31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams

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Overview

31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams

 

Ben Conry

 

A day-by-day review guide for the Cisco Networking Academy IT Essentials student

 

31 Days Before Your CompTIA A+ Exams is a preparation guide for all four A+ exams (2006 objectives) and maps to the IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software Version 4 course developed by the Cisco® Networking Academy®.

 

Not sure which specialty exam to take: Field Technician, Remote Technician, or Bench Technician? This book breaks down key exam topics into manageable bits of information to review and helps you decide which direction to take after passing the Essentials exam on Day 15.

 

Use this day-by-day guide to organize, prepare, and review all the CompTIA® A+ objectives. The features of the book empower you to fit exam preparation into an otherwise busy schedule:

  • Tear-out calendar summarizes each day’s study topics
  • Checklist highlights important tasks and deadlines leading up to your exam
  • Description of the CompTIA A+ exams and signup process includes instructions on how to use a Cisco Networking Academy course voucher
  • Strategies from the author help you to be mentally, organizationally, and physically prepared for exam day
  • Conversational tone makes your study time more enjoyable

 

Ben Conry has a master’s degree in instructional technology from Johns Hopkins University and currently holds CCNA®, CCAI, and A+ certifications. He is the lead instructor for Information Technology Essentials 1 in Baltimore County publicschools, where he consistently guides disadvantaged students through their A+ certification. He has received awards and citations for his commitment to educational excellence and for preparing students for both college and the workforce.

 

Related Titles:

IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software

Companion Guide

ISBN: 978-1-58713-199-8

 

IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software

Labs and Study Guide

ISBN: 978-1-58713-198-1

 

This book is part of the Cisco Networking Academy Series from Cisco Press®. Books in this series support and complement the Cisco Networking Academy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587132315
  • Publisher: Cisco Press
  • Publication date: 4/29/2009
  • Series: 31 Days
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ben Conry teaches a cybersecurity magnet program at Sollers Point Magnet High School. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 with a Bachelor’s degree in music education with an emphasis in composition. He earned a Master’s degree in instructional technology from Johns Hopkins University in 2002. Currently, he holds CCNA, CCAI, and CompTIA A+ certifications. He has received awards and citations for his commitment to educational excellence and for preparing students for college and the workforce. Ben lives with his wife and two children in Lutherville, Maryland.

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Table of Contents

Day 31: Storage 1

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 1

Key Points 1

Storage Devices 1

Hard Drives 1

Floppy Drives 1

Solid-State HDD and NVRAM 2

Tape Drives 2

CD, DVD, and BD Drives 2

Network Drives 3

Interfaces and Cables 3

Homework 4

Funwork 4

Study Resources 4

Day 30: Motherboards, Adapter Cards, Memory Slots, and Power Supplies 5

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 5

Key Points 5

Motherboards 5

Adapter Card Interfaces 7

Memory Slots 9

Power Supplies 9

RAID Adapters 11

Homework 11

Funwork 12

Study Resources 12

Day 29: Processors and Cooling 13

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 13

Key Points 13

Central Processing Unit 13

RISC and CISC 15

00_9781587132605_fm.qxd 8/29/11 4:07 PM Page x

Processors 15

System Resources 16

Cooling Systems 17

Homework 18

Funwork 18

Study Resources 19

Day 28: Memory 21

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 21

Key Points 21

Memory 21

RAM 21

Speed 22

Virtual RAM 23

ROM 23

EEPROM 23

NVRAM 23

Memory Slots 23

Homework 24

Funwork 24

Study Resources 25

Day 27: Displays, Peripherals, and Adapters 27

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 27

Key Points 27

Resolutions 27

Peripheral and Input Devices 28

Mouse and Touchpad 28

Keyboard 28

Adapter Cards 28

PCI and PCIe Cards 29

AGP Cards 29

Sound Cards 29

TV Tuner Cards 29

Capture Cards 29

NIC and Modem Cards 30

Ports 30

USB Ports 30

PS/2 Ports 31

Serial Ports 31

Parallel Ports 31

Display Adapter Ports 32

Cables 32

Audio Cables 33

FireWire Cables 33

Network Cables 33

SCSI Cables 33

Homework 34

Funwork 34

Study Resources 34

Day 26: Operating Systems Comparisons and User Interfaces 35

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 35

Key Points 35

Operating Systems and the Layered PC Model 35

Desktop Operating Systems 36

Apple OS X 36

Microsoft Windows 36

Linux 37

OS System Requirements 38

Network Operating Systems 39

The “Multi” Terms 40

GUI Versus CLI 40

Command-Line Syntax 40

Command Prompt Commands 41

Users and Permissions 43

Homework 43

Funwork 43

Study Resources 44

Day 25: Operating System Installation and Booting 45

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 45

The Windows User Interface 45

GUI Utilities 45

Windows 7 Libraries 45

My Computer 46

Control Panel 46

Command-Line Utilities 46

Ping 47

Telnet 47

Ipconfig 47

Run-Line Utilities 48

MSConfig 48

MSInfo32 49

Dxdiag 49

Regedit 49

Operating System Installation 50

Hardware Compatibility List 50

Preparing the HDD for an OS Installation 50

Partitioning 50

Formatting 51

Windows Boot Process 51

Clean Operating System Install 52

Boot Modes 52

Logical Memory 53

Windows Boot Options 53

Safe Mode 53

Boot to a Restore Point 53

Recovery Options 54

Automated System Recovery 54

Emergency Repair Disk 54

Recovery Console 55

Homework 55

Funwork 55

Study Resources 56

Day 24: Laptops and Printers 57

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 57

Key Points 57

Expansion Devices 57

PCMCIA Cards and PCI Express Cards 57

Docking Stations 58

Laptops and Projectors 59

Communication Connections 59

Bluetooth Devices 59

Infrared Communications 60

Cellular WANs 60

Ethernet NICs 61

Modems 61

Power Settings and Electrical Input Devices 62

Autoswitching Power Supplies and Fixed-Input Power Supplies 62

Batteries 62

ACPI Levels 63

Input Devices 63

Digitizers 64

Function Keys 64

Pointing Devices 64

Printer Types 65

Laser Printers 65

Inkjet Printers 65

Thermal Printers 66

Impact Printers 66

Local Versus Network Printers 66

Printer Drivers (Compatibility) 67

Consumables 67

Homework 67

Funwork 67

Study Resources 67

Day 23: Basic Troubleshooting and Preventive Maintenance 69

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 69

Key Points 69

Troubleshooting 69

More on Troubleshooting 70

Memory Dumps 71

Homework 71

Funwork 71

Study Resources 72

Day 22: Troubleshooting Laptops and Printers 73

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 73

Key Points 73

Cleaning Laptops 73

Repairing Laptops 73

Common Laptop Problems and Solutions 73

Video Ports 74

Keyboards 75

Wireless Cards 75

A Lifeless Laptop? 75

Peripheral Problems? 75

No Video? 76

Woeful WiFi? 76

Common Printer Problems and Solutions 76

Managing Print Jobs 76

Homework 77

Funwork 77

Study Resources 78

Day 21: Networking Fundamentals 79

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 79

Key Points 79

LANs, WANs, and WLANs 79

LANs 79

WANs 79

WLANs 79

OSI Model 80

Simplex, Multicasting, Half-Duplex, and Full-Duplex Communications 81

Network Addressing 81

MAC Addresses 81

IP Addresses 82

Subnets 82

A Class Act 82

Really Big Numbers 83

Network Topologies 83

Physical Topologies 83

Logical Topologies 83

Client/Server Networks and Peer-to-Peer Networks 84

Network Architectures 84

The Physical Layer of Ethernet 85

The Physical Layer of WiFi 85

Bluetooth 85

Homework 86

Funwork 86

Study Resources 87

Day 20: More Networking Fundamentals 89

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 89

Key Points 89

Network Protocols 89

Standards Organizations 90

Ports of Call 91

Wire Drill 91

Seeing the Light 92

File Sharing 92

Homework 92

Funwork 92

Study Resources 93

Day 19: Security 95

A+ 220-701 Exam Objectives 95

Key Points 95

Security Threats 95

WiFi Security 97

Antivirus, Spyware Removal, and Definition Updates 98

Firewalls 98

User Training and Password Policies 99

Troubleshooting Security 99

Homework 99

Funwork 99

Study Resources 100

Day 18: Scenario-Based Safety and Environmental Procedures 101

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 101

Key Points 101

Hazards 101

Fire Safety 101

Material Safety Data Sheets 102

Tools 102

Electrostatic Discharge 103

Disposing of Computer Components 103

Homework 104

Funwork 104

Study Resources 104

Day 17: Scenario-Based Communication and Professionalism 105

A+ 220-701 Exam Objective 105

Key Points 105

Customer Support 105

Service Level Agreements 106

Professional Advice 106

Difficult Scenarios 106

A Geekspeak Translation Guide 107

Homework 108

Funwork 108

Study Resources 108

Day 16: Essentials 220-701 Exam Review Day 111

The Cheat Sheet Study Technique 111

Homework 111

Funwork 112

Day 15: Essentials 220-701 Exam Day 113

The Perfect Score 113

Before the Exam 113

During the Exam 113

RTDQ 113

The Most Important Test-Taking Tip 114

After the Exam 114

Day 14: Installing Storage Devices, Motherboards, and Power Supplies 115

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 115

Key Points 115

Storage Devices 115

SATA Installation 115

PATA Installation 116

Floppy Drive Installation 116

Motherboards 116

Legacy Expansion Slots 117

Old-School D Plugs 117

Flashing the BIOS: A Closer Look 118

Power Supplies 118

Controller Cards 119

Installing a RAID Controller Card 119

Installing an eSATA Controller Card 119

Homework 120

Funwork 120

Study Resources 121

Day 13: Installing Processors, Memory, Adapter Cards, and Cooling Systems 123

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 123

Key Points 123

Processors 123

Memory 124

Adapter Cards 124

Cooling Systems 125

Homework 125

Funwork 125

Study Resources 126

Day 12: Troubleshooting Storage Devices, Motherboards, and Power Supplies 127

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 127

Key Points 127

Maintenance Toolkit 127

Safety First 128

Cleaning Solutions 128

Troubleshooting Storage Issues 128

Troubleshooting Motherboards 129

Testing Power Supplies 129

Homework 130

Funwork 130

Study Resources 130

Day 11: Troubleshooting Processors 131

A+ 220-702 Objective 131

Key Points 131

CPU Architecture 131

32-Bit Processing Versus 64-Bit Processing 131

CPUs and Legos 132

Sockets 132

Cache 132

RAM 132

Multicore CPUs 132

The Future of 64-Bit Processing 132

Front-Side Bus 133

Homework 133

Funwork 133

Study Resources 133

Day 10: Troubleshooting Memory, Monitors, Audio, Keyboards, and Cooling Systems 135

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 135

Key Points 135

Troubleshooting Memory 135

Troubleshooting Monitors 135

Troubleshooting Audio 136

Troubleshooting Keyboards 137

Troubleshooting Cooling Systems 138

Homework 138

Funwork 138

Study Resources 139

Day 9: Scenario-Based Troubleshooting of Laptops, Printers, and Specialty Tools 141

A+ 220-702 Exam Objectives 141

Key Points 141

LCDs 141

Laptop Hard Drives 142

Networking for Laptops 143

Video RAM 143

Hot-Swappable Devices and Not-Swappable Devices 143

Measuring Memory and Speed: When Size Matters 144

Repairing and Replacing Components 145

Troubleshooting Printers 145

Printer RAM and Firmware 146

Paper Jams 146

Blank Paper 146

Error Codes 146

Lines and Smearing 147

Printing Garbage 147

Ghosted Image 147

Serious Solutions: Laser Printers 147

Serious Solutions: Inkjet Printers 147

Serious Solutions: Paper Problems 148

Toner Cartridges 148

Cleaning Printers 149

Cleaning Inkjet Printers 149

Cleaning Laser Printers 149

Cleaning Dot-Matrix Printers 149

Homework 150

Funwork 150

Study Resources 150

Day 8: Operating System Commands and Directory Structures 151

A+ 220-702 Objectives 151

Key Points 151

Command-Line Switches 151

dir 151

xcopy 152

attrib 153

format 153

ipconfig 153

ping 154

Registry 154

System Folders and Users 155

Shared Folders and Naming Conventions 156

Mapping a Network Drive 156

Accessibility Options 156

Homework 157

Funwork 157

Study Resources 157

Day 7: System Utilities 159

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 159

Key Points 159

Administrative Tools 159

Disk Management Tools 159

Defrag 160

NTBACKUP 160

Check Disk 160

Permissions 160

Remote Desktop Connection and Remote Assistance 161

Language Packs and Regional Settings 161

Disk Management and Utilities 162

System Monitor 162

Task Manager 162

Device Manager 163

System Information 163

System Restore 163

Task Scheduler 163

Homework 164

Funwork 164

Study Resources 164

Day 6: Troubleshooting Common Operating System Issues 165

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 165

Key Points 165

Operational Problems 165

Windows Printing Problems 165

Auto-Restart Errors 166

Bluescreen Errors 166

System Lockups 166

Device Driver Problems 167

Last Known Good Configuration 167

Application Issues 167

Service Fails to Start 167

Error Messages and Conditions 167

Boot Errors 168

No Operating System Found or Missing NTLDR 168

Not Enough HDD Space 168

Invalid Boot Disk 168

Startup Errors 169

Service Failed to Start 169

Program Not Found in the Registry 169

Event Viewer 169

System Performance and Optimization 169

Aero Settings 169

Index Settings 170

UAC 170

Sidebar Settings 170

Startup Maintenance 170

Background Processes 171

Msconfig 171

Change File Extension Associations 171

File Attributes 171

Virtual Memory 172

Default Disabled Windows Administrator Account 172

ERD and ASR 172

Homework 173

Funwork 173

Study Resources 173

Day 5: Troubleshooting Networks 175

A+ 220-702 Objective 175

Key Points 175

Troubleshooting the Physical Layer 175

Exploring ipconfig /all Outputs 175

Troubleshooting TCP/IP 176

Other Network Troubleshooting Techniques 176

Follow the Packet 177

Mail Protocol Settings 178

SMTP 178

IMAP 178

POP3 179

FTP Settings 179

Homework 179

Funwork 179

Study Resources 180

Day 4: Install and Configure a SOHO Network 181

A+ 220-702 Exam Objective 181

Key Points 181

Connection Types 181

The Basic SOHO 182

The Better SOHO 183

The Hardened SOHO 183

Network Defense 183

Host Defense 184

User Education 184

Homework 185

Funwork 185

Study Resources 185

Day 3: Scenario-Based Security 187

A+ 220-702 Exam Objectives 187

Key Points 187

Antivirus Software 187

Malware Types 187

Adware 188

Trojan 188

Virus 188

Worms 188

Firewalls 189

SHA and MD5 189

Encryption 189

Authentication 190

BIOS 190

Virtual Private Networking 190

Homework 190

Funwork 191

Study Resources 192

Day 2: Practical Application 220-702 Exam Review Day 193

By Any Other Name 193

Brain Dumps 193

Write Your Own Practice Questions 194

Good Answers Versus Correct Answers 194

Homework 194

Funwork 194

Day 1: Practical Application 20-702 Exam Day 195

Before the Exam 195

During the Exam 195

After the Exam 195

9781587132605 TOC 8/31/2011

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