . If you insert a flash drive that has the dirty bit set. you shouldn’t remove a USB device if it has an open file.

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

Exam Tip Know the speeds of each FireWire type and the details of each connection. 63. including the less common FireWire 800 9-pin connection. FireWire S1600 and S3200 devices have been slow to appear for desktops. S1600 supports speeds up to 1. it’s very likely that you’ll see FireWire devices using these faster speeds.0 devices with 5 Gbps speeds come to market. FireWire S1600 and S3200 IEEE 1394b also included specifications for S1600 and S3200. It also includes a diagram of all three connections. although devices aren’t as readily available for them. However. The 4-pin port does not provide power. FireWire CHAPTER 5 171 . The 9-pin port is required for FireWire 800. How many devices are supported by FireWire? 2. 2. What is the speed of IEEE 1394b? Quick Check Answers 1.2 Gbps. and S3200 supports speeds up to 3.6 Gbps. 800 Mbps.Figure 5-5 shows the 4-pin and 6-pin FireWire 400 connectors. but the 6-pin port does. These devices use the 9-pin beta connection. 4-pin 6-pin 9-pin Figure 5-5  FireWire connectors (4-pin and 6-pin. Quick Check 1. with added diagram of 9-pin). as more USB 3.

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

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

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

you might hear a dog bark from behind you. 7.1. Sound CHAPTER 5 175 . and Table 5-4 describes these ports. A 5. They provide connections at the back of the system and sometimes at the front. creating a realistic experience. These connections are colorcoded and have icons that give you an idea of what they do. or an explosion in front of you. For example.1 sound system is also known as a surround sound system and has five speakers and a subwoofer. and a central speaker.1 surround sound system and adds two speakers: one on the right side and one on the left side. left and right speakers in the rear. The subwoofer provides deep bass sounds. often used for voice or dialog. A 7. Combined with the deep bass of the subwoofer. For example. It has left and right speakers in the front. The 2 indicates that it is stereo. 5.1.1. Figure 5-7 shows the back of a system with several ports for a 7. Some other common sound systems include the following: ■■ 2.different sounds from the left and right speakers.1 sound system. ­ Figure 5-7  Sound connectors for 7. Connecting Sound Systems Most motherboards have built-in sound capabilities as part of the chipset. ■■ ■■ 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 includes the same five speakers and subwoofer found in a 5.1 system. you’re often able to feel many of the sounds.1 represents a subwoofer. and the . a bird singing in a tree on your right.

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

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

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

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

Figure 5-11  Microphones. and copy documents. scan. Document feeder Paper tray Control panel Moving light source Figure 5-12  Multifunction printer with scanner. fax. Figure 5-12 shows an HP multifunction printer that includes a document feeder and a flatbed scanner. but it’s much more common to use a multifunction printer that can print. 180 CHAPTER 5 Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards . 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. You can purchase a stand-alone scanner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DVI comes in both single-link and dual-link versions. Single-link DVI supports resolutions up to 1920 × 1200. Note  Single-link DVI more common The single-link DVI cables are cheaper than dual-link cables and are more readily available. It is a DB-15 connector with three rows of pins. However. Interfaces. VGA also indicates a very basic resolution of 640 × 480. Dual-link DVI uses more pins and wires and is used for higher resolutions up to 2560 × 1600. DVI-I connectors are integrated and supply both analog and digital data. Additionally. The three primary versions are as follows: ■■ ■■ ■■ DVI-A connectors supply only analog data. Figure 6-7  VGA cable. but it’s still common to see VGA connectors. Figure 6-7 shows a connector on a standard VGA cable.VGA Key Terms Video Graphics Array (VGA) has been the standard analog video interface used for many years. It was primarily created to provide a digital interface but also supports analog. DVI-D connectors supply only digital data. Connections. New display devices use improved interfaces. DVI Key Terms The Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connector is rectangle-shaped and is commonly found on many PCs and monitors today. the VGA interface can transmit data using higher resolutions. 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. and Cables CHAPTER 6 207 .

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

It is definitely a requirement for anyone who is building a home theater PC. HDMI cables are available with the Type A connector on one end for the computer and a mini-HDMI connector on the other end. In brief.” 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. It is backward-compatible with DVI-D and DVI-I but not with VGA or DVI-A.45 mm. Interfaces. Similarly. Connections. HDMI 720 uses a resolution of 1280 × 720.42 mm. ■■ ■■ HDMI 1080 uses a resolution of 1920 × 1080. and Cables CHAPTER 6 209 . HTMI resolutions are commonly identified as 1080 and 720.9 mm × 4. the key differences between VGA and HDMI include the following: ■■ ■■ VGA provides analog video. The Type A connector is the most common.42 mm × 2. The Type A connector is 13. HDMI provides digital video plus 8-channel digital audio. Exam Tip HDMI includes digital video and 8-channel digital audio. “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards. Comparing VGA and HDMI The previous sections show the progression of video interfaces from VGA to DVI and then to HDMI. and the Type C connector is 10. but you might also run across the Type C (or mini-HDMI) connector.Figure 6-9  Type A HDMI cable. You might remember from Chapter 5.

A better choice is to get a new monitor or a new video card. you might come across other connections. Other Connections While the primary connections used for display devices are VGA. The HDMI cable plugs into the adapter. You might be able to find an active converter to convert the signals. What types of signals are supported by DVI? 2. Imagine that you have an HDMI cable coming from a display but have only a DVI-D port on the computer. 210 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . This section covers the other connections mentioned in the CompTIA objectives. DVI-A-to-VGA adapters are also available. and adapters are available to convert one connector to another. and HDMI is digital video and audio. DVI. and HDMI. 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. Quick Check 1. These reroute the connections from one connector to the specific pins on the other connector. DVI and HDMI both use the same type of signals. You can use an HDMI-to-DVI adapter like the one shown in Figure 6-10.Adapters Passive adapters are available that allow you to plug a cable of one type into a different type of port. Analog and digital. but they are expensive. 2. Figure 6-10  HDMI-to-DVI adapter. and the DVI-D side plugs into the DVI port on the computer. For example. VGA is analog video only.

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

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

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

DisplayPort. and use the video from the GDI instead. as shown in Figure 6-14. and different chipsets provide different types of video. Figure 6-14 shows two different video cards.Quick Check 1. just like a central processing unit (CPU). A 4-pin DIN. Exam Tip If a video card is added to a system. NVIDIA created Scalable Link Interface (SLI) to link multiple GPUs on separate video cards. For example. Video Cards and Drivers The chipset on most motherboards includes video capabilities. Figure 6-14  Video cards with GPUs. What type of connection includes USB? 2. 214 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . This prevents any conflicts between the two. The GPUs can generate a lot of heat. What type of connector does S-Video use? Quick Check Answers 1. so it’s common to see heat sinks (highlighted by the white boxes). Users can purchase an additional video card. Some manufacturers have used two or more video cards that work together to provide a faster high-quality single output. Both have graphics processing units (GPUs) and onboard RAM. also called a graphics device interface (GDI). the video provided by the onboard features of the chipset should be disabled in the BIOS. 2. 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.

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

replace it. When working with CRTs. Most organizations have safety policies in place directing technicians not to open a CRT monitor. there are some specific safety concerns technicians need to know about. If the monitor fails. the primary concerns are your safety and the environment. With flat-panel displays. Even after you turn the CRT monitor off. 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. 216 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices .HDMI DisplayPort DVI Air vent Figure 6-15  Multiple ports on back of computer. 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. 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. You should not open a CRT monitor unless you have been specially trained to do so. Safety Concerns When working with monitors. these components retain the voltage. these voltages can very easily kill you.

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

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

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

CRT monitors gradually dim as they age. double-check the ports you’re using. “Yes!” He had seen this before. Real World  Watch Out for Inactive Ports Not too long ago. He swapped the cable. you can eliminate the flicker by setting the resolution to 72 Hz or higher. Flickering Image Flickering images are common with CRT monitors when the resolution is set too low. Some monitors can pick up some light from the room or possibly from the sun if they are by a window. He thought that the cable might have been bad. Dim Image If the image is dim. The solution is to replace the bulb. The old monitor had long since been removed. In this case. His eyes lit up. the monitor simply gave a default message indicating that it wasn’t connected. some bulbs with projectors will dim with age.a default message indicating that the monitor isn’t connected. He wasn’t giving up but was momentarily stumped and asked for some advice. and even seasoned technicians can sometimes be confused by this. 220 CHAPTER 6 Exploring Video and Display Devices . and the monitor worked perfectly. he got down on his hands and knees to look at the ports and realized that was exactly the problem. Moving external hard drives and any other electronic devices away from the monitor often solves the problem. One of the causes is placing magnetic materials too close to the monitor. so he went and retrieved another cable but still had the same problem. This time. In some cases. I remembered how easy it is to use the inactive ports and wondered aloud if the PC had inactive video ports. you can simply turn up the brightness to get the image back. and turned it on. first check the brightness controls on the monitor. plugged it into the back of the computer. 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. Similarly. If you don’t have a display when plugging in a new monitor. and he said. Some monitors won’t display anything. It’s irritating and often causes eye strain. you’ll see a dim image. A dim image is often the result of a failed backlight on LCD-based monitors. I was working in a classroom when a technician came in to replace a monitor. Unfortunately. but it will be barely perceptible. This isn’t a problem for LCD-based monitors. Discoloration (Degaussing) Discoloration of the image is most commonly seen on CRT monitors. In general. It’s very easy to plug a monitor into the inactive ports. He reached around with the cable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

12 Install and configure various peripheral devices. charging. developing. install. You’ll also learn how printers are connected and the basic steps for installing and configuring printers. fusing and cleaning Ink cartridge. fuser assembly. These are the four common types of printers you run across as an A+ technician. ■■ ■■ Use appropriate printer drivers for a given operating system Print device sharing 227 . and configure printers. pickup rollers. you’ll learn about laser. It’s important to have a basic understanding of how they work so that you’re better prepared to maintain and troubleshoot them. duplexing assembly Imaging process: processing. inkjet.CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers I n this chapter. impact.2 Given a scenario. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. separate pads. duplexing assembly. transferring. roller. ribbon. transfer belt. carriage and belt Calibration Feed assembly. tractor feed Impact paper ■■ ■■ Inkjet ■■ ■■ ■■ Thermal ■■ ■■ ■■ Impact ■■ ■■ ■■ 4. feeder. exposing. print head. ■■ Output devices ■■ Printers ■■ 4. heating element Special thermal paper Print head.1 Explain the differences between the various printer types and summarize the associated imaging process. ■■ Laser ■■ Imaging drum. transfer roller. and thermal printers.

use appropriate operating system features and tools.■■ Wired ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ USB Parallel Serial Ethernet Bluetooth 802.4 Given a scenario. applying maintenance kit. 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. ■■ Administrative ■■ Print management ■■ 4. replace paper ■■ Thermal ■■ ■■ Impact ■■ Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. perform printer maintenance.3 Given a scenario.11x Infrared (IR) ■■ Wireless ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Printer hardware print server Sharing local/networked printer via Operating System settings Printer sharing ■■ ■■ 4. calibration. replace print head. cleaning Replace paper. remove debris Replace ribbon.9 Given a scenario. clean heating element.

and lottery tickets. I’m betting that you’ve seen a printer in action. but the ink is expensive.■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 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. They are fast and produce a high-quality output but are the most expensive. However. They are used to print cash register receipts. Printing Basics CHAPTER 7 229 . The following sections describe these in more depth. They are slow and noisy but are the only type of printer that can print the multipart forms used by some businesses. Thermal printers heat up the paper to print the output. you might not be aware of the different printer types. Impact printers create a printout using little pins that work like hammers to force ink from a ribbon onto paper. Inkjet printers are very popular among home users and small offices. but briefly. Larger organizations commonly use them. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam Tip You’ll need to understand the basics of each of these printers. which is then melted onto the paper. Inkjet printers send little streams or jets of ink from the print head onto the paper. here are basic descriptions of the various printer types: ■■ Key Terms Laser printers use lasers to paint an electronic image onto a rotating drum. ATM receipts. However. The drum then transfers the image to a piece of paper by using toner. so that shouldn’t be any surprise. They are inexpensive and can produce vibrant color printouts. you’ll find that the CompTIA exams focus heavily on laser printers.

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

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

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

Separator pads work with the pickup rollers to ensure that only one piece of paper is picked up at a time. ■■ Laser Printers CHAPTER 7 233 . 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. What is required to print two-sided paper? 2. Quick Check 1. What is used to clean printers? Quick Check Answers 1. Compressed air. and isopropyl alcohol. 2. 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. 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.Figure 7-2  Pickup roller in an empty paper tray. Duplexing assembly. The next section covers the laser imaging process in more detail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Television remotes use infrared. such as with a mobile phone and a headset.” mentions both Bluetooth and Infrared. and with Class 2 Bluetooth. other users on the network will be able to send their print jobs through this computer. Printer Sharing In addition to sharing printers by placing them on the network. you can connect a local printer to one computer and share it. A drawback is that it requires a clear line of sight between the printer and the computer. 3.11n. 2. such as 802. The following steps show how to share a printer on Windows 7: 1. Chapter 23. “Exploring Wireless Networking. The common types of wireless connections include the following: ■■ 802. Click the Sharing tab. or 802. Locate the printer in the Printers And Faxes section. 802.11 protocols. if you have a wireless network. Right-click the printer and select Printer Properties. Some printers support Bluetooth. as shown in the following graphic.Wireless Connections Many printers include wireless capabilities that allow wireless systems to connect to them without a wired connection. and it has been used with printers.” covers wireless technologies in more detail. 4. Bluetooth is commonly used to create personal area networks (PANs). If you share a printer on a networked computer. Click Start and select Devices And Printers.11a. 802. Installing and Configuring Printers CHAPTER 7 255 .11 protocols are covered in more depth in Chapter 23. Infrared. Wireless networks use one of the 802. The 802. you can also share local printers.11. Select the Share This Printer check box. the printer can be as far as 10 meters (33 feet) away. For example. ■■ ■■ More Info  Chapter 9 and Chapter 23 Chapter 9.11b. Bluetooth. Other users on the network can then print to the printer.11g. “Understanding Mobile Devices.

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

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

it isn’t sent to the printer right away. A common problem with the print spooler is that it can occasionally lock up and stop sending print jobs to the printer. Quick Check 1. restart the spooler service. start. The print spooler runs as a service. You can think of the print job as a thread that is collected and wound onto a spool when you print it. This printer includes multiple tools that can be used to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. You can stop. resume. you can use it to manipulate any services. It works in the background to spool the print job out to the printer. Therefore. you might need to restart it. applications such as Internet Explorer start only when a user starts them. and services start up automatically when the computer starts. The printer has a limited amount of memory and can print only so fast. You can also disable a service or configure how it will start. Chapter 13. What is the print spooler? 258 CHAPTER 7 Exploring Printers . or restart a service. When one print job finishes. If you send multiple print jobs to a printer. you don’t need to start the print spooler service. The solution is to restart the print spooler service. After the spooler captures the print job. Exam Tip If print jobs back up in the queue. If you try to print more print jobs. so the spooler coordinates with the printer to get the print job to it in chunks. it starts sending the next print job. you can go on to other things. and it’s unwound when it’s sent to the printer. 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. your computer sends the print job to a file called a spooler. pause. “Using Windows Operating Systems. but in brief.” covers the Services applet in more detail. Print Spooler When you send a print job to a printer. Instead. These tools are available on the Tools tab for this printer.In Figure 7-17. you can see that the printer has a problem and needs attention. How are printers commonly connected to a PC? 2. they just back up in the queue. the print spooler will queue each of these jobs. In contrast. It also includes settings that can be configured for the printer. However.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 3. you’ll learn about many of the common features of laptops.1 Install and configure laptop hardware and components. especially if you don’t follow some basic processes for disassembling the laptops. Some hardware is relatively easy to install and replace. Their displays are similar to regular monitors.5 vs. ■■ Expansion options ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Express card /34 Express card /54 PCMCIA SODIMM Flash Keyboard Hard Drive (2. but other components can be quite challenging. Laptops often have special keys on the keyboard that are used to enable and disable hardware. 3.5) Memory Optical drive Wireless card Mini-PCIe Screen DC jack Battery Touchpad Plastics 267 ■■ Hardware/device replacement ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ . You’ll also learn about methods used to conserve power on these systems and some key things to look for when troubleshooting them.CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops I n this chapter. but some have additional hardware not included in other monitors.

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

laptops have many common features. You can find highperformance laptops with screens of over 17 inches and as much power as a desktop computer. ■■ 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.8 Given a scenario. More Info  Chapter 9. Despite their differences in size and performance characteristics. 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. troubleshoot. and repair common laptop issues while adhering to the appropriate procedures.■■ 4. “Understanding Mobile Devices” Tablets are in a different category and are covered in Chapter 9. Common Laptop Features CHAPTER 8 269 . and there are many different types. there are a multitude of laptop types between these two. And of course.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but they are very rare today. A Type II card can plug into a Type II or Type III slot. Type II.3 mm. They are also available as wireless network cards. network. They were created by the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA) and were previously called PCMCIA cards. 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. “Comparing Storage Devices. an ExpressCard/54. Figure 8-14 compares the size of these cards with the legacy PC Card. Some provide you with additional memory card slots. They are available as adapters to add additional USB. as follows: ■■ Key Terms Type I cards are the thinnest at 3. A Type III card can plug into a Type III slot only. ExpressCard/34 26 pins 54 mm 26 pins Figure 8-14  Comparing an ExpressCard/34. “Exploring Peripherals and Expansion Cards” Chapter 5 covers USB connections. This card is 34 mm wide and has 26 pins. which you’ll find on almost every laptop computer. or Type III slot. ExpressCards come in the following two versions: ■■ ■■ ExpressCard/34. there are two types of ExpressCards but only one type of ExpressCard slot. Type II cards are a little thicker at 5.More Info  Chapter 5. including SecureDigital (SD) or CompactFlash memory slots. the same thickness as a Type II PC Card. That is. Type III cards are 10. An eSATAp port can be used as an external SATA (eSATA) port or as a USB port. ExpressCard/54.0 mm thick. This card is 54 mm wide and has 26 pins. sound cards. ■■ ■■ ExpressCards Key Terms Most laptops manufactured since 2007 include ExpressCard slots. eSATA.0 mm. and much more. A Type I card can plug into a Type II. or FireWire ports. 34 mm ExpressCard/54 54 mm PC Card 68 pins Installing and Configuring Laptop Hardware CHAPTER 8 293 .5 mm and are often used for hard drives. and a PC Card. Both ExpressCard versions are 5. PCMCIA PC Cards were often used with laptop computers before the release of the ExpressCard. Chapter 4. and there are a wide variety of ExpressCards available. which are also found on many laptop computers.” covers external Serial ATA powered (eSATAp) ports. They came in three types with three different thicknesses.

but these batteries don’t last forever. 294 CHAPTER 8 Working with Laptops . 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. For example. Better heat dissipation. Most users don’t want to lug around a 50-pound battery with their laptop. For example. Exam Tip  Conserving power isn’t limited only to laptop computers. it has more surface space to dissipate the heat. Systems that support ACPI allow the operating system to send signals to devices to change their power state. Manufacturers try to strike a balance between how long a battery will last and how heavy it is. The ExpressCard/54 provides manufacturers with more space to house the components. You can also take steps to conserve power and keep systems running longer. and processor states that apply to the central processing unit (CPU). device power states that apply to individual devices. “Why are there two versions of ExpressCard?” There are two reasons: ■■ More space.A logical question is. 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. such as global power states that apply to the entire computer. Laptops have batteries that will continue to power the system. This is an update to an earlier standard called advanced power management (APM). Some cards include components that tend to get hotter than others. Most of the concepts in this section apply both to desktop computers and to laptops. They both fit into the same slot and use the same technology. ACPI can be used to turn off a display monitor after 10 minutes of inactivity. ■■ Note  No performance differences between ExpressCard versions There are no performance differences between ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54.8-inch platter can fit on an ExpressCard/54 but not on the smaller ExpressCard/34. ACPI defines many power states for systems and hardware. a hard drive with a 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

4 Compare and contrast hardware differences in regards to tablets and laptops.5 Execute and configure mobile device synchronization. ■■ Contacts Programs Email Pictures 306 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices .3 Compare and contrast methods for securing mobile devices.■■ 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. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 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.

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

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. If the user changes the orientation 308 CHAPTER 9 Understanding Mobile Devices .3 inches. The output of the accelerometer and gyroscope indicates the orientation of the device. which are much bigger than the 9. laptops are bigger. a single chip includes ­ both. Table 9-1 summarizes some of the important differences between tablets and laptops related to the A+ exams. You can purchase laptops with display screens as big as 17. Technicians can open and replace components. Most use traditional hard drives. Laptops include keyboards along with the display screens. but this can be quite expensive if it isn’t under warranty. and the device can use this information to change the display. The most basic use of accelerometers and gyroscopes is to determine whether the device is positioned horizontally or vertically in front of a user. but tablets use a display keyboard that allows you to touch the keys on the touchscreen. Note  Tablet Sizes Tablet display sizes are commonly quoted as the diagonal display size. They include solid state drives. Exam Tip Tablets do not have field-serviceable parts and are rarely upgradable. The following sections cover these features. and are upgradable and serviceable.1-inch diagonal display of the Galaxy Tab. Tablets have many common features that aren’t always in laptops. Some can use solid state drives but these are not as common. This is the length of the screen from an upper corner to the opposite lower corner and includes only the viewable area. contributing to their high performance and lighter weight. include more hardware. Keyboard and mouse. 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. In many devices.7-inch diagonal display of an iPad or the 10.send it back to the company to get it serviced. In contrast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

many mobile devices include either Wi-Fi capability or cellular access. As mentioned previously. users can connect to them from within a mobile device. iOS.■■ Windows Store and Windows Phone Marketplace. Android is open source. Windows apps are ­ available through the Windows Store and the Windows Phone marketplace: http://www . For and http://www.windowsphone. What operating system is used on Apple devices? 2. 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. This adds an element of security because only developers with an account can upload apps to Google Play. while the iOS is closed source and vendor-specific. when developers recode the app. Quick Check 1. you often can’t tell the difference between the functionality on the different devices. 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.windowsstore. Two other connectivity methods are Bluetooth and infrared. Connectivity Mobile devices have the ability to connect wirelessly to an outside network by using one or more different technologies. Application developers who create an app for one device must rewrite the code for other devices. These applications are then synchronized to their devices. you can configure the device to connect to the wireless As with other mobile stores. However. 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. Almost all mobile devices include this ability. Connectivity CHAPTER 9 315 . 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. 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

it's called a screen lock. Passcode Locks A passcode is a simple password or set of digits that you must enter to start using the device. Note  Defense in Depth Thieves have many tools at their disposal to circumvent or override many security settings. but by using a variety of tools. You may laugh. Securing Mobile Devices CHAPTER 9 325 . when a user writes the passcode on the device or attaches a sticky note with the passcode to the device. but more than a few users have done this. This prevents a thief from accessing data on a device by entering all the possible combinations. Of course. When the device is idle for a period of time. it defeats the purpose. On other devices. These tools are available on many smartphones and tablets. it locks. Figure 9-5 shows the screen for an iPad Passcode Lock. Failed Logon Attempts Restrictions In addition to using a passcode lock. Using multiple layers of security is referred to as defense in depth. 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. On some devices. mobile devices have tools that you can use to help protect them or the data stored on them. 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. and it works like a password-protected screensaver. you can increase the security. many devices include failed logon restrictions. None of the security methods described here are completely reliable.Securing Mobile Devices If lost or stolen. The user must then enter the passcode to use the device. For example. it is a four-digit PIN.

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

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

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

you can fully restore the device. The method of patching the system varies by device. As issues are detected. This will save all your applications. GPS identifies the exact location of the device. technicians can upgrade and service laptops. you should always ensure that your system is up to date. Applications can be purchased only via Apple’s App Store. the vendor updates and releases patches and operating system updates. 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. a closed source operating system that is not licensed to any other company. data.Patching/Operating System Updates Bugs and security issues are detected with any operating system after it is released. This includes the operating systems on mobile devices and the operating systems on any desktop PC. and if something goes wrong during the update. Quick Check 1. Apple devices use iOS. It can be used to locate a lost device and is also used by geotracking. it’s always a good idea to synchronize the device. Apple iOS-based systems require you to connect your device to a PC with a USB cable and use iTunes to update it. What can be enabled to prevent a thief from easily using a stolen mobile device? 2. 2. Exam Tip Before applying a patch or doing an update. ■■ ■■ ■■ Chapter Summary CHAPTER 9 329 . and settings. Applications use this data to change the display for the user. such as switching between landscape mode and portrait mode. What is used to remotely erase data on a lost device? Quick Check Answers 1. Chapter Summary ■■ Tablets are not upgradable or serviceable by technicians in the field. Passcode lock. Remote wipe. In contrast. The orientation of a tablet’s screen is automatically sensed by an accelerometer and/or gyroscope. As a best practice. Android-based systems often prompt you when an update is available.

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

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

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

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


it ties some of the concepts from previous chapters together so that you can help customers identify the right components to meet their needs. but if you aren’t able to work with customers.9 Evaluate and select appropriate components for a custom configuration. to meet customer specifications or needs. and troubleshooting ability. Additionally.CHAPTER 1 0 Working with Customers Y ou can be the best technician in the world. This chapter covers some core skills related to communicating with customers and troubleshooting problems effectively. you might end up with more opportunities to update your résumé than you’ll care to have. The most successful technicians have a good mix of technical knowledge. Exam 220-801 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. ■■ 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 ■■ ■■ . communication skills.

restate the issue or question to verify understanding) ■■ Dealing with difficult customer or situation ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 336 CHAPTER 10 Working with Customers . ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Use proper language – avoid jargon. humidity level awareness and proper ventilation Protection from airborne particles ■■ ■■ Enclosures Air filters ■■ 5. demonstrate proper communication and professionalism. ■■ ■■ Temperature.2 Explain environmental impacts and the purpose of environmental controls.3 Given a scenario.■■ ■■ ■■ 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. 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.

■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Purpose of virtual machines Resource requirements Emulator requirements Security requirements Network requirements Hypervisor Identify the problem ■■ ■■ 4. desktop.1 Given a scenario.■■ 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. ■■ 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. printer. explain the troubleshooting theory.4 Explain the fundamentals of dealing with prohibited content/activity. actions and outcomes CHAPTER 10 337 . etc ■■ Deal appropriately with customers confidential materials ■■ ■■ 5. ■■ 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: ■■ 1.9 Explain the basics of client-side virtualization.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

it might require a fast network interface card (NIC) to provide the best performance on the network. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Identifying Customer Needs CHAPTER 10 349 . ■■ CPU/Processor. Network Interface. You want to make sure that you get at least the minimum recommended amount of RAM for the operating system.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 can often save a significant amount of money with an earlier CPU version. and that might be what they need. The amount of memory a system has is the second most important resource behind the processor. This includes a highend graphics card with onboard memory and monitors that provide the best display. and redundancy. most can be summarized in five specific components. you might want to add more. older versions are almost always reduced in price. The following sections describe these components and the common workstation roles. Many applications require high-end graphics. These include processors with multiple cores and faster speeds. “What do you plan on doing with the computer?” If you have an idea of what they’ll use it for. Graphics/Video. The earlier version might have a little less power. some require faster hard drives for better performance. the newest and fastest are the most expensive. when new CPUs are released. and they are important for gamers and home theaters. Based on the role. Sophisticated audio systems provide realistic sound. However. They often look to experts like you to help them buy the computer that will meet their needs. speed. If the computer will be used to transfer a large amount of data over a network. Audio. Note  Newest CPUs are the most expensive When shopping for CPUs. However. Some roles require large drives to store more data. If you understand these components. you’ll be better prepared to help them. you can then match their importance to different workstation roles. and some require fault tolerance with a redundant array of inexpensive disks (RAID). ■■ RAM. but this is rarely noticeable to the average user. The three basic options related to disks are size. Disk. While there are many different options available for computers. Some people want only the newest and fastest. One of the core questions you’ll need to ask is. Some systems require powerful processors to meet the demands of the applications that they’ll run.

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

Games often have three dimensional (3D) sound. A top-notch video card with onboard memory and a specialized Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is needed for many of the games. which is something the nurses and doctors appreciate. Gamers often run their systems close to full capacity. High-end audio. the netbooks are very small and light. Other PCs can use high-quality variable speed fans without liquid cooling. They can also include liquid-cooled systems that circulate water to keep it cool without the noise generated by fans. such as the Xbox 360. if you need to provide some assistance to a gamer. and the game developers deliver.1 surround sound system provides a realistic experience. and a subwoofer for deep bass sounds. so a fast processor with multiple cores is a must. and a 5.1 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.processing power. Games often consume a significant amount of processing power. Some of the most popular games are first-person shooter and online role-playing games. Gaming PC The PC gaming industry is big business and grosses billions of dollars annually. High-end cooling. High-end cooling systems protect these systems from overheating. It includes right and left front speakers. A 7. High-end video. It ensures that the graphics are quickly displayed without any lag or latency. and many of the games are available on separate consoles. including realistic explosions. and some even overclock their processors to get the highest performance possible. Also. right and left rear speakers. so you might not need to educate them. However. ensure that it meets minimum recommended requirements for the operating system and the application used to connect to the remote systems. ■■ ■■ ■■ Exam Tip Gaming PCs are the primary type of end-user PC where you’ll see liquid-cooling systems. You’ll often find that gamers are very knowledgeable about PCs. a central speaker (often used for dialog). ensure that the system includes the following items: ■■ Powerful processor. 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. Identifying Customer Needs CHAPTER 10 351 . Gamers expect top-notch graphics and audio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Windows XP 64-bit Professional Windows Vista Home Basic. category view vs. Windows Vista Enterprise Windows 7 Starter. Windows firewall. Windows 7 Home Premium. Windows XP Media Center. 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. 64-bit Aero. defender. administrative tools. Windows Vista Home Premium. shadow copy. bit-locker. XP mode. Windows 7 Ultimate. Windows XP Professional. Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: 1.1 Compare and contrast the features and requirements of various Microsoft Operating Systems. Windows 7 Professional. classic view 363 . Windows 7 Enterprise Features: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ 32-bit vs. file structure and paths. Windows Vista Business. compatibility mode. event viewer. gadgets. ready boost. ■■ Windows XP Home. sidebar.CHAPTER 1 1 Introducing Windows Operating Systems W ■■ indows operating systems are used more than any other operating systems in the world. security center. easy transfer. system restore. This chapter introduces the different versions of Windows and compares their features. user account control. Windows Vista Ultimate.

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

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

In the figure. Users who only surf the Internet or answer email don’t need much memory.Exam tip The hardware on 32-bit systems is identified as x86. A 32-bit operating system can address only 4 GB of RAM. and they support 64-bit and 32-bit operating systems. you’ll find that some of it appears to be missing. and that’s exactly how much RAM is installed. the order of byte names is as follows: kilobyte (KB). so the extra RAM that is supported by 64-bit systems isn’t necessary.2 GB to 3. Windows 7 supports as much as 192 GB. If you install 4 GB of RAM or more into a 64-bit system. many power users have applications that require more RAM. you won’t see desktop systems with this much RAM in the near future. Exam tip Even though a 32-bit operating system can address 4 GB of RAM. For example. megabyte (MB). This is especially true when users have multiple applications open at the same time. gigabyte (GB).25 GB was installed. it will all be available to the operating system. petabyte (PB). whereas a 64-bit operating system can theoretically address as much as 16 exabytes of RAM. It commonly can use only about 3. but it needs to reserve some of the addressable space for hardware devices such as graphics cards and other peripherals. but it is unusable. Exam Tip For reference. On the other hand. Even though the processors can address as much as 16 exabytes of RAM.5 GB of RAM installed on a system. If this system had 4 GB installed. The hardware on 64-bit systems is identified as x64 (sometimes AMD 64). it can’t use it all. terabyte (TB). Where’s the missing RAM? It’s still in the computer. it’s reserving about 760 MB of addressable space. 366 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . you can see that the system is reporting 512 MB of RAM. On this Windows XP system. You can’t install a 64-bit operating system on 32-bit hardware. Figure 11-1 shows the System Properties of a Windows XP system. A 32-bit operating system can address only 4 GB of RAM. Missing RAM If you install 4 GB of RAM on a 32-bit operating system. 64-bit operating systems do not have this limitation. and exabyte (EB). Increased Memory One of the biggest benefits of using a 64-bit operating system is access to more random access memory (RAM). and only 32-bit operating systems can be installed. The maximum RAM for Windows XP and Windows Vista is 128 GB. it would instead indicate that only about 3.

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

and access to additional software. 32-bit operating system. About 3.25 GB. Enterprise is available only to Microsoft Software Assurance customers. such as BitLocker Drive Encryption. This includes areas in South America. The CompTIA A+ objectives do not reference this edition. homegroups. including Windows 7 Enterprise. 368 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . This edition includes all the features available in any edition of Windows 7. best. following a progression of good. Africa. Home users cannot purchase the Enterprise edition. What type of operating system is supported by an x86 processor? 2. This edition is the most basic and has the fewest features. Many medium-to-large organizations participate in this program and likely run the Enterprise edition. How much RAM are you likely to see on a 32-bit system with 6 GB of RAM? Quick Check Answers 1. and the Middle East. Home Premium Edition. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Note  Windows 7 Home Basic Edition Another edition of Windows 7 is the Windows 7 Home Basic Edition. The Starter edition is available only in 32-bit editions. reduced costs for training. Windows 7 Editions Microsoft has released several editions of Windows 7. A major difference compared to the Home Premium Edition is that computers can join a domain within a network. It is available only in regions that are designated as emerging markets. The Windows 7 editions are as follows: ■■ Starter Edition. such as 24/7 phone support. 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. Windows 7 Enterprise. A step above the Home Premium Edition is the Professional edition. 2. Ultimate Edition. and only a limited number of features are enabled. The Enterprise edition includes some additional features. but they can get the Enterprise edition features by purchasing this edition. It’s available only to manufacturers.Quick Check 1. such as Aero. better. Professional Edition. and the Windows Media Center. and it’s installed on some netbooks (very small lightweight laptops).

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

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

Windows XP Media Center. so you’re likely to see these products even if you can’t purchase them any- more. Microsoft refers to two types of support: mainstream support and extended support. For example. Mainstream vs. The Professional edition was targeted for business users and included many more capabilities. view DVD movies. However. Extended Support M icrosoft provides support for operating systems long after they stop selling them. and listen to music. The relevant editions of Windows XP are as follows: ■■ Windows XP Home. and they will continue to provide extended support until April 2014. and they are well-established. and use remote desktop capabilities.Windows XP Editions Windows XP operating systems have been around since 2001. It runs on Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processors designated with “AMD64” and on Intel processors designated with “Intel /lifepolicy. Windows XP 64-bit Professional. users can join a domain. It provided basic capabilities. other updates and support are available only to customers who purchase an extended hotfix support agreement. Customers can continue to use the product and will continue to get updates. In general.” ■■ ■■ ■■ Note  Retail sales of Windows XP discontinued in 2008 Microsoft stopped retail sales of Windows XP in June 2008. Windows XP Editions CHAPTER 11 371 . For example. Windows XP Professional. you can think of mainstream support as normal support. Customers will still continue to receive security updates. Customers receive security updates and other non-security hotfixes and can also receive support for bugs or The extended support phase ends sometime after the mainstream support phase. Media Center is an enhanced edition of Windows XP Home and gives users additional multimedia capabilities. The Home edition was targeted for home users. and sales of PCs with Windows XP preinstalled stopped in October 2010. However. This edition was for users who wanted more memory and power and is also known as Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. Microsoft continued to provide mainstream support for Windows XP systems until April 2009. users can watch and record TV shows. encrypt files. You can read more about it here: http://support.

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

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

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. it required quite a bit more processing power and RAM and often required hardware upgrades. 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. Compared to Windows XP. just as other operating systems do. 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 .

Common Features Many of the features that are common in Windows XP. It is available in the Ultimate edition. For example. Windows XP. whereas some features are available only in specific versions. and Windows 7 are described in the following list. Windows Vista.Windows Features Some features are common to all three versions of Windows (Windows 7. but it’s not available in the Starter. BitLocker is available in Windows 7. Table 11-4 identifies features available in the different versions of Windows and identifies the chapter in this book where each topic is covered. Windows Features CHAPTER 11 375 . Home Premium. and Windows Vista). 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. or Professional editions of Windows. Other tables in this chapter focus on the differences between editions of each of these operating systems.

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

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. along with the chapter where you can read more about the feature. Windows Features CHAPTER 11 377 . 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. Windows Vista Features Table 11-6 shows some of the features that you‘ll find only in specific editions of Windows Vista. along with the chapter(s) in which you can read more about each feature. but that these features are not supported in the Starter and Home Premium editions.Windows 7 Features Table 11-5 shows some of the features that you‘ll find only in specific editions of Windows 7. For example.

you can use the Alt key instead. Which Windows 7 operating system(s) can back up data to a network location? Quick Check Answers 1. 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. 2. and Snap. You can hover the mouse over any item on the taskbar.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. and Aero displays the item. Figure 11-3 shows an example of Aero Peek. Tip Windows+Tab An easy way to access different applications on your system is by using the Windows+Tab keys. the screen will scroll through open applications. It uses a variety of graphics features. 25 11 11 Quick Check 1. such as translucent effects and animations that enhance the user interface. It also includes some great features that enhance the usability of the system. and Enterprise. Shake. 378 CHAPTER 11 Introducing Windows Operating Systems . Only Windows 7. Windows 7 Professional. Task Manager is running. By holding down the Windows key and tapping the Tab key. Which operating systems use libraries? 2. If you don’t have the Windows key on your keyboard. In the figure. Ultimate. although the display isn’t the same. and the cursor hovering over the Task Manager icon on the taskbar displays a thumbnail view of the application.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Installing and Upgrading Windows

CHAPTER 12 403

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

not an upgrade. they need to purchase the retail version at full price. XP. One is related to the purchase price. Windows Anytime Upgrade Key Terms You can use Windows Anytime Upgrade to upgrade some editions of Windows 7 to a higher edition. For example. Likewise. you can upgrade Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate. For example. they can purchase and install the upgrade version of Windows 7 at a reduced cost. they can do an upgrade only from Windows Vista to Windows 7. if users are running Windows 2000. when doing the installation. you can’t upgrade a consumer version of Windows 7 to a business version (that is. Upgrade vs. However. Upgrade U pgrade means two different things depending on the context. For example. Operating systems can be purchased at full retail price or at a reduced upgrade price if a user is running a qualified earlier version. 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 can upgrade only to a comparable edition or higher. If they are running Windows 2000 or XP. the actual installation will be a clean install.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. and the other is related to how Windows can be installed. You cannot upgrade Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Home Premium because Home Premium is a step down from Ultimate. from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 7 Enterprise). This is primarily targeted at home users who decide that they want to increase the capabilities of Windows 7 installed on their systems. or Vista. If they don’t have a qualifying version of Windows. if users are running 414 CHAPTER 12 Installing and Updating Windows Operating Systems .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Exam 220-802 objectives in this chapter: ■■ 1. including some basics about navigating Windows. applets within the Control Panel.4 Given a scenario. You should have a clear understanding of how to use tools like the Task Manager. use appropriate operating system features and tools. You’ll learn about all of these tools in this chapter. ■■ Administrative ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Computer management Performance monitor Services Task scheduler Component services Data sources Applications Processes Performance Networking Users MMC ■■ Task Manager ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Run line utilities ■■ 437 . and the tools within the Administrative Tools group.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.

■■ 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).5 Given a scenario.■■ 1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

” covers printers and the spooler service. and this tab includes the following listed items. Physical Memory and Physical Memory History. When the Available memory is close to zero.071 MB). Performance The Performance tab gives you a quick visual indication of the computer’s performance.Exam Tip Chapter 7.056 MB). it indicates that the system needs more RAM. “Exploring Printers. ■■ CPU Usage and CPU Usage History. ■■ ■■ ■■ Task Manager CHAPTER 13 445 . Figure 13-5 shows the display on a Windows 7 system. This shows the current usage as a percentage and the usage over the last 60 seconds. Figure 13-5  Task Manager with the Performance tab selected. and the available RAM (2. Physical Memory. or you can use the Services applet to manipulate the services. it might be because the spooler service has failed. This identifies how much memory is being used now and recently. This shows how much RAM the operating system is using. This shows the total RAM (3. If the print queue backs up. You can stop and restart any service by using Task Manager. Kernel Memory.

Quick Check 1. the user shows up on the Users tab. but there are two ways that other users show up: ■■ Fast User Switching. minutes. Remote Desktop Connections. you’ll see only your account listed on this tab. What would you use to identify what is consuming a processor’s time? Quick Check Answers 1. This identifies all the users who are logged on to the system. If additional users show up. ■■ More Info  Chapter 20. “Understanding Protocols” Remote Desktop Connections and the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) are covered in more detail in Chapter 20. If another user is logged on. ■■ Networking If your computer is connected to a network.■■ System. If you click this button. Task Manager. Normally. What tool can you use to end an application that won’t respond? 2. It includes a graph to show how much data is being transferred and indicates the Network Utilization as a percentage. it starts another tool that you can use to get more information. hours. and seconds. A key piece of information here is the uptime reported in days. 2. The Resource Monitor is not available in Windows XP. You can also select the user and click the Disconnect or Logoff buttons to disconnect or log off the user. Resource Monitor. 446 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Remote desktop services allow users to connect into a system remotely. Task Manager. This feature allows more than one user to be logged on to the system. you can use this tab to send the user a message by rightclicking the user and selecting Send Message. Users connected via remote desktop services show up on the Users tab. you can use the Networking tab to show how much bandwidth your network interface card (NIC) is using. Processes tab. Users The last tab on the Task Manager is the Users tab.

5. but you can also add snap-ins to an MMC to create your own tool. Select MMC. 3. Click the File menu. The center pane shows some component services that are running on this system. You’ll have a blank MMC open at this point.Microsoft Management Console Key Terms The Microsoft Management Console (MMC) is a blank console used by many configuration tools. Microsoft Management Console CHAPTER 13 447 . For example. Click OK. Click Start. The first Services snap-in is labeled Local. Click Finish. but you will not be able to use it if you do not have administrative privileges on the remote computer. 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. and type MMC in the Search Programs And Files text box. you can use the following steps on a Windows 7 computer to create an MMC for your own use: 1. Note  Administrative privileges You can add the snap-in for other computers. click Yes to continue. indicating that it is a remote computer named Vista1. If prompted by User Account Control. If you expand the Component Services and select COM+ Applications. and select Add/Remove Snap-In. Select Services and click Add. 4. indicating that it is the local computer. Some tools come preconfigured within an MMC. your display will look similar to the following graphic. The second Services snap-in is labeled Vista1. Select Component Services and click Add. 2.

Table 13-1 Commands to Start Common Snap-Ins Command taskschd. Use to view logs. Select Desktop. Exam Tip As you go through this chapter. Anytime you want to get more information. and click Save.msc gpedit. On Windows Vista and Windows 7. Exam Tip You can use multiple methods to access any of these tools.msc Snap-in name Task Scheduler Event Viewer Performance Services Local Security Policy Group Policy Editor Advanced Windows Firewall Description Use to schedule tasks. and manipulate services. Type in MyConsole as the name. For example. With few exceptions. 448 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems .msc services. go through them more than once. you can click Start.msc extension when using these commands. stop. Save As. This command does not work on Windows XP. you can click Start and type the command into the text box. you need to include the . Many snap-ins can be started directly without having to be added as snap-ins in an MMC.msc wf. You can now start this console from the desktop without reconfiguring it. You can follow the steps explicitly and then use them as a guide to explore the applets on your own. Use to monitor system performance. Run. On Windows XP. Table 13-1 shows the command for some common snap-ins. View and manipulate local Group Policy settings. Use to manipulate advanced settings for firewall. If there are steps. Tools within the Control Panel are mini-programs and are commonly called applets. 7.6. View. Click File. View and manipulate security settings for local system. and type in the command. press F1 while an applet is open and the Help page will open. I strongly encourage you to start these applets and look at them.msc secpol. many are accessible via the Control Panel in the Administrative Tools category.msc eventvwr.msc perfmon. start. Control Panel The Control Panel is a central location for many common tools that you’ll use to view and manipulate computer settings.

you’ll probably use the Search feature to quickly find applets. When preparing for the CompTIA A+ exam. On Windows XP and Windows Vista. By default. On Windows 7. the applets are grouped together in categories instead of listed individually. if you type only admin in the text box. For example. For example. the view is set to Large Icons. everything disappears except for the Administrative Tools group. 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. and use the Classic View in Windows XP and Windows Vista. type its name or partial name in this box. and items that don’t match the search disappear from the view. If you type administrative tools in the text box. the view is set to Classic View. You can click Switch To Category View to switch back. Applets The Control Panel has some differences between versions. use the Large Icons view in Windows 7. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 449 . choose Large Icons or Small Icons to list them individually. If you’re looking for an applet. Control Panel applets are displayed in a Category view. Some of the applets have the same function between versions. Figure 13-6 shows the Control Panel in Windows XP on the left and in Windows 7 on the right. Windows Vista and Windows 7 Control Panels include a useful Search feature (in the upper-right corner in Figure 13-6). That is. You can modify the view so that the applets are listed individually. Windows Vista has 49 applets. You don’t need to know the functions of all the applets when preparing for the exam. and Windows 7 has 45 applets. Windows XP has 29 applets. On Windows 7. some are modified. The following sections introduce them and describe their purpose. choose the Classic View to list the applets individually. but you should know the ones that are specifically mentioned in the objectives. On Windows XP. everything disappears except for items that have “admin” in the title or description. Figure 13-6  Selecting a View in Control Panel. and others are new.

Windows recognizes the . When you double-click a file to open it. Folders. so extensions are hidden by default. Most users don’t need to access these files.Common Applets Several of the applets are common to each version of Windows. Select Display The Full Path In The Title Bar (Classic Theme Only). Control Panel. Select Show Hidden Files. Similarly. on different operating systems. Folder Options A primary tool you’ll use when working with files in Windows is Windows Explorer. If necessary. you’ll often need to see all the files and the extensions. As a technician.” only “A+ Study Notes” appears. Chapter 11.” showed steps you can use in different operating systems to open it. Showing Hidden files and Extensions on Windows Vista and Windows 7 1. “Introducing Windows Operating Systems. to make the changes.xlsx. if you have a file named “A+ Study Notes. Windows opens the correct application to view the file based on the extension. Double-click Folder Options. such as “A+ Study Notes. And Drives.” but the extension is needed by the computer. 4.” Windows would open Microsoft Excel when you double-clicked it. It will open Word and then open the document within Word. modify the view to Large Icons or Classic View. It’s also important to know how to manipulate the Folder Options applet to control the views. Instead of a user seeing “A+ Study Notes. Showing Hidden Files and Folders and Extensions Many files and folders are hidden by default in different operating systems. you might need to see the full path.docx extension as a Microsoft Word document. You can use the steps listed in the following sections. If the file was named “A+ Study Notes. Understanding Extensions Files within Windows have two parts: the name and the extension. the title bar shows a limited view of the path. Select Start.docx. 450 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . For example. Hiding them avoids confusing users with files they don’t need to access and prevents them from accidentally manipulating the files. the extensions often confuse the users. As a technician. The name is something you give it so that it’s meaningful to you. Note  Full Path In Title Bar Without this selected.docx” and you double-click it. and some of these applets are described in this section. 3. 2.

Review the warning. The full path shows in the title bar only with the Classic theme. Deselect Hide Extensions For Known File Types. The one on the right shows some of the hidden folders that appear after making the change. Deselect Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended). and click Yes to display the files. so I changed the theme to show it. 6. 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. You can select either OK or Apply to make the change. The one on the left is a normal view.5. Figure 13-7  Windows Explorer with two views in Windows 7. Your display will look similar to the following graphic. but Apply keeps it open so that you can view or manipulate other settings. 7. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 451 .

7. Even though you’ll have different versions of IE on different operating systems.Showing Hidden files and Extensions on Windows XP 1. 4. 3. 2. Click the View tab. Select Start. 5. What should you do? 2. but you can’t find it. Your display will look similar to the graphic shown in the Windows 7 and Vista steps. Select Folder Options. Figure 13-8 shows two views of Windows Explorer on Windows XP. Change the view to show hidden files. What would you change to show file extensions in Windows Explorer? Quick Check Answers 1. Deselect Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended). 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. Figure 13-8  Windows Explorer with two views in Windows XP. and click Yes to approve the change. The one on the left is a normal view. Select Display The Full Path In The Address Bar. Deselect Hide Extensions For Known File Types. You need to manipulate a hidden file. modify the view to Classic View. 2. If necessary. each version has Internet Options. Click OK. Change the view in Folder Options. Control Panel. 452 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Internet Options Key Terms The Internet Options applet is used to manipulate the settings for Internet Explorer (IE). Review the warning. 6. Quick Check 1. Select Show Hidden Files And Folders.

To reduce risks. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Security Tab Unfortunately. many websites include malicious software (malware). You can delete the data or use the settings page to modify how much data is retained. General Tab This page includes the following settings that you can manipulate: ■■ Home page. and the General tab is selected. Appearance. Browsing History. Figure 13-9  Internet Options in Windows 7. As you can see. which open in separate tabs.Figure 13-9 shows the Internet Options applet in Windows 7. You can use this section to change the home page or even add multiple home pages. For example. Tabs. Search. This provides some options to modify how tabs and pop-up windows are used. IE uses security zones with varying levels of security. there are seven tabs. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 453 . IE opens the URL listed here when it’s started. You can change some elements on webpages by using the options available here. 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. IE keeps a record of sites visited and keeps a temporary copy of files. Use this to modify the default search engine used with the browser.

Local intranet. but it’s important to always have up-todate antivirus software running on your system. Internet. it reads the cookie to identify you or your behaviors. For example. It allows some active content to run but also restricts some active content.Important  Keep your antivirus software current Security zones provide a layer of protection. This zone has relaxed security settings so that a website can run more programs. Location is determined by your IP address. “Recognizing Malware and Other Threats. Chapter 26. When turned on. you can add it to the Trusted Sites zone so that it runs. The four security zones are as follows: ■■ Restricted Sites.” provides more information about malware and ways to protect systems. and enter the address. or HTTP addresses without periods (like http://success) are recognized as intranet sites. You can prevent or allow a website from learning your location. but the settings prevent the site from running active content that might damage your computer or steal your data. To add a site to any zone. select the zone. Criminals use a wide variety of methods to infect systems. 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. ■■ ■■ ■■ There aren’t any sites in any of the zones by default. you can configure the blocking level so that some pop-up windows are allowed or so that they are all blocked. Privacy Tab The Privacy tab allows you to configure how cookies are used. you can use several settings on the Privacy tab. take them over remotely. and steal personal information. Sites that you access in an internal network using non-HTTP addresses. Pop-up Blocker. You can turn the pop-up blocker on or off. if your employer has a website that has content that is blocked normally. click the Sites button. Trusted Sites. including the following: ■■ Location. When you return to the site. Administrators can use tools to automatically add sites to the zones. Cookies are small text files that a website can store on your system when you visit them. Any site that is not in one of the other zones is considered an Internet site. You can still visit a website in this zone. and you can manually add sites to the zones. This zone strikes a balance between security and usability. You can add sites to this zone that you trust not to damage your computer or information. The security settings for this zone are relaxed to allow more content to run. ■■ 454 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . If you want to block cookies. This zone has the most restrictive settings.

AutoComplete remembers information you’ve typed in previously and can retrieve it to automatically fill in different forms or addresses for you. If you want to delete data that has already been saved. Content Advisor. the administrator can enter a password to bypass the restriction and view the content. 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. Feeds and Web Slices. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 455 . You can use this to control the schedule for Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds or sites using Web Slices. Figure 13-10 shows the different actions you can take. Not all sites use these features. This can make browsing easier. This section has ratings that can be used to restrict content based on different categories. and click Delete. Administrators use this section to view and manipulate the certificates.■■ InPrivate. this setting disables toolbars and add-ons. InPrivate browsing is a feature in IE that prevents any data from a session from being stored. Certificates. AutoComplete. When enabled. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Figure 13-10  AutoComplete and deleting browsing history. such as when you use a credit card to buy something. but there might be times when you want to delete it. select the items you want to delete. Websites commonly use certificates to encrypt some sessions. but you can use this setting to enable them. click Delete AutoComplete History. By default. you can disable AutoComplete for any of the options. If you click Settings. Parents can use this setting to set limits on Internet usage for specific accounts.

An add-on is additional software that can work with IE. You should do this only if you are confident the CD does not contain malicious software. ■■ ■■ ■■ Advanced Tab The Advanced tab includes several low-level settings that you can manipulate for specific purposes. You can set the default tool used to edit Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) files from this page if desired. They are valuable to know as a PC technician and as a regular user. Add-ons can sometimes slow IE down. This page also includes several security settings. Check the settings on your computer. Connections Tab The Connections tab shows Dial-up and Virtual Private Network (VPN) Settings that exist on your computer.” covers how to configure the LAN settings to use a proxy server. An item you might need to adjust is the setting that allows active content to run from a CD. it prompts you to set it as the default browser. You can use the Local Area Network (LAN) settings to configure how IE connects to the Internet through your network. By default. For example. If not. Programs Tab The Programs tab includes the following sections: ■■ Default web browser. you can get it to run. if you want to stop animations or sound from playing within webpages when you visit. you can select the settings in the Multimedia section. More Info  Chapter 24. It includes toolbars. Manage add-ons. Many training CDs have active content that is blocked. IE checks to see whether it is the default browser when it starts. “Connecting and Troubleshooting a Network” Chapter 24 includes steps to establish networking connections. and you can configure when to use these connections.Exam Tip You should know how to manipulate all of the AutoComplete settings. This setting is used by webpage developers. Internet programs. Figure 13-11 shows this page opened to the Multimedia and Security sections. you can set it here. and you can use this area to enable or disable them. You can change this behavior here. including dial-up and VPN connections. If you have installed another web browser but want to set IE as the default. search providers. Default Programs is discussed in the next section. This link brings you to Default Programs. “Network Security Devices. 456 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . Chapter 22. HTML editing. but by clearing this check box. which you can use to link applications to specific files. and other tools.

. For example. Click Start. Default Programs Extensions were mentioned earlier in this chapter. You might want to look at what extensions are registered with your system. In the graphic. and select Control Panel. 3. you can use the Reset button. Notice that you can choose to save or delete your personal settings before resetting IE. If this is changed. This is the same applet that starts from the Set Programs button in IE. you can access Default Programs with the following steps: 1. Control Panel CHAPTER 13 457 . Select Associate A File Type Or Protocol With A Program. you can use the Default Programs applet to restore the correct setting.Figure 13-11  Resetting Internet Explorer settings. you can click the Restore Advanced Settings button. as shown in the following graphic. It might take a moment for the list of extensions to display. Select Default Programs from the Large Icons list. This restores all of the IE settings to their original settings. 4. and you can do so from the Default Programs applet within the Control Panel.mp3 is selected and the Windows Media Player is the default program. 2. If IE is having serious problems. It also removes or disables any toolbars or add-ons. If a user has made changes to the Advanced settings and you want to return to the original settings.docx extension starts Microsoft Word. including what they’re used for and how to hide them. You’ll see a description and the current default program associated with the extension. Select any extension in the list. the . On Windows 7.

” covers updates. What view should you select to view all the Control Panel applets in Windows 7? 2. configure.msi) files. However. Users can use this to add and remove programs or components on their computer. Automatic Updates. Network Connections. Folder Options. applications do this automatically. “Configuring Windows Operating Systems. It is replaced with Programs And Features in Windows Vista and Windows 7. The exception is when software modifies the extensions without your knowledge or permission. so you normally don’t need to modify them. Applets Unique to Windows XP You’ll find the following applets only in Windows XP: ■■ Add/Remove Programs. Chapter 15.You can change the default program from this applet if desired. Large Icons (or Small Icons). 2. Windows Vista and Windows 7 include the Network And Sharing Center. which provides many tools to configure networking. You can enable. It is replaced with Windows Update in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Quick Check 1. so this isn’t needed to install an application. ■■ ■■ 458 CHAPTER 13 Using Windows Operating Systems . This applet is used to manipulate network interface cards or to set up new network connections. What would you manipulate to show file extensions? Quick Check Answers 1. Many programs are installed with Microsoft Installer (. or disable Automatic Updates. Networking topics are covered in Chapters 18–24.

the user can keep a copy of shared files stored on the server locally. All Programs. Chapter 16. Action Center. It’s used only on mobile devices. Printers. Users can access offline files even when they are disconnected from the network. and selecting Tablet PC. 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. It is replaced with the Printers applet in Windows Vista and p with the Devices And Printers applet in Windows 7. Printers And Faxes. ■■ Applets Unique to Windows Vista The following applets are available only in Windows Vista: ■■ Tablet PC Settings. This applet is used to manually add printers or manipulate ­ rinters and their drivers. A similar feature is available in the Windows 7 Action Center. It includes the same features but also includes additional alerts and notifications for other issues. ■■ Control Panel CHAPTER 13 459 . Accessories. When a system problem is detected. this feature checks with a Microsoft site to see whether the problem is known and whether a solution is available. Sync Center).” provides more information about offline files. “Understanding Disks and File Systems. 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. When the Action Center has an alert. Pen And Input Devices.■■ Network Setup Wizard. Problem Reports And Solutions. Homegroups are covered in Chapter 24. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ Applets Unique to Windows 7 The following applets are available only in Windows 7: ■■ HomeGroup. it adds a flag in the notification area of Windows (at the bottom right). If you click Set Up A Home Or Small Office Network. such as tablets. When enabled on a server hosting files and the user’s computer. This is similar to the Printers and Faxes applet in Windows XP and the Devices and Printers applet in Windows 7. Clicking on the solution provides steps that a user can take to resolve a problem. A similar wizard is available through the Network And Sharing Center in Windows Vista and Windows 7. The Action Center replaces the Security Center (mentioned in the next section) used in Windows XP and Windows Vista. it starts the wizard. All Programs. It can also be used to configure handwriting recognition. Accessories. Offline Files. Use this applet to create and join a homegroup. Use this to configure settings when Vista is running on a tablet. This wizard is available from the Network Connections applet. You can access a Tablet PC menu on Windows 7 by clicking Start.

It’s available in each operating system via the Control Panel but works a little differently in each one. Device Manager is covered in Chapter 15. This tool allows you to control power settings. which is in each of the operating systems. 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 . “Working with Laptops. This feature provides users with a quick link to any remote programs or desktops if they are configured on their computer. Chapter 22 covers the Windows Firewall in more depth. Chapter 8. This applet provides a central location for several other applets that you can use to troubleshoot problems. it includes links for Program Compatibility. “Understanding IT Security. Power Options. For example. the user will be periodically reminded of the risks. For example. It was introduced in Windows XP. Windows 7 has the same features but includes them within the Action Center.” shows how to configure the resolution with this applet. troubleshooting audio problems. and each of the operating systems includes it in the Control Panel. The Windows Firewall helps protect a system by filtering traffic going in or out of the system. if a system doesn’t have a firewall enabled. and improving power usage. ■■ Other Applets If you’ve clicked through the Control Panel applets. It’s available in Windows XP as part of Computer Management but not via the Control Panel. It’s available via the Control Panel in Windows Vista and Windows 7. Display. These must first be published by a network administrator. you probably recognize they weren’t all covered in this chapter. including the following: ■■ Device Manager. Windows Firewall. It’s very valuable for laptops when they are on battery power but can be used for desktops too. Security Center. Troubleshooting. User Accounts. “Exploring Video and Display Devices. Chapter 25. such as the behavior of the power button or when a computer will sleep or hibernate. Chapter 22 covers the Security Center. You can use this applet to manipulate settings for the display. It’s available in Windows XP and Windows Vista.■■ Remote Applications And Desktop Applications. Many additional applets are covered in other chapters. You can add user accounts and manipulate their properties with this applet. such as the resolution.” covers User Accounts.” covers the Power Options applet. Chapter 6. Use this applet to manage devices and device drivers.

Administrative Tools Key Terms Administrative Tools is a group of tools within Control Panel used by advanced users and administrators. and select Administrative Tools. Control Panel. if you’ve opened them all and someone asks you where they can find a list of fonts. Component Services is not available in Administrative Tools but is still available on the computer. For example. On Windows Vista and Windows 7. you won’t be able to use the tool. The available tools are slightly different in different versions of Windows.Exam TIP This section has not covered all the applets in Windows 7. If you’re asked a question about one of these obscure applets. Administrative Tools CHAPTER 13 461 . Windows 7 uses the Action Center. Quick Check 1. Exam Tip Many of these tools require you to have administrative privileges on the system. but I strongly recommend you simply go through each one and open it. To access Administrative Tools in any system. you’ll at least know where it is. and if you don’t have administrative privileges. For example. Computer Management Key Terms The Computer Management tool is a valuable tool within the Administrative Tools folder that includes multiple snap-ins. Figure 13-12 shows Computer Management on a Windows 7­ –­ based computer. 2. you might be challenged by User Account Control for different applets. in Windows Vista. change the display to list applets individually. Windows 7. What operating system(s) includes the HomeGroup applet? 2. you’ll probably remember opening the Fonts applet in the Control Panel. What operating system(s) includes the Security Center? Quick Check Answers 1. Windows XP and Windows Vista. click Start. The following sections describe many of the common Administrative Tools.

Device Manager is covered in Chapter 15. In Figure 13-12. you can see that the tools are organized in three sect