Upgrading and Repairing PCs; A+ Certification Study Guide

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Upgrading and Repairing PCs, A+ Certification Study Guide is a hands-on learning book. Scott takes the readers through the test objectives one by one. The most frequently missed questions are pointed out and explained with greater detail than easier questions need. Plain English! Spend your time learning—not deciphering bad writing! Just the essentials—Scott covers the essentials that you'll need to pass the test and point you where to go for more information. Frequent study reminders throughout help you focus ...
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Upgrading and Repairing PCs, A+ Certification Study Guide is a hands-on learning book. Scott takes the readers through the test objectives one by one. The most frequently missed questions are pointed out and explained with greater detail than easier questions need. Plain English! Spend your time learning—not deciphering bad writing! Just the essentials—Scott covers the essentials that you'll need to pass the test and point you where to go for more information. Frequent study reminders throughout help you focus and remember the core concepts for the exam - and not the not-so-necessary details. Also included are exams that will cover the topics that you'll be tested on AND we'll ask them in the manner they'll be asked on the test.

Thoroughly covers key technologies and adds new coverage of Intel processor families, chipsets, motherboards, printer upgrades, repairs, and maintenance, file systems, and data recovery.

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Editorial Reviews

Already in the fourth printing of its updated third edition, clearly a popular reference. For simple users of computers who want to learn to update and repair IBM-type personal computers for themselves or their companies, not only explains the details of specific procedures, but also provides the background information needed to become technically informed enough to perform them. Not advanced enough to prepare readers to become professionals. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789720955
  • Publisher: Que
  • Publication date: 10/22/1999
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 7.41 (w) x 9.07 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Installation, Configuration and Upgrade

...Field Replacement Procedures

Following all the proper ESD precautions and safety measures is a must for any replacement process. In addition, there are a few things that you should do before beginning:

1. Ensure that the system is backed up.

2. Observe how the system is designed and configured. This includes physical configuration as well as CMOS/BIOS configuration and operating system versions and configurations.

3. Document everything that you see. Draw cabling diagrams, print reports from diagnostic software such as Microsoft Diagnostics, record CMOS settings, and draw jumper and physical settings on any components you intend to replace.

System Board

When you are installing your system's motherboard, unpack the motherboard and check to make sure that you have everything that should be included. Before a new motherboard can be installed, it must be set up properly to accept the processor. Some motherboards have jumpers that control both the CPU speed and the voltage supplied to it. If these are set incorrectly, the system might not operate at all, might operate erratically, or might possibly even damage the CPU. If you have any questions about the proper settings, contact the vendor who sold you the board before making any jumper changes.

The motherboard attaches to the case with one or more screws and often several plastic standoffs. If you are using a new case, you might have to attach one or more metal spacers or plastic standoffs in the proper holes before you can install the motherboard. Use the following procedure to install the new motherboard in the case:

1. Find the holes in the new motherboard for the metal spacers and plastic standoffs. You should use metal spacers wherever there is a ring of solder around the hole. Use plastic standoffs where there is no ring of solder (see Figure 1.14). Screw any metal spacers into the new case in the proper positions to align with the screw holes in the motherboard.

2. Insert any plastic standoffs directly into the new motherboard from underneath until they snap into place.

3. Install the new motherboard into the case by setting it down so that any standoffs engage the case. Often, you will have to set the board into the case and slide it sideways to engage the standoffs into the slots in the case. When the board is in the proper position, the screw holes in the board should be aligned with all the metal spacers or screw holes in the case.

4. Take the screws and any plastic washers that were supplied with the new motherboard and screw the board into the case.

There are several connections that must be made between a motherboard and the case. These include LEDs for the hard disk and power, an internal speaker connection, a reset button, a power button, and a deturbo button on some systems. Most modern motherboards also have several built-in I/O ports that have to be connected. This includes dual IDE host adapters, a floppy controller, dual serial ports, and a parallel port. Some boards also include additional items such as built-in video, sound, or SCSI adapters.

If the board is an ATX type, the connectors for all the external I/O ports are already built in to the rear of the board. If you are using a Baby-AT-type board, you might have to install cables and brackets to run the serial, parallel, and other external I/O ports to the rear of the case. If your motherboard has onboard I/O, use the following procedures to connect the cables:

1. Connect the floppy cable between the floppy drives and the 34-pin floppy controller connector on the motherboard.

2. Connect the IDE cables between the hard disk, IDE CD-ROM, and the 40-pin primary and secondary IDE connectors on the motherboard. Normally, you will use the primary IDE channel connector for hard disks only and the secondary IDE channel connector to attach an IDE CD-ROM or other device, such as a tape drive.

3. On non-ATX boards, a 25-pin female cable port bracket is normally used for the parallel port. There are usually two serial ports: a 9-pin, and either another 9-pin or a 25-pin male connector port. Align pin 1 on the serial and parallel port cables with pin 1 on the motherboard connector and plug them in.

4. If the ports don't have card slot-type brackets or if you need all your expansion slots, there might be port knockouts on the back of the case that you can use instead. Find ones that fit the ports and push them out, removing the metal piece covering the hole. Unscrew the hex nuts on each side of the port connector and position the connector in the hole. Install the hex nuts back in through the case to hold the port connector in place.

5. Most newer motherboards also include a built-in mouse port. If the connector for this port is not built in to the back of the motherboard (usually next to the keyboard connector), you will probably have a card bracket type of connector to install. In that case, plug the cable into the motherboard mouse connector and then attach the external mouse connector bracket to the case.

6. Attach the front panel switch, LED, and internal speaker wires from the case front panel to the motherboard. If they are not marked on the board, check where each one is on the diagram in the motherboard manual.


To attach processors, follow these steps:
1. Refer to the motherboard manufacturer's manual to set the jumpers, if any, to match the CPU you are going to install. Look for the diagram of the motherboard to find the jumper location, and look for the tables for the right settings for your CPU. If the CPU was supplied already installed on the motherboard, the jumpers should already be correctly set for YOU, but it is still a good idea to check them.

2. For socketed processors, find pin 1 on the processor; it is usually denoted by a corner of the chip that is marked by a dot or a bevel. Next, find the corresponding pin 1 of the ZIF socket for the CPU on the motherboard; it is also usually marked on the board, or there might be a bevel in one corner of the socket. Insert the CPU into the ZIF socket by lifting the release lever, aligning the pins on the processor with the holes in the socket, and lowering it down into place. If the processor does not go all the way into the socket, check for possible interference or pin alignment problems. When the processor is fully seated in the socket, push the locking lever on the socket down to secure the processor.

3. For slotted processors, the same process applies except that the processor unit package is placed into a keyed edge connector rather than a lever-driven Zero Insertion Force socket.

4. If the CPU does not already have a heat sink attached to it, attach it now. Most heat sinks will either clip directly to the CPU or to the socket with one or more retainer clips. Be careful when attaching the clip to the socket; you don't want it to scrape against the motherboard, which might damage circuit traces or components. In most cases, it is a good idea to put a dab of heat sink thermal transfer compound (normally a white-colored grease) on the CPU before installing the heat sink. This prevents any air gaps and allows the heat sink to work more efficiently.


Modern motherboards use either SIMMs or DIMMs. Depending on the module type, it will have a specific method of sliding into and clipping to the sockets. Normally, you install modules in the lowest numbered sockets or banks first. Note that some boards will require modules to be installed in pairs or even four at a time. Consult the motherboard documentation for more information on which sockets to use first and in what order and how to install the specific modules the board uses. Memory modules are normally keyed to the sockets by a notch on the side or on the bottom, so they can go in only one way...
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Table of Contents

Part I: Computing and Technology Industry A+ Core Technologies
Part II: Computing and Technology
Chapter 10: Memory Management
Chapter 11: Operating Systems: Installation,
Chapter 12: Operating Systems: Diagnosing and
Chapter 13: Networks
Part III: So You're Ready to Take
Chapter 14: Preparing for the Exam
Chapter 15: Sample Test Questions
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    Excellent Resource Guide

    I'm not sure that I would recommend this book as an A+ Certification guide, it really isn't designed with the test in mond; however, it is an absolutely essential tool to have in your inventory. I teach an A+ Certification Course and recommend this book to every class. This book includes esoteric data that is difficult, if not impossible to locate in any other source.

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