This self-paced training course combines instruction, procedures, multimedia presentations, and review questions to teach you what you need to know for A+ Certification. It is designed to be completed from beginning to end, but you can choose a customized track and complete only the sections that interest you. (See the next section, "Finding the Best Starting Point for You.") If you choose the customized track option, be sure to check the "Before You Begin" section in each chapter. Any concepts or procedures that require preliminary work from preceding chapters will steer you to the appropriate chapters.
This self-paced book is divided into the following chapters:
- The "About This Book" section contains a self-paced training overview and introduces the components of this training. Read this section thoroughly to draw the greatest educational value from the self-paced training and to plan which lessons you will complete.
- Chapter 1, "Introduction to Computers," sets the background for the rest of the lessons. It provides an historic view of computers from their beginning to today's high-speed marvels. This section also explores the role of today's computer technician.
- Chapter 2, "Understanding Electronic Communication," discusses how computers communicate. It explains the differences between the language we use and the language of machines.
- Chapter 3, "An Overview of the Computer," defines the basic elements of a computer's hardware and how they interact.
- Chapter 4, "The Central Processing Unit," explains the development of the microprocessor, focusing on what differentiates each type of processor and how to identify each.
- Chapter 5, "Supplying Power to a Computer," covers power supplies, including how they work and how to troubleshoot problems.
- Chapter 6, "Primary PC Components," discusses the components that make up a motherboard, from the computer case to the BIOS (Basic Input/Output System).
- Chapter 7, "Memory," covers the various types of memory found in a computer, what memory is used for, and how to upgrade or replace it.
- Chapter 8, "Basic Disk Drives," discusses floppy disk drives and hard disk drives. It explores mass storage devices, how they work, and their limitations.
- Chapter 9, "High-Capacity Disk Drives," discusses the barriers imposed by early MS-DOS-based computers and how the new large drives have overcome these barriers. It also covers CD-ROM and SCSI drives.
- Chapter 10, "Expansion Buses," defines the computer bus, examines the major effect it has had on the development of the computer, and why that is.
- Chapter 11, "The Display System: Monitors and Adapters," covers the various monitors and displays, how they work, and how to troubleshoot them.
- Chapter 12, "Printers, Modems, and Cables," discusses all the devices that attach to a computer. It focuses on the two most common: printers and modems.
- Chapter 13, "The Basics of Electrical Energy," covers electricity and how it relates to the computer. A computer technician does not need to be an electrical engineer, but does need to be able to perform basic tests and to work safely. This chapter provides the reader with a grounding in these issues.
- Chapter 14, "Upgrading a Computer," covers the basic tools and techniques used to perform common upgrades to a computer, including computer disassembly and reassembly.
- Chapter 15, "Software: MS-DOS and Windows 3.x," is an introduction to software and operating systems. This section focuses on the early operating system MS-DOS and how Windows 3.x overcame some of its limitations.
- Chapter 16, "Windows 95 and Beyond," discusses this innovative operating system by Microsoft. It presents the differences between Windows 95 and MS-DOS-based operating systems along with an introduction to how it works.
- Chapter 17, "Managing and Troubleshooting Windows," covers the various tools provided by the Windows 95 operating system that a computer technician uses to manage and troubleshoot a computer.
- Chapter 18, "Connectivity and Portability," takes a look at how to expand the usefulness of a computer. It discusses the basics of how a computer network functions and explores the features of portable (laptop and notebook) computers.
- Chapter 19, "Maintaining Computer Hardware," covers the techniques and procedures used by a service technician to maintain a computer. It also looks at some safety and environmental issues and how to address them.
- Chapter 20, "Staying on Top of Your Profession," focuses on the computer technician and gives some tips on how to keep up with this rapidly evolving profession. It also takes a look at the customer service aspect of being a service professional.
- Appendix A, "Questions and Answers," lists all the review questions from each chapter of the book, including the page number where the question appears, and provides suggested answers.
- Appendix B, "Table of Acronyms," lists a number of acronyms relevant to the A+ Certification exams.
- The Glossary provides concise definitions of terms used throughout this book that are relevant to the A+ Certification exams.