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A+ Main Domain 5.7: Given a scenario, troubleshoot common wired and wireless network problems.

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Welcome to ExamNotes by Dumps4shared! Today we will look at the connectivity of wired and wireless networks. What are some of the more common connectivity issues? What can we do to address them?

Common Symptoms

Limited & Local Connectivity

Local connectivity and intermittent connectivity can all be addressed
with the same basic troubleshooting methods. For the purposes of the exam
objectives, network shares, printers, and email are considered to be local

Begin by trying to access a known working address on your local network. This will help to determine whether your problem is with the physical network or the programs and protocols being used. If your connection is wired, check the indicator status to see if the lights are on and flickering.

Next, check the neighboring computers for signs of the same problem. Determine whether you have a problem with one PC or 20 PCs. The troubleshooting methods for each case will be different.

If you are able to access some but not all of the available network resources, determine the level of accessibility and see if there is a pattern. Perhaps a bad network segment or a device can be isolated as the point of failure.

Once you have narrowed down the problem to a specific area in
your network, rule out issues with your internet service provider and the installed

Check the IP address assigned to the device. If it starts with, you know it has been assigned an APIPA address which prevents it from communicating with the DHCP server.

To summarize:

1) Check lights on the NIC and devices.
2) Test or swap out the Ethernet cable.
3) Check switches and indicator lights on wireless connections.
4) For wireless connections, consider radio power, frequency, and line of sight issues.
5) Decide if you want to use the command line interface or GUI based diagnostics. For this example, let’s do the command line first. Open a command prompt by clicking the command prompt icon or typing cmd in the search window.
6) Let’s use a few commands and varieties to diagnose the NIC and establish its relative location. First, let’s check that the NIC, its drivers, and the protocol stack are functioning properly. Ping the localhost by name (ping localhost) and number (ping Next, ping a common internet address. Most DNS servers will have looked up Google recently. Google’s IP address is surprisingly simple ( Ping Google to validate connectivity.

Unavailable resources

In addition to the local resources listed above, Internet
connectivity can also be impacted by the same issues. If you can’t connect to
your local network, your connection to the Internet can be impacted.

No connectivity

Generally when we discuss connectivity, we’re talking about
wireless connectivity. We will look at all aspects of the wireless connection
from the SSID to channel selection.

local address

APIPA/Link Local Addressing is used to assign an IP address to a
client. The Windows nodes on a network will self-assign non-routable addresses
to themselves until the server is able to provide an address.


An IP Conflict occurs when two IP based machines use the same
address. Duplicate addresses are not tolerated by the TCP/IP addressing scheme.

Other IP
related issues

You can stock utilities such as variations of the ipconfig
utility. You can test the settings on your new DHCP server by creating, renewing,
and refreshing the IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. The addressing can be
systematically modified whenever necessary using this process.

transfer speeds

This occurs when your resources are impacted by the number of
users on a segment or link. The advertised connection speed is measured when no
other devices are competing for resources. As the number of users increases,
the comparative speed will decrease. Be aware of the number and type of
connections in use by your device at any given time. Monitor and end any app
that is using resources without proving a useful service.

Low RF

When you encounter nominal RF signals, it is very difficult for
your devices to perform up to their optimal rates. As the power levels drop on
the radio, you will see a decrease in performance. In the image below, observe
the Linksys WAP that has low/no power.

Weak RF showing on open wireless network

not found

In many cases, it is advisable to hide your SSID from the prying
eyes of the internet. If you think about it, you are providing would be
attackers with 50% of the information necessary to access your wireless
network. Here is a good look at Windows Wireless settings available from the

Screenshot of open wireless networks

Check the warning that comes from your cable provider. Open
season! If the connection has to be “Open,” then you should not broadcast the

That’s all for Sub-Objective 5.7! The tools you would use to
test and repair connections are listed in 220-1001 Sub-Objective 2.8. Review
this section if you need a refresher.

If you have read all of the 220-1001 content to this point, congratulations!! You are ready to move into the 220-1002! Good luck!

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CompTIA A+ Exam 220-1001 sub-objective 5.6: Given a scenario, troubleshoot printers.

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Overview of
printer types and how they function

Troubleshooting printer problems is infinitely easer if you know
how printers should function under normal conditions. Let’s start out by
looking at the most common printer found in SOHOs: The

A fast and efficient printer, the inkjet, or bubble jet, can
produce picture quality images, plaintext, and everything in-between. These
printers are capable of duplexing (printing on both sides of the paper) and are
capable of creating prints from the smallest wallet sized photo to full size
legal documents. Interestingly, these printers are constantly getting features
added. You can find an all-in one printer with full printing capabilities,
Fax, Scanner, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi or Gigabit for under $100! However, there is
a slight drawback as ink costs $99. Do your homework before buying!
Compare the prices of the consumables, such as the ink, versus the cost of the

So how does it work? Let’s consider the example of a networked
inkjet printer that is shared with everyone without restriction.

Start by installing the printer on your workstation. Make sure
you have the exact make and model number of the printer. This is imperative. If
you can’t find the correct printer drivers in Windows’ driver list, go to the
manufacturer’s website and download the right one. A generic device driver will
give you generic results, will possibly miss out on features, and in the worst
case will give no connection.

A networked printer can stand alone or it can be shared by a
workstation on the network. Remember that the printer must be turned on and
shared for either of these two options to work. Sharing requires the most

You must give permission to each user and also specify which of
the printer’s capabilities each user can utilize. This is where Groups comes in
handy. You could manually assign the correct capabilities for each user, or you
can assign one set of permissions and capabilities to the PrintOps group and
add the users in the PERFORMANCE group to it.

New Object – PrintOps

Using this tool, you can setup 20 computers in one go! Be
cognizant of the group’s capabilities and more importantly, the impact of any group
changes on other groups. This could be significant. For example, the PrintOps
group is a global Security group.

Printer Operator Properties

Alright, let’s get this A+ sub-objective 5.6 out of the way by
addressing specific cases. These objectives are fundamentally just a list of
knowledge points that you are responsible for and don’t follow any particular
logical order. This will make them seem jumpy because they are! We’ll smooth
them out as much as possible while still trying to deliver the relevant

The Laser
Printing Process

The Laser printing process is a continuous, 7-step cyclical
process in which each step is occurring simultaneously. The Laser Printing
Process is fascinating and efficient.

First, a piece of paper is drawn into the printer while the drum
is charged. This is called the Conditioning phase.

Laser printing process

A uniform -600 volt charge is applied to the image drum which is
constantly rotating. Next, the image to be printed is written onto the drum.
This is referred to as exposing or writing. Exposing takes place when a focused
laser beam is scanned across the entire drum. The laser turns on and off
rapidly, discharging some areas of the drum while retaining others. This
creates the image on the drum.

At this point, the image is present but still invisible. Next in
the cycle is the toner hopper, where the toner (ink) is drawn onto the areas of
the drum that were discharged earlier. These areas are very narrow strips and do
not look like anything until a few dozen of them are exposed. However, that
never happens.

After the toner is attracted to the drum, it is immediately
pulled onto the paper by the transfer corona. The transfer corona is positioned
so that the paper travels between the drum (now coated with toner) and the
corona wire. Pure electrical energy acts as the physical force which moves the
toner from the imaging drum to the paper. Once the toner is on the paper, the
toner needs to be “fixed” or melted onto the paper. This requires that the
paper is heated to a temperature of around 400 degrees. The heat required is determined
by the printer, toner, and paper manufacturers. The temperature should never be
exceeded. However, the temperature must be hot enough to melt the toner. Signs
of under heated toner or problems with the fuser (fusing corona) are streaky,
dusty toner. After this, the cleaning phase takes place and any residual toner
is removed.

When a laser printing cycle begins, a single piece of paper is
drawn into the printer. A separator pad is used to ensure that only one sheet
of paper is picked up. A failure here can cause paper jams or creased/torn

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Laser Printer

A Laser printer consists of two main components, the printer and
the cartridge. The cartridge contains all of the high wear items which include
the toner, photosensitive drum, charging corona, and the excess toner hopper.

Here are the seven steps of laser printing.

  • Processing – The digitized image is prepared to be transferred to the photosensitive drum.
  • Charging – The imaging drum is charged by the charging corona wire to a uniform voltage of greater than -600 VDC. This voltage repulses all toner on drum.
  • Exposing – A laser beam is scanned across the drum, discharging all areas of exposure. This drains the charge off of the drum. All points exposed to the laser will now attract toner.
  • Developing – Due to the difference in electrical potential, toner is attracted to the areas discharged by the laser and repulsed by the charged areas.
  • Transferring – A transfer corona, carrying a positive charge and positioned permanently beneath the paper path, draws the negatively charged from the drum onto the paper.
  • Fusing – A fusing roller placed beneath the paper is heated to above 400 degrees. This melts the toner powder into the final image.
  • Cleaning – Any remaining static voltage on the paper is dissipated and the drum is exposed to an erase lamp which returns it to a neutral charge.

Inkjet Printer

The Inkjet process consists of one or more ink cartridges that
contain focused nozzles. When not in use, these cartridges are positioned in a
maintenance station to keep the nozzles free from dust. Inkjets operate by scanning
the print heads across the paper and spraying small focused bubbles of ink onto
the paper. Inkjet printers cost less to purchase than laser printers but have a
higher maintenance cost.


Dot Matrix

A dot matrix printer operates on the impact principle. This
printer will eject and return a small cluster of individual rods onto a ribbon
that is damp with ink, which leaves a dot on the paper. After several passes of
the ink head, a readable image made up of these dots is produced. This is the
only printer type capable of producing images on multi-sheet carbon paper.

Dot matrix printers are quite noisy. Special paper, that has a
series of holes along each side allowing it to be “tractor fed,” is used for
these printers.


This printer type uses a specially treated paper that is heat
sensitive. The print heads are heated to the specified temperature and contact
the paper. The chemicals on the paper react to the heated print head, leaving a
black mark at the point of contact.


Here are some of the common problems you will encounter in the
field when supporting printers. Please keep in mind that this stuff could very
well be on the test too! Here is a breakdown.

This first set of problems will be most common on a laser

Steaks on a laser printer will appear as vertical
blank areas which run consistently down the length of the page
. The most probable cause is that the toner is not even in the
cartridge. This is easily fixed (temporarily) by shaking the cartridge and
evenly distributing the toner. You should prepare to replace the cartridge.. Faded
 indicate a failing charging corona which requires cartridge
replacement to fix. Ghosting of
images on the print can also be repaired by replacing the cartridge. In this
case, it’s important to note that the circumference of the image drum is
considerably less that the length of the paper. An imaging drum will rotate almost
10 times in order to print a single page. This makes the cleaning process
crucial. Check the erase lamps while you are working. Print blank pages to
check the erase lamps.

Moving on, if you have laser output that is not fused, is sandy,
or is gritty to the touch, this indicates a failed
. Order and replace.

If you see a memory error when
printing, your image is too large (too much data) for the printer’s buffer.
This is currently less of a problem but it still happens. Reduce the size of
the image. For example, reduce the pixel requirement from 1200dpi to 600dpi.
Reduce the load on the printer until you can diagnose it.

If your printer is not printing, printing
 or printing wrong
, perform the following actions:

  • Make sure you are connected to the printer.
  • Make sure the printer is online.
  • Make sure the right print drivers are installed.
  • Print a test page from your workstation to the printer.
  • Print a self-test page from the printer console and compare it with a machine test.
  • Run the printer set-up alignment software.

If the print queue is jammed and
if the printer will not print, clear all the items from the queue.

This is a personal bit of observation. Person 1 can’t print so they
tell Person 2 who sends a second job. It doesn’t work so they both try again. As
news of the problem spreads down the aisle, each person tries once or twice and
confirms the issue. Person 1 calls the helpdesk and tries to print while on the
phone. Person 2 sees Person 1 on the phone, tries to print, and asks to be
included on the ticket. This repeats until 50 print jobs are queued and before
the help desk can see and clear the queue.

Moving on, here are some more issues that can be fixed with the
same general solution provided the printer is online and operational.

Errors such as Access denied, Unable to install printer, and errors on the
local machine can all be traced to the permissions. Try accessing the machine
the printer is attached to. If the printer is standalone, check the Print
Operators group and make sure you are an area member with correct permissions.
On the printer’s host, check your accessibility to the machine. The printer
will be visible. Try a test page from there and evaluate the results. 

That’s all for Sub-Objective 5.6! One more to go to complete your 220-1001 objectives.

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5.5 Given a scenario, troubleshoot common mobile device issues while adhering to the appropriate procedures.

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Common symptoms

Many mobile device problems are easy to diagnose and have simple
solutions. Remember, you are smarter than whatever device you are working on.

Mobile devices add a degree of difficulty since everything is
smaller and harder to manage inside the enclosure. Take your time to establish
a distraction free environment to work in. Give yourself a stable clean work
area, lay out your tools and containers for small parts, AND Relax! We’ll start
by looking at a group of related problems and for each problem, we’ll identify
the part that needs repair, replacement, or adjustment.

More often than not, when you encounter a display problem on a
mobile device, diagnosis is usually simple. The repair is another matter.

No display

For this condition, the simplest way to start the laptop and if
you are lucky, resolve the problem is by checking your monitor function key
combination. Determine the keystrokes and cycle through them. If the LCD
doesn’t begin to display, get a known functioning external monitor and connect
it. If it works, you are in great shape!

Dim display

The worst case scenario for this condition is to replace the
backlight but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Take a step back and first look
for the brightness controller. Look on the keyboard for a brightness button or
slider. If
that does not work, try uninstalling the video drivers in the Device Manager. Check
for a newer version on the driver manufacturer’s website and install it. Lastly,
keep in mind that some laptops are configured to dim the display when the unit
is switched to battery power.


For this problem, perform the steps listed above. Check the
display properties for the Brightness and the Refresh rate and double-check the
connections. A low refresh rate will cause a flickering display. If the monitor
still doesn’t work, the issue can either be due to a failed inverter, backlight,
or LCD panel. Research the costs involved in replacing the components versus
the cost of replacing the device. It might be time for an upgrade. Shown below
is an image of a typical inverter board.

Inverter Board

Inverter boards are a relatively easy to access and replace.

Ghost Cursor
cannot display to external monitor

This can be due to potential device driver issues. Toggle
through the Function key for the display. Also when using an external monitor,
make sure the cables you are using are fully functioning.

Sticking keys

If the keys on your mobile device are sticking, first try blowing
compressed air. If that doesn’t work, use contact cleaner. If that fails,
replace the keyboard.

power/Battery not charging

Your battery indicator should look something like this. In our
example, the battery is slightly discharged. When the battery is fully charged,
the indicator should read 100%.

Battery indicator

If you suspect that your battery is not charging, there are
simple tests for this. Check the green light on the AC adapter. Check that the
battery is not overheated. Make sure the battery is not swollen. If these signs
are good, let the battery charge for a reasonable period of time, remove the AC
adapter, and attempt to power up the machine.  If this works, all is well.
If this does not, remove all power from the machine and try using only the AC
Adapter. If that works, you have a dead battery.

Num lock
indicator lights

It is entirely possible that you will come across a laptop that when
some of the Alpha characters are typed, numbers are displayed instead. This is
a design enhancement enabling those who have a large amount of data to input on
a small laptop to rearrange some of the keys to form a numeric keypad.

This issue often occurs when a user has inadvertently activated
the function. When the function is activated, the Num lock indicator light on
the keyboard will be on. Repeat the keystroke to deactivate the function.

Num lock LED is green

If there is a numeric keypad present, Num Lock will toggle the
numeric keypad between numeric and the other values shown.

No wireless

When “No Network” is reported by a user, you have to determine
whether it is a local host, network, internet, or e-mail problem.

The first thing to check is the state of the wireless card on
the host as the user may have inadvertently turned it off. There should be a
button or a switch with an indicator light. When the light is on, open a
Command Prompt window and try pinging a known good host. If it fails, continue
your diagnosis process.

Use the information from ipconfig to determine if you have an
address assigned by your DHCP server or an APIPA address. If you have an APIPA
address, your machine didn’t connect. Release and renew your IP address by using
the ipconfig /release command (to clear the IP address data) and the ipconfig
/renew command (to attain a new configuration).


Here is another variation of the wireless connectivity problem. In
this case, the wireless connection is unreliable. If you have a wireless
locator, move it around the workspace until you find the best signal. Make sure
the location is practical for the user. Try to find the best balance. Often,
repositioning the lid of a laptop slightly will yield a
stronger signal. If there are a few users having this issue, consider placing a
low power WAP at an accessible location.

No Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a great method for creating small personal
networks. Before you start an installation, make sure your OS and portable
device software is up to date. For example, if you have a headset that came
with a disk, go to the manufacturer’s website and see if there is newer
software. However, do not install Beta software.

Once properly configured, paired Bluetooth devices seek each
other out when powered up. However in order to communicate with each other, Bluetooth
devices must first need to be paired with each other. This is usually where the
problem comes in as there is no hard and fast standard for connecting Bluetooth
devices. Having the documentation is crucial. Read and understand it before you

When pairing Bluetooth devices, you may need to create or use passcodes. The passcodes used are simply technicalities and are often 0000 or 1111 for example. There is also important sequencing information that you should consider during the initial set up such as which device do you turn on first. If you get the pairing wrong, you may end up locking yourself out of the device which requires having to uninstall and reinstall the software. Take your time and do it right the first time. Check the Device Manager for problems before you attempt any connections to Windows machines.

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GPS not

GPS (Global Positioning System) uses satellites in geostationary
or geosynchronous orbit around the earth to calculate precise locations on the
planet. There are over 30 satellites orbiting the Earth, transmitting time
signatures of the highest accuracy. In order to enable GPS functionality,
devices such as laptops or smartphones have GPS modules attached to them.

The GPS signal is low power, does not tolerate interference, and
needs an unobstructed view of the sky. In order to accurately find its position
on Earth, the GPS module must be able to “see” 4 satellites. The module then
uses the precise time signatures from those satellites and uses the differences
in reception to locate its position. The biggest problems with GPS are due to obstruction
of the sky and RF interference.


A non-responsive touch screen can have a variety of causes.
First if you have a screen protector, remove it and turn the device off. Clean
the screen and your hands thoroughly. Don’t reinstall the screen protector
until it can be ruled out as a problem. Restart the device and recalibrate the

Apps not

If you have a condition where apps will not load or if apps load
slowly, first check the battery. Is the battery overheating? Is the device warm
to the touch? Examine the battery carefully for signs of swelling, which is a
dangerous condition. Remove the battery and allow it to cool to room
temperature. If the battery is swollen replace it immediately. Do not take
chances with a swollen battery. If it is not swollen, reinstall the battery and
re-evaluate the condition.


This condition is related to heat and also with having too many
apps open. Start your evaluation by feeling the temperature of the device in areas
not related to the battery. Consult your documentation for specific heat
related remedies. This condition could be due to a combination of too many apps
opened which exhausts the system resources and generates unwanted heat. Shut
the device down and let it cool. Restart the device and use your application
manager to see exactly what gets loaded at startup. Make adjustments to the
apps to lower resource usage and monitor the device for any recurrence of the
heat issue. If the steps above don’t work, you can always refresh the device
back to its factory settings using the key combination from the manufacturer.

Unable to
decrypt email

Most problems of this type are caused by a corrupted public key.
Public keys are created and shared with people encrypted email is received from.
If you can’t decrypt email at all, focus on your machine as your public key is
corrupt. You should recreate your public key and share it with your
confidential contacts.

Frozen system

When we discuss a “Frozen” system, we are usually talking about
a smartphone or tablet. A system lockup or freeze cannot be recovered and your
only option is to perform a soft reboot. Each manufacturer has a different
method for rebooting from a lockup so follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

No sound from

Sound issues on a mobile device can either be hardware or
software related. First, check the software. The user may have turned down the
volume or muted the speakers. Check the Sound device in the Device Manager and see
if it has any problems. Check the drivers and update them.

If all the above fail, try the Hardware Troubleshooter in the Control
Panel. If all these methods fail, plug in a set of headphones or external
speakers. If they don’t work, you may have a hardware problem.

processes for proper re-assembly

Disassembling a laptop can be one of your greatest
challenges unless you
adhere to a few simple steps. First and foremost, don’t even touch the laptop
unless you have the proper documentation from the manufacturer and you’re
wearing a ground strap. Remove all power sources from the unit including the
battery and the AC adapter. Next, follow the listed steps.

Document and
label cable and screw locations

Take pictures if you can.

Organize parts

There are several ways to organize the removed parts. You can
take notes and tape the screws to a piece of paper. You can use the repair
manual and tape the screws next to the appropriate instructions. You can also label
the removed parts and organize them using an empty egg carton or pill box.

Refer to
manufacturer resources

Always check the diagrams or pictures in the repair manual. Follow
all instructions to the letter.

appropriate hand tools

You will find different screw sizes, lengths, and screw head
configurations inside a laptop. These include different sized Phillip’s heads,
flat heads, and Torx heads. Your repair manual will have these screw head
configurations clearly labeled. Use the right tool for the job or damage to the
screw may result.

That’s it for 5.5. Only two Sub-Objectives left to go for A+ 220-1001 and if you have read them all, you are that much closer to success. Good luck on the test!

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5.4 Given a scenario, troubleshoot video, projector, and display issues.

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Common Symptoms

VGA mode

Accessed in the Advanced Boot Options by pressing the F8 key at
startup, Windows will offer VGA mode as a boot option. Newer versions of
Windows (8.1-10) refer to VGA mode as low resolution video. In either case, the
display mode we are referring to is the most basic video resolution and color
setting available. The purpose of VGA mode is to successfully access the system
using the standard VGA driver as opposed to the manufacturer’s driver. Using
the standard driver enables you to see your system while reducing the video
system’s impact on system operation. In this mode, your on-screen objects may
appear larger or geometrically distorted. Shown here is the Windows 8.1 access
method. Here you would press F3 to access low resolution video. You will now
have the ability to troubleshoot the system.

Startup settings in Windows 8.1

No image on

There are a variety of possible causes for this condition.
Troubleshoot this condition as you normally would any hardware issue. Start
with the obvious. Is the computer operational? Are the fans and lights all
running? Obviously there will be no image on the screen so you can’t use this
to check. However, do check the monitor (if it applies) for Power indicator
lights and check the cable connections carefully. If everything is in order,
try a different monitor on the system. If these steps fail, grab your user
manual as there may be a reset sequence.


Any heat related issues are most likely to be associated with
the graphics subsystem. Often, the demands of high quality video, rapid frame
rates, and millions of colors combine on the video chipset, which may even be
part of the processor. The byproduct of all this is heat. Although heat exchangers,
fins, and fans are capable of dissipating the heat, their effectiveness can be reduced
with dust, its only natural enemy. For example, a slight layer of dust in the
fin housing or under the fan blades can be sufficient to impede the cooling
capacity of the cooling unit. Variations in temperature may cause the system to
shut down protectively. Dust is easy enough to clean and dust buildup is important
enough to check regularly.

Here are some of the terms related to video problems that you
are going to need to be familiar with.

Dead pixels

A dead pixel is a picture element on an LCD panel that remains
unlit despite the fact it should be displaying a color or light of some type. Dead
pixels usually remain black.


Although artifacts usually appear as a small segment of
corrupted screen output, we’ll show the most extreme illustration of artifacts
that we can find. Shown below is a screen full of artifacts.

“Artifacts” – Corrupted screen output

In the 1970’s, this condition would be remedied by striking the
display which, as strange as it sounds, would work for short periods by
reconnecting broken tube filaments. This archaic technique will not work with
solid state components. Repairs can be attempted using manufacturer designed
software as sometimes a driver patch can help which would save money and man

Color patterns

This condition will be present in new “out-of-the-box” monitors.
If the colors are distorted or obviously wrong, start by power cycling the
monitor. If that fails, consult the documentation for the calibration routine
or use the Windows built-in calibration wizard.

Dim image

More often than not, a dim image is the result of the power
saving settings on a laptop or the ambient light settings on a flat panel TV. This
condition is remedied using the monitor’s controls to adjust the brightness.


A flickering image is the result of your monitor running a
refresh rate of below 60Hz. At or above 60Hz, the human eye cannot detect
changes in an image. If you display progressive groups of images at 60 frames
per second, those images would appear to simply flow along. If you take those
same images and display them at 50 images per second, they will appear to
stutter as each new image is shown.

image and geometry

Images on your monitor are displayed using a strict X-Y axis
description, X pixels high by Y pixels wide. 1024 by 768 is reproducible by
most monitors. If a perfect circle is shown on the monitor, variations to
either of the x-y values will result in an imperfect circle, possibly an egg
shape. Shown below is when a perfect grid of squares is displayed at the wrong

Distorted geometry

This can be resolved by setting your monitor to a standard
resolution. A very common example of this condition occurs when you display old
television shows on current flat panel wide screen monitors. The old content will
appear stretched, short, and fat.


Finally, just about the worst thing that can happen to a monitor
with years of useful life remaining is a condition called burn-in. Burn-in happens
when a single motionless high contrast image is displayed for a long period of
time, such as over a day. The result is that the image is “burned-in” or permanently
present on the display. The image may be faint but it is constantly being

Back to the table of contents

Okay folks. That’s it for 5.4. Good luck on the test!

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5.3 Given a scenario, troubleshoot hard drives and RAID arrays.

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Welcome to ExamNotes by Dumps4shared! This
objective technically deals with hardware but as you’ll see, this objective has
a software thread running through it. Don’t ever think about these tests in a
strictly hardware or software sense. We need the software to direct the
hardware and the hardware to run the software. With that established let’s move
on. In this objective, we are asked to troubleshoot hard drives and RAID
configurations using the appropriate tools.

We will start out by examining the devices and configurations
you are likely to encounter. We will look at the drive, the configuration
possibilities, and the problems that may occur in the particular configuration.

Hard Disk
Drives (HDD)

This is by far the most recognizable component in modern
hardware. It has however undergone many changes. From the first hard drives to
today, the principle behind a hard drive is the same. A hard drive is a sealed
enclosure that contains several magnetic platters, the read/write heads, and
all the objects that makes operation possible. We’ll look at them closely

Currently, a basic hard disk can come in two physical sizes:
2.5” and 3.5”. This doesn’t sound like a big difference but it is. The smaller
size accommodates the limited space requirements for a portable machine. In
addition, the smaller size reduces the energy requirement which saves valuable
battery life.

Let’s now look at the original, commercially available drive
which is the venerable 3.5” magnetic hard drive. This drive has been in use
since, believe it or not, when one could consider 5 MB a sufficient amount of
storage! During this time, a decent system would cost in the neighborhood of
$3,000 and you could get your own copy of the groundbreaking Windows 95! The
world has not been the same since!  Shown below is a great shot of the
inner workings of a HDD.

Hard Disk Drive (HDD) internal assembly

Inside the Hard Drive

Observe the perfection of the platters. This level of quality
and integrity is essential to ensure reliable performance and long Mean Time
Between Failure (MTBF). MTBF is a numeric representation of the average useful
life of a component, usually measured in tens of thousands of hours. If you are
responsible for the maintenance of hardware at your company, one of the many
essential tools is an external hard disk
. This greatly simplifies the process of swapping drives in and
out of your machine for testing. Furthermore, it allows you to check the cables
and connectors involved in order to validate them.

Shown below is a 3.5” hard drive that is open and labeled. This image
explains in good detail the components inside the enclosure. We’ll start with
the platters.

Disk (HD) internal details labeled

Platters are very precisely machined and metallically coated. Platters
have been designed to store your data in incredibly small sections called
sectors. The data is read from and written to these sectors through the heads.
There is one head for each platter. The platters are double-sided and can hold
different data on either side. The tolerances in here are quite tight. For
example, a drive having three platters can easily hold 2 TB of data.

The heads are controlled by an actuator which consists of very strong rare earth magnets which control the actuator arms that hold the heads. The actuator can precisely move the heads to the right positions and can move them rapidly to the next location. Now this is where your speed is generated. By combining the rotational speed of the platters with the ability to read/write efficiently to either side of any platter, you have the speed and efficiency you need in a hard drive.

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Higher read/write metrics can be achieved by increasing the spindle
speed. Speeds are available from 5,400 RPM to 10,000 RPM and above. There are of
course advantages and disadvantages to everything. Let’s say you want to get
more speed from your laptop by switching to a 10,000 RPM from a 5,400 RPM hard
drive. Your laptop will be faster but your battery will run out twice as fast.

Common symptoms

By far the most common complaint about a working machine is slow
performance which many users tend to blame on the hard drive. Others blame the
processor or memory which is a little closer to home.


Poor hard drive performance can be blamed on a number of
conditions. Fortunately, there are solutions for most of them. To address a
slow drive, you will want to use system tools to define and possibly repair the
problem. These tools include Defragmentation.

It is possible for a large file to exist with parts of the file spread
all over the disk. Parts of files that are not directly (logically) close to
each another are referred to as fragmented. Reading a file that is spread out
like this takes longer. The process of defragmentation
moves the associated files together in a contiguous arrangement
that is easier and faster for the drive to read. In addition, free space that
is clear is created to write data in. The end result is faster reads and
writes. This should be a once a month preventative maintenance activity.

Next, we’ll move to other drive problems that are associated by
their causes or repairs.

Here are some drive errors that can be pinpointed and possibly
remedied in the UEFI/BIOS.

Drive not

The drive was not auto-detected and the setup data needs to be
configured manually. Either that has occurred OR the drive has been damaged and
cannot be recognized by the system.

OS not
and/or Failure to boot

The drive is improperly set up OR the drive is damaged beyond
repair. The operating system boot files are always located on the outermost
track of the hard drive. This space is reserved for this purpose alone.

RAID not found

This would indicate that the RAID controller has failed OR one
or more disks are misconfigured.

RAID stops

This would indicate that one or more of the RAID disks has

Reporting Technology (S.M.A.R.T) tests critical areas of hard
drive functionality quickly during boot to assess drive “health.” S.M.A.R.T.
errors appear when there is plenty of time to act, provided you act fast. This
is not the sort of error that will go away by itself.

crash screens (BSOD/pin wheel)

This screen is a death by degrees sort of thing. A BSOD (Blue
Screen of Death) is pretty much what the name implies. By the time you see a
BSOD, your system is already dumping the contents of its memory into a DMP file
to be used for diagnosis. The pinwheel indicates that the program you are
running has crashed and has taken some system functions with it. You may be
able to use Task Manager to recover.


Here is a look at some of the software tools that can be used to
fix any hard drive issues.


This command, depending on the parameters used, can check a
drive’s overall condition all the way down to predicting sector failures and
getting the data off of them before there is a problem.


Use format when you are ready to start fresh. Formatting a
Windows disk essentially clears all data from the disk.

File recovery software

If you don’t have it turned on, turn it on now. Windows has the System
Restore feature that will restore your system back to a point before you had a
problem. Also, Windows SFC (System File Checker) will check critical Windows system
files and restore them if necessary.


This command can be used to repair the boot sector of a hard
drive including the files that belong there, such as the MBR and BCD.


This is a command line disk partitioning utility. It can be used
to delete all partitions on a disk or to re-arrange the sizes of partitions
provided there is space. Diskpart on a new drive can create a partition,
initialize it, and format it in preparation for the
operating system.

That’s all for 5.3! Good luck on the test.

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5.2 Given a scenario, troubleshoot problems related to motherboards, RAM,
CPUs, and power.

Welcome to ExamNotes by Dumps4shared! Moving right along, we’re at the fifth out of five Main Domains! We are also almost finished with the Hardware side of the CompTIA A+ objectives. In this section, we will mainly focus on troubleshooting with regards to the devices themselves as well as any issues involving network connectivity. You really need to have a solid grasp of each of these objectives in order to have a chance of beating the test. Here they are!

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Common symptoms

When you have a system crashing unexpectedly, it’s good to have a
list of things to check. This list should consist of items known to cause
general problems such as overheating, memory problems, and power problems. The
important thing is to determine what area of the system is likely causing the
issue and to systematically test every possible cause of that issue. This can
take seconds or days to diagnose depending on your methods.

For example, if you know you are having a video problem that
appears to be memory related, what type of memory should you check first? Say the
machine is using RAM Boost. Would you check that first? Probably not.

What about the main system memory? L2? L3? Video memory?

In this example, the smart money would be on the video memory as
the culprit. Check the video memory using the video diagnostics tool from the manufacturer
of the graphics card. If the computer has upgradeable memory, try removing it.
The graphics will be slower, but your problem may disappear.

Use your knowledge of how the system components interact with
each other and compare that with what you see and hear.

Let’s look at the system problems in the order presented in the
objectives. The first problem listed happens to be one of the toughest to


This condition can be caused by anything from a bad power supply
to system memory, the processor, or even the motherboard. So if the cause can be
basically anything, where do you start? First, allow the system to cool
down to room temperature, shut it off, and move onto something else until the
system components and heat sinks are cool to the touch. 

Now start the machine. If it’s your machine, follow your normal
usage pattern until the crash presents itself again. What were you doing when
the crash occurred? Do the contributing elements appear to be related to system
load, a specific program, or is it simply a matter of operating time? If
it’s a user machine, observe the user’s actions and ask questions.


Lockups will be diagnosed much the same way as unexpected
shutdowns, however this time with an emphasis on heat related conditions.

System error in Event Viewer

Here is a typical error shown in the event viewer. After
recovery, always try to use the Event Viewer to find out what caused the

code beeps

When there is a speaker present on the motherboard, audible
codes will sound which provide high value system failure information, giving
the technician good detail on the system level failures prior to successful
POST. This series of long and short beeps will direct the technician to the
component or subsystem that has failed or is not otherwise present. This is quality
information that is delivered before the screen data is visible.

Unfortunately, these audible codes are always different from one
UFEI/BIOS manufacturer to the next.

crash screens (BSOD/pin wheel)

This condition is more often referred to as a “hang” than a
crash. During this condition, a single program or a group of processes will
stop responding to operator input. When diagnosing this condition, always give
the program in use a few seconds to respond. Sometimes it is that simple. If this
doesn’t work, use the task manager to examine the running processes and see
which process is “Not Responding.” Examine the tasks and processes involved
since it’s often more than one. Once identified, end the offending tasks.

screen on bootup

This condition has several accompanying conditions, a couple of
which are shown below.

boots to BSOD – Blue Screen of Death

BSOD – Blue Screen of Death

Troubleshoot by looking up the STOP: error code displayed on the
BSOD and follow the instructions if relevant. These codes tend to be generic.
Sometimes, there may be several related to the same incident, as you can see in
the image. You may have to gather clues from each instance.

error screen on boot

Sometimes you will receive a black screen with a short “Humane”
message such as “PCI Wireless card not connecting. Check the connections.”
Albeit rare, these messages do exist. These messages will show when there is
enough information presented to the bootloader for it to provide specifically
actionable feedback to the user. The best examples of this are “Boot to Safe
Mode” and “Boot to Last Known Good Configuration.”

time and settings resets

Many Startup errors can be attributed to power settings. One classic
example of this is when your system date and time reverts back to something

At this point in your studies, you will have covered the BIOS
settings on a PC and how the BIOS settings are stored, modified, and

CMOS Battery

When the device is off, the information stored in the BIOS is saved
using a small watch battery, more specifically a 2032 type battery. This is a
very power efficient method of storing essential system configuration

to boot to incorrect device

Among the system settings stored on the UEFI/BIOS are the Drive
or Hard Disk information. This includes the Hard Drive boot order. The Drive or
Hard Disk information tells the read/write heads where to look for the boot
information as well as the preferred boot drive selection.


Sometimes, a continuous series of reboots will be caused by a
failed update or software corruption. More often than not however, the
continuous reboot situation is usually caused by a failing motherboard
component, the processor, or RAM.


A no power condition is diagnosable by the general lack of
noise, fan operation, drive operation, and lights. Check all of your power sources,
wall outlet, and power strip. If these are okay, check the connections to the


This is a serious condition with potentially severe
consequences. The circuitry used in today’s components can only tolerate so
many extremes of hot or cold. The greatest danger for circuitry is heat.
Fortunately, there are sensors built into the motherboard that can detect
temperature extremes and either issue a warning or shut down the system.

Causes of overheating can be due to clogged airways where the internal
air circulation is impeded or where there is excessive dust buildup on heat exchanging
surfaces such as the aluminum fins, heat pipes, and fan/cooler
assemblies. When you hear an odd sound coming from the case, it is probably the
heat sensor. The sound will be loud and
distinct enough to not to be mistaken for anything else.

device failure

An intermittent failure can have a number of causes such as a failing processor, motherboard, RAM, or bad drivers. Check the processor temperature first and then run RAM diagnostics.

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spin – no power to other devices

If the fans spin, you know that 12V power is being delivered to
the system since fans and drive motors operate on the 12 Volt power channel.
Some of the logic boards and indicator lights use 5 Volts
or 3.3 Volts.

Burning smell

Anytime you smell electrical components burning or smell or see
smoke, cut the power to the device(s). This is serious. Get the device outdoors
since burning components can create noxious fumes.


Capacitors store energy until they are released. When looking at
the top of the capacitor, you can see the pressure relief scores. These cross-shaped
indentations serve to create a weak area that will allow the capacitor to vent
as opposed to exploding. You can see that two of the capacitors have already
failed in the image below.

Failing capacitors



A Multimeter is a tool capable of measuring a wide range of both
positive and negative electrical values. A Multimeter is used to measure
two or more electrical values, usually two of the following three: voltage (Volts),
current (Amps), and resistance (Ohms). A Multimeter is an essential tool
for any technician. As you spend time in the field, you will realize that the
majority of the problems you will see have their root in electrical power.
Invest wisely in your meter.

You can get a good analog meter and it will serve you well.
Consider that these are fragile instruments and require you to pre-set the
value range you expect to see. If you don’t set the correct value range, you
run the risk of damaging the indicator pin.

There is an easier and more accurate alternative to the analog
meter. This is a digital Multimeter. You will find that most digital
Multimeters are auto ranging, eliminating the potential for damage. In
addition, the readings you get on a digital Multimeter are quite clearly
defined as opposed to an analog Multimeter where an accurate reading depends on
the angle you are viewing the meter from.

Two types of multimeters

supply tester

A Power supply tester functions much in the same way as a Multimeter,
except it looks for specific ranges. When using a good power supply tester, the
first thing you will notice is that the values are constantly fluctuating. This
is because most power sources vary within a tolerable percentage throughout the
day due to the load or number of electrical devices being used and the quality
of the incoming power. Please do not call the power utility if you encounter
this. These variances are all kept within tolerance and mainly concern your
line voltage, which will be between 100 to 125 Volts AC. You will see smaller
incremental variations in the measurements of your device. The device will
accept variations and will not warn or alarm you unless the values are
dangerously low or high.

Most people think high voltage is the only thing you have to
worry about, but low voltage can also be problematic for electronics. A good
tester will monitor DC Positive voltages of 12 Volts, 5 Volts, and 3.3 Volts.
As you can see in the digital output of the tester shown in the image below,
all the readings are close but only one is “spot on.” Given these variances,
the meter rates each range as good. There will be connections on the device which
accept different power connectors such as ATX P1, Molex, and SATA.

Power supply tester


Loopback plugs are essentially devices that send signals to
themselves. Self-contained, these devices are able to diagnose the sending and
receiving of data on the interface being tested.

Loopback plug

POST Card/

Next, we come to the POST Card/USB. The POST card has been
around for a long time and has been instrumental in diagnosing many hardware
failures that occur before POST completes. USB now makes it possible to perform
POST level diagnostics without opening the case. For (typically) under $10, you
can diagnose all the functions performed during POST and you can use the
digital code sent to see where your problem is.

Log entries and error

Always use all the tools available
to diagnose and troubleshoot RAM, CPU, and power problems. If you can access
the operating system, you will be able to use diagnostic tools such as Resource
Monitor in order to examine the resource usage and look for issues that could
appear to be related to hardware. You can also use the Performance Monitor to
view and log selected performance data over time in order to evaluate any
changes you make.

Finally, we’ll talk about Event
Viewer again. Here you will be able to view system events and filter them to suit
your requirements. Even BSODs will be tracked here.

That’s all for objective 5.2! Good luck on the test!

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5.1 Given a scenario, use the best practice methodology to resolve

This objective is relatively self-explanatory and the shortest of them all. In this section, we will break down best practice methodology for closer inspection and add comments where necessary.

First of all, always consider corporate policies, procedures, and impact before implementing changes. Then, while staying within the confines of these policies, proceed as follows:

Identify the problem using the following steps.

Question the user in order to identify the user’s changes to the computer.

Perform backups before proceeding further.

Inquire regarding environmental or infrastructure
changes. This requires you to check with
the user, and any other relevant parties, regarding any changes that may have impacted
the issue

Review system and application logs. Use Event Viewer on the local machine and review
any server logs that are relevant to the issue.

  • Establish a theory of probable cause (question the obvious).

If necessary, conduct external or
internal research based on the symptoms. Use
the information you’ve gathered to make a determination about the cause of the

  • Test your theory to determine the cause.

Once your theory is confirmed as the
cause of the issue, determine the next steps to resolve the problem. If your theory
is not confirmed or proven incorrect, come up with a new theory or escalate. Don’t waste time. If your theory doesn’t
work, rethink, get help, or escalate the issue to a higher-level technician.

  • Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution. Always plan the steps you need to take in order to resolve the problem first. Then follow them.
  • Verify full system functionality and implement preventive measures if applicable.

you are satisfied with your resolution, verify full system operation. You can
have the user perform this validation whenever possible. Take any steps that
would prevent recurrence of the issue.

 That’s all for objective 5.1. Good luck on the test!

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4.2 Given a scenario, set up and configure client-side virtualization.

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Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! In
this section, we will look at virtualization, the ability to do more with less.
Multiple tasks that once took multiple machines to perform can now be done by
one machine’s processing power. This process is called virtualization and can involve
two methods. Server-side virtualization (Type 1)
occurs when all of the processing is handled by the server which in-turn delivers
virtual environments or machines to each client. Client-side virtualization (Type
) occurs when the client desktops are virtualized into multiple
machines. In both cases, the virtual machines operate in their own isolated
space where their OS is installed on software which is used to emulate physical

Purpose of virtual machines

The purpose of virtual machines (VMs) is multi-layered.
Primarily, virtualization maximizes the resources available. No additional
physical resources are required for each virtual machine such as keyboards,
mice, and monitors. This reduces energy consumption and also lowers overall
heat generation. Another very stabilizing aspect of using the virtual
environment is that since the entire machine is now essentially software, it is
easier to backup and much easier to transport. There is no hardware to
transport and only the set of files, including the VHD (Virtual Hard Disk), is
required for transportation.

Virtual machines are run on software that emulates a
customizable, physical hardware environment and supports the installation and
operation of multiple operating systems. This is beneficial in application
testing where a single physical machine can support Windows, OS X, and Linux
systems, providing a reliable operational environment to evaluate the products.
This configuration also enables the user to run an older application, for
example one that requires Windows XP, by installing it on a virtual Windows XP

Classifications for Virtual Machines depend on the processing
power of the client and are as follows:

Zero client – this is essentially a
“dumb terminal” and consists of a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and network interface.
There is no operating system and this type uses complete server-side

Thin client – this client does little
to no processing but does have enough resources to barely support an operating
system. This type relies on the server to do all of the processing.

Thick / Fat client – this is a fully
functional workstation PC or portable device that is entirely self-sufficient
and will access the server only when necessary.

Resource requirements

Resource requirements for hypervisors, or Virtual Machine
Monitors (VMMs), depend on the scale, number of virtual machines (or instances)
to be deployed, the anticipated number of users, and the type of hypervisor
being used. The VMM allocates a specified amount of Processor cores, memory,
and hard disk space to each virtual machine instance. There must be sufficient
resources to support the host operating system, the VMM, and the VMs to be deployed.

Shown below is an example of a generous allotment of Processor, memory,
and disk space which has been dedicated to a VM. Note the memory allocation and
remember that the 64-bit version of Windows 8 only requires 2 GB of memory. The
additional Processor, memory, and disk space can then be used to support more
users. The VMM captures these resources when this example VM is running.

Virtual Machine settings

The VMM controls the total amount of memory available for all
VMs while leaving sufficient resources for the host. You should not run a VM
below its system requirements or above an amount that is supportable by the
host as performance will suffer. This particular host has a 6 core processor
and 16 GB of memory. With a host requirement of 2 GB and a 2 TB hard disk, there
is plenty of room for a single VM instance. As you enable each VM instance,
less computing power is available to the host.

Emulator requirements

One thing is constant: the host system’s UEFI/BIOS must support
virtualization. Intel platforms use Intel VT and AMD platforms use AMD-V.
Without these enhancements, virtualization on the host is not possible. The
Emulator (VMM) must have access to enough resources in order to sufficiently cover
the host OS and any resource allocations due to the VMs.

Shown below is the same VM running alongside a Linux
installation that has 2 GB assigned. That’s 2 GB for the host, 2 GB for the Linux
instance, and 6 GB for the Windows install which equates to 10 GB total memory

VM Resource usage

In comparison at rest with no VMM enabled, the machine uses
roughly 30% of the Processor and 4.1 GB RAM.

Security requirements

Security requirements for VMs are particularly important because
new users tend to think that VMs are protected by the host’s
antivirus/antimalware software. This is not the case. Remember that virtual
machines are completely isolated from the host. Install the proper protection
packages on your VM and also realize that as a “machine,” separate software
licensing applies in most cases. Read your agreement carefully.

Network requirements

On a hosted VMM, you cannot consume more network bandwidth than
the host can support. For example, if you create instances of a Web server, an
FTP server, and a file server on the host machine and the instances experience
high network traffic, the host PC’s networking performance will fail since the
network bandwidth will be allocated to the running VMs. If the network traffic
is really high, the network performance of the VMs will also fail.


Hypervisor is another term to identify the Virtual Machine
Manager (VMM). Hypervisors come in two types. Yes! That’s right! Type 1 and
Type 2.

Type 1 hypervisor (Bare
Metal) is installed on a clean machine with no operating system, typically a
server class machine in a multi-server environment. Compared to a conventional
operating system, this allows for more system resources to be dedicated to the
VMs due to the nearly nonexistent overhead. In order to remotely configure the
hypervisor, Type 1 hypervisors require a Management Console to be installed on
a separate physical machine. This external control is required due to the lack
of an operating system on the target hardware.

Type 1 hypervisor management consoles have the capability to
dynamically allocate resources. This is easily demonstrated in the case of RAM.
If you have 16 GB of RAM installed, dynamic allocation can support multiple VMs
configured with 16, 10, 8 and 4 GB of RAM for a total of 38 GB. The memory
resources are supplied to the VMs as needed, meaning that in most cases the
total requirement of the VMs will not exceed 16 GB and each virtual machine
will get what it needs at any particular time. If the memory capacity is
exceeded, the VM instance will be moved seamlessly and imperceptibly to a
server that can support it.

Type 2 hypervisor (Hosted)
is dependent on a host system’s operating system in order to run. The picture
below shows a Type 2 hypervisor installed on a Windows machine that is running
two VMs, one Linux and one Windows. In the left-pane, you can see the library
of available VMs.

Most type 2 hypervisors allocate all of the designated resources
upon the boot of each instance. It is quite possible to crash the host OS by
over-allocating resources. For example, consider we have multiple instances of
the same OS available and identically configured for testing. If we were to
turn them all on at the same time, the allocated resources would exceed the
available resources and the Host, as well as the VMs, would all crash. Be aware
of the finite nature of your resources and how your hypervisor type will
deliver them to the VM instances.

Type 2 Hypervisor

That’s all for 220-1002 Core 1 Objective 4.2. See you next time and good luck on the exam!

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4.1 Compare and contrast cloud computing concepts.

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Welcome to ExamNotes by CertBlaster! In
this edition, we will examine the Cloud and the wealth of services available through
it. A quick caution, when you are examining services, there is a tendency in
the sales community to use Cloud terminology/buzzwords to describe traditional
services in order to make them sound updated. You will not find these terms
discussed here or on the test, but you may encounter them in life or

We will first look at the Cloud service categories as defined by
the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Next, we will look
at the types of services available and some of the methods used to make
hardware, applications, databases, and even operating systems run online.

Common cloud models

Cloud services are hosted and managed by third party entities
that provide most of the hardware and software required to access their
services on demand. These
services need to be broadly accessible and must provide resource pooling. Storage
needs to provide rapid
elasticity and be capable of measured service. There
are several service models which are used to describe the level of service the
provider and the customer are responsible for. Think of Cloud service
categories as a stack of service models, with the lowest layers providing the
foundation of total vendor management responsibility. Here is an example.

Cloud services


SaaS stands for Software as a Service. In this case, the vendor
supplies and manages everything from the hardware to the applications that are
used. This is a total solution as users and developers alike can access and
modify the content. Different Cloud computing types offer different levels of
accessibility as you will see next.


IaaS stands for Infrastructure as a Service.  IaaS is at
the foundation in terms of vendor responsibility. The vendor supplies virtual
access to the hardware, including virtual servers that can run the customers,
server software, and applications on demand. This configuration also can be
used to host websites and email servers. As the name implies, the vendor
supplies the Infrastructure and the customer supplies the applications and
data. Depending on the agreement, the vendor may or may not supply the
operating system(s).


PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. It is quite similar to
IaaS but provides two additional value-added services, making it the second
layer in the Cloud Services model. For example, consider a platform for
collaborative software development that maximizes the workflow regardless of
the data source of an application. This means dissimilar sources can be used and
proprietary application data can be used in the creation of software. This type
of platform is useful for supporting multiple developers and automating the
testing process.

Public vs. Private
vs. Hybrid vs. Community

Public Cloud

The Public Cloud is available to all parties over the Internet.
There are numerous companies providing publicly accessible services such as email
and storage.

Private Cloud

A Private Cloud is internal to a company or organization and
provides access only to those on the premises or connected via VPN. Private
Clouds are the most secure type.

Hybrid Cloud

A Hybrid Cloud is a combination of public and/or private Cloud
networks. These are often offered by hosting providers along with dedicated
hosting.  A company may use the private internal Cloud for storage of confidential
communication and the external Cloud for email and web services.

Community Cloud

A Community Cloud is used by a collaborative group that shares resources
for a common goal. This could be a medical group, insurance company, or any
group of entities that has a shared objective. These Cloud types tend to be
bigger than Private Clouds but smaller than the Public Cloud.

Here is a graphic representation of the main Cloud computing

Cloud computing public – private

Cloud Requirements

In order to qualify as a Cloud compatible service, the
Infrastructure, Platform, and Software must meet the NIST guidelines listed
below. These guidelines are the minimum requirement as additional services can
be provided by a Cloud service.

Rapid Elasticity

Rapid Elasticity is the ability of a Cloud solution to scale its
service level to meet the demand. This can take the form of adding storage
space or user capacity seamlessly without interruption or the need to
physically change hardware.


On-demand is used to describe a service that is available at any
time. The redundancy that is available to Cloud-based solutions makes 100%
availability (uptime) a reality.

Resource pooling

Resource pooling allows providers to share and spread the
available resources across multiple consumers or companies. Resources are
scaled dynamically and imperceptibly to each user as needed. This provides the
maximum utilization of resources while providing the expected levels of

/ Metered service

Measured service is the practice of analyzing, measuring, or metering
the amount of resources used by an individual or organization. This is used for
billing or for capping instances of over the limit consumption. This covers
quantifiable elements such as bandwidth, storage, or other services.

Off-site email applications

Even with instant messaging taking up much of the routine
communication between known users, email continues to be the most reliable
method of communication. There are public online email providers, such as Gmail
or Yahoo, which are excellent for non-sensitive communication. Off-site email
applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, can provide hosted email services that
are accessible only to a single organization.

Cloud file storage services

Cloud storage is available from the major OS and mobile
device manufacturers. iCloud provided by Apple, Google Drive by Google, and
Microsoft’s OneDrive are a few well-known examples.

Synchronization apps

Each cloud storage option uses a proprietary sync app based
on your account. The synced data can be accessed using a browser and your
account information. There are also third-party sync apps that will work with
several cloud storage services.

Virtual application
streaming/cloud-based applications

Cloud-based applications use software installed only on the
cloud server. These apps are accessed through a web browser without requiring any
local installation.

A hybrid form of this technology is streaming where a small
portion of the app is installed locally and the majority of the process is running
on the cloud. This allows a streaming app to setup the connection and its
parameters locally, enabling quality adjustments to be made based on the
connection properties.

Applications for cell

Each OS will have a preferred download location for apps.
This ensures optimal compatibility with the device and software. For example,
many of the apps used on cell phones and tablets are different from those used
on laptops and desktops regarding how they use available resources. You may see
the option to download the desktop or mobile version of the software.

Virtual desktop

A virtual desktop can be provided as part of a cloud
infrastructure. In this case, the cloud service provider’s hypervisor presents
a virtual desktop to a client using Virtual Desktop infrastructure (VDI). This
desktop will perform according to the base configuration and any modifications
called for by the user’s credentials. This is considered to be a persistent

Once connected, the integration is seamless and the user is
not limited in their capabilities. When a hypervisor allows guest or
non-credentialed access, the VDI will consist of a generic configuration and any
changes will not be saved. This is considered to be a non-persistent VDI.

Virtual NIC

Hypervisors need at least one virtual network interface card
(VNIC). Multiple VNICs can be created in a hypervisor and it is advisable to
create multiple VNICs when supporting multiple virtual clients.

That’s all for sub-objective 4.1! Good luck on the test!

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A+ Exam Objectives for 220-1001 – Core 1 and 220-1002 Core 2

The main objectives as defined by CompTIA for the A plus 220-1001 exam are Hardware, Networking, Mobile Devices, Hardware, and Network Troubleshooting. The exam tests your knowledge of installation, configuration, and maintenance of hardware. You are also expected to have basic networking knowledge as well as the ability to diagnose and troubleshoot hardware problems and/or malfunctions.

The main objectives as defined by CompTIA for the A plus 220-1002 exam are Windows Operating Systems, Other Operating Systems & Technologies, Security, Software Troubleshooting, and Operational Procedures. The exam tests your knowledge of installation, configuration, and migration path for Operating Systems. You are also expected to have basic knowledge security and mobile devices configuration and setup. The largest objective is troubleshooting. Here you are expected to understand troubleshooting methodology and best practices.

Dumps4shared A+ Practice Test Performance Based Question Examples:

This question tests your ability to perform a custom workstation configuration based on a user’s particular needs. This question addresses A+ 220-1001 Exam Objective 3.4 “Given a scenario, select, install and configure storage devices”.

Screenshot of and A+ 220-1001 Performance Based Question for CompTIA Sub-Objective 3.4
A+ 220-1001 Performance Based Question CompTIA Sub-Objective 3.4

The question tests your ability to perform a custom hard drive installation and configuration based on predetermined specifications.

Below question tests your system requirements knowledge and addresses A+ 220-1002 Exam Objective 1.5 “Given a scenario, use Microsoft operating system features and tools”.

Screenshhot of a Dumps4shared A+ 220-1002 Performance-based Question addressing exam objective 1.5.
A+ 220-1002 Performance-Based Question addressing exam objective 1.5.

This question tests your ability to troubleshoot using configuration settings in this Windows simulator.

A+ 220-902 Performance Based Question (PBQ) Windows Simulator
A+ 220-1002 Performance Based Question (PBQ) – Run commands in the Windows simulator.


CompTIA’s weighing of the main A+ domains

Domain Percentage of Exam 220-1001 – Core 1

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 and Network Troubleshooting 27%
Total 100%

Domain Percentage of Exam 220-1002 – Core 2

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%

Why should you care?

Because it reveals the approximate number of questions you will be facing on exam day. Knowing that the total number of questions is 90, you can deduce that Operating Systems will be about 24 questions (27% of 90), 21 Security questions etc.

About the A+ Certification Credential

With over 1,000,000 people already certified, the CompTIA A plus Exam is the most successful vendor-neutral entry-level IT professional exam ever developed. CompTIA A+ 220-1001, aka Core 1, focuses more on hardware knowledge, you will also need the software dominated part of the exam, A+ 220-1002 to be A+ certified. It covers the fundamentals of computer technology, installation, and configuration of PC’s, laptops and related hardware, and basic networking. It tests for the fundamentals of computer technology, networking, and security, as well as the communication skills and professionalism required of all entry-level IT professionals.

How Long Does CompTIA Certification Last?

CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications will be valid for three years from the date the candidate is certified. After the three years renewal will be required although there are a few ways around this. Instead of recertifying, you can earn CEUs and some other certifications, would you take them, can alleviate the need to recertify, for more on this, go to CompTIA. A huge exception to this policy are candidates who certified prior to January 1, 2011. If you did, you are certified for life!

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