CompTIA Certification Guide

CompTIA Certification Guide: Overview and Career Paths

Headquartered near Chicago, CompTIA is a nonprofit trade association made up of more than 2,000 member organizations and 3,000 business partners. Although the organization focuses on educating and certifying IT professionals, CompTIA also figures prominently in philanthropy and public policy advocacy.

CompTIA certification program overview

CompTIA’s vendor-neutral certification program is one of the best recognized in the IT industry. Since CompTIA developed its A+ credential in 1993, it has issued more than two million certifications.

In early 2018, CompTIA introduced its CompTIA Infrastructure Career Pathway. While you’ll still see the same familiar certifications that form the bedrock of the CompTIA certification portfolio, this new career pathway program more closely aligns CompTIA certifications to the real-world skills that IT professionals need to ensure success when managing and supporting IT infrastructures.

CompTIA Academic are grouped by skill set. Currently, CompTIA certs fall info four areas: Core, Infrastructure, Cybersecurity and Additional Professional certifications.

  • Core Certifications: Designed to build core foundational skills, CompTIA offers four Core certifications: IT Fundamentals+ (a pre-career certification focused on IT foundation framework), CompTIA A+ (focused on user support and device connectivity), CompTIA Network+ (targeting core system connections with endpoint devices), and CompTIA Security+ (focused on entry level cybersecurity skills).
  • Infrastructure Certifications: Designed to complement the Network+ credential, you’ll find three Infrastructure certifications: CompTIA Server+ (focused on issues related to server support and administration), CompTIA Cloud+ (covering hybrid cloud, virtual system administration and deploying network storage resources), and CompTIA Linux+ (focused on Linux operating system administration and management).
  • Cybersecurity Certifications: CompTIA offers three cybersecurity credentials: CompTIA CySA+ (CySA stands for Cyber Security Analyst, and targets IT security behavioral analysts), CASP+ (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner; focuses on professionals who design and implement security solutions), and the CompTIA PenTest+ (Penetration testing, targets professionals who conduct penetration and vulnerability testing).
  • Additional Professional Certifications: This category includes several credentials which don’t readily fit into any of the foregoing CompTIA career paths, including: CompTIA Project+, CompTIA CTT+ and CompTIA Cloud Essentials.

CompTIA Core Certifications

CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ practice test

CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ is ideal for beginners with a basic understanding of PC functionality and compatibility as well as familiarity with technology topics, such as hardware basics, software installation, security risks and prevention, and basic networking. It’s also ideal as a career planning or development tool for individuals beginning their IT careers or those seeking to make a career change. A single exam is required to earn the credential. CompTIA launched a new IT Fundamentals+ exam (Exam FC0-U61) in September 2018. This new exam focuses on computing basics, database use, software development and IT infrastructure. The English version of the prior exam (Exam FC0-U510) retires on July 15, 2019. Exams in other languages retire on December 1, 2019.

CompTIA A+ practice test

The CompTIA A+ certification has been described as an “entry-level rite of passage for IT technicians,” and for a good reason. This certification is designed for folks seeking a career as a help desk, support, service center or networking technician. It covers PC and laptop hardware, software installation, and configuration of computer and mobile operating systems. CompTIA A+ test also tests a candidate’s understanding of basic networking, troubleshooting and security skills, which serve as a springboard for CompTIA networking or security certifications or those offered by other organizations.

According to CompTIA, more than one million IT professionals hold the A+ certification. The A+ is required for Dell, Intel and HP service technicians and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense. CompTIA released new “Core” exams for the CompTIA A+ credential on January 15, 2019. These new exams provide additional focus on operational procedure competency and baseline security topics. Candidates must pass the Core 1 (exam 220-1001) and Core 2 (Exam 220-1002) exams. The Core 1 exam targets virtualization, cloud computing, mobile devices, hardware, networking technology and troubleshooting. The Core 2 exams focuses on installation and configuring operating systems, troubleshooting software, operational procedures and security.

CompTIA Network+ practice test

Many IT professionals start with the A+ certification. While the A+ credential is recommended, if you have the experience and don’t feel a need for the A+, you can move directly to the CompTIA Network+ certification. It’s geared toward professionals who have at least nine months of networking experience. A candidate must be familiar with networking technologies, media, topologies, security, installation and configuration, and troubleshooting of common wired and wireless network devices. The Network+ certification is recommended or required by Dell, HP and Intel, and is also an accepted entry-point certification for the Apple Consultants Network. The Network+ credential meets the ISO 17024 standard and just like the A+, it is recognized by the U.S. DoD. A single exam is required to earn the certification.

CompTIA Security+ practice test

CompTIA Security+ Exam covers network security concepts, threats and vulnerabilities, access control, identity management, cryptography, and much more. Although CompTIA does not impose any prerequisites, the organization recommends that cert candidates obtain the Network+ credential and have at least two years of IT administration experience with a security focus. To obtain the Security+ certification candidates must pass on exam, comptia security+ practice exam sy0-501.

Infrastructure Certifications

CompTIA Linux+ practice test

The CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI certification is aimed at Linux network administrators with at least 12 months of Linux administration experience. Such experience should include installation, package management, GNU and Unix commands, shells, scripting, security and more. The A+ and Network+ certifications are recommended as a preamble to this certification but are not mandatory. Candidates must pass two exams (comptia linux+ lx0-103 and comptia linux+ lx0-104) to earn this credential. The exams must be taken in order, and candidates must pass exam LX0-103 before attempting LX0-104. In 2018, CompTIA began testing a new beta exam (XK1-004). The beta exam offering ended October 22, 2018. New exams generally follow beta exam tests so interested candidates should check the Linux+ web page for updates.

CompTIA Cloud+

As the cloud computing market continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the CompTIA Cloud+ certification has been keeping pace. This certificationtargets IT professionals with two to three years of experience in storage, networking or data center administration. A single exam, CV0-002, is required. It tests candidates’ knowledge of cloud technologies, hybrid and multicloud solutions, cloud markets, and incorporating cloud-based technology solutions into system operations.

CompTIA Server+ practice test

CompTIA Server+ aims at server administrators with 18 to 24 months of experience with server hardware and software technologies, and the A+ certification is recommended. The Server+ credential is recommended or required by HP, Intel and Lenovo for their server technicians. It is also recognized by Microsoft and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). A single exam, SK0-004, is required to achieve this credential.

Additional Professional Certifications

CompTIA Project+ practice test

The CompTIA Project+ certification focuses exclusively on project management and is ideal for project managers who are familiar with project lifecycles from planning to completion, who can finish a project on time and under budget. Project managers interested in this certification should have at least one year of project management experience overseeing small- to medium-sized projects. The Project+ credential requires that candidates pass a multiple-choice exam, comptia project+ practice tests exam pk0-004

CompTIA Cloud Essentials

The CompTIA Cloud essentials certification study guide is geared toward individuals who understand the business aspects of cloud computing and how to move from in-house to cloud storage. In addition, they should be familiar with the impacts, risks and consequences of implementing a cloud-based solution. A single exam is required to earn the credential.


The CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) certification is perfect for anyone interested in technical training. It covers instructor skills, such as preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation and evaluation, in vendor-neutral fashion. Adobe, Cisco, Dell, IBM, Microsoft and Ricoh all recommend CTT+ to their trainers and accept it in lieu of their own in-house trainer certifications.

Two exams are required for the CTT+ credential: CompTIA CTT+ Essentials (CompTIA CTT+ TK0-201) and either CTT+ Classroom Performance Trainer (CompTIA CTT+ TK0-202) or CTT+ Virtual Classroom Trainer (CompTIA CTT+ TK0-203).

The CTT+ Classroom Performance Trainer and CTT+ Virtual Classroom Trainer are performance-based exams. In this case, you must submit a video or recording of your classroom (or virtual classroom sessions), and complete a form that documents your training preparation, delivery and student evaluations.

Related jobs and careers

In addition to certification levels, CompTIA groups its certifications into several career paths:

  • Information security
  • Network and cloud technologies
  • Hardware, services and infrastructure
  • IT management and strategy
  • Web and mobile
  • Software development
  • Training
  • Office productivity

The CompTIA Certifications page lets you pick a certification level and/or a career path and then returns a list of certifications to focus on. For example, one of the most popular career paths in IT is network administration. CompTIA’s Network and Cloud Technologies career path offers numerous certifications that can help you advance your network administration career, such as IT Fundamentals+, A+ and Network+ (Core certs), along with Cloud+ and Linux+ (Infrastructure certifications) and Cloud Essentials.

Those interested in network security (one of the fastest growing fields in IT) should consider the certifications in CompTIA’s Information Security career path. This includes all four of the Core credentials (IT Fundamentals, A+, Network+ and Security+) along with all cybersecurity certifications (CySA+, PenTest+ and CASP+).

CompTIA provides a comprehensive IT certification roadmap that encompasses certifications from CompTIA as well as a variety of other organizations, including Cisco, EC-Council, Microsoft, (ISC)2, ISACA, Mile2 and more.

Because CompTIA credentials do not focus on a single skill (such as networking or virtualization), CompTIA credential holders may find themselves in a variety of job roles depending on their experience, skill levels and areas of interest. Here are just a few of the possible careers that CompTIA credential holders may find themselves engaged in:

  • A+: Typically, A+ credential holders find work in support roles, such as support administrators, support technicians or support specialists.
  • Network+: Network+ professionals primarily work in network-related roles, such as network analysts, administrators or support specialists. Credential holders may also work as network engineers, field technicians or network help desk technicians.
  • CySA+ Security Analyst: Common roles for professionals interested in cybersecurity, information security and risk analysis may engage in roles that include security engineers, cybersecurity analysts or specialists, threat or vulnerability analysts, or analysts for security operations centers (SOCs).
  • Security+: Security spans a variety of jobs, such as network, system or security administrators, security managers, specialists or administrators, and security consultants.
  • Server+: Roles for server professionals include storage and server administrators, as well as server support or IT/server technicians.
  • Linux+: Linux professionals often work in roles such as Linux database administrators, network administrators or web administrators.
  • Cloud+/Cloud Essentials: Cloud+ credential holders typically work as cloud specialists, developers or system and network administrators. Cloud Essentials professionals tend to work in areas related to cloud technical sales or business development.
  • CASP+: Common roles for CASP+ credential holders include cybersecurity specialists, InfoSec specialists, information security professionals and security architects.
  • Project+: Project+ credential holders typically engage in project leadership roles, such as project managers, coordinators and directors, or team leads.

While the examples above are by no means exhaustive, they provide an overview of some available careers. Your career choices are limited only by your interests, imagination and determination to achieve your personal goals.

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A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.9

A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.9 – Given a scenario, use remote access technologies.

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The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) supports Remote Desktop
Connections (RDC). The Use of Remote Desktop dates back to Windows NT from the
late 1990’s. Remote Desktop and Remote Assistance use
the same protocol and allow for Screen share and File share. Both
program’s settings are accessed by opening Control Panel, clicking System, and
then Advanced system settings. In the System Properties below, observe the
Remote Assistance checkbox which enables Remote Assistance connections to the computer.
The Advanced Button enables the user to Allow this computer to be controlled
remotely. The maximum time a request remains open can be set as well as the
operating systems that can use the service. When enabled, the user can send requests
for assistance to trusted parties and allow them to troubleshoot any problems
while they watch. See these options in the screenshots below:


Remote Desktop is enabled in the same settings box shown
above. However, this program enables authenticated users to completely control
the computer, locking the local PC during the process. This is most effective
when users are allowed to work remotely by connecting to their desktop from another

Windows Defender
Firewall does not automatically allow these connections. In order to allow
these connections, open Control Panel and then Windows Defender Firewall. Find
the Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall menu from the
upper left panel. If necessary, click the Change settings button. In the
example, below these apps are already allowed.

Allow an
app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall


The Telnet protocol essentially creates a virtual terminal or
command line interface with a remote terminal device. In the beginning, Telnet enabled
remote users to access information and even control routers and switches. Telnet
uses unencrypted connections so on Linux systems, this insecure connection
method has been neglected in favor of the more secure SSH (Secure Shell) that
only uses encrypted connections. By default, SSH is enabled
in Windows and Telnet is a client app. the Windows Telnet client, which uses
SSH. this needs to be enabled from Control Panel.

Third-party tools

On a secure network, consider that Remote Desktop and Remote
Assistance require port 3389 (by default) to be opened which poses a security
risk. Third-party software eliminates this risk by operating on port 80 through
the internet browser. Since the port is already open and secure, other
resources do not need to be compromised.

Some third-party apps are free while others require a
subscription. Popular apps include GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, and the RemotePC app
shown below. In this case, the app must be installed on the remote host and the
client. From this page, many remote computers and servers are securely accessible.


Security considerations of each access method

The security aspects of the access methods are covered within the topics above.

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If you have followed all of the posts, you have finished the
final A+ 220-1002 test objectives! Quite a lot of ground has been covered over
the course of these posts. While we’ve covered each test objective in a
(hopefully) digestible manner, please remember that this is not the only tool
in your preparation toolkit. Use every resource available to you and master
each objective point. Get a copy of the actual A+ test objectives and compare
your knowledge against it. Use textbooks and online resources to strengthen
your understanding. Take the test only when you are ready.

All of us here wish you the very best!


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A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.8

A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.8 – Identify the basics of scripting.

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Welcome to ExamNotes by Dumps4shared. This edition will cover Exam Objective 4.8 Identify the basics of scripting. Scripts are a dependable way to execute a series of commands. The beauty of scripts is that they are reusable. Once written or compiled, the script can be run reliably when needed. We will start by defining the file types. Next, we will discuss the contents of the script files and how to format their instructions.

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Script file types

When multiple systems require the same set of commands to be
run, script files save time and effort. A script usually contains multiple sets
of commands that can be executed manually, at startup, or by a program that
uses it. Here are the script file types you’ll need to be aware of along with
their specific file types and use.


A batch file (.bat) is a list of commands that can be run in
the Windows environment at the command prompt (serving as the interpreter) or
from other scripts. .bat files can be simple text files containing
syntactically correct commands which are then saved under the .bat file


When using PowerShell, each script created contains one or
more cmdlets and is saved under the .ps1 file extension. As the user types, the
created cmdlets are checked dynamically by PowerShell in order to ensure error
free execution.


VBScript is used to create scripts using a programming
language and saves them under the .vbs file extension. VBScript is a simpler
version of Visual Basic.


VBScript also creates .sh script files which are executed in
the Linux or UNIX environment.


Python scripts (.py) are created with Python and contain
commands to be executed by Python.


JavaScript is used to create .js files, designed to enhance
interactivity, which define text that has been designed to work with webpages.
The .js script is embedded in the webpage, i.e. an HTML file. The .js file
loads when the browser opens a webpage.

• Environment variables

Environmental variables are information provided by the
operating system that can be used by scripts. This information will include the
path and temporary locations for file storage. View the User variables and the System
variables by accessing System from Control Panel, selecting System, and then
Advanced system settings. Select Environment variables in the Advanced tab of
the System Properties box. In this window, properties can be added, edited, or
deleted. Note that the variables are assigned separately between the user and
the system.


Comment syntax

Some scripts can be quite complex. Remember that once you
write a script, other users may need to run it. Add comments in the script such
as remarks or instructions regarding the operation of the script. It is
important that the command interpreter has a way to disregard these comments so
that they are not executed. For example in Windows PowerShell, the # symbol is
used to designate a comment line and this text will not be executed.

Basic script constructs

Basic loops

A script containing a basic loop will execute the same command
repeatedly. Some scripts run a specified number of times and others run until
its conditions are met. A script can also run until the user intervenes with a
keystroke combination such as CTRL+C.


When the name of a data item cannot be exactly specified or
is unknown, it is called a variable. In PowerShell the $ represents a variable.

Basic data types

When discussing basic data types, whole numbers are called integers and text entries are referred to as strings.

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A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.7

A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.7 – Given a scenario, use proper communication techniques and professionalism

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Welcome to ExamNotes by Certblaster! This section will examine 220-1002 Objective 4.7 Given a scenario, use proper communication techniques and professionalism. The foundation of your relationship with the user or customer rests on your professional appearance, the manner in which you present yourself, and the degree you are able to educate the user while making repairs. Engage them in the process wherever possible. If the user comprehends the nature of the problem, they may be able to avoid it in the future. At the very least, the user will be able to provide actionable details when calling the help desk.

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Use proper language – avoid jargon, acronyms, and slang
when applicable

Always use the correct terminology when discussing the customer’s
issue. Using acronyms and slang will more often than not lead to confusion. Acronyms
and slang may make you feel that you are impressing the customer with your technical
mastery when in reality, you are simply confusing them. Try your best to be easily

Maintain a positive attitude / Project confidence

Your demeanor sets the customer’s first impression regarding the
quality of service they will be receiving. Appear confident but not cocky. Be
calm and assured. Never say “Uh-Oh” and show doubt. Regardless of the
circumstances, maintaining a positive attitude will enable the customer to
respect your skills and lead to a generally positive experience.

Actively listen (taking notes) and avoid interrupting
the customer

During the initial phase of a service call, you will be sent the
help desk notes and a problem description. Hold off on using this information immediately.
First, have the customer describe the condition in their own words as their
remarks may uncover details that are not in the ticket. This also adds a
comfort level for the user by enabling them to explain issues in their own
terms and validate your understanding. Take good notes and never cut off a user
off when they are talking. If the problem can be reproduced, have the user demonstrate
their process.

Be culturally sensitive

Remember that during any professional encounter, from the help
desk down to a personal service call, you are representing your entire company.
Restrict any non-technical discussions to only those initiated by the customer.
This will help you stay in safe conversational zones around topics that
interest them and that are generally of the “How about this weather?” nature.
Avoid topics involving religion, race, gender, and politics. If you sense a
conversation is going south, steer the conversation back to the service call.
People are less likely to be confrontational with you personally but will quite
easily report anything negative to your superiors during a follow-up call.
Protect yourself and your company against any negativity.

appropriate professional titles, when applicable

Professionalism can be gauged by how a customer is treated
during general conversation. Always address them using the best professional
title that applies, even if it is simply Mr., Mrs., or Ms. This practice
signifies your respect for them as a person. Next, identify yourself accurately
and state the nature of your visit. It is good to ask if this is a convenient
time for them and to give a fair estimation of the amount of time you’ll need.

Be on time (if late contact the customer)

The objective states to contact the customer if you are going to
be late. This is undoubtedly good practice since a customer will begin to
formulate a positive opinion of you and the visit if you call ahead of time and
give them your location and ETA. It’s also good to ask if the time still works
within the customer’s schedule. A little respect goes a long way.

Avoid distractions

When you are working on a customer’s equipment, it is imperative
to give the matter your undivided attention. If a customer feels that you are
distracted, it will directly impact their faith in you and the company. That is
unacceptable. Unless your employer requires personal devices to be on at all
times, turn them off. If they must remain on, silence the ringer. There should
be no external distractions.


There is no good reason to make or take a personal call during a
customer encounter. Period.

/ Social media sites

Your company policy will adequately cover Texting and Social
Media sites. However, it goes without saying that this activity is 100% not
permitted during customer interactions.

to co-workers while interacting with customers

You should not initiate any conversations with coworkers during
a trouble call. The only exception would be a case where you need advice and in
this case, keep the conversation brief.

Personal interruptions

While you are working on a customer’s device, realize that your
presence is keeping them from their job duties. You may not be able to control
a coworker initiating a conversation, but you can cut it short. Make it clear
that you are busy and schedule your conversation for a better time.

Dealing with a difficult customer or situation

Realize that you don’t know what you don’t know. The statement
sounds simplistic yet is profound. Take for example a work order, flagged as
Urgent, which only states that the customer’s email is not working. Given that
computer failures are never at a good time, consider the customer’s overall situation.
Do they have a tight deadline? What are the repercussions of not meeting their
deadline? Could this problem cost the company a sale or even a prospective
customer? There could be a bonus, raise, or even promotion on the line. The
full situation is unknown and a cavalier attitude during the service call could
potentially send the customer over the edge.

Think back to the rules of engagement. New information regarding
the customer’s situation helps explain why a customer could be agitated. Acting
properly can help avoid any escalation. Proper action also helps the customer
determine that the right person was sent to fix the issue.

If the customer is venting, let them finish and above all, do
not argue any aspect of their issue. They could easily be the cause of the
problem but it is inadvisable to mention things of this nature at that point of
the service call.

Upset customer – You never want to get a user to this place…

Do not
argue with customers and/or be defensive

An irate customer will likely blame anyone in the chain that is even
remotely involved in the service call, even you personally. Whatever you do, do
not argue. Let them go on. They will also attack programs and devices that are
not related to their issue. Do not defend anything.  Apologize and offer
help. Assure them that you will resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

dismissing customer problems

Another area of conflict with a customer arises when a technician
dismisses or minimizes the customer’s input. Customers know how to do their job
using their tools. As a result, it makes sense to hear them out regarding any
theory that could cause a problem. Avoid dismissing their theories without
investigating them first. Recognize that the customer represents the only
witness to the matter at hand and use them fully as a resource.

being judgmental

It is easy for some people in the IT community to feel that they
know more than a user on a particular matter.

This is not always true. The technician may have an advanced
skill set in programming and operational matters, but it is the end user that
will have an intimate day-to-day knowledge of the cause and effect between frequently
used applications. Pay attention to their input.

Clarify customer statements (ask open-ended questions
to narrow the scope of the problem, restate the issue or question to verify

Positive interaction with the customer can be the difference
between a quick fix and needlessly wasted time. When talking to the customer, always
ask questions that require more than a one-word response. Questions such as “When
did you first notice the problem?” will yield more information if you add the
following clarifier, “and what else were you doing at the time?” You may learn
that they were listening to a Webinar and taking notes when the incident
occurred. With this information, you can start to investigate the browser, anti-spyware,
browser plug-ins, and toolbars that you otherwise would not have suspected.

Do not
disclose experiences via social media outlets

Social media is highly addictive to some people. They often
share details, interactions, and experiences from their life without considering
the potential audience. Social media is banned or restricted in the workplace
because it represents a security vulnerability. Think of a hacker, who is a fake
friend of a friend, being able to determine the schedule and whereabouts of the
IT staff by finding and viewing a simple retirement party invitation. The
hacker will know all of the attendees, where they will be (GPS), and for how
long they will be away from their desk, allowing the hacker to find a perfect
time to launch an attack. Don’t use social media for work-related matters
however innocent they may appear.

Set and meet expectations timeline and communicate
status with the customer

A customer should be kept informed regarding your ETA and any
details involving the schedule. The best call you can give a customer is “I’ve
finished my last call. I know it’s early but would you like me to come now?”

different repair replacement options if applicable

When faced with a situation that requires a part replacement,
consider solutions that will get the user back up and running while you wait
for the part. Let’s say you have a damaged USB 3.0 port. In this case, suggest
that the device can operate on an unused USB 2.0 port. The device will be
slower but it will still work. This is an example of a workable short-term

proper documentation on the services provided

All service related calls must be documented. As a technician, ensure
that the work request is complete, containing the username, location, date,
time of call, and problem description. When you arrive at the location, note
the arrival time and the state of the machine to be fixed. Do your fact-finding
interview. Take clear concise notes. Note any actions taken, parts needed, and
the condition of the machine once you’ve finished. If necessary, include
recommendations for further action and their date/time.

up with customer user at later date to verify satisfaction

A good technician will follow up with the customer the following
day in order to ensure customer satisfaction and to ensure the repair was
complete and satisfactory. This shows the customer that the technician is
concerned about their matter.

Deal appropriately with customers confidential and
private materials Located on a computer, desktop, printer, etc

When you enter a customer’s workspace, you will undoubtedly come across items of a personal nature along with potentially sensitive work data. It is important that you confine your attention to only the matters that concern you. There may be information on their screen so suggest that the user saves and closes their applications. Any materials on their printer should be secured by the user. Make every effort to avoid exposure to confidential and personal information.

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Well, that covers it for 220-1002 objective 4.7. Keep on plugging away, you’re almost there! Good luck on the test.

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A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.6

A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.6 – Explain the processes for addressing prohibited content/ activity, and privacy, licensing, and policy concepts.

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Welcome to ExamNotes by Dumps4shared! In this installment, we will examine Objective 4.6 Explain the processes for addressing prohibited content/activity and privacy, licensing, and policy concepts. We will discuss the issues and procedures surrounding the use of data that is in violation of corporate policies.

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Incident Response

In some cases, violations may be innocent transgressions
attributed to the employee’s misinterpretation of the rules. For others,
violations may be flagrant with legal implications. In either case and regardless
of how one became aware of the violation, it is important to adhere to company
policy in order to ensure proper handling of the situation.

It may be tempting to err on the side of leniency for some
matters. However, this is NOT your decision to make. In the worst case, failure
to report incidents could make you an accomplice. Every company has slight
terminology variations as to what is and is not acceptable use. The fundamental
principles will be the same. For example, every company will have an Acceptable
Use Policy (AUP) that is part of the employment agreement and is also freely
available for employee review. Read it completely and follow it to the letter.


For any case where you believe there has been a legal infraction
or poor judgment, the incident should be reported as defined by corporate
policy. There is no situation where you would confront the employee directly. Confronting
the employee provides time for the employee to cover up the transgression and
opens the door for unauthorized parties who are not involved in the process to
overhear your discussion. Keep your discussion within the authorized channels.
Your handling of matters involving data breaches will likely be scrutinized by
the legal team, making it important that you follow company guidelines to the
letter. Take clear notes regarding reporting and the actions you take.


An incident may be identified through personal observation or
through the routine observation of network logs. Log files will uncover
unauthorized personnel accessing restricted data. Immediately document this
behavior and bring it to proper individual(s) for escalation.

through proper channels

Always report strictly to the appropriate parties as indicated
by your organizational Security Policy. The process you follow and the manner
in which you report will be closely scrutinized. Be clear, accurate, and
complete in your reporting.


In cases where there is evidence of foul play or corporate
espionage, the preservation of data is of paramount importance. A forensic team
should be involved in order to securely handle, store, and validate any digital
media. Network logs and MRU lists showing recently accessed documents will
solidify your case. Obtain the services of a forensic expert before you handle
anything. The slightest change could render the evidence inadmissible.

Use of
documentation/documentation changes

Company policies are subject to change in order to keep pace
with the evolving corporate environment. While these policies are easily accessible
by employees, all employees should be notified when a change is made and given
instructions on how to view the updated documentation. For a lengthy document,
the exact change should be explicitly stated in order to prevent employees from
overlooking it.

of custody

Whenever evidence is necessary to create or support a case, all
records and physical support need to be carefully preserved. This is
accomplished using a form called a Chain of Custody. The Chain of Custody is
designed to allow anyone who comes in contact with the evidence the ability to
record the date/time they come into possession, the actions taken, the release
date/time, and the party it was remanded to. Fill this form out completely
because any mistakes or gaps will render the evidence inadmissible. Sign for
everything you take in possession and obtain signatures from those you transfer
possession to. Any gaps in this process can be interpreted as a point of
evidence corruption.

Tracking of evidence/documenting process

The documentation surrounding the handling of evidence is
crucial in any legal matter and will be subsequently reviewed for completeness
and accuracy. You and all parties concerned in the handling of physical and
digital evidence should be prepared to present accurate, irrefutable records proving
time/date received and what actions were performed. The Chain of Custody and
the Due Care taken for these materials while in your possession are both
incredibly important. Forensics experts should be involved immediately as their
skill set includes the storage and preservation of volatile digital data. They
are capable of recovering the most volatile data such as system RAM as well as
preserving the integrity of storage media by making workable original copies.

Licensing / DRM / EULA

A common infraction involving midsized to large corporations is
caused by employees misunderstanding or disregarding software licensing. While
organizations make every effort to avoid copyright infringement, there are
cases where a careless employee may feel that a special graphics program or a piece
of music will enhance their presentation. The legality of this practice may
come into question, causing financial hardship for the company.  

It falls to the user to carefully read the End User License
Agreement (EULA) before accepting it. The EULA contains clauses regarding the
acceptable use of the product and the ramifications of misuse among other
legally binding matters.

In practice, very few users actually read the agreement and
simply accept it. Blind acceptance is a liability.

Lastly, Digital Rights Management (DRM) protects artists from
having their works used in unauthorized manners. The DRM is digitally embedded
in the media and is aggressively enforced.

What navigating Licensing, DRM & EULA can feel like

source vs. commercial license

Software can be generally classified in two groups: open source
and closed source or commercial license.

For open source (freeware) software, the source code is freely
available and can be modified by subsequent developers providing that any
derivative works remain freely available and there are no fees for its use.
This software is developed by and for a community that values the betterment of
the product over financial reward. The Linux and Android operating systems are
great examples of this philosophy.

Closed source software is commercial for-profit programming that
charges for the use of its programs. Closed source code is closely guarded and
not available. Obviously, use of this programming will be controlled by various
licenses as you will see below.

license vs. enterprise licenses

When using commercial software, the license is purchased based
on the intended use. Personal use is defined as a single user installing the
product on personal devices in their home. In the corporate environment, products
are usually covered under an enterprise site license that grants use to all
employees. If the software is particularly expensive or if use is confined to a
small group or department, a per-seat license may be more cost effective. This
license limits the installations to a predetermined number of users.

Regulated data

The types of data described below are regulated by the
government and are considered regulated data. Often a healthcare provider will
employ a compliance officer to ensure that all regulations policies and laws
are adhered to. For your test preparation, note the following information.


Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is the information
about a person that would be considered confidential. This includes a person’s full
name, complete address, credit card numbers, date of birth, social security
number, and their health records. Entities that store this information are
subject to strict legally binding guidelines regarding the confidential storage
and dissemination of this information. PII is a high-value target for hackers
who can use this data to create identities, accessing and depleting all assets,
or even falsely creating new lines of credit. Lists containing this information
are easily attainable on the black market.

Don’t release this information without careful consideration.
Something as simple as a job application contains enough information for
someone to deplete an individual’s assets and ruin their credit.


The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has defined standards to
safeguard credit card information during transmission and storage (where
applicable). Major credit card companies comply with these standards as do the
vendors and retailers receiving the data. Fraud is prevalent and is prevented by
many implemented standards. A vendor may contact the card owner when a
suspicious transaction is attempted.


Protected health information (PHI) refers to data regarding an
individual’s personal health record. This information is protected by the
government through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) which imposes strict penalties for security breaches. Hospitals,
medical practices, medical personnel, and other entities must comply with HIPAA
regulations. Consent will be asked if health information needs to be disclosed.


The European Union (EU) has implemented the General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR) which provides more control over the collection,
sharing, and storage of personal information. It covers data that can uniquely
identify an individual such as their genetic and biometric information, their
name, and their address (physical and IP). The GDPR includes a provision that
the individual be contacted if their information is breached.

Follow corporate end-user policies and security best

Every corporation has security policies regarding the handling of personal and corporate data. Be knowledgeable of these policies and follow them to the letter. Guidelines will also exist covering the handling of PII in certain situations. Treat these as absolute rules with no room for personal interpretation. Your job and someone’s financial well-being can both suffer irreparable damage.

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A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.5

A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.5 – Explain environmental impacts and appropriate controls.

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documentation for handling and disposal

The Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires chemical
manufacturers, distributors, and importers to provide Safety Data Sheets (SDSs),
formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), in order to communicate
the hazards of dangerous chemical products. The Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) require that the employer maintain an MSDS or SDS for every
material that poses a risk to personal health or the environment. Data sheets
are to be kept in a location where they are accessible by the employees. If there
are any questions about the use or disposal of any materials, ask for the specific

humidity level awareness and proper ventilation

Computers are sensitive to high levels of heat and will operate
unpredictably in extreme cases. Provide proper ventilation to computer components
in order to avoid heat buildup. Also, be aware of the humidity levels. Low
humidity prevents the free flow of static electricity. When static electricity
builds up, ESD is much more likely to occur.

Power surges,
brownouts, blackouts

Computers rely on a consistent reliable voltage level in order to
operate properly. If the flow of electricity is interrupted or if the voltage
fluctuates, the equipment will fail. A power surge is a brief overvoltage
condition, called a voltage spike, that can do damage to a system. A brownout
is a brief undervoltage condition that will cause equipment failures. A
blackout is an absence of electrical energy.

Battery backup

A battery backup can provide a consistent, reliable power
supply. By running from a battery supply that is constantly being charged, equipment
is able to run from a clean stable power source.

UPSs are rated by wattage and Volt-amps. When selecting a UPS,
it is best to calculate the anticipated load and choose a power supply that is
rated approximately 40% higher, e.g. a 600W would require a 1000W UPS. This
extra headroom will provide longer runtime in the event of a power failure and
will not overly tax the unit. UPSs provide protection against surges,
brownouts, and blackouts.

UPS-Battery Backup


A surge suppressor provides protection against voltage spikes.
When the surge suppressor senses voltage higher than its rating, the surge
suppressor trips an internal breaker which cuts power to its outlets. Once a
surge suppressor has been triggered, it needs to be replaced. If the surge suppressor
has an indicator light, the light will flicker. Also, many surge suppressors contain
phone jacks and if they are available, use them. Electricity can use any
physical connection to enter your system. Phones and modems are not capable of
handling high voltage. In our example below, observe that this unit has
indicators for Line, Fault, and Protection.

Surge suppressor

Protection from
airborne particles

Airborne particulate matter is a health hazard but just as
dangerous, can build up inside equipment, clogging fans and increasing the
possibility of overheating. Machines operating in an environment where these
contaminants are present should use specially designed protection. Similarly, people
operating those machines need personal protection. Shown below is an
unprotected CPU heatsink after years of unprotected operation. As you can
imagine, this CPU was overheating.

CPU Heatsink Clogged with Dust


PCs need to be protected from environmental hazards. Equipment
operating in an environment where airborne dust, or other fine suspended
particles, is present requires additional protection. Shown below is a look at
a well-sealed dust-proof PC enclosure. This enclosure will not permit air to
enter anywhere except the specified air intakes at the fans and vents. These
openings will have filters that should be monitored for buildup of debris.

PC dust proof enclosure

Since most PCs use one or more fans in order to draw outside air
into the system for cooling, blocked filters result in obstructed airflow which
can lead to overheating. As a result, it is important to recognize exactly what
is contained in the cooling air. The power supply cooling fans draw these
contaminants through the vents into the enclosure where they can build up. This
buildup causes the internal components to be covered in a buildup of fine
debris, thereby reducing the ability to conduct heat away from sensitive

The solution, aside from regular vacuuming, is a specially
designed enclosure. These enclosures use air filters on the intakes and fans to
forcibly create positive airflow to the unit in order to provide clean air to
the system. Ideally, the intake for the enclosure would draw air from outside
the contaminated area in order to keep the filters from premature clogging.


As mentioned above, air filters will prevent contaminants from
entering the device and reducing the buildup of debris on fans, capacitors, and
heatsinks which are designed to dissipate heat. An air filter mask is the first
line of personal protection for airborne contaminants. Make sure there is a
good seal around the whole mask. Otherwise, leaks will be evident after a
period of exposure due to streaks of debris on the wearer’s face. Double check
the seal.

Air Filter Mask

Dust and debris

As noted above, dust and debris will decrease the internal
device components’ ability to conduct heat out of the system. These
contaminants will also lead to premature wear and failure of moving parts such
as fans and optical media readers/writers.

Very dusty computer

Compressed air

There are two main solutions to the dust and debris problem. The
first is compressed air.

Compressed air is great for the relocation of contaminants, the
keyword here being relocation. Since compressed air does not remove the
contaminants and only blows them off of the components, exercise care in order
to not fill the workspace with the contaminant material. Use compressed air
outside the building where the dust can be dissipated into the atmosphere. You
won’t make any friends by blowing out a dusty PC in your workspace.



The second solution is a vacuum. A good anti-static vacuum is
the best method for cleaning out a dusty PC. Vacuums will clean out and hold any
contaminants, preventing any secondary contamination of nearby parts and people. Be
absolutely sure that the vacuum is rated as anti-static as there should be no
metal parts or attachments that can damage the sensitive internal components. Shown
below is an approved Anti-Static Vacuum.

Anti-Static Vacuum

Compliance to
local government regulations

As noted earlier , there are a myriad of
regulations governing safe operating practices in the workspace. Federal
Regulations published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) mandates standards for procedures and material handling. OSHA is
responsible for the protection of workers exposed to any number of hazards. In
our case, the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) includes the
practices and procedures for disabling equipment that will present a shock
hazard. Do pay attention. Also, there should be an MSDS on file for any hazmat material
you might come in contact with.

Failing to observe the electrical standards can result in immediate harm to yourself or coworkers. Hazardous materials can cause immediate harm in some cases and there may also be long-term effects that may not be recognized right away but could lead to life-threatening conditions such as liver or kidney damage and ultimately cancer.

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A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.3

A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.3 – Given a scenario, implement basic disaster prevention and recovery methods.

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Welcome to ExamNotes by Dumps4shared! In this edition, we will cover Objective 4.3 Given a scenario, implement basic disaster prevention and recovery methods. We will cover the methods used to safeguard data and prevent loss when catastrophic events occur. The term disaster prevention is a little misleading since there is no guaranteed way to prevent a disaster. Otherwise, we would be tornado proofing trailer parks. Mitigation is the only real way to prevent a data disaster. Store your data on more than one device and more than one location if possible. Okay, here we go!

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Backup and recovery

Consider an unrepairable hardware failure that results in
total data loss. A data backup would be invaluable here.

There are different types of backups. The type of backup to
create depends on the data that needs to be backed up and how that data will be
recovered. Formulate a backup strategy based on your needs and the habits of
any employees.

Here are the backup type options:

File level

A file-level backup is ideal for backing up user data such
as files and folders. Depending on the amount of data, this can be a fast
backup and recovery method. Since this is a file level backup, the amount of
data to recover can be easily specified.

Image level

An image-level backup creates an image of an entire volume
including the operating system, applications, and settings. This method enables
the system to be restored to the state captured in the latest backup. There is
no singular file or folder option here. The entire volume must be restored.

Critical applications

In the business environment, plan backups for mission-critical applications in order to minimize downtime. Consider this as a business continuity solution as opposed to one of data recovery. Other business continuity considerations will be considered later.

Cloud storage vs. local storage backups

Now that you know what should be backed up, you’ll need to
decide where to keep the backups. Cloud storage is a highly reliable online
solution. Data can be stored off-site, providing more protection from fire,
floods, and other natural disasters.

Cloud storage applications and services are widely
available. While they are not free, cloud-based backup and storage applications
can be configured to perform scheduled encrypted backups with the added benefit
of guaranteed accessibility. Research the cloud provider. It would be bad if
your cloud storage provider went out of business, making your data

Local backup storage is a good solution provided that the data is backed up to another physical disk, machine, or better still, an off-site location. External disks, SSD devices, and optical media can be used to store portable backups. This allows for total control of the data, however, the cost of hardware and support must be considered.

Backup testing

Regardless of whether local backups or cloud-based solutions
are used, the backup must be periodically tested. Test the recovery capability
of your solution to ensure it is working.


At the end of the day, business continuity relies on
electricity. Without a clean reliable power source, not much will get done. An
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) provides a consistent, reliable power
supply. The battery backup, within the UPS, runs business equipment from a
battery supply that is constantly being charged. This allows the business
equipment to run from a clean stable power source.

UPSs are rated by wattage and Volt-amps. When selecting a
UPS, calculate the anticipated load and choose a power supply that is rated
approximately 40% higher, e.g. a 600W load would require a 1000W UPS. This
extra headroom will provide longer runtime in the event of a power failure and
will not overly tax the unit. If you have electric generators, the UPSs will
allow for seamless switching. UPSs provide protection against surges,
brownouts, and blackouts.

UPS-Battery Backup

Surge protector

A surge protector provides protection against voltage spikes. When the surge protector senses voltage higher than its rating, the surge protector trips an internal breaker that cuts power to its outlets. Once a surge has been triggered, the surge protector needs to be replaced. If the surge protector has an indicator light, the light will flicker. Also, many surge protectors contain phone and Ethernet jacks and should be used if available. Electricity can use any physical connection to enter the system. Phones, modems, and network cards are not capable of handling high voltage. In our example below, observe that this surge protector has indicators for Line, Fault, and Protection.

Surge protector

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Account recovery options

Most users find themselves with numerous online accounts which
are associated with the services they use. Most account problems can be
resolved with a password reset. The Windows 10 operating system allows for two types
of accounts to be created:

Local accounts are not portable and are only accessible on a single PC. Earlier Windows versions utilized this type of account. Local accounts are not reliant on an internet connection and allow the user to create custom usernames and passwords that only exist on that computer. These accounts can be recovered by restoring from a backup or attempting a password reset. Windows accounts are actually cloud-based and will save and store the user’s account settings online. This provides the same experience on each PC the user logs onto. Recovering this account consists of a password reset or recovery using a backup or system restore point.

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A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.2

A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.2 – Given a scenario, implement basic change management best practices.

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Documented business processes

Best practices are supported by the network topology diagram
and asset tracking which are both covered in Objective 4.1. There’s more to it
as you will see.

It’s always good to know why something is being done, especially in business. When documentation needs to be changed, a formal change request process needs to be followed. This process can be as simple as obtaining management approval. However, for a complex change that would have an associated risk, the change request will be submitted to a change advisory board (CAB). The change board will authorize, prioritize, and schedule the change. Once authorized, the change can be sent to the parties responsible for change management for approval. If approved, the change plan can be initiated. The change request must outline clearly what needs to be done.

Scope of change

When defining the scope of change, clearly outline in the
change plan individual responsibilities for planning, implementation, and
support. Address the key components, what skill sets and activities will be
required, the parties participating, and most importantly, the success metrics
for the change.

Risk analysis

A risk analysis should be performed in order to preemptively
address potential problems before they occur. The goal is to determine the
likelihood and impact of each problem and have a response plan in place that can
address it.

Backout plan

A solid backout plan should be created in order to offset a
worst-case scenario. Devise a plan in order to be able to revert to the
pre-change state. All the activity and responsibilities for the backout should
be clearly addressed and defined before undertaking the change.

End-user acceptance

Remember that you are working for the end-user. Let them
know why you are making a change and what the benefits are. Here is an excerpt
from an email we received from our bank outlining a change to their online
banking system:

“We recently upgraded our Online/Mobile Banking system. One
of the primary reasons we converted to the new platform is to improve our
Mobile App experience. Our NEW Mobile App gives you the full ‘mybank’ Online
Banking experience, not just a couple of features. View account balances, pay
bills, transfer money, deposit checks, apply for a loan, and more from the
convenience of your mobile device. To learn more and view all of the
enhancements the new system provides, visit our Online and Mobile Banking
Resource Center and let us know what you think.” 

Document changes

When executing a change plan, it is crucial that detailed documentation is maintained. This documentation must be updated throughout the process. Verbal modifications should never be a part of the change management process. Well, that’s all for 4.2! Pretty painless right? Keep up the good work!

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See you in 4.3. Good luck on the test!

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A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.1

4.1 Compare and contrast best practices associated with types of documentation

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Network topology diagrams

All IT departments should have and maintain network topology
diagrams which depict current mapping information and connected devices. In the
example shown below, observe that all of the devices encountered, such as Cloud
resources, VLAN trunks and switches, routers, firewalls, and hosts, will be
depicted in the network topology diagram along with their connection types,
status, and addressing information. Note that all the addressing information is
clear and up-to-date. You can see a problem in the /24 subnet at
the upper-left. Hopefully you will start out on a smaller scale!

Network topology

Knowledge base/articles

A knowledge base refers to a collective repository for all
pertinent information about IT operations. When an IT technician finds or troubleshoots
a hardware or software issue, they should update their findings within the IT
department’s knowledge base. They should also include installation and
configuration details. This will help the IT department resolve recurring
problems and help train new personnel.

Regulatory and compliance policy

Every organization is required to adhere to the laws,
regulations, and policies relevant to their industry. Collectively referred to
as the regulation and compliance policy, this policy will be tailored to the
organization’s responsibilities. Maintaining compliance can be quite
complicated and generally requires an individual or a whole department. As an
IT technician, you will be expected to be aware of and follow the policies and
guidelines in order to maintain compliance. Part of your organization’s
onboarding process will include training in this area.

Acceptable use policy

Most employees will need to consent to an Acceptable Use
Policy (AUP) as part of their hiring and training process. This policy will
clearly define unacceptable practices for employees and will describe activity prohibited
on company devices such as viewing objectionable content, unauthorized software
installation, and even online shopping. Violation of this policy can be grounds
for termination!

Password policy

The password policy covers the organization’s best practices
regarding passwords. The policy will cover password length, special character
requirements, expiration, and reusability.

Incident documentation

Any incident involving the violation of the AUP or any
policies will be investigated internally and documented. Always report suspicious
activity to your immediate supervisor and follow their instructions. Keep any
evidence intact and document your observations clearly.

Inventory management

Corporate inventory should be monitored and controlled in order to allow tracking of valuable equipment within the organization. There are a few ways to accomplish this. Generally, Asset tags are affixed to computers and monitors. These tags are tamper resistant and can be tracked using asset tracking software. The tag will identify the company (owner) and have Barcodes that can be used with asset tracking software. RFID tags can also be used, allowing for a greater chance of recovering stolen equipment.

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That’s all for objective 4.1. See you in 4.2! Good luck on the test!

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Free CompTIA A+ 1002 Study Guide

Dumps4shared’s Free CompTIA A+ 1002 Study Guide for CompTIA Exam 220-1002 (Core 2) are a series of posts covering all the CompTIA A+ 220-1002 Main Domains, Exam Sub-Objectives, and below that level, every single topic point in CompTIA’s published Exam Objectives for A+. Just to give you an idea: There are over 1,200 topic points in those objectives! You will have a lot of work going through this content and we are having a ton of work writing it. Here’s the good news: We are making these ExamNotes available for free. Now, because 1) we are not perfect, and 2) we are doing this for you, we are hoping you will do something in return to improve these notes for all: If you find a typo, error or omission, please give us the feedback so we can correct it. And who knows? With your support and help, maybe one day, ExamNotes for A+ can become perfect!

CompTIA A+ Exam Objectives

Below are the four Main Domains of the exam objectives for A+ 220-1002 which are covered within our Free CompTIA A+ 1002 Study Guide. These are the highest level objectives and each is a link that will take you to another table of content where you will be able to select the Exam Sub-Objectives and so get you to the content you want to study.

1.0 Operating Systems

2.0 Security

3.0 Software Troubleshooting

4.0 Operational Procedures

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