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A+ Exam Cram: Operating System Technology

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To effectively administer a network you need both an understanding of the operating system and the ability to troubleshoot it. With sample questions and detailed answers, this sample chapter will help you prepare for the A+ Certification Exam.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

To effectively administer a network you need both an understanding of the operating system and the ability to troubleshoot it. Troubleshooting relies on your knowledge of how the operating system functions. In addition to knowledge, IT professionals must understand the tools at their disposal. These topics are addressed in the labs in this section.

The following is a list of the exam objectives covered in this chapter:

Domain 1 Operating System Fundamentals

  • 1.5 Identify the major operating system utilities, their purpose, location, and available switches.

Domain 3 Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

  • 3.2 Recognize when to use common diagnostic utilities and tools. Given a diagnostic scenario involving one of these utilities or tools, select the appropriate steps needed to resolve the problem.

Windows 98 and Me Troubleshooting Tools

Windows 98 and Windows Millennium are equipped with a powerful set of tools to assist users with various troubleshooting tasks.


  • PC-compatible desktop/tower computer system running Windows Me or Windows 98


In this section, you will start up a Windows Millennium Edition computer. You will view the hardware setup and components of the operating system. This will familiarize you with Windows Me and aid you in your troubleshooting.

  1. Boot the computer to Windows Me.

    1. Turn on the computer and select Windows Me from the OS selection menu.

  2. Tour the Windows Millennium Help and Support Information tool.

    1. Navigate to Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools and then select System Information to open the MS Help and Support window.

    2. In Table 3.1, list the subtopics underneath System Summary from the left window pane.

    Table 3.1Table 3.1

  3. View hardware resources.

    1. Double-click the HARDWARE RESOURCES directory to expand it.

    2. Click the IRQs subtopic under HARDWARE RESOURCES to show the settings in the right pane.

    3. In Table 3.2, list the resource's IRQs, device names, and status.

  4. View components.

    1. Double-click the COMPONENTS directory to expand it.

    2. Click the DISPLAY subcomponent and record the adapter name, adapter type, resolution, and bits/pixel in Table 3.3.

    3. table 3.2Table 3.2

      table 3.3Table 3.3

    4. Double-click the PORTS subcomponent and choose Serial.

    5. In Table 3.4, list the baud rate for COM1.

    6. table 3.4Table 3.4

  5. View the software environment.

    1. Double-click the SOFTWARE ENVIRONMENT directory to expand it.

    2. Click the DRIVERS subcomponent and view the drivers that are listed in the right pane.

    3. Subsequently click on each subcomponent underneath the SOFTWARE ENVIRONMENT directory to become familiar with the types of information available here.

    4. Click the STARTUP PROGRAMS subcomponent.


    This subsection can be helpful when troubleshooting boot problems and when optimizing your system. It is also a good place to check if your computer is running unnecessary programs at startup.

  6. View Internet Explorer's subcomponent information.

    1. Double-click the INTERNET EXPLORER directory to expand it.

    2. In Table 3.5, list all of the subcomponents that are listed under Internet Explorer.

    3. table 3.5Table 3.5

Viewing the Tools That Are Available in the Tools Menu

You can use System Restore to undo harmful changes to your computer and restore its settings and performance. System Restore returns your computer to an earlier time (called a restore point) without causing you to lose recent work, such as saved documents, email, or history and favorites lists.

Your computer automatically creates restore points (called system checkpoints), but you can also use System Restore to create your own checkpoints. This is useful if you are about to make a major change to your system, such as installing a new program or changing your Registry. The following procedure will help you set up restore points.

  1. Use System Restore to create a restore point for your computer.

    1. In the menu bar click the Tools menu and select System Restore.

    2. Click the radio button next to Create a Restore Point and click Next to continue.

    3. In the System Restore window (see Figure 3.1), give your restore point a descriptive name. I recommend using the date in the name. Type today's date with the word Restore at the end of the name (example: 12-01-01Restore).

    4. Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 Restore Point Schedule.

    5. Click the Next button to continue.

    6. Click OK to close the Confirm New Restore Point window.

  2. Use System Restore to return your system to an earlier state.

    1. Click the Tools menu and select System Restore.

    2. With Restore My Computer to an Earlier Time checked, click Next to continue.

    3. View the calendar of restore points and find the restore point you just created.

    4. Highlight a System Check Point listing on the right that matches the name you just created, as shown in Figure 3.2, and click Next to continue.

    5. Figure 3.2Figure 3.2 System Restore window.

    6. Make sure all programs are closed, except the Help and Support windows, and click OK to continue.

    7. Verify the date and time of the restore point and enter it into Table 3.6.

    8. table 3.6Table 3.6

    9. Click Next to begin the restoration process.

    10. The computer will automatically reboot itself to a Restoration status window.

    11. Verify that the restoration was completed successfully, and click OK.

  3. Work with the System Configuration Utility (SCU).

    1. From within the Microsoft Help and Support interface, click the Tools menu and select System Configuration Utility.

    2. On the General tab, click the Advanced button.

    3. In Table 3.7, list the Optional Settings that are under the Advanced Troubleshooting Settings.

    4. table 3.7Table 3.7


      It is recommended that only advanced users and system administrators change these settings. It is always a good idea to keep track of the changes that you've made.

    5. Click Cancel to exit the Advanced Troubleshooting window.

    6. Click the Startup tab to show a list of all programs that load during the boot process.

    7. In Table 3.8, list everything that loads on your specific computer at startup.

    8. table 3.8Table 3.8

    9. On the General tab, click the radio button next to Selective Startup.

    10. In Table 3.9 list the selections for startup.

    11. table 3.9Table 3.9

    12. Click the radio button next to Diagnostic Startup, and click OK to shut the SCU.

    13. When prompted to restart your computer, select Yes.

    14. In Table 3.10, list the boot options from the screen.

    15. table 3.10Table 3.10

    16. Allow Windows to boot to the default (Normal).

    17. Shut down the computer.

What Did I Just Learn?

In this section, you learned how to use Windows Me or 98 system tools to gather information and resolve system problems. When troubleshooting, it is important to gather information so that you can make informed decisions when attempting to find the problem's root cause. Some of the specific skills you practiced include the following:

  • View various areas of System Information.

  • Tour Microsoft's new Help and Support interface.

  • Use the Tools menu to run programs to enhance or repair your system.

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