A+ Complete Study Guide, 2nd Edition

A+ Complete Study Guide, 2nd Edition

2.8 9
by David Groth, Dan Newland

Here's the book you need to prepare for the A+ Core Hardware and Operating System Technologies exams. This proven Sybex Study Guide provides:

  • In-depth coverage of every exam objective—all the information you need
  • Practical information on essential hardware- and OS-related tasks
  • Hundreds of challenging review questions, in the book and on the
…  See more details below


Here's the book you need to prepare for the A+ Core Hardware and Operating System Technologies exams. This proven Sybex Study Guide provides:

  • In-depth coverage of every exam objective—all the information you need
  • Practical information on essential hardware- and OS-related tasks
  • Hundreds of challenging review questions, in the book and on the CD
  • Leading-edge exam preparation software, including two testing engines and electronic flashcards
Authoritative coverage of all objectives for both of the A+ Module exams, including:
  • Basic computer service concepts
  • PC architecture
  • PC memory architecture
  • Disk system architecture
  • PC bus architectures
  • Peripheral devices
  • Printers
  • Networks
  • Hardware installation and upgrades
  • Hardware troubleshooting techniques
  • Understanding computer operating systems
  • Understanding the Windows interface
  • Windows 2000
  • Application installation and configuration
  • Using and configuring additional peripherals
  • Preventative software maintenance
  • Configuring network software
  • Software troubleshooting

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Editorial Reviews

This guide to A+ Core Hardware and Operating Systems exam preparation covers the information represented on the tests. The section on core hardware discusses installing, configuring, upgrading, making diagnoses and troubleshooting, as well as preventative maintenance, the mother board, processors, memory, printers, and basic networks. The section on operating systems discusses the basic concepts, installation, configurations, upgrades, diagnosis, networks, and Windows 2000 preventative maintenance. A companion CD-ROM includes self-tests, electronic flashcards, and a searchable version of the text. The authors are consultants and trainers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Sybex, Incorporated
Publication date:
Study Guide Series
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Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 9.38(h) x 2.22(d)

Related Subjects

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Chater 5: PC Bus Architectures

The following objectives are covered in this chapter:

1.2 Identify basic procedures for adding and removing field replaceable modules for both desktop and portable systems.

Examples of modules:

  • System board
  • Storage device
  • Power supply
  • Processor/CPU
  • Memory
  • Input devices
  • Hard drive
  • Keyboard
  • Video board
  • Mouse
  • Network Interface Card (NIC)

Portable system components

  • AC adapters
  • DC controllers
  • LCD panel
  • PC card
  • Pointing devices
1.7 Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring peripheral devices.

Content may include the following:

  • Monitor/Video Card
  • Modem
  • USB peripherals and hubs
  • IEEE-1284
  • IEEE-1394
  • External storage


  • Docking stations
  • PC cards
  • Port replicators
  • Infrared devices
4.3 Identify the most popular type of motherboards, their components, and their architecture (bus structures and power supplies).

Content may include the following:

    Types of motherboards:
  • AT (Full and Baby)
  • ATX

  • Communication ports
  • SIMM and DIMM
  • Processor sockets
  • External cache memory (Level 2)
  • Bus Architecture
  • ISA
  • PCI
  • AGP
  • USB (Universal Serial Bus)
  • VESA local bus (VL-Bus)
  • Basic compatibility guidelines
  • SCSI (Wide, Fast, Ultra, LVD [Low Voltage Differential])
So far, we have discussed many key components in the average PC. However, we haven't talked about the way information travels between them. In this chapter, we'll cover the following A+ exam topics related to information flow:
  • Expansion bus components
  • The 8-bit expansion bus
  • The Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) bus
  • The Micro Channel Architecture (MCA) bus
  • The Extended ISA (EISA) bus
  • VESA Local Bus (VL-Bus)
  • Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI)
  • Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP)
  • Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA)
Additionally, we'll discuss the identification, installation, and configuration issues associated with each.

Note: For complete coverage of objective 1.2, please also see Chapters 2, 8, and 9. For complete coverage of objective 1.7, please also see Chapters 7 and 9. For complete coverage of objective 4.3, please also see Chapters 2 and 4.

What Is a Bus?

Exactly what is a bus? A bus is a set of signal pathways that, as we have already alluded to, allow information and signals to travel between components inside or outside of a computer. There are three types of buses inside a computer: the external bus, the address bus, and the data bus.

The external bus allows the CPU to talk to the other devices in the computer and vice versa. It is called that because it's external to the CPU. When the CPU wants to talk to a device, it uses the address bus to do so. It will select the particular memory address that the device is using and use the address bus to write to that address. When the device wants to send information back to the microprocessor, it uses the data bus.

In this chapter, we'll focus primarily on the most common type of external bus-the expansion bus.

Expansion Bus Features

The expansion bus allows the computer to be expanded using a modular approach. Whenever you need to add something to the computer, you plug specially made circuit boards into the connectors (also known as expansion slots) on the expansion bus. The devices on these circuit boards are then able to communicate with the CPU and are semipermanently part of the computer.

The Connector, or Slot

The connector slots are made up of several tiny copper "finger slots," the row of very narrow channels that grab the fingers on the expansion circuit boards. These finger slots connect to copper pathways on the motherboard. Each set of pathways has a specific function. One set of pathways provides the voltages needed to power the expansion card (+5, +12, and ground). Another set of pathways makes up the data bus, transmitting data back to the processor. A third set makes up the address bus, allowing the device to be addressed through a set of I/O addresses. Finally, there are other lines for different functions like interrupts, direct memory access (DMA) channels, and clock signals.

Interrupt Lines

Interrupts are special lines that are connected directly to the processor; a device uses an interrupt to get the attention of the CPU when it needs to. It's rather like the cord you use to signal the driver when you need to get off at the next stop when you're a passenger on an actual bus. Just as you would use the "stop requested" cord to send a signal when you need the bus driver's attention, a computer device uses the interrupt request (IRQ) line to get the attention of the CPU.

There are several interrupt request lines in each type of bus. Lines 0 and 1 (corresponding to IRQ 0 and IRQ 1, respectively) are used by the processor for special purposes. The other lines are allocated to the various pieces of hardware installed in the computer. Not every line is used. In an average PC, there is usually at least...

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Meet the Author

Donald R. Evans is the senior Electronics/Computer Servicing instructor at Solano Community College in Suisun, California. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, he began teaching in 1966, established his first computer lab in 1983, and is now responsible for all of the computer hardware classes taught at SCC.

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A+ Complete Study Guide, 2nd Edition 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Update from taking OS exam: Passed. Again, this book is a great for preparing you for the A+ exam IF you have been working on the different Windows OS's for a while. This was my only study guide. There are a LOT of questions which test your knowledge on the different OS's: 9x, 2k, XP, so you really need to know their differences.
Guest More than 1 year ago
However, I have also been maintaining and troubleshooting PC's for over four years now. If you have been working with PC's for a while and are already familiar with all the basic computer components & their compatibilities, then you will do fine on the hardware portion of the certification if you read this book. If you are just starting to learn about computers and want to get your A+ certification, I do NOT recommend this book. I highly recommend you take an instructor-led course. During the test, I found just about every question had been adequately covered in this book..... again.... comprehensive for the advanced technician, not the interesed-in-computers beginner.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be far from complete as it is titled. There are many other books out there that provide you with much more valuable information, unless of course you're interested in a history lesson for PC's. I'm not quite sure how they were awarded with Comptia's mark of approval, or won the best of anything. If you're looking for a book to help get you certified, this isn't what you need !
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not a bad book by any means... This helped me get my jumpstart on the A+, but, for certification, I have to recommend something a little more in-depth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a tech for over 3 years and wanted to finally take the exam. I selected this book based on the reviews and the information in the book about the included prep exams. The information is too basic and very dated in the hardware section. The exams are too basic and are not in the adaptive testing format. I also believe there is too much missing based on other A+ books I have since started using for reference. I recommend you NOT use this book, as I am VERY disappointed in it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Book is divided into Hardware and OS sections. OS section covers Win 2000 in good detail and was the better study guide of the two sections. The Hardware module (Adaptive version) I took for the actual A+ certification test could not be passed using this book alone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I have not yet taken the A+ Certification exam so I'm not sure how well this book will prepare me for that exam, I am disappointed already. This book boasts about the 'free' software that is included. I was astonished to find that the 'virtual Trainer' is not at all associated with this book it is for an entirely different certification. I wrote to the company, sybex, hoping that this was simply an error and they assured me that it wasn't and defended themselves by saying that no where on the packaging did it state that the software trainer was for the A+ program. I'll admit, they are right, while it is not 'stated' it sure is IMPLIED. Buyer beware, the 'Virtual Trainer' software that is included in this book is NOT for the A+ certification.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Win2k is especially important on the test, and this book nails it, along with win9x and dos.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book does not cover enough to help pass the test.