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Complete CompTIA A+ Guide to PCs, 6th Edition

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Complete CompTIA A+ Guide to PCs, 6th Edition


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  • Excellent resource to learn  installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security and troubleshooting of PCs preparing  you for entry-level IT job roles
  • Straightforward coverage of all certification objectives for the CompTIA A+ Essentials exam 220-801 and CompTIA A+ Practical Application exam 220-802
  • Hundreds of review questions and hands-on exercises and labs included in one book - no additional lab book needed!
  • Extensive end-of-chapter review, including true/false, multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank, and open-ended questions
  • Soft Skills sections in each chapter, and at least two Soft Skills activities at the end of each chapter
  • Tech Tips designed to be useful in real-world PC repair
  • Hands-On Exercises linking theory to practice and experience 
  • Clear chapter objectives
  • At least 2 Critical Thinking Skills activities in every chapter
  • Comes with instructor resources for course use: Instructor’s Manual, Chapter Power Points, Test Bank


  • Copyright 2013
  • Dimensions: 8-1/2" x 10-7/8"
  • Pages: 1008
  • Edition: 6th
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-7897-4976-9
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-7897-4976-5

Master PC installation, configuration, repair, maintenance, and networking

and fully prepare for the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 exams

This unique tutorial and study guide teaches the fundamentals of computer desktop and laptop installation, configuration, maintenance, and networking with thorough instruction built on the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802 exam objectives. Learn all the skills you need to become a certified professional and customer-friendly technician using today’s tools and technologies.

Every chapter opens with focused learning objectives and lists the exam objectives covered in that chapter. To meet the learning objectives, each chapter includes detailed figures, helpful Tech Tips, explanations of key terms, step-by-step instruction, and complete coverage of every topic. At the end of every chapter are comprehensive assessment tools, including a summary, review questions, labs, activities, and exam tips.

Covers Both 2012 A+ Exams:

A+ 220-801:

  •  PC Hardware          

  •  Networking            

  •  Laptops     

  •  Printers      

  •  Operational Procedures

A+ 220-802

  •  Operating Systems            

  •  Security     

  •  Mobile Devices      

  •  Troubleshooting

Learn more quickly and thoroughly with all these study and review tools:

  • Learning Objectives provide the goals for each chapter
  • Practical Tech Tips give real-world PC repair knowledge
  • Soft Skills information and activities in each chapter cover all the tools and skills you need to become a professional, customer-friendly technician in every category
  • Review Questions, including true/false, multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank, and open-ended questions, assess your knowledge of the learning objectives
  • More than 125 Lab Exercises enable you to link theory to practical experience
  • Key Terms identify exam words and phrases associated with each topic
  • Detailed Glossary clearly defines every key term
  • Critical Thinking Activities in every chapter take you beyond the facts to complete comprehension of topics
  • Chapter Summary provides a recap of key concepts

See Special Offer in Back of Book to save 70% on the CompTIA A+ Cert Guide, Deluxe Edition, Premium Edition eBook and Practice Test

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Complete CompTIA A+ Guide to PCs: Disassembly and Power

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 4 and Index)

Table of Contents


Features of This Book

Chapter 1: Introduction to Computer Repair


CompTIA A+ Certification

Safety Note

Technician Qualities

Basic Computer Parts

External Connectivity

Mouse and Keyboard Ports

Mice and Keyboards

Wireless Input Devices

Mouse and Keyboard Preventive Maintenance

Keyboard/Mouse Troubleshooting

Video Port

USB Port

Installing Extra USB Ports

USB Troubleshooting

Parallel Ports

Serial Ports

Audio Ports

IEEE 1394 Ports

IEEE 1394 Troubleshooting

eSATA Ports

Network Ports

Modem Ports

Pros and Cons of Integrated Motherboards

Docking Stations and Port Replicators

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 1.1 Identifying Tower Computer Parts

    Lab 1.2 Identification of Computer Ports

    Lab 1.3 Identification of Video Ports

    Lab 1.4 Port Identification


Chapter 2: On the Motherboard

Processor Overview

Processor Basics

Intel Processors

AMD Processors

Speeding Up Processor Operations Overview



Threading Technology

Connecting to the Processor

Multi-Core Processors

Sockets and Slots

Processor Cooling

Installing Processors

Mobile Device Motherboards/CPUs

Overclocking Processors

Troubleshooting Processor Issues

Expansion Slots

PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect)

AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port)

PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express)

Laptop Expansion

More Motherboard Connectors


Types of Motherboards

Upgrading and Replacing Motherboards

Motherboard Troubleshooting

Soft Skills–Active Listening

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 2.1 ATX Motherboard Parts Identification Exercise

    Lab 2.2 Motherboard Analysis

    Lab 2.3 Processor Speed, Processor Socket, and Ports


Chapter 3: System Configuration

Configuration Overview

BIOS Overview

The Setup Program

Flash BIOS

BIOS Configuration Settings

CMOS Memory

Motherboard Batteries

Other Configuration Parameters

IRQ (Interrupt Request)

PCI Interrupts

I/O (Input/Output) Addresses

Memory Addresses

Adapter Configuration

Soft Skills–A Good Technician Quality: One Thing at a Time

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 3.1 Configuration Method Exercise and Review

    Lab 3.2 System Resource Configuration Through the Setup Program

    Lab 3.3 Examining System Resources by Using Windows

    Lab 3.4 Device Drivers


Chapter 4: Disassembly and Power

Disassembly Overview

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

EMI (Electromagnetic Interference)



Opening the Case

Cables and Connectors

Storage Devices


Mobile Device Issues


Preventive Maintenance

Basic Electronics Overview

Electronics Terms

Power Supply Overview

Power Supply Form Factors

Purposes of a Power Supply

Power Supply Voltages

Mobile Device Travel and Storage

Mobile Device Power

ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface)

Replacing or Upgrading a Power Supply

Symptoms of Power Supply Problems

Solving Power Supply Problems

Adverse Power Conditions

Adverse Power Protection

Surge Protectors

Line Conditioners

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

Standby Power Supply (SPS)

Phone Line Isolator

Electrical Fires

Computer Disposal/Recycling

Soft Skills–Written Communications Skills

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 4.1 Performing Maintenance on an Antistatic Wrist Strap

    Lab 4.2 Computer Disassembly/Reassembly

    Lab 4.3 Amps and Wattage

    Lab 4.4 Continuity Check

    Lab 4.5 Pin-Out Diagramming

    Lab 4.6 Fuse Check

    Lab 4.7 Using a Multimeter

    Lab 4.8 Wall Outlet and Power Cord AC Voltage Check

    Lab 4.9 Device DC Voltage Check

    Lab 4.10 Windows XP Power Options

    Lab 4.11 Windows Vista/7 Power Options


Chapter 5: Logical Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Overview

Identify the Problem

Establish a Theory of Probable Cause

Test the Theory to Determine Cause

Establish a Plan of Action and Implement the Solution

Verify Full System Functionality and Implement Preventive Measures

Soft Skills–Document Findings, Actions, and Outcomes and Provide Feedback

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 5.1 Logical Troubleshooting


Chapter 6: Memory

Memory Overview

Memory Physical Packaging

Planning the Memory Installation

Planning the Memory Installation–Memory Technologies

Mobile Device Memory

Planning the Memory Installation–Memory Features

Planning for Memory–The Amount of Memory to Install

Planning for Memory–How Many of Each Memory Type?

Planning for Memory–Researching and Buying Memory

Installing Memory Overview

Removing/Installing Memory

Adding More Cache/RAM

Windows Disk Caching

Monitoring Memory Usage Under Windows

Old Applications Under Windows

Troubleshooting Memory Problems

Flash Memory

Soft Skills–Teamwork

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 6.1 Configuring Memory on Paper, Part 1

    Lab 6.2 Configuring Memory on Paper, Part 2

    Lab 6.3 Configuring Memory on Paper, Part 3

    Lab 6.4 Configuring Memory on Paper, Part 4

    Lab 6.5 Configuring Memory on Paper, Part 5

    Lab 6.6 Examining Memory Resources Using Windows XP

    Lab 6.7 Using the System Information Tool in Windows XP to View Memory

    Lab 6.8 Using Windows XP Task Manager to View Memory

    Lab 6.9 Examining Memory Resources Using Windows 7

    Lab 6.10 Using the System Information Tool in Windows 7 to View Memory

    Lab 6.11 Using Windows 7 Task Manager to View Memory

    Lab 6.12 Determining Memory Resources in an iOS-Based Device

    Lab 6.13 Determining Memory Resources in an Android-Based Device


Chapter 7: Storage Devices

Storage Devices Overview

Floppy Drive Overview

Floppy Media and Construction

Floppy Drive Installation or Replacement

Hard Drive Overview

Hard Drive Geometry

Hard Drive Interfaces Overview

IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics)

SSD (Solid State Drive)

SCSI (Small Computer System Interface)

Storage Device Configuration Overview

PATA Physical Installation

SATA Physical Installation

SSD Physical Installation

Parallel SCSI Configuration

SCSI ID Configuration and Termination

SCSI Cables

SAS Installation

Mobile Device Storage

System BIOS Configuration for Hard Drives

Hard Drive Preparation Overview


How Drive Letters Are Assigned

Windows Disk Management

Fault Tolerance

High-Level Formatting

Troubleshooting Devices

RAID Issues

Preventive Maintenance for Hard Drives

Data Security

Removable Drive Storage

Disk Caching/Virtual Memory

Soft Skills–Phone Skills

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 7.1 Configuring a PATA IDE Hard Drive on Paper

    Lab 7.2 Configuring a PATA IDE Cable Select Configuration

    Lab 7.3 Configuring a SATA Hard Drive on Paper

    Lab 7.4 Installing an IDE PATA/SATA Hard Drive with Windows XP Disk Management Tool, diskpart, and convert

    Lab 7.5 Installing an IDE PATA/SATA Hard Drive with the Windows 7 Disk Management Tool, diskpart, and convert

    Lab 7.6 Striping and Spanning Using Windows 7

    Lab 7.7 Windows XP Backup Tool

    Lab 7.8 Windows 7 Backup Tool

    Lab 7.9 Windows XP/Vista Hard Disk Tools

    Lab 7.10 Windows 7 Hard Disk Tools


Chapter 8: Multimedia Devices

Multimedia Overview

Optical Disk Drive Overview

Optical Drive Features

Optical Drive Interfaces and Connections

Optical Drive Installation

Troubleshooting Optical Drive Issues

Preventive Maintenance for ODDs and Discs

Theory of Sound Card Operation

Installing Sound Cards

Sound Cards Using Windows

Mobile Device Sound


Troubleshooting Sound Problems


Digital Cameras

Soft Skills–Attitude

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 8.1 Sound and Optical Drives in Windows XP

    Lab 8.2 Sound and Optical Drives in Windows 7

    Lab 8.3 Optical Drive Installation Lab

    Lab 8.4 DirectX Diagnostics in Windows XP

    Lab 8.5 DirectX Diagnostics in Windows 7

    Lab 8.6 Installing a Sound Card and Speakers in Windows XP

    Lab 8.7 Installing a Sound Card and Speakers in Windows 7

    Lab 8.8 Installing a USB Scanner

    Lab 8.9 Changing the Drive Letter of an Optical Drive Using the Disk Management and diskpart Utility


Chapter 9: Other Peripherals

Chapter Overview

Video Overview

Types of Video Output Devices

Video Terminology and Theory

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)

Video Ports and Cables

Multiple Displays


Monitor Preventive Maintenance

Monitor Energy Efficiency


Video Adapters

Specialized Video Cards

Video Memory

Installing a Video Adapter

Troubleshooting Video

Printers Overview

Printer Ports

Networked Printers

Wireless Printers

Categories of Printers

Impact Printers

Inkjet Printers

Laser Printers

Thermal Printers


Refilling Cartridges, Re-inking Ribbons, and Recycling Cartridges

Printer Installation

Upgrading Printers

Printer Preventive Maintenance

Printers in the Windows Environment

Windows Printer Troubleshooting

General Printer Troubleshooting

Impact Printer Troubleshooting

Inkjet Printer Troubleshooting

Laser Printer Troubleshooting

Soft Skills–Work Ethics

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 9.1 Exploring Video in Windows XP

    Lab 9.2 Exploring Video in Windows 7

    Lab 9.3 Configuring a Second Monitor Attached to the Same PC

    Lab 9.4 Configuring a Second Monitor Attached to a Windows 7 PC

    Lab 9.5 Determining the Amount of Video Memory

    Lab 9.6 Determining the Minimum Video Memory Installed

    Lab 9.7 Exploring Video Memory on a Windows 7 Computer

    Lab 9.8 Installing a Generic/Text Only Print Driver on a Windows XP Computer

    Lab 9.9 Installing a Local Printer on a Windows XP Computer

    Lab 9.10 Exploring a Windows 7 Printer


Chapter 10: Computer Design

Design Overview

Computer System Design

Motherboard and Associated Component Design

Power Supply and Case Design

Storage Subsystem Design

Audio Subsystem Design

Display Subsystem Design

Mobility Design

Soft Skills–Dealing with Irate Customers

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 10.1 Computer System Design

    Lab 10.2 Design Components

    Lab 10.3 Subsystem Design Components


Chapter 11: Basic Operating Systems

Basic Operating Systems Overview

Basic Windows Usage Overview

Basic Mobile Device Usage

Managing Windows Files and Folders

Attributes, Compression, and Encryption

Determining the Windows Version

Windows Registry

Editing the Windows Registry

Recovering the Windows OS

Recovering a Mobile OS

Virtualization Basics

Recovery Console/WinRE

Command Prompt Overview

Command Prompt Basics

Moving Around from a Command Prompt

The TYPE Command

Copying Files

The ATTRIB Command

Why Learn Commands?

Command Format

Soft Skills–Staying Current

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 11.1 XP Basic Usage

    Lab 11.2 Windows Vista/7 Basic Usage

    Lab 11.3 Introduction to Mobile Operating Systems

    Lab 11.4 Windows XP/Vista/7 Taskbar Options

    Lab 11.5 Windows XP/Vista/7 File and Folder Management

    Lab 11.6 Managing Files on a Mobile Device

    Lab 11.7 Windows XP/Vista/7 File Extension

    Lab 11.8 Windows XP/Vista/7 Attributes, Compression, and Encryption

    Lab 11.9 Using REGEDIT in Windows XP/Vista/7

    Lab 11.10 Modifying the Windows XP Start Button

    Lab 11.11 Modifying the Windows Vista/7 Start Button

    Lab 11.12 Basic Commands at a Command Prompt

    Lab 11.13 The COPY, MD, DEL, and RD Commands

    Lab 11.14 The ATTRIB Command and Moving Around in the Directory Structure

    Lab 11.15 Backup Software and the Archive Bit

    Lab 11.16 Creating a Boot Floppy Disk in Windows XP

    Lab 11.17 Installing and Exploring Windows XP Recovery Console

    Lab 11.18 Creating a Windows 7 System Repair Disc

    Lab 11.19 Creating a Windows 7 System Image Disc


Chapter 12: Windows XP, Vista, and 7

Windows XP Overview

Windows Vista/7 Overview

Logging on to Windows

Pre-Installation of Windows


Installation/Upgrade of Windows

Corporate Windows Deployment

Verifying the Installation

Troubleshooting a Windows Installation

Dual-Booting Windows


Reloading Windows

Updating Windows

Backing Up/Restoring the Windows Registry

Backing Up and Restoring the Windows System State

Configuring Windows Overview

Configuring Windows

Adding Devices

System Restore

Installing/Removing Software

Microsoft Management Console

Advanced Boot Options Menu

Overview of the Windows Boot Process

Speeding Up the Windows Boot Process

Troubleshooting the Windows Boot Process

Windows XP ASR (Automated System Recovery)


System Configuration Utility

Task Manager and Event Viewer

Troubleshooting a Service That Does Not Start

Windows Reboots

Shutdown Problems

Monitoring System Performance

Supporting Windows Computers Remotely

Preventive Maintenance for Your Operating System

Soft Skills–Avoiding Burnout

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 12.1 Windows XP Clean Installation

    Lab 12.2 Windows XP Upgrade Installation

    Lab 12.3 Windows 7 Installation

    Lab 12.4 Installing VMware Workstation

    Lab 12.5 Installing Windows into a VMware Workstation Virtual Machine

    Lab 12.6 Working with a VMware Workstation Virtual Machine

    Lab 12.7 Windows XP/Vista/7 Registry Modification

    Lab 12.8 Windows XP System State Backup

    Lab 12.9 Windows 7 Backup

    Lab 12.10 Windows Automatic Update Utility

    Lab 12.11 Windows XP Mouse, Keyboard, Accessibility, and Sound Options

    Lab 12.12 Configuring Windows 7 Ease of Access

    Lab 12.13 Windows XP System Restore Utility

    Lab 12.14 Windows 7 System Restore Utility

    Lab 12.15 Upgrading a Hardware Driver and Using Driver Roll Back Using Windows XP/Vista/7

    Lab 12.16 Disabling a Hardware Driver Using Windows XP, Vista, or 7

    Lab 12.17 Installing Hardware Using Windows XP/Vista/7

    Lab 12.18 Installing Administrative Tools in Windows XP

    Lab 12.19 Installing and Removing Windows XP Components

    Lab 12.20 Installing and Removing Windows Vista/7 Components

    Lab 12.21 Windows XP Microsoft Management Console

    Lab 12.22 Windows 7 Microsoft Management Console

    Lab 12.23 Exploring Windows XP Boot Options

    Lab 12.24 Exploring Windows 7 Boot Options

    Lab 12.25 Windows XP System Configuration Utility

    Lab 12.26 Windows 7 Startup Configuration

    Lab 12.27 Halting an Application Using Task Manager in Windows XP/Vista/7

    Lab 12.28 Using Windows XP Event Viewer

    Lab 12.29 Using Windows Vista/7 Event Viewer

    Lab 12.30 Using Task Manager to View Performance

    Lab 12.31 Using the System Monitor Utility in Windows XP

    Lab 12.32 Using the Performance Monitor Utility in Windows XP

    Lab 12.33 Performance and Reliability in Windows 7

    Lab 12.34 Installing and Using Remote Desktop in Windows XP

    Lab 12.35 Windows 7 Remote Desktop

    Lab 12.36 Windows 7 Task Scheduler


Chapter 13: Internet Connectivity

Internet Connectivity Overview

Modems Overview

Serial Communication Overview

How to Configure Serial Ports and Devices

56Kbps Modems

Fax Modems

Digital Modems and ISDN


Cable Modems

xDSL Modems

Troubleshooting Cable and DSL Modems

Satellite Modems

Modem Preventive Maintenance

Mobile Connectivity

Web Browsers

Soft Skills–Mentoring

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 13.1 Exploring Serial Devices in Windows XP

    Lab 13.2 Exploring Serial Devices in Windows Vista/7

    Lab 13.3 Windows XP Direct Cable Connection

    Lab 13.4 Internal and External Modem Installation

    Lab 13.5 Introduction to Internet Explorer Configuration


Chapter 14: Introduction to Networking

Networking Overview

Types of Local Area Networks

Network Topologies

Network Media Overview

Copper Media

Fiber Media

Protecting Your Network and Cable Investment

Ethernet Issues and Concepts

Network Standards

The OSI Model

The TCP/IP Model

Network Addressing

IP Addressing

Subnetting Basics

Wireless Networks Overview


Wireless Networks

Antenna Basics

Wireless Network Standards

Wired or Wireless NIC Installation

Wireless Broadband

Virtualization Network Issues

Access Point/Router Installation

Configuring a Networked Printer

Network Troubleshooting

Network Printer Troubleshooting

Network Terminology

The TCP/IP Model in Action



Network Connectivity

Mobile Device Network Connectivity

Mobile Apps

Soft Skills–Being Proactive

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 14.1 Installing and Configuring a NIC Using Windows XP

    Lab 14.2 Creating a Straight-Through CAT 5, 5e, or 6 Network Patch Cable

    Lab 14.3 Creating a CAT 5, 5e, or 6 Crossover Network Cable

    Lab 14.4 Networking with Windows 7

    Lab 14.5 Connecting to a Windows XP/Vista/7 Shared or Networked Printer

    Lab 14.6 Installing a Dial-Up Connection Using Windows XP

    Lab 14.7 Identifying Basic Wireless Network Parts

    Lab 14.8 Installing a Wireless NIC

    Lab 14.9 Configuring a Wireless Network

    Lab 14.10 Wireless Network Case Study

    Lab 14.11 FTP Server and Client

    Lab 14.12 Subnet Practice Lab


Chapter 15: Computer and Network Security

Security Overview

Security Policy

Physical Security

Protecting the Operating System and Data

DEP (Data Execution Prevention)

Protecting Access to Local and Network Resources


Internet Security

Security Incident Reporting

Wireless Network Security Overview

Wireless Authentication and Encryption

Default Settings

More Wireless Options

Wireless Security Conclusion

Wireless Network Troubleshooting

Mobile Security

A Final Word About Security

Soft Skills–Building Customer Trust

Chapter Summary

Key Terms

Review Questions


    Lab 15.1 Encrypting a File and Folder

    Lab 15.2 Using Windows Vista/7 System Protection

    Lab 15.3 Making a Folder Private in XP

    Lab 15.4 Sharing a Folder in Windows XP

    Lab 15.5 Sharing a Folder in Windows 7

    Lab 15.6 Creating a Local Security Policy for Passwords

    Lab 15.7 Windows Defender in Windows 7

    Lab 15.8 Configuring a Secure Wireless Network



9780789749765    TOC    1/14/2013

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