CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One For Dummies book cover

CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One For Dummies

By: Glen E. Clarke and Edward Tetz Published: 09-18-2019

Fully updated to cover the 2019 exam release! 

CompTIA's A+ certification is an essential certification to building a successful IT career. Test takers must pass both 90-question exams to be certified, and this book—plus online test bank—will help you reach your certification goal. 

The 9 minibooks map to the exam's objectives, and include new content on Windows 10, Scripting, Linux, and mobile devices. You’ll learn about how computers work, networking, computer repair and troubleshooting, security, permissions, and customer service. You'll also find test-taking advice and a review of the types of questions you'll see on the exam.

  • Use the online test bank to test your knowledge and prepare for the exam
  • Get up to speed on operating system basics
  • Find out how to manage the operating system
  • Discover maintenance and troubleshooting tips

Inside is all the knowledge you need to pass the new A+ exam!

Articles From CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One For Dummies

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A+ Certification All-In-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-09-2022

This Cheat Sheet gives you quick facts to remember on test day to help you answer questions found on the A+ Certification exams. Before the A+ exams, you’ll want to review some of the major Windows concepts, including boot files, recovery tools, RAID types, and troubleshooting utilities.

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Types of Printers—What You Need to Know for the CompTIA A+ Exams

Article / Updated 08-26-2021

The different types of printers in today’s busy world of computing are laser, inkjet, dot matrix, thermal, and virtual. You need to be familiar with each type for the compTIA certification A+ exams. Laser printers The laser printer — also known as a page printer because it prints one page at a time — is the most popular type of printer because it is fast and reliable, and offers the best-quality printout of the three types of printers. A laser printer gets its name because it uses a laser beam in the printing process. A laser printer, shown in the following figure, is also the most expensive type of printer because of its high-cost components such as the laser. Many parts work together to make the laser printer and its printing process run smoothly: Paper feeder mechanism: Laser printers use a set of pickup rollers to grab the paper from the paper tray and feed it into the printer. Paper transport path: Rollers are used throughout the print process so that the paper can continue to move through the printer. Registration rollers move the paper. Fuser rollers, also known as the fuser assembly, melt the toner onto the paper. Exit rollers guide the paper out of the printer. Toner cartridge: The toner cartridge (shown in the following figure) contains the replaceable components of the printing process. It contains three core components: The toner is electrically charged material made of pigment (to give it its color) and plastic (so it can be melted to the page) that is attracted to the paper to create the printout. The print drum, also known as the imaging drum, holds an electromagnetic charge when exposed to the laser. That charge then attracts the toner to the page. The cleaning blade cleans excess toner off the drum after the print process has completed. Power supply: The power supply in the printer is responsible for converting AC from the wall outlet into DC that charges the primary corona wire and transfer corona wire as well as with other components of the printer. Primary corona wire: The primary corona wire applies the initial –600V charge to the drum. Transfer corona wire: The transfer corona wire gives the paper a positive electrical charge that is used to attract the toner to the paper. Each component of the laser printer is used to perform the print operation. The process used to perform the printer operation is the laser printing process. The laser printing process The laser printing process has six phases, and you are required to know them for the A+ exams. Knowing the process is the basis for effective printer support and is essential for passing the A+ exams. The six phases of the laser printing process are conditioning, writing, developing, transferring, fusing, and cleaning. As you read the following sections, identify where each step occurs in the schematic shown. 1. Charging the drum (Conditioning) This phase is often known as the conditioning or charging phase. When the printer receives a command from the computer’s operating system to begin the print process, the primary corona wire applies a –600V charge to the photosensitive drum, also known as the print drum. This charge is one reason why a printer requires a high-voltage power supply. 2. Exposing the drum (Writing) This phase is often referred to as the exposing or writing phase. After the drum has the –600V charge, a laser beam is used to hit areas on the drum to create the image to be printed. In the areas on the drum that the laser touches, the charge changes from –600V to approximately –100V. Recognize that the areas exposed to the laser beam are more positively charged. 3. Developing the image (Developing) After the image is created on the photosensitive drum, toner is used to develop the image on the drum. Alongside the print drum is the developing roller. The developing roller has a –600V charge, which attracts the toner from the toner reservoir to the developing roller. Because the print drum and the developing roller are both charged to –600V (except for the areas of the print drum previously exposed to laser light), the toner from the developing roller is attracted to the –100V charged areas of the print drum. This entire concept is based on the “opposites attract” principle. Although both the drum and the roller are both negatively charged, –100V is more positive than –600V, so the toner on the –600V roller is attracted to –100V areas on the drum. Now that the print drum has toner on only the areas of –100V charge, the image is ready for transfer to paper. 4. Transferring the image (Transferring) After the toner is on the print drum, the feed rollers (also known as the registration rollers) feed the paper into the printer and over the transfer corona wire. The transfer corona wire, also known as the secondary corona wire, applies a very strong positive charge of +600V to the paper. The purpose of such a strong charge to the paper is to ensure that the toner will be attracted from the –100V areas of the drum to the paper. This, too, is based on the rule that opposites attract! The paper continues to move through the assembly, and passes over the drum to attract the toner from the drum to the paper. 5. Fusing the image (Fusing) After the paper moves past the print drum and holds the toner, the paper then moves through the fusing rollers, which melt the toner to the paper. The fusing rollers are needed because the only thing holding the toner to the paper at this point is a positive electric charge. During the fusing phase, the paper moves between a heated, Teflon-coated roller and a rubber roller, which melt the toner in place. The paper is then ejected from the printer. 6. Cleaning up the mess (Cleaning) After the printing has completed, any excess toner that remains on the print drum needs to be cleaned off. That’s the purpose of this last phase — the cleaning phase. A cleaning blade scrapes any leftover toner off the print drum and into a holding tray to prepare the drum for the next print operation. The A+ certification exams focus on laser printers when it comes to asking questions about printers. Be familiar with dot matrix and inkjet printers, but most of all, be sure that you are comfortable with laser printers and the laser printing process. Lab 4-1 will help you identify parts of the laser printer. You will need a laser printer available to perform this lab. Lab 4-1 can be found on the companion website at www.dummies.com/go/aplusaio. Inkjet printers Inkjet printers (see the following figure) offer the next highest level of print quality and are relatively cheap compared to laser printers. Inkjet printers are great for home use or small office environments that don’t have large print jobs. Inkjet printers don’t use toner like a laser printer; instead, they use ink cartridges. The ink cartridge contains all the working elements needed to get an image from the computer onto a sheet of paper. It contains compartments of ink, each sealed with a metal plate to prevent ink leakage. Each compartment has a tiny pinhole from which the ink is sprayed from the cartridge onto the paper. What’s interesting about ink cartridges is that each has its own integrated print head. The printer’s paper roller, feeder assembly, carriage, and belt are similar to these parts on other printer types. Nowadays duplexing (the ability for the printer to produce two-sided output) is pretty standard on most mid-level inkjet print devices. When the printer receives the command from the computer to print an image, the printer starts the print process by applying an electrical charge to the heating elements that are in the ink reservoir. The charge heats the heating elements, which cause the ink to vaporize. The vaporized ink creates pressure and is forced out the pinhole, creating a tiny bubble that hits the paper. Color inkjet printers are very popular today because of the increased popularity of digital cameras. Color inkjet printers can require two cartridges: one for black ink and one for the colors (cyan, yellow, and magenta). Most inkjet printers today have cartridges that bundle the black ink with the other colors. These cartridges are called CYMK (C for cyan, Y for yellow, M for magenta, and K for black). Some printer manufacturers offer individual cartridges for each color. The benefit of these printers is that if you run out of one color, you simply need to buy only the cartridge that contains that color, not all the colors. One thing to keep in mind is the print cartridges/print heads fall out of alignment on a regular basis. Therefore, you should make a habit of recalibrating the print output for any inkjet printers that you maintain. You should find that calibration utilities are built into the print device’s management software. When it is time to replace a spent ink cartridge, take the old cartridge with you to the store so that you know which cartridge type to buy. Some office supply stores can recycle your old cartridges, sometimes even offering a discount when you turn in your old cartridges. If you do not want to take the old cartridge with you to the store, make sure you know the make and model of the printer that you are buying the cartridge for. Multifunction printers Multifunction printers are laser or inkjet printers that incorporate other functions besides printing into a single hardware device. Typically, multifunction printers include scan and fax functionality, and are often WiFi-enabled both for infrastructure and ad-hoc wireless networks. And any multifunction printer worth its salt, like the HP OfficeJet Pro 6830 that I use in my office, support advanced printing features like duplex (two-sided) printing and collation. Many business-class multifunction laser or inkjet printers include an internal hard disk drive that the device uses to cache incoming print jobs. This hard drive caching allows the printer to service more print jobs per unit time than it could by using its much-more limited internal RAM. Dot matrix printers Dot matrix printers are considered impact printers because they physically strike an inked ribbon with a metal pin to put characters on paper. A dot matrix printer fires off rows of pins that strike the ribbon in patterns to create the image or characters that need to be printed. Each pin — a solenoid — is wrapped in a coiled wire held in place with a spring and small magnet. When a solenoid is needed to help create the image by striking the ribbon, an electrical charge is sent down the coil wire that surrounds the solenoid. The electrical charge around the wire causes the magnetic field from the magnet to be lost, resulting in the pin firing against the ribbon. The solenoids are contained in the print head, which moves across the paper printing one line of dots at a time. Originally, dot matrix printers used only nine pins in the print head. The 9-pin dot matrix printers were known as draft-quality printers and were later replaced by 17- and even 24-pin dot matrix printers. The quality of the 24-pin dot matrix was much better than that of the 9-pin because the greater number of dots creates a finer image. Thermal printers For the A+ exams, you simply need to focus on laser, dot matrix, and inkjet printers. Another type of printer you might encounter, though, is a thermal printer, which creates printouts on special paper by heating a stylus pen located on a print head. The pen then causes a chemical reaction on the special paper that is sensitive to heat. Virtual and cloud-based printers A virtual printer is a non-physical print device that exists on your local system. What do I mean, you ask? Well, I’m here to tell you that every time you use the Portable Document Format (PDF) printer with Adobe Acrobat, or the Microsoft XML Paper Specification (XPS) printer that is included with the Office productivity suite, you’re in fact using a virtual printer. A virtual printer exists entirely in software, and its sole purpose is to “print” output to a document or image file. Printing to a file or image is a great benefit to individuals and businesses who covet the so-called “paperless office.” By using virtual printers you not only contribute to the environment by consuming less paper, but you also save money on otherwise expensive consumables like inkjet and toner cartridges. By contrast, a cloud printer is a virtual printer whose device drivers and managed, well, in the cloud. Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print are two cloud printing technologies whose goal is to make it easier for you and others to print output from any print device without having to go through the trouble of installing a device driver. Here’s how cloud-based printing works: You connect your AirPrint- or Cloud Print–enabled printer to your WiFi network. Next, you choose the Print function from any application running on another host from the same WiFi network. The cloud printer should be available, and your print job will go through despite your not having manually loaded device drivers and/or configuration utilities. Pretty neat! For those of you who are concerned about security (and that should be all of you): As long as you have authentication enabled on your WiFi network, your cloud-based print queues should be safe from unauthorized parties. That said, the data privacy aspect is enough to scare many individuals and businesses away from any technology that mentions “cloud” in its name. 3D printers A 3D printer allows you to make three-dimensional solid objects from a digital blueprint file. The creation of the objects takes place by the printer laying down layer after layer of plastic filament until you have the completed object. 3D printers have a number of practical applications beyond the “maker” joy: product prototyping, scale models, proof of concept, and so forth. Common parts on the printer Whether you are using a laser printer, inkjet printer, or dot matrix printer, some parts are common to each of the printer types, although how they physically print is different. The following are some common elements to each printer type: Print head: The print head is responsible for the printing. With inkjets, the print head contains the nozzles that shoot out the ink, while a dot matrix print head contains the pins that shoot out. Heading element: The “thermal” in “thermal printer” denotes the necessity of a heating element. The element heats the ink that the print head affixes to your paper. Incidentally, thermal printers require special thermal paper, so stock up! Feeder: The feed assembly is responsible for picking up the paper from the paper tray and feeding the paper into the printer. Roller: Many printers have rollers to move the paper through the printer. Duplexing assembly: The duplexing assembly is responsible for allowing automatic printing on both sides of the page. The duplex assembly can be added to many printers to obtain automatic duplexing capabilities. Carriage and belt: The carriage-and-belt system is the part of the printer that moves the print head back and forth across the page. Paper tray: The paper tray holds the paper while it is waiting to be picked up and sent through the printer.

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CompTIA Certification A+ Exams: Installing, Removing, and Repairing Applications

Article / Updated 01-27-2020

To properly maintain and diagnose applications, an A+ Certified Professional must be able to manage the installation and removal of applications. Before you can work with applications on your computer, you need to install them. With the rate at which the computer industry changes, you cannot avoid the need to upgrade or remove applications on your computer as they become obsolete. The terms app, application, and program are synonymous: They all refer to programming code that performs a function. Here, though, the term application describes the programming code that represents the functions you want installed on your computer — like a word processing application or a game. The term program describes the programming code that allows you to install the application. And when referring to applications purchased from the Windows Store or applications that run on mobile devices, the term app is used. How to install an application Most applications come with an installation program that must be run to install the application. Some applications (say, the terminal emulation program PuTTY) are actually stand-alone applications that do not require extra files and settings to be created on your computer, but these are rare. Most applications require several files to be installed and often require Registry entries to be created to hold the settings for the application. Because of the complexity involved in copying the files and creating the settings, you use the installation program to ensure that the application is installed properly. The application’s developer decides the name of the setup program, which in many cases is setup.exe or install.exe. Before installing a new application, you should ensure that your computer or device meets the hardware or system requirements related to drive space and RAM. If your device does not meet the requirements, you may find that the software will not perform as expected on the device. The setup program will verify that the hardware and system requirements are met before installing the program. In those cases when the requirements are not met, the setup program can prevent the application from being installed. In addition to hardware requirements, the application may have similar requirements related to the OS installed on your computer or device. This may be the case if your device is running Windows 7 and the software requires that the OS is Windows 10 or above. In these cases, you may manually check to verify your OS is supported by the application, but the setup program may also prevent the application from being installed. In most cases, a user needs administrative rights in order to install an application. When installing an application, you usually need to put files in or make changes to the following locations: C:\Program Files C:\Program Files (x86) C:\Windows HKey Local Machine\Software All of the places listed here have default permissions that restrict normal users from making changes to them. This by itself will be enough to prevent normal users from installing software. If the rights for these locations are modified, then a typical user would be able to install most software. There are exceptions to user installation permissions. The Opera browser is one such example. When installing the Opera browser, if a user does not have rights to the previously mentioned locations, the setup program installs the files or the users’ AppData directory and writes all registry entries to HKey Current User. Controlling software installation and restricting users from freely installing software adds security to the computers you are managing. If users are able to freely install software, they may make poor choices related the safety of the software they install, or they may choose to install software that is not compliant with your company’s security policies. Poorly written software may inadvertently or purposefully cause performance issues on the device on which it is installed, or worse yet, it may over-saturate network connections and impact network performance. These impacts can have a detrimental effect on your ability to perform work. If these applications have a malicious intent, then it may have a dramatic impact on your personal or corporate data as well. Very few installation programs work in exactly the same way. In general, though, you are asked for the location where you want the application installed. Other options, such as whether you want to create a desktop shortcut to the application or whether you want a specific option to be enabled, are application specific. There are several ways to install a program on your computer, but each basically runs the installer program. The following options are available from which programs may be installed: Local Optical disc (DVD-ROM or CD-ROM) Local Flash drive or USB device Internet Network Windows 8 adds the option to also install software from the Windows Store. Windows Store applications differ from other applications as they are accessed via the Windows Store and are packaged in an .appx file format. To install an application from the network, you can locate an install program on a network share, or you can use the Programs and Features Control Panel. To use the Program and Features Control Panel on a Windows 8.1 computer, use the following process: Right-click Start and choose Control Panel. Click Get Programs. If the Get Programs link is not present, it is because your computer is not part of Active Directory. The Get Programs screen will list any programs which are published through Active Directory or from other network sources, such as Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager. Select a published application and click the Install button. The installation process for the application begins. Many applications are distributed on CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, downloaded from a website, or a web service, like the Windows Store. For software shipped on an optical disc, when you insert the disc into your optical drive, Windows searches for an autorun.inf file and launches the program specified by the autorun.inf file. In most cases, the specified program is the application setup program if the application is not already installed. This AutoPlay feature of Windows makes installing applications even easier. If you are using Windows 8.1, you have the option of installing an application from the Windows Store. These applications are published to the store by the application developer and are either free or available for online purchase. To install an application from the Windows Store, follow these steps: Click Start. The Start screen opens. Click the down arrow in the circle in the bottom-left corner of the screen. A list of all the applications installed on your computer appears. Click the Store icon in the S section of the listing. This launches the Store application. At this point you may use the Search bar in the top-right corner of the screen to look for an application or scroll through the collections, top charts, and categories of applications for the app you are interested in installing. You may also find the Store icon pinned to the Taskbar or the Start screen. Select the application you want to install. The details regarding that application will be listed. If it is a purchased application, a Buy button appears; otherwise you will see an Install button. Click the Install (or Buy) button to install the application. If this is the first application you have installed, you will be asked if you want to set up a payment method for future purchases, even if the current application is free. Move your mouse to the top of screen to activate the Title bar, and click the X in the top-right corner to exit the Store. How to uninstall an application Most applications also provide a program to uninstall the application when you no longer want it on your hard drive. The path to the program and any switches that are required for it to function are usually stored in the Registry during the installation of the application. Always use care when working in the Registry; improper changes can leave you in a position where you will be required to re-install the OS. The procedure to uninstall or remove a program from a Windows computer is very easy. After opening the Programs and Features Control Panel applet and clicking Uninstall a Program, select an installed application from the list, as shown in the following figure. You are provided details about that application, such as its size and when it was installed. In addition, you will see three buttons above the list of applications: Uninstall, Change, and Repair. To change the installed components of an application, click the Change button; to remove the application, click the Uninstall button. Some applications will have a Change/Remove button, which will then allow you to make changes to the list of installed components, or to remove the application; it uses the same program to accomplish both tasks. Windows looks up the name of the uninstallation program to run in the Registry and executes it. Like the installation procedure, there is no set uninstall procedure, and it is left up to the software developer to design the uninstall routine. Some developers do an excellent job, and others do not. In the case of applications that do not uninstall properly, you might find the icons, files, or Registry entries still present after the uninstall program has completed. If that is the case, manually remove the leftover components. In many cases, applications are removed by using special options with the setup program that originally installed them. One nice feature of using the setup program is that many developers allow you to not only remove the application, but also to change the components that are installed. How to repair an application From time to time something will happen to an application, be it user error or a system error. Whatever causes the problem is less important that the cure, and that is the application repair process. This process can easily be accessed via the Program and Features Control Panel using the following process on a Windows 8.1 computer: Right-click Start and choose Control Panel. Click the Programs link. Programs opens and displays the Programs and Features link. Click the Uninstall a Program link. A list of programs that can be uninstalled or changed appears. Select a program that presents a Change option and then click Change. The application launches the setup program, which allows you to change, repair, or re-install the application. Follow the Repair Wizard options until the repair is complete. Make sure that you are familiar with the standard method of adding and removing applications from your system through the Programs and Features Control Panel.

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Printer Troubleshooting Knowledge for the A+ Exams

Article / Updated 01-27-2020

You will be presented with some common printer problems on the CompTIA Certification A+ exams, and you are responsible for identifying which component of the printer is causing the problem. You discover a number of general troubleshooting guidelines here to help you troubleshoot printer problems. You also find out about a few specific problems with each type of printer. Check the simple stuff first The first thing you want to do when you cannot print is to verify the simple stuff. The following is a list of simple things to check on the printer: Connection check: The first thing you want to verify is that the printer is physically connected to the computer or network. USB: If you have a USB printer, verify that the USB cable is connected to both the printer and the computer. Network: If the printer has a network card, verify that the network cable connects the printer to the network properly and that you have network connectivity. After you verify that the network card is connected, you might want to check that the printer has an IP address by printing out the configuration of the printer. If you’re using a wireless printer, you should recheck that the printer is in fact connected to the correct WLAN and that the printer uses the correct encryption protocol and key. Visual indicators: After you checked the physical connection, look at the visual indicators on the printer to verify that it is powered-on. Make sure that you can see the online lamp that indicates that the printer is ready for use. Error codes: While looking at the visual indicators on the printer, look at the printer for any error codes that help you identify what the issue is with the printer. Error codes are unique to each printer and are sometimes amber or red lights that turn on in different places to indicate the problem. You will need to research what those lights mean for your printer. Newer printers with an LCD will typically have text indicating what the error is, and some network printers can even be configured to email the error to the administrator! Out of paper: After checking the error codes on the printer, you might as well take out the paper tray while you are at the printer and verify that paper is loaded. Usually, if you are out of paper, the printer will give an out of paper error, but it is worth the time to check. Paper jams Another type of problem that occurs often is paper jams. If you experience a number of paper jams over and over again, verify that you are using the correct type of paper for the printer. The best thing to do here is to check the documentation of the printer and verify that you are using the correct size paper. If you are using paper that is too thick for your printer, it may jam a lot. Garbled characters or corrupted output If you experience garbled characters (text that doesn’t make sense) or corrupted output of any type, the driver is corrupt or you have the wrong driver installed. Printing a test page is one of the best ways to find out whether you have a bad driver or whether the application you are printing from is causing the problem. To print a test page in Windows 10, follow these steps: Choose Start, type printer, and select the Printers & Scanners result. Select your printer, and then click Manage. In the Manage Your Device panel, click Print a test page. If you print a test page and the printout is still garbage text, the driver is likely corrupt, and you need to install a new driver by going to the properties of the printer and choosing the Advanced tab. On the Advanced tab, click the New Driver button to install a new driver. Spots or smudging on the printout In general, spots or constant smudging on printouts are good indications that you are using the wrong type of paper for your printer. Again, check the documentation for the printer to find out what type of paper you should be using. Slow printing If you notice that printing is overly slow, verify that spooling is enabled. Spooling is enabled by default, but it might have been switched to Print Directly to Printer when you were troubleshooting or configuring the printer. Check the properties of the printer and ensure that spooling is enabled. Spooling service problems In Windows, the print spooler service is responsible for managing the printing environment. If you notice that a print job is hung in the print queue and will not print or you cannot delete it, you might have a corrupt queue. When this happens, stop and restart the print spooler service in Windows. Stopping the print spooler service deletes all print jobs and essentially “reboots” your printing environment for you. The following figure shows the print spooler service being restarted, which you can do from the Services console. The Service Control Manager console is found in by opening Start, typing services.msc, and pressing ENTER. If you have a number of problems printing in Windows and you determined that the problem is not hardware related, you might need to move the print spooler folder. By default, the print job is spooled to the hard drive at the %systemroot%\system32\spool\printers directory. The %systemroot% variable is typically the Windows folder on drive C:. If you are running out of space on drive C:, you might want to change the partition for the spool directory. To change the default spool folder in Windows 10, follow these steps: Choose Start, type printer, and select the Printers & Scanners result. In the Printers & Scanners settings pane, click Print server properties. The link can be difficult to find — look at the right side of the window. In the Print Server Properties dialog, browse to the Advanced tab, as shown in the following figure. Click Change Advanced Settings and authenticate as an administrator. You need to have elevated permissions to change the spool folder directory in Windows 10. Edit the spool folder directory path and click OK to complete the configuration. You should restart your computer to re-initialize the Spooler service. Dot matrix problems This section identifies some problems that occur with dot matrix printers. Be sure to review these problems and the possible causes before taking the A+ exams: Faint printing: If you experience faint printing with your dot matrix printer, the print ribbon is simply worn out and needs to be replaced. No printing: If your dot matrix printer simply doesn’t print, a print head cable might be disconnected, or the print head might have torn through the ribbon. In these cases, connect the print head cable or replace the ribbon. Paper jamming: Again, a lot of paper jams is a great indication that you have the wrong type of paper or the wrong size paper. Check the documentation for your printer. Line across the page: If your dot matrix printer prints a line all the way across the page, you might have a pin in the print head that is stuck out. You might be able to loosen the stuck pin, or you might need a new print head. Inkjet problems This section identifies common problems that can occur with inkjet printers during day-to-day activity. Again, review these before taking your A+ exams: Paper jam: A paper jam indicates that you might have the wrong type or size of paper. If you have the correct size paper, the feeder wheels might be dirty — they are responsible for moving the paper through the printer. Poor print quality: Having a poor-quality printout could indicate that the ink needs to be replaced or that you have the wrong type of paper. Change the ink or check the documentation to ensure you are using the correct type of paper. Fading/Ghosted print: If the print from your inkjet printer is fading, that could be an indication that you need to change the ink. Laser printer problems The following common problems can occur with a laser printer: Faint or ghosted print: If the print is getting faint in your laser printouts, you most likely need to replace the toner. Paper jam: If you get a lot of paper jams, verify that you are using paper of the correct size and thickness. If you are sure that you have the right paper, you could also have a problem with misaligned rollers. White stripes: If you have white stripes throughout the printout, your transfer corona wire is most likely the problem. There might be a problem getting the charge to the paper, resulting in toner missing on the page in areas. Blank page: If you have a blank page for output, you know there is nothing wrong with the feeder mechanisms because the paper is moving through the printer. A blank page indicates a problem getting the toner to the paper, so something is wrong with the corona wires or you have no toner. Vertical line: A vertical line on the printout typically indicates a scratch in the print drum. You should replace the toner cartridge because it is combined with the print drum. If you replace the toner cartridge and the problem still exists, there could be a problem with the laser. Toner not fused to the paper: If toner smears off after the page has printed, something is wrong with the fuser rollers, which might need replacing. Be cautious when working with the fusing components because they are very hot! Out of memory: When sending a large document or a document with a lot of images to the printer, you might get an Out of Memory error if you do not have enough memory installed in the printer. The best solution is to add more memory to the printer so that it can handle the type of print jobs you send. Alternatively, send smaller print jobs to the printer or lower the print quality of the printout through the print settings. Common problems and tools The following printer problems are common to many different types of printers: Streaks: You may experience streaks on a printout with a laser printer due to the primary corona wire being dirty. To fix the problem, use a cleaning brush to clean the corona wire. Creased paper: If you are experiencing creases in your paper when printing, it could be due to the registration rollers being worn out. Paper not feeding: If you are experiencing any trouble with the paper not feeding through the system properly, you most likely are experiencing worn-out rollers. Backed-up print queue: If you have a backed-up print queue, it is most likely due to a large number of print jobs being sent to the printer and the printer cannot handle the workload. Consider using a feature such as print pooling to speed your printing. Access denied: If you experience an access denied error, have a look at the permissions on the printer. Printer will not print: If the printer will not print, verify that a connection exists and then print a test page from the printer properties. Wrong color prints: If you find that the printer is printing the wrong colors, you may be running low on ink of a particular color. Time for a refill! Unable to install printer: If you are unable to install a printer, it could be because you do not have privileges to do so on the system. Log on as a system administrator and install the printer. When troubleshooting problems, it helps if you have the right tools to do the job. The following are some common tools to help troubleshoot printers: Maintenance kit: You can purchase a maintenance kit for your printer. This will give you all the tools you need to clean and maintain the printer. Note that maintenance kits are specific to a certain printer make and model. Toner vacuum: A toner vacuum allows you to clean toner off other parts of the printer. Compressed air: Compressed air is always great to have around to help dust off computer parts. Printer spooler: The print spooler service is responsible for the printing in Windows. If you find that your print job is not printing and is stuck in the queue, restart the print spooler service to solve the problem. Managing print jobs When troubleshooting printing problems, it is important to be familiar with how to manage the print jobs. You can view the print jobs that are stuck in a printer (the print queue) by navigating to the Printers folder and then double-clicking the printer you are troubleshooting. With the print queue open, you can perform a number of actions to manipulate the queue itself or a single print job. The following are the two major types of tasks that can be performed: Print jobs tasks: Manipulate individual print jobs, such as pausing, resuming, or deleting a single print job. Print queue tasks: Manipulate the entire queue. Just like a print job, you can pause, resume, and purge the entire queue. To manipulate a single print job, open the printer (double-click it) and view the list of current print jobs. To pause, resume, or delete a print job, right-click the print job and choose the appropriate command from the contextual menu (see the following figure). To manage the entire print queue, open the printer. Double-click the icon in the Printers folder. From the printer’s folder, delete all print jobs, pause the queue, or resume the queue from the printer menu. The following are the popular menu options that deal with managing the print queue: Set as Default Printer: Set the printer as the default printer. The benefit of flagging a printer as the default printer is when you click the Print button in an application, the document automatically prints to the default printer. Also, when you choose File → Print in an application, the printer is the printer selected by default to print to. Pause Printing: Pause the entire print queue. To resume printing, choose Pause Printing a second time to toggle the option off. Cancel All Documents: Delete all the print jobs sitting in the print queue. Properties: View and change the printer settings.

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Printer Connections You Need to Know for the A+ Exams

Article / Updated 01-27-2020

In today’s business world, maintaining a printing environment is one of the most time-consuming parts of managing a network, and you need to know the various printer connections and configurations for the CompTIA Certification A+ exams. In this article, you find out how printers are connected to computer systems in order to communicate. The following are the most popular methods to connect a printer to a computer: Network connections (Ethernet) Wireless Universal Serial Bus (USB) Infrared Network cable connections (Ethernet) Network-based printers have built-in network cards that allow the printer to connect directly to the network. The printer runs the TCP/IP protocol and is assigned an IP address so that it can participate on the network. You can assign the IP address to the printer through the menu system of the printer. After the IP address is assigned, you can typically manage the settings on the printer through a web browser by typing the IP address of the network printer in the address line of the browser. Advantages of using a network-based printer are The network printer is available all the time. Network-based printers are connected directly to the network, so they don’t rely on a computer being powered-on to communicate with the network. Dedicated print servers are not required. A network printer can be accessed from anywhere in the network, and you don’t need to have a server to print to it. You may print to the network-based printer from the client computer directly. Today’s network printers also support network connectivity via wireless network cards. This gives the benefit of not needing a network jack close by to connect the printer to the network. You can read more about network cards and wireless networking in Book 8. Wireless connections Many printers today allow you to connect the printer to the network using a wireless network connection. Many modern printers support 802.11x wireless networking capabilities. You can configure an IP address on the wireless printer (usually through software or through the menu system on the printer) and then connect to that wireless printer from any wireless or wired network client on the network. Note that 802.11x refers to any of the IEEE 802.11 WiFi protocols. The x is used in an algebraic way; namely, to serve as a variable. The x could stand for a, b, g, n, or ac. Not only do printers support 802.11x printing capabilities, but many printers also support Bluetooth networking capabilities that allow you to connect to the printer over short distances. Universal Serial Bus (USB) Most printers today purchased for home or small offices are USB printers that connect to the computer via a USB port (go figure). The following figure shows a USB connection. USB has a number of benefits, including the fact that it is a Plug and Play technology (you can plug in the device without shutting down the system). USB 1.1 has a transfer rate of 12 Mbps, USB 2.0 has a transfer rate of 480 Mbps, and USB 3.0 has a transfer rate of 5 Gbps! For reference, the following are some key points to remember about USB: It is Plug and Play. You may connect 127 devices to a USB chain. You don’t need to configure ports, IRQs, or DMA channels for each device. USB 2.0 has a transfer rate of 480 Mbps, while USB 3.0 has a transfer rate of 5 Gbps. Lab 4-2 will give you the opportunity to practice connecting a USB print device to your computer. Lab 4-2 can be found on the companion website at www.dummies.com/go/aplusaio. Infrared Connecting your printer to a system by using infrared technology lets your computer communicate wirelessly with the printer in much the same way you use a TV remote to change channels without getting off the sofa. The infrared signal sent from the computer to the printer is carried as a beam of light, instructing the printer what to print. To use an infrared printer, you need both an infrared transmitter/receiver connected to your computer and an infrared printer. The three different types of infrared devices are Reflective infrared: Transmitters send the signal to a central unit, which then redirects the commands to the printer. This allows a number of users to print to a single printer at one time. Line-of-sight infrared: With line-of-sight, the printer’s receiver must be in a direct line-of-site with the computer’s transmitter. If there is a break in the line-of-site, communication is lost. Scatter infrared: Scatter infrared allows the signal to bounce off walls or ceilings (or even people) all the way to the printer’s receiver. The benefit is that you don’t lose communication like you do with line-of-sight. However, scatter infrared has limited range and transmission speeds. FireWire and SCSI You might also find printers that connect to a system via FireWire or SCSI connections. FireWire has two versions: 400 Mbps and 800 Mbps. FireWire 800 is also known as FireWire 1394b. SCSI is another common type of printer device that you might come across with Macintosh systems. Most PC-based systems don’t use SCSI printers, although it is possible. For more information on SCSI devices, check out Book 2, Chapter 5. Hardware print server In environments where a large number of print requests are happening on the network, the company may invest in a hardware print server as opposed to sharing the printer off a Windows system. The benefit of a dedicated hardware print server is speed. Using a Windows system as a print server usually means the system is used for other tasks as well. The other tasks will slow down the printing environment as they use up the resources on the system.

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The 2019 CompTIA A+ Exams

Article / Updated 01-27-2020

So, you are interested in taking the CompTIA A+ certification exams? This article introduces you to the exams and gives you a good idea of what you can expect when you go to take them. Knowing what to expect in regard to the exam procedures and format will remove that uncertainty, which can weigh on your mind. Read through the procedures here; then you will be able to focus on the exam facts, which will help you breeze through the exams. CompTIA A+ certification and why you need it The benefit of the CompTIA A+ Certification is that it is proof that you know and have validated the hardware and software knowledge necessary to troubleshoot and repair computers. The CompTIA A+ Certification can be presented to employers and clients alike as proof of your competency and skill in this area. This certification is valid for three years from the day that you attain the certification, after which time you must renew by taking the newest version of the exam, or by taking a higher level certification exam. Find out more on this subject online. Formed in 1982, CompTIA was originally named the Association of Better Computer Dealers. It is a company focused on providing research, networking, and partnering opportunities to its 19,000 members in 100 countries. In 1993, in response to the need for vendor-neutral, entry-level PC certification, the company created the A+ Certification. Prior to CompTIA creating the A+ Certification, there were many places where a person could get hardware and software certifications. However, such training was often very expensive, difficult to get, and not designed for accessibility for most people. Microsoft, Novell, IBM, and other software companies offered software certifications, but these were specifically focused on teaching high-level support skills for these products, were difficult for average users or support people to attain, and lacked relevance for most day-to-day work. IBM, HP, Compaq, Sun, and other hardware companies offered hardware repair and maintenance certifications, but again, these were specifically focused on their hardware — and more on the peculiarities of their own platforms, and not always covering the basics of configuration and maintenance. CompTIA stepped in to fill the gap that a majority of users fell into, which is a hardware and software neutral certification that covered all the basics required by a support person. This certification can then be followed by vendor-based certifications, if desired, but the A+ Certification by itself proves a firm grasp of the basics. An A+ Certification gives employers confidence that existing employees or new recruits have a level of knowledge with which they can do their jobs efficiently. It also gives employers a yardstick against which recruits and employees can be measured. And an A+ Certification also allows clients to rest assured that the person they hire to fix their computers has the knowledge to do so without blowing up equipment or deleting valuable data. This provides clients with peace of mind and increases repeat business. In the end, with the CompTIA A+ Certification on your side, you have more opportunities open to you in your career path. Check out the exams and their objectives You have to take two exams to get your CompTIA A+ Certification. Both exams are required. The first required exam is the CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1001, which focuses on the hardware aspects of computer repair. The second required exam is the CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1002, which focuses on configuring and troubleshooting the software aspects of a system in a corporate network environment. Revised exams for CompTIA A+ were released in 2019. In addition to traditional multiple-choice questions, the CompTIA A+ exams include an unspecified number of performance-based questions (PBQs); these are short exercises that test your ability to solve problems in a simulated environment. The CompTIA website has a sample performance-based question. You have 90 minutes to complete each exam; the following table contains the number of questions and passing score for each exam. CompTIA is releasing the exams as linear format exams — standard timed exams — taken on a computer. After CompTIA gathers grading statistics, it might re-release the exams as adaptive exams (what CompTIA has done in the past), but there is no current announcement that this is planned. In this adaptive exam, you will be asked a minimal number of questions (usually about 15), and then asked additional questions based on any incorrect answers. The exam adapts to your wrong answers by choosing additional questions for you from the area where you are weaker. A+ Exam Information Exam Number of Questions (Maximum) Minimum Passing Score A+ Exam (220-1001) 90 675 A+ Exam (220-1002) 90 700 The CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1001 The CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1001 covers the basics of computer hardware, network hardware, and mobile devices topics. The following table provides a breakdown of the exam areas that are covered on the CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1001. This exam puts heavy emphasis on computer components and hardware. CompTIA A+ Exam (220-1001) Domain Percentage of Examination 1.0 Mobile Devices 14% 2.0 Networking 20% 3.0 Hardware 27% 4.0 Virtualization and Cloud Computing 12% 5.0 Hardware & Network Troubleshooting 27% Total 100% The CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1002 In addition to the CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1001, you have to take a second exam. This exam is the CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1002, which is designed to measure skills required to maintain and troubleshoot operating systems and mobile devices. The breakdown of the exam components is covered in the following table. Based on the domain breakdown, this exam has the widest breadth of topics for a well-rounded IT professional. CompTIA A+ Exam (220-1002) Domain Percentage of Examination 1.0 Operating Systems 27% 2.0 Security 24% 3.0 Software Troubleshooting 26% 4.0 Operational Procedures 23% Total 100% Make arrangements to take the exams The A+ certification exams can be scheduled at Pearson VUE testing centers. For more information about scheduling your exam, check the CompTIA A+ Certification page on CompTIA’s website. The cost to take the A+ exams is $219 (US) per exam. CompTIA Premier members receive a discount. The day the earth stood still: exam day Knowing what to expect on the day of the exam can take some of the pressure off of you. The following sections look at the testing process. Arriving at the exam location Get to the exam location early on the day of the exam. You should arrive at the testing center 15 to 30 minutes before the exam starts. This keeps you from being rushed and gives you some temporal elbow room in case there are any delays. It is also not so long that you will have time to sit and stew about the exam. Get there, get into a relaxed frame of mind, and get into the exam. To check in for your exam, you will need two pieces of identification: One must be a government-issued photo ID, while the other must have your name and signature. This may vary in some regions of the world. When you get to the test site, before you sign in, take a few minutes to get accustomed to the testing center. Get a drink of water. Use the restroom if you need to. The test will be 90 minutes, so you should be able to last that long before another break. Now relax. Getting to the exam site early gives you this privilege. You didn’t show up early just to stew and make yourself more nervous. If you feel prepared and are ready to go, you might want to see whether you can start the test early. As long as a testing seat is available, this is usually not a problem. You will not be able to take anything into the testing room. You will not be allowed electronics, paper, and so on. The testing center will provide you with something to write with and to write on, which they will take back at the end of test. Taking the exam In the testing room, and depending on the size of the testing center, there may be as many as eight computers set up. Each computer represents a testing seat. Because the exam consists of multiple-choice questions and an unspecified number of performance-based questions, take it slow — or at least pace yourself. Trying to complete the questions too quickly will no doubt lead you to errors. When you are about to start the exam, you will see onscreen how many questions there will be, and how long you have to complete the exam. Be sure to read the onscreen exam instructions at the start of the exam; they do change from time to time. Based on the number of questions and your exam time, figure out how long you can spend on each question. On average, you have slightly more than one minute per question. Take your time, but be aware of your time for the exam overall. Think of it this way: When you have completed 25 percent of the exam, you should have used only 25 percent of your allotted time. Read the entire question and try to decide what the answer should be before looking at the answer choices. In most cases, you will find a few key words that are designed to remove any ambiguity in the question, as well as a few distracters and useless information designed to throw you off. If you do not notice these key words, the question will seem vague. If this is the case, re-read the question and look for the key words. Exam questions are written by many authors, so the style of writing for each question could differ. Don’t overcomplicate the questions by reading too much into them. Besides the key words and the distracters, the question should be straightforward. In some cases, the question might ask for the best choice, and more than one answer might seem correct. Choose the one that is best — the quickest, most likely to succeed, least likely to cause other problems — whatever the question calls for. The best choice is always the right choice. After identifying the key words and distracters, follow these additional steps: Eliminate choices that are obviously wrong. Most questions will ask you to choose one of four answers. Some questions will ask you to choose all that apply and have as many as eight choices. You should be able to immediately eliminate at least one choice — perhaps two. Now the odds of choosing the right answer have gotten substantially better. Re-read the question and the remaining choices carefully, and you should be able to locate the correct answer. If you don’t have a clue which of the remaining choices is correct, mark an answer. On a standard timed exam, you can review your answers. Not answering a question is automatically wrong, so if you at least have an answer, it might be right. You might also find information on other questions in the exam that triggers the correct answers for questions you were not sure of. Make your choice and leave it. Unless you have information that proves your choice is wrong, your first instinct is usually correct. CompTIA has not announced an adaptive exam at the time this was written, but if they add the option, here are a few things to know about the adaptive exam process, as it varies from the standard form exam. The adaptive exam delivers a series of questions to you. If you answer a question incorrectly, you get additional questions in that category. You can’t review or change your answers on the adaptive exams like you can with standard timed exams. Because skipped questions are automatically wrong and you do not have the ability to change them, you must provide an answer to the question before moving to the next question. You are allowed to attempt to answer a finite number of questions (known only by CompTIA) before the test “decides” that you really don’t know what you need to know to pass the test. If you exceed the allowed number of wrong answers (again, known only by CompTIA), the exam ends; you fail. (But that won’t happen to you because you bought this wonderful book!) Currently the A+ certification exams are not adaptive. If you get all the initial category questions correct, you can pass the exam in relatively few questions. If you get an initial category question wrong in a category in which you are weak, though, you will find the adaptive format very difficult. You won’t know exactly how many questions you have to answer to complete the exam, so the end of an adaptive exam will always come as a surprise — hopefully, a good one. If you are taking the nonadaptive exam, you are allowed to mark questions and come back to them later. However, I recommend selecting an answer for every question, even if you are unsure about it, because you might run out of time before you can review previous questions. Your first choice is usually correct — don’t second-guess your first choice! Change your answer only if you’re absolutely positive it should be changed. Regardless of which type of exam CompTIA has available for you when you take your exam (adaptive or standard timed), you are given a Pass/Fail mark right on the spot after completing the exam. In addition, you get a report listing how well you did in each domain. If you don’t pass (or even if you do), you can use this report to review the material on which you are still weak. How does CompTIA set the pass level? CompTIA uses a scale score to determine the total number of points that each question on the exam will be calculated from. Your final score will be between 100 and 900. In any case, the passing score (not a percentage, due to the scale) varies from one exam to the others. The scale score system allows the number of points assigned to questions to vary between each copy of the exam, which makes it harder for test candidates to compare scores across exams. You can find more information about the exam online. CompTIA has a retake policy. If you do not pass on the first attempt, you can take the exam again. There is no waiting period to make your second attempt at the exam, but you have to wait at least 14 calendar days before your third or subsequent attempts.

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Wireless Networking For the A+ Certification Exams

Article / Updated 09-05-2019

Wireless networking is a topic you are sure to be tested on when taking the A+ Exam. You are responsible for knowing the wireless standards and the common security steps you should take to help secure a wireless network. Wireless standards Standard Description 802.11a Runs at the 5 GHz frequency range and has a speed of 54 Mbps. 802.11b Runs at the 2.4 GHz frequency range and has a speed of 11 Mbps. 802.11g Runs at the 2.4 GHz frequency range and has a speed of 54 Mbps. 802.11n Runs at the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency range and has a practical speed of approximately 150 Mbps. 802.11ac Runs at the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency range and has a speed of potentially 866 Mbps or more. Wireless security Feature Description MAC Filtering You can control which clients can connect to the wireless network by their MAC address. To do this, simply enable MAC address filtering and then add the MAC address of any authorized devices. Change SSID Change the SSID of your wireless network so that it is not so obvious. Clients will need to know the SSID in order to connect. Disable SSID Broadcasting After changing the SSID, disable SSID broadcasting, which allows you to hide your wireless network from clients. Enable WPA2 Enable WPA2 as the encryption protocol as it is the more secure protocol of WPA2, WPA, and finally WEP. Ensure that you use a complex key (mix of letters, numbers, and case) when setting the key. Set Admin Password Be sure to set an administrator password for your device so others cannot connect to it and change the settings.

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Things You Might Have Forgotten For the A+ Certification Exams

Article / Updated 09-05-2019

With the massive amount of information you’re required to know for the A+ Exam, there are bound to be a few things that might slip past you. Here’s a quick list of some things you’ll need to know for the A+ Exam that you might have easily forgotten or overlooked: Contrast ratio: A value measuring the brightness of different colors such as white versus black. The larger the ratio, the better the picture quality on the display. Component/RGB: Most analog video signals are composed of Red, Green, and Blue signals which are typically delivered over either VGA or S-Video connectors. However, some older high end monitors may include three separate RCA connectors to deliver each signal over a unique or separate wire. Native Resolution: The actual resolution of a monitor as opposed to the display resolution that may be set lower which scales the image to the display area of the monitor. Creation of files: You can create a file in any folder on your hard drive by right-clicking in an empty area and choosing a document type from the New menu. Files can also be created from applications by choosing the application’s save feature. Dxdiag: A troubleshooting utility for Windows that allows you to troubleshoot DirectX components on the system, such as driver version and settings. Grayware: A term used to describe software that performs unwanted actions. Grayware encompasses malicious software such as adware and spyware. Be sure to have malware protection software loaded on your system to protect against forms of grayware. Spam: An unsolicited email message. Today’s email servers are being hit with a wealth of unsolicited email messages a day from companies that are trying to sell services or products. Be sure to configure spam filters on your email servers and email clients. Media readers: Popular add-on devices that allow you to read different types of memory cards and flash cards. Most systems today have media readers located on the front panel of the computer in place of a floppy drive. KVM switch: A device that allows you to share a keyboard, video device (monitor), and mouse between several computers while being able to quickly switch between them. Front panel connectors: The front of the PC has a number of connectors on the front panel. These connectors include USB connectors, microphone, headset, and possibly a FireWire connector. Reset page count: A troubleshooting tip for printers — if you find the printer reports low toner and you know there is more than enough toner available then it could be that the printer is gauging the toner level by the number of pages printed. Find out how to reset the page count on your printer to get rid of the low toner error. Administrative shares versus Local shares: Administrative shares are default shares on a Windows machine that allow an administrator to remotely connect to the machine while a local share is any shared resource that the administrator has created. Examples of administrative shares are the root of each hard drive being shared as C$ or D$ and the Windows directory being shared as Admin$. Permission propagation: Permission propagation is when you set permissions on a parent folder and you want those settings to apply to all sub folders as well. To propagate the permissions to sub folders you will choose the Advanced button when setting NTFS permissions and choose to replace permission entries for all child objects. Avoid trip hazards: You may create trip hazards when doing things like testing a replacement network cable by using a network jack which is further away or laying out tools and computer components in a walkway by a desk. Always ensure that you are not needlessly risking the safety of yourself or others. Heavy devices: Most computer equipment is light enough for a single person to handle while many servers and UPSs will require two people to move or place in a server rack. Always ensure that you have help for these and other heavy items and bend with your knees to prevent injury. Hot components: As equipment is used, many components will build up heat, which can injure you. This is especially true of both computer and printer components. When servicing equipment, ensure that you exercise proper care when hot components are present. Odors: When troubleshooting system components be aware of unexpected odors or smells that may lead you to the source of the problem or signal an immediate danger. For example, burned smells could identify overheating components or melted connectors. Alerts: A function found within Performance Monitor (perfmon.msc) which allows you to monitor performance counters and perform an action when the counters are beyond a desired threshold. The action could be logging in the Event Log, generating a network message, starting a performance data log, or running a custom command. Taskbar: The bar at bottom of the Windows desktop which displays the Start menu, all open applications and documents, and contains the system tray (systray). Systray: The systray (or system tray) is on the right side of the taskbar and displays many running processes, known as background processes, that run in the background but do not have a visual interface until you click on the icon in the system tray. Most of these processes are accessed by clicking or right-clicking on the icon in the system tray so that you can change the settings of the running program or terminate the process by choosing quit or exit from the menu that appears. If there are too many items to display, they can be shown by clicking on an arrow on the left of the systray. Removal of peripherals: One of the processes in the systray is the Safely Remove Hardware tool. When you insert devices such as a USB flash drive an icon appears in the systray for the removable hardware. By clicking on this icon you will see a list of devices that can be stopped and safely removed when you are ready to unplug the drive.

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Windows Security Best Practices for the A+ Certification Exams

Article / Updated 09-05-2019

One of the most important skills to have as an A+ Certified Professional is the capability of securing Windows systems and networks. And even if you are not working in a networked environment, you can apply these same skills to your customers with home Internet machines. Harden the operating system: Uninstall any software you are not using and stop any services not being used. The more software that is running, the more potential security holes in the system. Patch the systems: Keep the operating systems and devices up to date with Service Packs and security patches. Use a firewall: Ensure that there is a firewall between your system and the Internet. A firewall prevents hackers from connecting to your system Use strong passwords: Ensure that all user accounts use a strong password (at least eight characters, and uses a mix of uppercase and lowercase characters, numbers, and symbols). Enable auditing: Log any suspicious activity on the system so you are aware of it. Secure your wireless routers: If you have no need for wireless, disable this functionality on your wireless router. If you are using wireless, secure it by changing the SSID, disabling SSID broadcasting, and encrypting traffic with WEP, WPA, or WPA2 (best option). You should also secure the wireless router by setting a strong password for the admin account and disable DHCP on the router. You will then need to configure all your clients with static IP addresses. Use antivirus software: Install antivirus software on all servers and client machines to help protect your systems from a virus. Make sure that your virus definition database is frequently updated.

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Windows Network Troubleshooting Utilities for the A+ Certification Exams

Article / Updated 09-05-2019

When problems arise on a Windows network, you can use the following utilities to do your troubleshooting. Having a clear understanding of all of them will help you on the A+ Exam. ipconfig: Display basic TCP/IP configuration, such as IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway. ipconfig /all: Display TCP/IP settings, including your Media Access Control (MAC) address, domain name system (DNS) server, and lease information. ipconfig /release: Release your IP address. ipconfig /renew: Renew your IP address. ping or ping : Send four test messages to the IP address or host name you specify; verify whether the other system is up and running. netstat: Display TCP/IP protocol statistics and connection information. Can be used to see who is connected to your system; what ports are open; and if you use an -o switch, what the process ID is of the program that opened the port. nbtstat: Troubleshoot NetBIOS over TCP/IP. For example, you can view a remote NetBIOS name table using nbtstat -a . nslookup: Troubleshoot DNS problems. For example, you can get a listing of all the records in DNS using nslookup. arp: Troubleshoot ARP. For example, you can use arp -a to view your Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) cache. Tasklist: View a list of running processes. Taskkill /PID /F: Terminates a process when you supply the process id.

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