CTA901 : A+ Certification: Essentials - A CompTIA Certification
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This course is one of two courses you will need to take if your job responsibilities include entry-level computer service technician support duties. It is also one of two courses of study for the CompTIA A+" certification program. In this course, youll build on your end-user background knowledge as you acquire the specific skills required to install, configure, upgrade, troubleshoot, and repair PC hardware components and systems.

Audience

This course is designed for persons with basic end-user skills with Windows-based personal computers, who wish to begin a career in information technology by becoming personal computer service technicians, or who wish to prepare to take the CompTIA A+ Essentials (220-601)examination.

Prerequisites

End-user skills with Windows-based personal computers, including the ability to: Start up and shut down the computer. Log on to a computer or computer network. Run programs. Move, copy, delete, and rename files in Windows Explorer.Browse and search for information on the Internet.

Exams Covered
Course Prerequisite
Next Course Offer

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Personal Computer Components
  • Laptop and Portable Devices 
  • Operating Systems 
  • Printers and Scanners
  • Networks
  • Security
  • Safety and Environmental Issues
  • Communication and Professionalism

1.0 Personal Computer Components

1.1  Identify the fundamental principles of using personal computers

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of storage devices

  • FDD
  • HDD
  • CD / DVD / RW (e.g. drive speeds, media types)
  • Removable storage (e.g. tape drive, solid state such as thumb drive, flash and
  • SD cards, USB, external CD-RW and hard drive)

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of motherboards

  • Form Factor (e.g. ATX / BTX, micro ATX / NLX)
  • Components
  • Integrated I/Os (e.g. sound, video, USB, serial, IEEE 1394 / firewire,
  • parallel, NIC, modem)
  • Memory slots (e.g. RIMM, DIMM)
  • Processor sockets
  • External cache memory
  • Bus architecture
  • Bus slots (e.g. PCI, AGP, PCIe, AMR, CNR)
  • EIDE / PATA
  • SATA
  • SCSI Technology
  • Chipsets
  • BIOS / CMOS / Firmware
  • Riser card / daughter board

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of power supplies, for example: AC

  • adapter, ATX, proprietary, voltage

Identify the names purposes and characteristics of processor / CPUs

  • CPU chips (e.g. AMD, Intel)
  • CPU technologies
  • Hyperthreading
  • Dual core
  • Throttling
  • Micro code (MMX)
  • Overclocking
  • Cache
  • VRM
  •  Speed (real vs. actual)
  • 32 vs. 64 bit

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of memory

  • Types of memory (e.g. DRAM, SRAM, SDRAM, DDR / DDR2, RAMBUS)
  • Operational characteristics
  • Memory chips (8, 16, 32)
  • Parity versus non-parity
  • ECC vs. non-ECC
  • Single-sided vs. double-sided

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of display devices, for example:

  • projectors, CRT and LCD
  • Connector types (e.g. VGA, DVI / HDMi, S-Video, Component / RGB)
  • Settings (e.g. V-hold, refresh rate, resolution)

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of input devices for example: mouse,

  • keyboard, bar code reader, multimedia (e.g. web and digital cameras, MIDI,microphones), biometric devices, touch screen.

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of adapter cards

  • Video including PCI / PCIe and AGP
  • Multimedia
  • I / O (SCSI, serial, USB, Parallel)
  • Communications including network and modem

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of ports and cables for example: USB

  • 1.1 and 2.0, parallel, serial, IEEE 1394 / firewire, RJ45 and RJ11, PS2 / Mini-DIN,centronics (e.g. mini, 36) multimedia (e.g. 1 / 8 connector, MIDI Coaxial, SPDIF)

Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of cooling systems for example

  • heat sinks,
  • CPU and case fans,
  • liquid cooling systems, thermal compound

1.2 Install, configure, optimize and upgrade personal computer components

  • Add, remove and configure internal and external storage devices
  • Drive preparation of internal storage devices including format / file systems and
  • imaging technology

Install display devices

Add, remove and configure basic input and multimedia devices

1.3 Identify tools, diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for personal

computer components

Recognize the basic aspects of troubleshooting theory for example:

Perform backups before making changes

Assess a problem systematically and divide large problems into smaller

components to be analyzed individually

Verify even the obvious, determine whether the problem is something simple

and make no assumptions

Research ideas and establish priorities

Document findings, actions and outcomes

Identify and apply basic diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for

example:

Identify the problem including questioning user and identifying user changes to

computer

Analyze the problem including potential causes and make an initial

determination of software and / or hardware problems

Test related components including inspection, connections, hardware / software

configurations, device manager and consult vendor documentation

Evaluate results and take additional steps if needed such as consultation, use of

alternate resources, manuals

Document activities and outcomes

Recognize and isolate issues with display, power, basic input devices, storage, memory,

thermal, POST errors (e.g. BIOS, hardware)

Apply basic troubleshooting techniques to check for problems (e.g. thermal issues, error

codes, power, connections including cables and / or pins, compatibility, functionality,

software / drivers ) with components for example:

  • Motherboards
  • Power supply
  • Processor / CPUs
  • Memory
  • Display devices
  • Input devices
  • Adapter cards

" Recognize the names, purposes, characteristics and appropriate application of tools for

example: BIOS, self-test, hard drive self-test and software diagnostics test

 

1.4 Perform preventive maintenance on personal computer components

" Identify and apply basic aspects of preventive maintenance theory for example:

o Visual / audio inspection

CompTIA A+ Essentials Objectives 4 of 9

Copyright ᄅ 2006 by the Computing Technology Industry Association. All rights reserved.

o Driver / firmware updates

o Scheduling preventive maintenance

o Use of appropriate repair tools and cleaning materials

o Ensuring proper environment

" Identify and apply common preventive maintenance techniques for devices such as input

devices and batteries

 

2.0 Laptops and Portable Devices

 

2.1 Identify the fundamental principles of using laptops and portable devices

" Identify names, purposes and characteristics of laptop-specific:

o Form factors such as memory and hard drives

o Peripherals (e.g. docking station, port replicator and media / accessory bay)

o Expansion slots (e.g. PCMCIA I, II and III, card and express bus)

o Ports (e.g. mini PCI slot)

o Communication connections (e.g. Bluetooth, infrared, cellular WAN, Ethernet)

o Power and electrical input devices (e.g. auto-switching and fixed-input power

supplies, batteries)

o LCD technologies (e.g. active and passive matrix, resolution such as XGA,

SXGA+, UXGA, WUXGA, contrast ratio, native resolution)

o Input devices (e.g. stylus / digitizer, function (Fn) keys and pointing devices

such as touch pad, point stick / track point)

" Identify and distinguish between mobile and desktop motherboards and processors

including throttling, power management and WiFi

 

2.2 Install, configure, optimize and upgrade laptops and portable devices

" Configure power management

o Identify the features of BIOS-ACPI

o Identify the difference between suspend, hibernate and standby

" Demonstrate safe removal of laptop-specific hardware such as peripherals, hot-swappable

devices and non-hot-swappable devices

 

2.3 Identify tools, basic diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for laptops

and portable devices

" Use procedures and techniques to diagnose power conditions, video, keyboard, pointer

and wireless card issues, for example:

o Verify AC power (e.g. LEDs, swap AC adapter)

o Verify DC power

o Remove unneeded peripherals

o Plug in external monitor

o Toggle Fn keys

o Check LCD cutoff switch

o Verify backlight functionality and pixilation

o Stylus issues (e.g. digitizer problems)

o Unique laptop keypad issues

o Antenna wires

 

2.4 Perform preventive maintenance on laptops and portable devices

" Identify and apply common preventive maintenance techniques for laptops and portable

devices, for example: cooling devices, hardware and video cleaning materials, operating

environments including temperature and air quality, storage, transportation and shipping.

 

3.0 Operating Systems  unless otherwise noted, operating systems referred to within

include Microsoft Windows 2000, XP Professional, XP Home and Media Center.

 

3.1 Identify the fundamentals of using operating systems

" Identify differences between operating systems (e.g. Mac, Windows, Linux) and describe

operating system revision levels including GUI, system requirements, application and

hardware compatibility

" Identify names, purposes and characteristics of the primary operating system components

including registry, virtual memory and file system

" Describe features of operating system interfaces, for example:

o Windows Explorer

o My Computer

o Control Panel

o Command Prompt

o My Network Places

o Task bar / systray

o Start Menu

" Identify the names, locations, purposes and characteristics of operating system files for

example:

o BOOT.INI

o NTLDR

o NTDETECT.COM

o NTBOOTDD.SYS

o Registry data files

" Identify concepts and procedures for creating, viewing, managing disks, directories and

files in operating systems for example:

o Disks (e.g. active, primary, extended and logical partitions)

o File systems (e.g. FAT 32, NTFS)

o Directory structures (e.g. create folders, navigate directory structures)

o Files (e.g. creation, extensions, attributes, permissions)

 

3.2 Install, configure, optimize and upgrade operating systems  references to upgrading

from Windows 95 and NT may be made

" Identify procedures for installing operating systems including:

o Verification of hardware compatibility and minimum requirements

o Installation methods (e.g. boot media such as CD, floppy or USB, network

installation, drive imaging)

o Operating system installation options (e.g. attended / unattended, file system

type, network configuration)

o Disk preparation order (e.g. start installation, partition and format drive)

o Device driver configuration (e.g. install and upload device drivers)

o Verification of installation

" Identify procedures for upgrading operating systems including:

o Upgrade considerations (e.g. hardware, application and / or network

compatibility)

o Implementation (e.g. backup data, install additional Windows components)

" Install / add a device including loading, adding device drivers and required software

including:

o Determine whether permissions are adequate for performing the task

o Device driver installation (e.g. automated and / or manual search and installation

of device drivers)

o Using unsigned drivers (e.g. driver signing)

o Verify installation of the driver (e.g. device manager and functionality)

" Identify procedures and utilities used to optimize operating systems for example, virtual

memory, hard drives, temporary files, service, startup and applications

CompTIA A+ Essentials Objectives 6 of 9

Copyright ᄅ 2006 by the Computing Technology Industry Association. All rights reserved.

 

3.3 Identify tools, diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for operating

systems

" Identify basic boot sequences, methods and utilities for recovering operating systems

o Boot methods (e.g. safe mode, recovery console, boot to restore point)

o Automated System Recovery (ASR) (e.g. Emergency Repair Disk (ERD))

" Identify and apply diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for example:

o Identify the problem by questioning the user and identifying user changes to the

computer

o Analyze problem including potential causes and initial determination of

software and / or hardware problem

o Test related components including connections, hardware / software

configurations, device manager and consulting vendor documentation

o Evaluate results and take additional steps if needed such as consultation,

alternate resources and manuals

o Document activities and outcomes

" Recognize and resolve common operational issues such as bluescreen, system lock-up,

input / output device, application install, start or load and Windows-specific printing

problems (e.g. print spool stalled, incorrect / incompatible driver for print)

" Explain common error messages and codes for example:

o Boot (e.g. invalid boot disk, inaccessible boot drive, missing NTLDR)

o Startup (e.g. device / service failed to start, device / program in registry not

found)

o Event Viewer

o Registry

o Windows reporting

" Identify the names, locations, purposes and characteristics of operating system utilities

for example:

o Disk management tools (e.g. DEFRAG, NTBACKUP, CHKDSK, Format)

o System management tools (e.g. device and task manager, MSCONFIG.EXE)

o File management tools (e.g. Windows Explorer, ATTRIB.EXE)

 

3.4 Perform preventive maintenance on operating systems

" Describe common utilities for performing preventive maintenance on operating systems

for example, software and Windows updates (e.g. service packs), scheduled backups /

restore, restore points

 

4.0 Printers and Scanners

 

4.1 Identify the fundamental principles of using printers and scanners

" Identify differences between types of printer and scanner technologies (e.g. laser, inkjet,

thermal, solid ink, impact)

" Identify names, purposes and characteristics of printer and scanner components (e.g.

memory, driver, firmware) and consumables (e.g. toner, ink cartridge, paper)

" Identify the names, purposes and characteristics of interfaces used by printers and

scanners including port and cable types for example:

o Parallel

o Network (e.g. NIC, print servers)

o USB

 

All Incl. Price Feature List
  • Hotel, food, airfare, shuttle
  • Microsoft Study Labs & Simulations
  • Certification exam vouchers
Special Price Feature List
  • Breakfast & Lunch
  • Test preparation questions and answers for practice
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