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A+ Certification
CompTIA Certification for PC Hardware with Windows Specialty

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A+ Certification

CompTIA - Computing Technology Industry Association's A+ Certification is the computer industry recognized credential that certifies the competency of PC Service Specialists. Sponsored by CompTIA, tests are administered by Sylvan Prometric. This certification program is backed by over 50 major computer hardware and software manufacturers, vendors, distributors, resellers and publications.

Course Objective

Certification provides a wealth of benefits to any person seeking a job in the computer industry. Your successful computer career can start with this one course, or it can serve as proof of your computer hardware and operating system knowledge as a professional already in the field.

This exam is open to anyone who wants to take the tests. No specific requirements are necessary except payment of the fee. Individuals may retake the test modules as often as they like, but the Core and the Specialty Exams must be passed within 90 calendar days of each other in order for an individual to become certified. Our Training Program prepares you to take the exam, and PASS it on your first try.

Test Objectives

Installation, Configuration & Upgrading 30%
Diagnosing and Troubleshooting 30%
Preventive Maintenance 5%
Motherboard, Processors, Memory 15%
Printers 10%
Basic Networking 10%

Windows Specialty Exam

OS Fundamentals 30%
Installation, Configuration and Upgrading 15%
Diagnosing and Troubleshooting 40%
Networks 15%

The complete training course consists of 7 video tapes or 12 CD-ROMs. This is a comprehensive and affordable program that provided the training needed to master the certification exam.

Core Hardware Service Technician:

Domain 1.0 Installation, Configuration, and Upgrading

This domain requires the knowledge and skills to identify, install, configure, and upgrade microcomputer modules and peripherals, following established basic procedures for system assembly and disassembly of field replaceable modules. Elements included are listed below with each test objective.

1.1. Identify basic terms, concepts, and functions of system modules, including how each module should work during normal operation and during the boot process.

System board - Power supply - Processor/CPU - Memory - Storage devices - Monitor - Modem - Firmware - BIOS - CMOS - LCD (portable systems) - Ports - PDA (Personal Digital Assistant)

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

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 adapter - Digital Camera - DC controller - LCD panel - PC Card - Pointing Devices

1.3. Identify available IRQs, DMAs, and I/O addresses and procedures for device installation and configuation.

Standard IRQ settings - Modems - Floppy drive controllers - Hard drive controllers - USB ports - Infrared ports - Hexidecimal/Addresses

1.4. Identify common peripheral ports, associated cabling, and their connectors.

Cable types - Cable orientation - Serial versus parallel - Pin connections

Examples of Types of Connectors
DB-9 - DB-25 - RJ-11 - RJ-45 - BNC - PS2/MINI-DIN - USB - IEEE 1394

1.5. Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring IDE/EIDE devices.

Master/Slave - Devices per channel - Primary/Secondary

1.6. Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring SCSI devices.

Address/Termination conflicts - Cabling - Types (example: regular, wide, ultra-wide) - Internal versus external - Expansion slots, EISA, ISA, PCI - Jumper block settings (binary equivalents)

1.7. Identify proper procedures for installing and configuring peripheral devices.

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

Docking stations - PC cards - Port replicators - Infrared devices

1.8. Identify hardware methods of upgrading system performance, procedures for replacing basic subsystem components, unique components and when to use them.

Memory - Hard Drives - CPU - Upgrading BIOS - When to upgrade BIOS

Portable Systems - Battery - Hard Drive - Types I, II, III cards - Memory

Domain 2.0 Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

This domain requires the ability to apply knowledge relating to diagnosing and troubleshooting common module problems and system malfunctions. This includes knowledge of the symptoms relating to common problems.

2.1. Identify common symptoms and problems associated with each module and how to troubleshoot and isolate the problems.

Processor/Memory symptoms - Mouse - Floppy drive - Parallel ports - Hard Drives - CD-ROM - DVD - Sound Card/Audio - Monitor/Video - Motherboards - Modems - BIOS - USB - NIC - CMOS - Power supply - Slot covers - POST audible/visual error codes - Troubleshooting tools, e.g., multimeter - Large LBA, LBA - Cables - Keyboard - Peripherals

2.2. Identify basic troubleshooting procedures and good practices for eliciting problem symptoms from customers.

Troubleshooting/isolation/problem determination procedures - Determine whether hardware or software problem - Gather information from user regarding, e.g., - Customer Environment - Symptoms/Error Codes - Situation when the problem occurred

Domain 3.0 Preventive Maintenance

This domain requires the knowledge of safety and preventive maintenance. With regard to safety, it includes the potential hazards to personnel and equipment when working with lasers, high voltage equipment, ESD, and items that require special disposal procedures that comply with environmental guidelines. With regard to preventive maintenance, this includes knowledge of preventive maintenance products, procedures, environmental hazards, and precautions when working on microcomputer systems.

3.1. Identify the purpose of various types of preventive maintenance products and procedures and when to use them.

Liquid cleaning compounds - Types of materials to clean contacts and connections - Non-static vacuums (chasis, powersupplies, fans)

3.2. Identify issues, procedures and devices for protection within the computing environment, including people, hardware and the surrounding workspace.

UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) and suppressors - Determining the signs of power issues - Proper methods of storage of components for future use

Potential Hazards and Proper Safety Procedures Relating Lasers
High-voltage equipment - Power supply - CRT

Special Disposal Procedures that Comply with Environmental Guidelines
Batteries - CRTs - Toner kits/cartridges - Chemical solvents and cans - MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)

ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) Precautions and Procedures
What ESD can do, how it may be apparent, or hidden - Common ESD protection devices - Situations that could present a danger or hazard

Domain 4.0 Motherboard/Processors/Memory

This domain requires knowledge of specific terminology, facts, ways and means of dealing with classifications, categories and principles of motherboards, processors, and memory in microcomputer systems.

4.1. Distinguish between the popular CPU chips in terms of their basic characteristics.

Popular CPU chips (Intel, AMD, Cyrix) - Characteristics - Physical size - Voltage - Speeds - On board cache or not - Sockets - SEC (Single Edge Contact)

4.2. Identify the categories of RAM (Random Access Memory) terminology, their locations, and physical characteristics.

EDO RAM (Extended Data Output RAM) - DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) - SRAM (Static RAM) - RIMM (Rambus Inline Memory Module 184 Pin) - VRAM (Video RAM) - SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM) - WRAM (Windows Accelerator Card RAM)

Locations and Physical Characteristics
Memory bank - Memory chips (8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit) - SIMMS (Single In-line Memory Module) - DIMMS (Dual In-line Memory Module) - Parity chips versus non-parity chips

4.3. Identify the most popular type of motherboards, their components, and their architecture (bus structures and power supplies).

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 - IDE (ATA, ATAPI, ULTRA-DMA, EIDE) - SCSI (Wide, Fast, Ultra, LVD (Low Voltage Differential)

4.4. Identify the purpose of CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor), what it contains and how to change its basic parameters.

Example Basic CMOS Settings
Printer parallel port-Uni., bi-directional, disable/enable, ECP, EPP - COM/serial port-memory address, interrupt request, disable - Floppy drive-enable/disable drive or boot, speed, density - Hard drive-size and drive type - Memory-parity, non-parity - Boot sequence - Date/Time - Passwords - Plug & Play BIOS

Domain 5.0 Printers

This domain requires knowledge of basic types of printers, basic concepts, and printer components, how they work, how they print onto a page, paper path, care and service techniques, and common problems.

5.1. Identify basic concepts, printer operations, printer components, and field replaceable units in primary printer types.

Paper feeder mechanisms/Types of Printers
Laser - Inkjet - Dot Matrix

Types of printer connections and configurations
Parallel - Network - USB - Infrared - Serial

5.2. Identify care and service techniques and common problems with primary printer types.

Feed and output - Errors (printed or displayed) - Paper jam - Print quality - Safety Precautions - Preventive maintenance

Domain 6.0 Basic Networking

This domain requires knowledge of basic network concepts and terminology, ability to determine whether a computer is networked, knowledge of procedures for swapping and configuring network interface cards, and knowledge of the ramifications of repairs when a computer is networked. The scope of this topic is specific to hardware issues on the desktop and connecting it to a network.

6.1. Identify basic networking concepts, including how a network works and the ramifications of repairs on the network.

Installing and configuring network cards - Network access - Full-duplex, half-duplex - Cabling-Twisted Pair, Coaxial, Fiber Optic, RS-232 - Ways to network a PC - Physical Network topographies - Increasing bandwidth - Loss of data - Network slowdown - Infrared - Hardware protocols

Operating System Technologies:

Domain 1.0 Operating System Fundamentals

This domain requires knowledge of underlying DOS (Command prompt functions) in Windows 9x, Windows 2000 operating systems in terms of its functions and structure, for managing files and directories, and running programs. It also includes navigating through the operating system from command line prompts and Windows procedures for accessing and retrieving information.

1.1. Identify the operating system's functions, structure, and major system files to navigate the operating system and how to get to needed technical information.

Major Operating System functions - Create folders - Checking OS Version - Major Operating System components - Explorer - My Computer - Control Panel - Contrasts between Windows 9X and Windows 2000

Major system files: what they are, where they are located, how they are used and what they contain:

System, Configuration, and User Interface Files

Memory Management
Conventional - Extended/upper memory - High memory - Virtual memory - HIMEM.SYS - EMM386.exe

Windows 9x

Windows 2000

Command Prompt Procedures (Command syntax)

1.2. Identify basic concepts and procedures for creating, viewing and managing files, directories and disks. This includes procedures for changing file attributes and the ramifications of those changes (for example, security issues).

File attributes - Read Only, Hidden, System, and Archive attributes
File naming conventions (Most common extensions)
Partitioning/Formatting/File System
FAT - FAT16 - FAT32 - NTFS4 - NTFS5 - HPFS

Windows-based Utilities
ScanDisk - Device manager - System Manager - Computer Manager - MSCONFIG.EXE - REGEDIT.EXE (View information/Backup registry) - REGEDT32.EXE - ATTRIB.EXE - EXTRACT.EXE - DEFRAG.EXE - EDIT.COM - FDISK.EXE - SYSEDIT.EXE - SCANREG - WSCRIPT.EXE - HWINFO.EXE - ASD.EXE (Automatic Skip Driver) - Cvt1.EXE (Drive Converter FAT16 to FAT32)

Domain 2.0 Installation , Configuration, and Upgrading

This domain requires knowledge of installing, configuring and upgrading Windows 9x, and Windows 2000. This includes knowledge of system boot sequences and minimum hardware requirements.

2.1. Identify the procedures for installing Windows 9x, and Windows 2000 for bringing the software to a basic operational level.

Start Up - Partition - Format drive - Loading drivers - Run appropriate set up utility

2.2. Identify steps to perform an operating system upgrade.
Upgrading Windows 95 to Windows 98 - Upgrading from Windows NT Workstation 4.0 to Windows 2000 - Replacing Windows 9x with - Windows 2000 - Dual boot Windows 9x/Windows NT 4.0/2000

2.3. Identify the basic system boot sequences and boot methods, including the steps to create an emergency boot disk with utilities installed for Windows 9x, Windows NT, and Windows 2000.
Startup disk - Safe Mode - MS-DOS mode - NTLDR (NT Loader), BOOT.INI - Files required to boot - Creating emergency repair disk (ERD)

2.4. Identify procedures for loading/adding and configuring application device drivers, and the necessary software for certain devices.
Windows 9x Plug and Play and Windows 2000
Identify the procedures for installing and launching typical Windows and non-Windows applications. (Note: there is no content related to Windows 3.1)
Procedures for set up and configuring Windows printing subsystem.
Setting Default printer - Installing/Spool setting - Network printing (with help of LAN admin)

Domain 3.0 Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

This domain requires the ability to apply knowledge to diagnose and troubleshoot common problems relating to Windows 9x and Windows 2000. This includes understanding normal operation and symptoms relating to common problems.

3.1. Recognize and interpret the meaning of common error codes and startup messages from the boot sequence, and identify steps to correct the problems.

Safe Mode - No operating system found - Error in CONFIG.SYS line XX - Bad or missing COMMAND.COM - HIMEM.SYS not loaded - Missing or corrupt HIMEM.SYS - SCSI - Swap file - NT boot issues - Dr. Watson - Failure to start GUI - Windows Protection Error - Event Viewer Event log is full - A device referenced in SYSTEM.INI, WIN.INI, Registry is not found

3.2. Recognize common problems and determine how to resolve them.

Eliciting problem symptoms from customers - Having customer reproduce error as part of the diagnostic process - Identifying recent changes to the computer environment from the user - Troubleshooting Windows-specific printing problems - Print spool is stalled - Incorrect/incompatible driver for print - Incorrect parameter

Other Common problems
General Protection Faults - Illegal operation - Invalid working directory - System lock up - Option (Sound card, modem, input device) or will not function - Application will not start or load - Cannot log on to network (option NIC not functioning) - TSR (Terminate Stay Resident) programs and virus - Applications don't install - Network connection

Viruses and virus types
What they are - Sources (floppy, emails, etc.) - How to determine presence

Domain 4.0 Networks

This domain requires knowledge of network capabilities of Windows and how to connect to networks on the client side, including what the Internet is about, its capabilities, basic concepts relating to Internet access and generic procedures for system setup. The scope of this topic is only what is needed on the desktop side to connect to a network.

4.1. Identify the networking capabilities of Windows including procedures for connecting to the network.

Protocols - IPCONFIG.EXE - WINIPCFG.EXE - Sharing disk drives - Sharing print and file services - Network type and network card - Installing and Configuring browsers - Configure OS for network connection

4.2. Identify concepts and capabilities relating to the Internet and basic procedures for setting up a system for Internet access.

Concepts and terminology
ISP - TCP/IP - IPX/SPX - NetBEUI - E-mail - PING.EXE - HTML - HTTP:// - FTP - Domain Names (Web sites) - Dial-up networking - TRACERT.EXE - NSLOOKUP.EXE

The straightforward, compact nature of this series addresses all of the CompTIA objectives and will give you the understanding you need to prepare for Certification. It is filled with demonstrations highlighting PC techniques that will teach you how to properly maintain and upgrade computers. Our course includes video tapes, workbooks and computer based training. By utilizing all three media types your retention level and success ratios are much higher than only utilizing one format.

Price and Ordering

Course List Price Your Price
CompTIA A+ Certification CD-ROM $749.00 $599.20
CompTIA A+ Certification Video $749.00 $599.20
CompTIA A+ Student Kit $217.00 $173.60
CompTIA A+ Instructor Kit $129.00 $103.20


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