Information Technology Academy ______________ _

A+ Training Manual

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Table of Contents

Section 1: Personal Computer Components................6
Fundamental PC Concepts......................................................6
Storage Devices..............................................................................6
Floppy Drives.........................................................................................6 Hard Disk Drives....................................................................................7
Hot-Swappable.....................................................................................................7 Hard Drive Connectors........................................................................................8
IDE (EIDE/PATA)...............................................................................................................8 SATA (Serial ATA)...............................................................................................................9 SCSI......................................................................................................................................9

Motherboards...............................................................................11 Processors (CPUs).......................................................................11
32-bit Processors..................................................................................11 64-bit Processors..................................................................................12 Multi-Core Processors..........................................................................12 RISC versus CISC................................................................................12

Memory........................................................................................12
DIMM Chips........................................................................................13
SDRAM DIMMs .................................................................................................13 DDR SDRAM (DDR1) DIMMs ..........................................................................13 DDR2 SDRAM DIMMs ......................................................................................14

Power Supplies............................................................................14
Installing a Power Supply.....................................................................14

Display Devices............................................................................14
External Monitors.................................................................................15

Input Devices...............................................................................15 Adapter Cards..............................................................................16 Ports and Cables..........................................................................17
USB......................................................................................................17 Other Types of Ports and Cables...........................................................18

Cooling Systems...........................................................................19
Liquid Cooling Systems.......................................................................19

Installing and Configuring PC Components.........................19
Internal Hard Drives...................................................................19
How to Install an IDE Hard Drive........................................................20

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External Hard Drives............................................................................20

Formatting Drives.......................................................................20
Formatting a Hard Drive.......................................................................21

System Imaging...........................................................................21 Installing Display Devices...........................................................22
Monitor Control Panel..........................................................................22 Windows Display Settings Control Panel.............................................22 LCD Projectors.....................................................................................22

Input and Multimedia Devices....................................................22

Troubleshooting PC Problems..............................................22
Troubleshooting Problems..........................................................22
Essential Tools for Troubleshooting.....................................................23

Diagnostic Procedures................................................................23
Communicate.......................................................................................23 Backup the Computer...........................................................................24

Recognize and Isolate Issues......................................................24
Setting Priorities When Troubleshooting..............................................25 When You Hit a Wall...........................................................................25 Hardware Troubleshooting...................................................................26 BIOS POST Diagnostic Beeps..............................................................26 Document Your Findings.....................................................................27

Preventative Maintenance...........................................................27

Section 2: Laptops and Portable Devices...................27
Fundamentals of Laptops......................................................28
Laptop Technologies...................................................................28
Battery..................................................................................................28
Alkaline...............................................................................................................28 NiCad (Nickel Cadium)......................................................................................28 NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride)............................................................................28 Li-Ion (Lithium Ion)............................................................................................28

Memory Effect.....................................................................................28 Exam Moment......................................................................................29 AC Adapter..........................................................................................29 LCD Screen..........................................................................................29 Video Adapter......................................................................................29 System Board.......................................................................................30 Memory................................................................................................30

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Processor..............................................................................................30 Hard Drives..........................................................................................30 Expansion.............................................................................................31 CardBus................................................................................................32 User Input Devices...............................................................................32

Difference Between Desktop and Mobile Technologies............32

Installing, Configuring, and Upgrading Laptops..................33
Power Management.....................................................................33
BIOS ACPI...........................................................................................33 Suspend, Hibernate, Standby................................................................33

Hot Swappable versus Non-Hot Swappable Devices.................34

Troubleshooting Issues with Laptops...................................34
Diagnosing Problems..................................................................34 Monitor Issues.............................................................................35 Stylus Issues.................................................................................35

Preventative Maintenance and Laptops................................35
Preventative Maintenance Techniques.......................................35

Section 3: Operating Systems.....................................36
Operating System Fundamentals..........................................36
Differences Between Operating System Platforms....................36
Windows..............................................................................................36 Linux....................................................................................................39

OS Components...........................................................................42
Core Services........................................................................................42
File System..........................................................................................................43 Virtual Memory...................................................................................................43 The Registry........................................................................................................44
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT..................................................................................................45 HKEY_CURRENT_USER.................................................................................................45 HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE..............................................................................................45 HKEY_USERS....................................................................................................................45 HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG............................................................................................45 Registry Files......................................................................................................................45

Editing the Registry..............................................................47
Windows Interface Components.................................................48
Windows Explorer................................................................................49 My Computer.......................................................................................51

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My Documents.....................................................................................52 The Recycle Bin...................................................................................52 Control Panel........................................................................................53 Command Prompt.................................................................................54 My Network Places..............................................................................56 Task Bar and System Tray....................................................................56 Start Menu............................................................................................56

Operating System Files...............................................................59
BOOT.INI............................................................................................59 NTLDR................................................................................................64 NTDETECT.COM...............................................................................64 NTBOOTDD.SYS................................................................................65

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Section 1: Personal Computer Components
Fundamental PC Concepts
Fundamentally, PCs haven’t changed that much in the last decade or two. Sure, you’re now sporting a terabyte of hard disk space and 3GB of RAM, but the core hardware of a machine is basically the same. We are going to dissect different components of a PC and show you how it all works together to produce that fancy computer sitting on your desktop today. For many of you, this will be a review of what you already know but for some of you, you will find components and parts you are unfamiliar with. We understand if you are adept at computer hardware and speed read these sections.

Storage Devices
Storage devices are hardware which is used to store files and data. This includes floppy disk drives (FDD), hard disk drives (HDD), CD & DVD drives (Optical drives), and all sorts of removable storage – thumb drives, flash drives, SD cards, memory sticks, tape backup drives, USB drives. In this section, we need to identify what each type of storage is and what characteristics each has.

Floppy Drives
Ok, raise your hand if you have a newer computer with a floppy drive in it? Anyone? Anyone? Ok, maybe a few of you do, but floppy drives are a technology which has gone by the wayside. Several years back, Dell made the decision to cut out floppy drives. The other manufacturers were quick to follow. There are two primary types of floppy drives that existed in the early years of the PC industry: 3-1/2” and 5-1/4”. If you can find a PC in your company which has a 5-1/4” floppy drive, I give you props – and a recommendation to clean out your old PCs. 5-1/4” floppy drives have been gone from mainstream PCs. Unfortunately, a few 3-1/2” floppy drives still exist so we have to discuss them here.

The images above show a 3-1/2” floppy and a 5-1/4” floppy. The 3-1/2” floppy has a hard outside shell while the 5-1/4” floppy was, well, floppy. In the early days of tech support, the 3-1/2” floppy was often referred to by users as a “hard disk” – because they just didn’t know any better.

Figure 1: 3-1/2" Floppy Drive Note from the Field: If you have a few floppies still lying around, keep them, they can be very useful. I was consulting with a client the other day who had several old Compaq ProLiant servers. Compaq

6 ProLiants come with a nice setup utility called SmartStart. Due to the age of this equipment, I had to use an older version of SmartStart which required a floppy disk to setup Windows. Guess what I couldn’t find? I ended up rummaging through some boxes in my basement and finding an old driver disk I could reformat for the server setup.

Hard Disk Drives
Hard disk drives are often referred to as “mass storage devices” – they can hold a large amount of data and in the context of this section, are “fixed” – installed in a PC. Later, we will discuss external hard disk drives. In early PCs, hard disk drives were measured in megabytes, now it’s mostly gigabytes, though manufacturers are breaking the terabyte level on some newer drives.

Figure 2: Hard Disk Drive

Figure 3: The Insides of a Hard Disk Drive Hard drives come in many different physical sizes, speeds, and connector types. The guts of a hard drive are all basically the same: it contains one or more platters with a head which reads data. You will often hear speed described in RPM: 5400RPM, 7200RPM, 10,000RPM, and even 15,000RPM. The higher the number, the faster the drive spins the platter and can read data. Typically you will only see 10,000RPM (also called 10K) and 15,000RPM (15k) drives in servers or high-end workstations. Speed is also measured by the data transfer speeds which is limited by the type of connector the hard drive uses. We will discuss speeds with each connector section.

Hot-Swappable
Most Hard Drives are fixed inside desktop PCs, but servers frequently contain hot-swappable hard drives. A hot-swappable drive is mounted inside a special drive cage which can be pulled out and replaced while the server is on. You don’t want to remove a hard drive from a desktop PC while it is still running! Hot-swappable drives are important in servers as uptime is extremely important. Most server configurations use some sort of redundant drives (RAID technology) to have data spread across multiple drives.

7 In a RAID 5 configuration, for example, you can have one drive fail and the data will be safe. A hotswappable drive can be replaced and rebuilt in the array without shutting down the server.

Hard Drive Connectors
In a couple of sections, we will discuss several different connector types on the motherboard or add-on cards for connecting drives. There are basically three types of connector types : IDE (EIDE), SATA, and SCSI. IDE (EIDE/PATA) For years, IDE and its successor EIDE were the most popular drive adapter types on the market. It is still in use and is frequently used to connect CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives even if your system has SATA or SCSI for the hard drives.

Figure 4: IDE Ribbon Cable

Figure 5: IDE Rounded Cable IDE refers to the ATA technology specification. Another name for the ATA disk drive technology is Parallel ATA, or PATA, compared with our next drive connector type Serial ATA (SATA).

Figure 6: 4 Pin Molex Power Connector - ATA Drives ATA has several different versions which all use the connector and cables shown above. ATA: Commonly referred to as an IDE connection, ATA supports a maximum of 2 drives. It is a 16-bit interface. ATA-2: Sold as Fast ATA or Enhanced IDE (EIDE), ATA-2 supports block transfers and logical block addressing. Ultra-ATA: Supports speeds of 33 Megabits per second.

8 ATA/66: Developed by Quantum and supported by Intel, doubles ATA throughput to 66 Mbps. ATA/100: Most frequently used today – supports up to 100 Mbps. SATA (Serial ATA) Serial ATA is an evolution of the Parallel ATA connectors we discussed above (in the form of IDE). Serial ATA cables are smaller allowing for easier airflow in computers. Additionally, they are faster than ATA with speeds at 150 Megabytes per second and 300 Megabytes per second (1.5 Gbits and 3.0 Gbits respectively).

Figure 7: SATA Connection Cable With a much higher data transfer rates, you can take advantage of faster hard drives with SATA. My workstation has a 150GB 10,000 RPM Seagate Cheetah drive as the boot drive – very fast! SATA also supports hot pluggable drives while Parallel ATA does not. For this reason, SATA has replaced some of the lead SCSI has in the server market, allowing server vendors to reduce some cost in their server systems.

Figure 8: SATA Power Connector Whereas the ATA drives use a 4 pin molex power connector, most SATA drives use a new flat style power cable. SCSI Small Computer System Interface, or SCSI, has been around for a long time in the computer industry. Once the only interface on Apple Macintosh systems and still used in a variety of servers and workstations, SCSI is a very reliable and fast connector which is frequently used in RAID configurations with multiple hard drives for redundancy.

Maximum Interface Connector Clock Throughput SCSI-1 Fast SCSI (SCSI-2) Fast-Wide SCSI (SCSI-2; SCSI-3 SPI) IDC50; Centronics 5 MHz (8C50 bits) IDC50; Centronics 10 MHz (8C50 bits) 2 x 50-pin (SCSI-2); 10 MHz (16bits) 5 MB/s 10 MB/s 20 MB/s Length (single ended) 6m 1.5-3 m 1.5-3 m Length LVD NA NA NA Length HVD 25m 25m 25m

Devices 8 8 16

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1 x 68-pin (SCSI-3) Ultra SCSI (SCSI-3 SPI) Ultra Wide SCSI (SCSI-3 SPI) Ultra2 SCSI (SCSI-3 SPI) Ultra2 Wide SCSI (SCSI-3 SPI) Ultra3 SCSI (SCSI-3 SPI) Ultra-320 SCSI Ultra-640 SCSI IDC50 68-pin 50-pin 68-pin; 80-pin (SCA/SCA-2) 68-pin; 80-pin (SCA/SCA-2) 68-pin; 80-pin (SCA/SCA-2) 68-pin; 80-pin 20 MHz (8bits) 20 MHz (16bits) 40 MHz (8bits) 40 MHz (16bits) 20 MB/s 40 MB/s 40 MB/s 80 MB/s 1.5-3 m 1.5-3 m NA NA NA NA NA NA 12m 12m 12m 12m 25m 25m 25m 25m NA NA 8 16 8 16 16 16 16

40 MHz DDR 160 MB/s (16-bits) 80 MHz DDR 320 MB/s (16-bits) 160 MHz DDR (16bits) 640 MB/s

Table 1: Parallel SCSI Versions, retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCSI

Figure 9: External SCSI Connectors SCSI comes with a variety of connectors, both internal and external. The table above describes some of the connectors based on which version of SCSI you are using.

Figure 10: Internal SCSI Cable One of the primary differences between SCSI and ATA adapters is the number of devices one port supports. SCSI supports either 8 or 16 devices, depending on the version you are using, with the SCSI adapter card being one device. Each device has a unique SCSI ID in the chain, from 0-7 or 0-15. The SCSI host adapter is typically SCSI ID 7 – the ID with the highest priority on a narrow (8 device) or wide (16 device) host adapter.

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Figure 11: HD68 LVD SCSI Terminator The other difference between SCSI and other types of drive connections is that the SCSI “chain” of devices has to be terminated on each end. A terminator tells the SCSI host adapter that it’s connection is the last in the chain of SCSI connections. Typical SCSI host adapter cards (or integrated SCSI ports on motherboards) have a built-in terminator. If you are using external SCSI devices, a lot still use a terminator device which plugs into one of the SCSI ports on the device to signal it is the last device in the SCSI chain.

Motherboards
The motherboard, or system board, contains the central processing unit (CPU), BIOS, other processing chips, memory, IO device connections, expansion slots, and more. Over the years, the motherboard has increasingly taken more functions from what was historically installed as expansion cards. For example, many computers you buy today have all of your typical input connectors (keyboard, mouse, USB), and added in Firewire (IEEE1394), video, network, audio (input and output), IDE, SCSI, SATA, and more.

The primary purpose of the motherboard is to process instructions from the operating system and applications. The processing is performed by the CPU which we will discuss in the next section. The motherboard stores active information in the memory and facilitates sending data to the hard drives through the drive interface. Motherboards are not typically considered a field replaceable unit by consumers, but is replaceable by a certified vendor technician. A field replaceable unit is a component which is able to replaced in the field – not requiring the computer be sent in to be repaired. For example, a hard drive is replaceable while a CPU is not. There are many different motherboard vendors and thousands of different types of motherboards. A motherboard is unique to a certain chipset and family of processor. For example, a vendor might create one motherboard which is compatible with the Intel Socket 370 series of chips and a different motherboard which is compatible with AMD’s AM2 Sempron series of chips.

Processors (CPUs)
Processors, or Central Processing Units (CPUs), are the chips that are at the core of the computer system and process instructions and direct information between all of the other chips, memory, and storage systems on the computer.

11 There are two main CPU manufacturers: Intel and AMD. Each has a full line of 32-bit and 64-bit processors. There are other CPU manufacturers such as IBM, Motorola, and VIA, but each of these is small market share or specialized for a specific purpose (e.g. IBM/Motorola PowerPC in the old PPC line of Macintosh computers). VIA (Cyrix) makes Intel-compatible chips, but is a small player compared to Intel and AMD.

32-bit Processors
Most computers built in the last decade, and a majority of those being built today, use a 32-bit processor. The Intel compatible 32-bit chips are often referred to as “32-bit x86 architectures.” Intel licensed early 32-bit chips to other manufacturers but declined to license the Pentium models, so AMD and Cyrix began designing their own 32-bit chips.

64-bit Processors
AMD introduced the first 32-bit backwards compatible architecture, the AMD64, in September 2003. Intel subsequently released their version of x86-64 chips and 64-bit chips were brought to the Windows desktop. The AMD and Intel chips can run 32-bit software, but Microsoft, Apple, and Linux has Operating Systems written to run in native 64-bit code. Microsoft calls their OSes Windows XP 64-bit edition and Windows Vista x64. One of the big differences between the 64-bit edition and 32-bit edition is the use of device drivers. The 64-bit editions of the Windows OS required native 64-bit signed device drivers to recognize and properly use hardware. If you are running a system with hardware with no 64-bit drivers, you may run into problems.

Multi-Core Processors
If you wanted to increase the speed of a computer, you could install multiple processors. Running multiple processors is an expensive proposition and required you to have a motherboard designed for it. Additionally, if you have a one processor machine and add a second processor, you will need to reinstall the Operating System for the system to function properly. If you want to upgrade your computer to dual processors, you must reinstall Windows as the HAL is based on the number of processors you have in your machine. Microprocessor manufacturers wanted to get more performance out of their chips so they began designing chips with multiple microprocessors in one chip. By 2007, it is very common to see desktops, laptops and servers with a dual-core processor – one which has two microprocessing cores in it. Quadcore, or chips with four processors, are becoming increasingly common in datacenters and specialized workstations. Some high end manufacturers, such as Sun Microsystems, build systems with 8-core CPUs.

RISC versus CISC
You should be familiar with the two general terms for processors: RISC and CISC. Originally, most processors began as CISC chips – Complex Instruction Set Computer – while high end systems had RISC chips – Reduced Instruction Set Computer. RISC chips were designed to required a fewer number of instructions to do tasks which resulted in faster speeds. Over time, CISC has been able to catch up in terms of speed to RISC chips. The PowerPC is an example of a desktop RISC chip – used in older Apple Macintoshes. Apple has since moved their platform to a 64-bit Intel core.

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Memory
Memory is referring to RAM, or Random Access Memory. RAM is a volatile type of computer data storage. RAM are integrated circuits which can be accessed “randomly” – the data stored on the chips is accessed in any order. RAM is volatile – it loses the data stored on it when the computer is turned off – versus hard drive storage which is non-volatile, turn off the computer and the data isn’t lost. RAM is used for storing the working area of the OS, applications, and data. RAM comes in memory “sticks” which insert into slots on the motherboard. RAM can be removed and upgraded very easily – and depending on the type of memory, could be upgraded a chip at a time. Other upgrade configurations include upgrading two chips at a time or four chips at a time. As an IT technician, you will need to learn the differences between types of RAM and the technologies they use to ensure you properly upgrade or switch out memory in PCs. A RAM module is the gum-pack size chip which plugs into the motherboard. On the RAM module, there are several memory chips.

DIMM Chips
A DIMM, or Dual Inline Memory Chip, is a major type of memory which is replacing SIMM, or single in-line memory modules. SIMMs have a 32-bit data path while DIMMs have a 64-bit data path. Most new chips have at least a 64-bit bus width, so it would require two “matched” SIMMs, versus a single 64bit DIMM. The most common types of DIMMs are:
    

72-pin DIMM, used for FPM DRAM and EDO DRAM 72-pin SO-DIMM, used for FPM DRAM and EDO DRAM 100-pin DIMM, used for printer SDRAM 144-pin SO-DIMM, used for SDR SDRAM 168-pin DIMM, used for SDR SDRAM (less frequently for FPM/EDO DRAM in workstations/servers) 184-pin DIMM, used for DDR SDRAM 200-pin SO-DIMM, used for DDR SDRAM and DDR2 SDRAM 240-pin DIMM, used for DDR2 SDRAM and FB-DIMM DRAM

  

For various technologies, there are certain bus and device clock frequencies that are standardized. There is also a decided nomenclature for each of these speeds for each type.

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SDRAM DIMMs
These first synchronous registered DRAM DIMMs had the same bus frequency for data, address and control lines.
  

PC66 = 66 MHz PC100 = 100 MHz PC133 = 133 MHz

DDR SDRAM (DDR1) DIMMs
DIMMs based on Double Data Rate (DDR) DRAM have data but not the strobe at double the rate of the clock. This is achieved by clocking on both the rising and falling edge of the data strobes.
   

PC1600 = 200 MHz data & strobe / 100 MHz clock for address and control PC2100 = 266 MHz data & strobe / 133 MHz clock for address and control PC2700 = 333 MHz data & strobe / 166 MHz clock for address and control PC3200 = 400 MHz data & strobe / 200 MHz clock for address and control

DDR2 SDRAM DIMMs
DIMMs based on Double Data Rate 2 (DDR2) DRAM also have data and data strobe frequencies at double the rate of the clock. This is achieved by clocking on both the rising and falling edge of the data strobes. The power consumption of DDR2 is significantly lower than DDR(1) at the same speed.
   

PC2-3200 = 400 MHz data & strobe / 200 MHz clock for address and control PC2-4200 = 533 MHz data & strobe / 266 MHz clock for address and control PC2-5300 = 667 MHz data & strobe / 333 MHz clock for address and control PC2-6400 = 800 MHz data & strobe / 400 MHz clock for address and control

Chip speed data from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIMM

Power Supplies
A computer power supply unit (PSU) is the component which converts AC electrical power into DC power of various voltages used inside the PC. The PSU converts 100-120V American AC power or 220-240 European AC power into low voltage DC power. Some power supplies automatically sense and convert between European and American voltage, some have manual switches, so do not work with different power sources.

14 Figure 12: PSU with covering off, retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_power_supply Power supplies are rated by their maximum power – generally from 200 watt to 500 watt. Workstations and high end gaming PCs have power supplies near the upper end of the range, while small form factor and inexpensive PCs are down towards the lower end.

Installing a Power Supply
A power supply should not be disassembled – the components on the inside produce too great a chance of electrocution – it should always be replaced. Do not remove the case from the power supply – change out the entire power supply.

Display Devices
There are two types of display devices you should be familiar with: notebook screens and external monitors.

Notebook screens are typically LCD and are measured by the diagonal length of the screen. Screen sizes range from several inches to 17” widescreen on most commonplace laptops. Screen resolutions vary, but that is much less of a concern now than it has been in the past.

External Monitors

CRT Monitors For years, Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors were standard and very few people could afford an LCD screen like a laptop uses. Over the past several years, LCD has become the predominant type of external monitor – it’s hard to even find a CRT monitor (though I have a couple in the basement you can have!). CRT monitors are known for their size and bulk, but have great picture and color quality. It took several years for LCD to catch up – and exceed – CRT monitors. CRT monitors range in size from old 12” to 24” and larger.

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LCD Monitors Over the last several years, LCD monitors have become very commonplace and are loved by consumers for their small size and low weight. At one time LCD monitors were very pricey as compared to CRT monitors, but the price gap has narrowed so much as to not be a significant factor any longer. You must be more careful with an LCD monitor as it is easier to damage than a CRT monitor.

Input Devices
Input devices are all of those accessories you use to input data to your computer including keyboards, mice, pen tablets, joysticks, etc. Installing a keyboard mouse is as simple as plugging it in and turning on the computer to let the operating system recognize it. On older systems, a keyboard and mouse may use the PS/2 style connectors, while more newer systems (and newer input devices) use USB. Installing a Scanner A scanner is also an input device. A scanner can be connected via several different I/O ports including USB, SCSI, and parallel.

Most parallel port scanners have two parallel ports on the back – one to the computer and one which acts as a passthru to your printer. Parallel port scanners often require driver software to get them to function properly which should be included with the scanner.

A USB scanner just requires a USB cable from the scanner to one of the open USB ports on your computer. In the illustration above, A illustrates the USB cable end to the scanner while B shows the end connecting to your PC. Some USB scanners are plug’n’play with no driver software needed, while others require Windows drivers to operate correctly.

16 For SCSI scanners, you must follow the manufacturer’s directions to install. One thing to note for the exam is that the scanner, like all SCSI devices, must be part of a properly terminated SCSI chain. If it is the last SCSI device and is not properly terminated, the SCSI devices in your system will not function correctly.

Adapter Cards
Most newer systems have plenty of ports for every day use, but you may find yourself upgrading, adding, or replacing adapter cards in a variety of situations in a professional capacity. This may include adding additional USB ports, adding a Firewire (IEEE1394) port, or adding a new sound card into a system.

Figure 13: Add-on Firewire Adapter Card If you do find yourself needing to add an adapter card to a PC, follow these directions:

Attached your ESD strap to your wrist. Open the case of the computer.

Identify an open slot for the adapter card. If there is a slot cover, remove it.

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Insert the adapter card and press firmly into the slot. Close the case of the computer. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for properly installing the device drivers.

Ports and Cables
There are several types of ports and cable you should be familiar with.

USB

Universal Serial Bus, or USB, is the new standard for peripheral connection to PCs. USB is a jack of all trades – handling a wide variety of input devices and storage devices including external hard drives, keyboards, mice, scanners, printers, PDAs, digital cameras, USB devices range from scanners to printers to storage devices.

Because of the ability to handle multiple types of devices easily, systems are moving towards also complete ubiquity of USB ports and devices are moving toward using only USB for connectivity. I recently bought a system where its only input ports are USB and Firewire. There are two standard versions for USB: 1.1 and 2.0. 2.0 is backward compatible with 1.1 (it supports 1.1 devices) but has a much faster data transfer speed. USB 1.1 supports data transfer up to 12 mbps while USB 2.0 supports data transfer speeds of up to 480 Mbits per second. USB 3.0 will bring us transfer speeds of up to 4.8 Gbits per second. Each PC supports up to 127 devices.

Other Types of Ports and Cables
DB-9

18 DB-9 is a standard connection for a COM cable (serial cable). Contains 9 pins. DB-25 DB-25 is the other standard connection for Serial cables. Serial communications only use 9 of the available 25 pins. Parallel (IEEE 1284) A 25 pin connector on the computer side and a 36 pin connector on the printer side. Most printers are moving to a standard Ethernet or USB connection. RJ-11 RJ-11 is a standard telephone type connection. It is 4 or 6 wire and some networking equipment has used RJ-11, though RJ-45 is more common. RJ-45 RJ-45 is the most popular network cable/connection type. RJ-45 is similar to the RJ-11 type connector, though it has 8 wires. BNC BNC is a type of network connection most commonly used in 10 Base 2 networks. BNC is primarily used with a coaxial cable. PS2/MINI-DIN PS2 is a standard developed by IBM for keyboards, mice, and input devices. Uses a DIN connection with 6 pins. IEEE 1394 IEEE 1394 is the standard for what is commonly referred to as “Firewire”. Apple Computer coined the term when they began adding Firewire ports to their Macintosh computers. IEEE 1394, or Firewire, is a high speed connector for data intensive applications such as video editing or external storage devices. Standard Firewire supports up to 400 Mbits per second transfer while newer Firewire/800 supports 800 Mbits/second. Each PC can support up to 63 Firewire devices.

Cooling Systems
PCs generate a lot of heat – the CPU, hard drive, video card, processing chips, etc. put out a ton of heat in a small enclosed space. The computer system must properly maintain a reasonable temperature or things could – literally – melt down. There are several different type of cooling systems available for PCs with two primary methods: air and liquid. The most common cooling method is a series of fans designed to blow heat away from heatsinks on the CPU and video cards – the two biggest heat generators in the system. Figure 14: Fancy Heatsink A heatsink is designed to disperse the tremendous amount of heat generated on chips in a system. Typically, a heatsink has a fan attached to it to blow the heat away from the CPU and allow it to maintain a reasonable temperature.

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Liquid Cooling Systems
A technology which is currently used by high end computer systems is liquid cooling. Liquid cooling uses water or another liquid to cool the system and maintain proper temperatures.

Installing and Configuring PC Components
Internal Hard Drives
Internal hard drives are used to store your operating system, applications, and data. Installing a new hard drive is a fairly simple process – whether you are replacing, upgrading, or adding a new hard drive. The type of hard drive determines how you can install it. If you hard drive is an IDE drive, IDE supports a maximum of 2 drives per channel (most computers have two channels supporting four total drives). SCSI and SATA have different requirements. You have a couple different choices for drive configurations: IDE 0 Hard drive 1 IDE 1 Hard drive 2 IDE 2 CD-ROM drive IDE 3 Open Or IDE 0 Hard drive 1 IDE 1 CD-ROM drive IDE 2 Hard drive 2 IDE 3 Open If you have more than two hard drives or dual CD/DVD drives, you will have to consider a different combination.

How to Install an IDE Hard Drive
1. Shut down the computer and power it off. 2. Unplug the power supply. 3. Wear an ESD wrist. 4. Open the computer case. 5. If you are replacing a hard drive, find it in the system. § Unplug the IDE cable and the power cable. § Remove the drive from the drive cage. § Attach the new drive into the drive cage. § Plug in the IDE cable and power cable. 6. If you are adding a second drive, find an open spot in the drive cage. § Attach the new drive into the drive cage. § Plug in the second IDE port on the cable and a power cable.

20 § Close the case of the PC. 7. Plug the PC back in and turn it on. Most newer PCs feature a BIOS which will automatically detect and configure the PC for the new hard drive. If yours does not, you will need to enter the BIOS to configure it for a second hard drive.

External Hard Drives
External hard drives are in cases and typically connect through one or more of these connection types (in order of popularity): USB, Firewire (IEEE1394), Ethernet, eSATA, SCSI, or wireless. Some drives have multiple connection ports so you can pick and choose based on your requirements – e.g. transfer speed, open ports on your computer. Figure 15: 320GB External Hard Drive External hard drives come in a variety of sizes (as of November, 2007 they range from 20Gb to 2TB) and drive configurations – common external hard drives come with one or two hard drives. Many external hard drives with two drives offer RAID 0 and RAID 1 configurations for continuous volume and redundancy purposes, respectively. Figure 16: External HD with IEE1394 and USB Ports Many external hard drives come with backup software and “one touch” backup – you press a button on the hard drive and it notifies the backup software to begin backing up the system. Installing an External Hard Drive Installing external hard drives is one of the easiest tasks on newer systems – most come preformatted and ready to go right out of the box – you simply plug it in. Windows will automatically recognize the external hard drive and mount it.

Formatting Drives
Before you can use your new hard drive, you need to format it. You can format it several different ways. First, you need to create a new partition in Windows XP or Windows Vista. Creating a Partition 1. Open Computer Management – right click on My Computer and select Manage. 2. You will see the new disk below. 3. Right-click on the new disk and select Initialize if it is not yet initialized. 4. Right-click on the new disk and select Create New Partition. 5. Click the Next button. 6. Select your partition size – unless you want multiple partitions, leave it as is and click Next. 7. Select the drive letter and click Next. 8. Label the drive and click Next. 9. Next, Windows will format the drive. 10. Once it is finished formatting, it will display in Disk Management.

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Formatting a Hard Drive
1. Open a command prompt (click Start, select Run, type in cmd, click OK). 2. Type in format x: where x: is the drive letter you want to format. 3. Press Enter

System Imaging
System Imaging is the process by which you make an exact copy of one system onto another. For example, if you are in a large corporate environment, you may create one system image for your desktop which you then want to deploy to all of the systems you buy – ensuring continuity from one system to the next and saving time. Can you imagine how much time it would take to setup thousands of workstations, install an operating system, install all of the applications, and configure each system? With system imaging, you setup one computer with the operating system, drives, applications, and configuration you want, save the image, and then you can deploy it multiple times. There are several different types of systems which allow you to perform this imaging: the most popular are Ghost and Microsoft SMS. Sysprep Sysprep is a tool from Microsoft which prepares a system for imaging after it has been configured. Sysprep is required because Microsoft assigns a system ID (SID) to a computer when the OS is installed. This SID is used in a variety of security situations and needs to be different for each computer. If you were to just image a computer and apply it to thousands of new computers, each workstation would have the same SID which may cause problems in your network and on your domain. Sysprep prepares the computer to assign a new SID on bootup and does a variety of other configuration things to prepare the computer for imaging. Sysprep is free and available in the Microsoft deployment tools on the corporate Windows XP or Vista discs.

Installing Display Devices
Installing a display device is a very easy process. Today, most monitors are plug’n’play – you simply plug the monitor into the VGA or DVI port and turn it on, no installation is necessary. You configure the monitor settings in two places: through the monitor’s built-in control panel and Window’s display control panel.

Monitor Control Panel
The monitor control panel is often access through a button on the bottom or side of the monitor. The graphic shown is a typical monitor control panel which appears superimposed on whatever is current displayed on your monitor. In the monitor control panel, you can control brightness, contrast, color settings, monitor settings, and audio (for monitors with built-in speakers).

Windows Display Settings Control Panel
Windows has its own control panel applet to control monitor settings. The Display settings control panel can be reached in the control panel or by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Properties.

22 You can control the settings of your display and which display to use as your primary (when you have multiple monitors) in this control panel.

LCD Projectors
When you plug an LCD projector into a laptop computer, you must often activate the external monitor port. This typically requires you to press a key combination on the keyboard. On Dell Laptops, Function+F8 cycles through the monitor combinations including internal only, external only, and both on. On Compaq/HP/Gateway models, Function+F4 cycles through the monitor combinations.

Input and Multimedia Devices
There are many types of input and multimedia devices that you can use on your computer. Earlier, we discussed keyboards and mice. Keyboards and mice and connected and recognized by Windows XP automatically and typically do not need drivers installed. Some keyboards or mice with special hardware do need drivers to use the special functionality and are installed as needed. Earlier, we also discussed scanners and connecting them via USB, SCSI, and parallel. Most devices require you to install the driver software first before plugging the device into the computer. This is to ensure Windows does not detect the device and try to install an incorrect driver or not find a driver and mark the device as unused. It is often advisable to install using the manufacturer’s driver and plug the device in when directed by the software.

Troubleshooting PC Problems
Troubleshooting Problems
As an IT technician, troubleshooting PC problems will be one of your core job responsibilities. Troubleshooting is both art and science and you can learn how to do it. Troubleshooting also happens to be why many of us sign up for jobs in IT and enjoy the day to day – troubleshooting and diagnosing problems excites us!

Essential Tools for Troubleshooting
There are many tools you can use to work on PCs, but there are two essential tools you should bring when troubleshooting a problem – pen & paper and an ESD strap. You will learn in the Safety section how crucial an ESD strap is, but it can mean the difference between a fixable computer and a dead piece of junk. Pen & paper are crucial to troubleshooting so you can write things down you will need to remember later – such as error codes, software settings, or a web address. You don’t want to have to bother every customer you visit for a pen and paper so you can write things down. You also do not want to rely on your memory for an error code. A typically Microsoft error code might read: 0x878225xCCC00 LOAD SICILY FAILED. Will you remember that on the trip back to the office or upstairs to your machine? Essentially, there are three reasons why you will be called to troubleshoot a PC problem: 1. User error – also known as training issue – the user is trying to do something he or she does not understand or is doing incorrectly and thinks the computer is “broken.” 2. Recent changes to software or hardware.

23 3. Actual computer hardware failure. The third reason is actually a much smaller percentage of the problems you will face than the first two. In troubleshooting, you need to determine first if the problem is just user error or if something changed on the user’s computer. A change on the computer could be an intentional change (I installed this great piece of software off the Internet which downloads cute pictures of kittens, oh and also broken my accounting application) or an unattended change (Windows update installed a security fix which broke the accounting application). In a small percentage of service calls, you will be lucky enough to have an actual piece of broken hardware to fix! To figure out what kind of event happened to cause the service call, you will need to ask the user several questions.

Diagnostic Procedures
Communicate
The first step in diagnosing a problem is to communicate with the user. Determine exactly what the user believes the problem is – this will go a long way in determining the true issue and how to best resolve it. The user may describe a symptom to the problem and not the actual problem. For example, a user might say: “I’ve got a 6:00pm flight to catch and this stupid printer won’t spit out my document. I need this document before I go and I need to go!” The real issue is that the user needs the document printer so she can run out the door. Spending several hours troubleshooting why the particular printer/document won’t print won’t help her – instead, getting the document printed and then getting the overall problem fixed is the right order – get her the document so she can get out the door, then fix the root problem! Alternatively, the user might say something like this: “I can’t get my email!” When really, the problem is the user isn’t even connected to the network. By identifying what the user believes the problem is also helps in one other way – it puts some constraints on what you have to do so you do not get stuck fixing every possible thing on his machine without solving the one thing he wants you to fix. You should ask the user probing questions to determine the scope of the problem: When did the problem start? How often does the problem occur? Do you remember adding any software or hardware before the problem occurred? Can you re-create the problem for me? Does it happen in certain applications or at certain times? These questions can help narrow down what the problem is.

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Backup the Computer
It is good practice to backup the computer prior to making any changes during troubleshooting and repair. Before you identify what you think the problem could be, backup the computer using Windows system backup or your company’s preferred backup software.

Recognize and Isolate Issues
Recognizing and isolating the issues is the essence of troubleshooting. You should start troubleshooting while not ignoring the obvious and move in closer to the problem. For example, let’s look at a situation where you are troubleshooting a user who cannot connect to the network:

In this example, we start at the general problem, “No Network Connectivity”, and then increasingly get more detailed throughout troubleshooting. We may have gone in a different direction at one point, but eventually, we troubleshoot enough potential problems to find the core problem. Real World Example There was once a situation where we were troubleshooting a network connectivity issue. A user couldn’t connect to the network. We went through a troubleshooting process of identify the problem from a “large circle” perspective and determined the problem could be in any of these areas:
• • • •

Network Issue (e.g. bad switch, bad wall port, DHCP server down) Network Cabling Issue (bad patch cable, bad cable on the back end) PC Network Interface Card (bad card, bad port, wrong card settings) Software Issue (bad driver, incorrect configuration settings, Windows issue)

We worked on this issue for awhile and decided the user had a bad cable and replaced it. The problem still occurred and we searched for another solution. Several troubleshooting steps later and we came back

25 around to it being a cable issue. Again, we replaced the new cable with no resolution to the problem. After much more troubleshooting, we replaced the cable a third time and the problem was resolved! We had a bad original cable and two bad replacement cables. No matter how obvious you think the solution is – and think it can’t be that simple – try it anyways! You never know when the solution isn’t just sitting in front of you. I often find in troubleshooting that the most simple explanation is usual the right one.

Setting Priorities When Troubleshooting
When you are troubleshooting a problem, you must learn the art of setting priorities. You often don’t have time to try every troubleshooting path you think of, you must learn how to decide the most likely cause, go down that troubleshooting route, and return if you need to. Much of this ability comes with time and experience – the most you experience, the easier it becomes to jump to a conclusion as to the most likely problem. One of the methods you can use to set priorities is by making a list of the likely causes and then ranking them 1 to 4 with 1 being “Most Likely” to 4 being “Least Likely.” For example, let’s assume a user is having a problem with a “slow computer.” If there isn’t a more vague complaint! There are a lot of causes for “slow computer,” so begin by making a list and marking each item with a 1 to 4 rating: 1. Most Likely Cause 2. Likely Cause 3. Somewhat Likely Cause 4. Least Likely Cause My list might be something like this: Adware/spyware software (1) Bad motherboard (4) Degraded hard drive (2) Too much software installed (3) Service Pack installation failure (4) Needs additional memory (1) You could probably come up with another 20 items, but that’s a good start. Now that I have a couple theories on what the problem could be, I will begin troubleshooting the computer by checking for spyware, checking memory usage, examining the hard drive for fragmentation, checking to see what software is installed, and so on. The list gives me ideas as to what the problem might be, and provides ideas on what order to attack the problem.

When You Hit a Wall
What do you do when you hit a wall in troubleshooting? One of my favorite scenario questions when interviewing job candidates is a troubleshooting question with no clear answer. The question is designed to gage the technical depth of the candidate – push them to their technical limit – then find out what they do when they hit the proverbial wall. So what do you do when you hit a wall in troubleshooting and need to find the solution? Find Someone Senior The first thing you might try is to ask someone senior to you if they have seen this problem before. This step is designed for a “quick hit” – if they have not seen the problem, you should not just hand it off to them to solve. It’s a learning opportunity for you to troubleshoot and research a problem to completion.

26 Web Research The next step is to research the issue using the Internet. There are hundreds of good knowledge bases and forums out there for you to use in research, but quite frankly, it comes down to Google.com and Microsoft.com. These two resources will help you find the answer to almost any problem. Actually, in my many years in IT, I have only had one problem which we were unable to use the Internet to find a solution. We found one user in Germany who had a similar problem to ours and no answer on the forum. Unfortunately, he didn’t reply to our emails so we ended up troubleshooting the problem for weeks until we found a solution. Otherwise, the Google has always been the best resource to find a solution. It is often the case that how you phrase your search term will depend on if you find the answer to your problem or not. You might try several different versions of your search term to see what results come up. I have found that Microsoft’s internal search engine is lacking. To find something in Microsoft’s knowledge base, try this search term: Site:Microsoft.com inurl:kb my search phrase You should also be aware that many hardware vendors have extensive knowledge bases and forums on their sites. Some are better than others, but all have great information to help track down your problem.

Hardware Troubleshooting
If the problem is related to hardware, there may be some obvious clues as to what the issue is. For example, if the computer is beeping during POST, you are dealing with a hardware issue.

BIOS POST Diagnostic Beeps
During Power-On Self Test (POST), the BIOS checks different hardware to ensure it is operating correctly before starting the bootup process. This POST check will produce several beeps if something is not operating correctly. Here are several common beep codes and what they mean: 0 Beeps: Power issue or problem with the power supply. 1 Beep: If at the end of POST and the computer boots up, no problems. 2, 3 Beeps: RAM issue – reseat memory or replace with known good memory chips. 4, 5, 7, 10 Beeps: The motherboard has a serious problem and should be repaired/replaced. 6 Beeps: Keyboard error. 8 Beeps: Video card error. Reseat and check connections. 9 Beeps: Faulty BIOS. Replace the motherboard. These are guidelines to typical beep code errors. You should always check your specific computer manufacturer’s documentation for the exact error message. POST beep error codes are often a series of long and short beeps with specific meaning to help in troubleshooting. Exam Moment One of the frequently asked questions on the exam involves a computer system continually losing time setting. This is often caused by a CMOS battery which has lost its charge. Replace the CMOS battery and the computer will start retaining its time settings.

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Document Your Findings
As you troubleshoot, you should keep written record of your progress. This will help other technicians assigned your case if you are off work, and also help you narrow down what the problem could be so you do not repeat troubleshooting you have already performed. At the end of your troubleshooting and once you have solved the problem, you need to document your findings in whatever trouble ticket or knowledgebase system your company uses. This ensures that the next technician who picks up a problem for this user or finds a computer with a similar problem will have access to what you did to resolve the issue. This will save valuable time and money in the future.

Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is work you perform to prevent future problems from occurring. Preventative maintenance could include:
• • • • • • • • • • •

Vacuuming the interior of a desktop PC for dust Replacing frayed or old cables Hardware driver updates Firmware updates Cleaning equipment Software updates Hard drive defragmentation Microsoft Windows Security updates Antivirus software updates Mouse trackball cleaning Keyboard cleaning

These are just some of the examples of preventative maintenance you can perform on computer equipment you service. You should schedule preventative maintenance for machines you work with. This maintenance could include any number of the tasks we discussed above, but commonly include cleaning and software updates. When you do perform preventative maintenance, you should only use approved cleaning solutions and materials, such as canned air for cleaning our keyboards or monitor wipes for cleaning monitors. Preventative maintenance should occur in a static free environment with the technician using ESD straps to prevent electrostatic discharge which will ruin electronic equipment.

Section 2: Laptops and Portable Devices
Understanding and working with portable computing devices is becoming increasingly important in the current IT environment. With notebook computers accounting for over half of the new computers being purchased today, CompTIA’s acknowledgement that laptops and portable devices are important is shown with a whole section focused on mobile devices.

28 In this section, you will learn about mobile technologies, how they make laptop computers function, primary differences between desktop computers and laptops, upgrading laptop computers, diagnosing problems on laptop computers, and preventative maintenance techniques with laptops.

Fundamentals of Laptops
Laptop Technologies
Battery
One of the most obvious differences between a laptop and a desktop computer is the ability to use a laptop where you do not have an AC outlet. Battery technology has evolved over the past decade from manufacturers primarily using NiCad batteries to new Lithium Ion and NiMH batteries. Newer batteries (such as the ones in Apple’s portable computers) can get five or more hours of use – versus older NiCad batteries where you were lucky to get two hours!

Alkaline
You know alkaline batteries by the common ones you use everyday – AA, AAA, C, D are all Alkaline batteries. Alkaline batteries are frequently used in PDAs, but not used in laptops or notebooks.

NiCad (Nickel Cadium)
NiCad was one of the first rechargeable battery technologies used in laptop computers. It is heavier than competing battery technology and suffers from “memory effect.” Over time, these batteries lose the ability to fully recharge. Most NiCad batteries last for 3-4 hours, but over time, they can degrade to 2 hours, or even less than 1 hour of charge. NiCad are also the cheapest batteries to manufacture.

NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride)
NiMH batteries weigh the same as NiCad batteries but do not last as long as Li-Ion batteries do. They are the most environmentally friendly of these batteries as they do not contain toxic chemicals. They are the most expensive of these battery types.

Li-Ion (Lithium Ion)
A Li-Ion battery is lightweight and holds a longer charge than NiMH or NiCad. Additionally, Li-Ion doesn’t have the “memory effect” – so it can be charged no matter how full it already is. A Lithium Ion battery is considered to be the best battery – it is the most expensive, but the combination of light weight and longer operation times means it is much more effective for portable computing than the competing technologies.

Memory Effect
You’ve probably heard the term “memory effect” before. Memory effect describes batteries which lose some of their ability to charge over time. Some batteries, such as NiCad batteries, require an occasional drain to 0% or 1% to be able to be fully recharged. If, over the life of using your battery, you consistently let the battery get down to about 50% charge, then recharge it, over time the battery has “memory effect” and is not able to be fully charged. Users with laptops with NiCad batteries should be informed that they need to frequently let the battery run down to 0% charge before recharging.

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Exam Moment
Which of the three primary laptop battery types – NiCad, NiMH, and Li-Ion – is considered the best? Answer: Li-Ion. Its combination of light weight and good performance outweighs the other two. It is the most expensive of the three, but by far, the best option.

AC Adapter
Notebook computers use an AC Adapter to charge the battery and run the computer while the battery is being charged. There are two primary type of AC Adapters: built-in and brick-style. A built-in AC adapter is integrated into the laptop itself and only requires a cable to the AC outlet. A brick style AC adapter is an external “brick-shaped” adapter which must be used to power the laptop.

IBM Brick Style AC Adapter The AC Adapter’s primary purpose is to convert the AC power from the wall outlet into DC power which the computer uses.

LCD Screen
LCD screens have evolved since the early laptops with a monochrome screen to ones of vibrant color and high resolution. Newer (high end) laptops ditch LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) in favor of newer low power LED screens. As a popular choice for desktops and laptops, support for LCD monitors has become ubiquitous in IT support departments. You should be aware of two types of color LCD screen technologies: active matrix and passive matrix. Active Matrix: Active Matrix displays use at least one transistor per pixel on the screen. This allows the electrical charge per pixel be held longer and provides vibrant and fast LCD screens. Active Matrix is also known as a Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display. Passive Matrix: Passive Matrix monitors have one transistor per horizontal row and one per vertical column on the display. The monitor sends an electrical signal across one row and down one column, where they intersect, it displays a pixel. This produces much lower quality images and a slower display. Though you need to be aware of the two types of LCD screens for the exam, almost all laptop manufacturers have moved to using Active Matrix at the very least.

Video Adapter
Just like a desktop computer, the laptop computer has a video adapter. It is frequently much smaller in size than on a desktop computer and often is built-in to the motherboard on the system.

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System Board
The system board in a laptop is designed for two things: small size and heat dissipation. Two of the major problems laptop manufacturers have is how to fit all of the components into the laptop and how to handle the tremendous heat CPUs, video chips, memory, and hard drives produce. The system board commonly contains all of the chips required for the system to run and interface. These include the video adapter, sound card, networking, expansion port circuitry, and more. Laptop Motherboard As you can see in the picture, the laptop motherboard looks very similar to a desktop motherboard. At the upper left handcorner, you see where the processor plugs into the system. Just below that is where the memory is inserted.

Memory
Laptop memory is similar to desktop memory, though smaller in size. Due to size constraints, most laptops support only one or two memory slots limiting the total amount of memory you can run in the laptop. Most laptops support a maximum of 2GB of RAM.

Processor
Some laptop computer use desktop processors, though most use processors designed for the high demand of mobile computing. The primary problem with desktop processors is the amount of heat they generate. A desktop computer can use a series of heat sinks and fans to dissipate the heat which is not possible in a notebook computer due to size constraints. As processor manufacturers develop faster and faster chips, they find the chips produce more and more heat which is extremely difficult to offset. Processor manufacturers (such as Intel) design mobile chips to use less power and often run at a slower speed than their desktop cousins. Most processors are not field replaceable for laptops and instead need to be replaced by a computer manufacturer authorized technician.

Hard Drives
Laptop computers use a smaller form factor of hard drive than their desktop counterparts. Mobile hard drives are typically 2.5” in size, versus a 3.5” in size for desktop computers. Because of their smaller physical size, laptop hard drives trail desktop hard drives in the amount of storage they can contain. Whereas in early 2008 desktop hard drives have reached 1 terabyte in size, laptop hard drives are maxed out at 250GB. Most manufacturers put 500-750GB hard drives in desktops while most laptop manufacturers build notebooks with 80-120GB drives. Laptop Hard Drive

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Desktop Hard Drive

Expansion
Expansion of a laptop usually takes one of two connections: PCMCIA or USB.

A PCMCIA slot is an expansion slot accepting standard cards about the size of 20 business cards stacked. As a computing standard, PCMCIA cards come in a wide variety of purposes including TV tuners, network adapters, cellular cards, or sound cards.

Almost all notebook computers (less some ultra-lightweight computers) support PCMCIA expansion cards. The PCMCIA association has since renamed the card as a “PC Card” . There are several types of PCMCIA cards, described below from Wikipedia’s PCMCIA description (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_card): All PC Card devices use an identical 68 pin dual row connecting interface. All are 85.6 mm long and 54.0 mm wide. This is the same size as a credit card. The form factor is also used by the Common Interface form of Conditional Access Modules for DVB broadcasts. The original standard was defined for both 5 volt and 3.3 volt cards. The 3.3 V cards have a key on the side to protect them from being damaged by being put into a 5 V-only slot. Some cards and some slots operate at both voltages as needed. The original standard was built around an 'enhanced' 16-bit ISA bus platform. Type I Cards designed to the original specification (version 1.x) are type I and feature a 16-bit interface. They are 3.3 mm thick. Type-I PC Card devices are typically used for memory devices such as RAM, flash memory, OTP, and SRAM cards.

32 Type II Type-II PC Card devices feature a 16- or 32-bit interface. They are 5.4 mm thick. Type-II cards introduced I/O support, allowing devices to attach an array of peripherals or to provide connectors/slots to interfaces for which the host computer had no built-in support. For example, many modem, network and TV cards use this form factor. Due to their thinness, most Type II interface cards feature miniature interface connectors on the card which are used together with a dongle; a short cable that adapts from the card's miniature connector to an external full-size connector. Type III Type-III PC Card devices are 16-bit or 32-bit. These cards are 10.5 mm thick, allowing them to accommodate devices with components that would not fit type I or type II height. Examples are hard disk drive cards, and interface cards with full-size connectors that do not require dongles (as is commonly required with type II interface cards). Type IV Type-IV cards, introduced by Toshiba, have not been officially standardized or sanctioned by the PCMCIA. These cards are 16 mm thick.

CardBus
CardBus are PCMCIA 5.0 or later (JEIDA 4.2 or later) 32-bit PCMCIA devices, introduced in 1995 and present in laptops from late 1997 onward. CardBus is effectively a 32-bit, 33 MHz PCI bus in the PC Card form factor. CardBus includes bus mastering, which allows a controller on the bus to talk to other devices or memory without going through the CPU. Many chipsets are available for both PCI and CardBus, such as those that support Wi-Fi. The notch on the left hand front of the device is slightly shallower on a CardBus device, so a 32-bit device cannot be plugged into a slot that can only accept 16-bit devices. Most new slots are compatible with both CardBus and the original 16-bit PC Card devices. The speed of CardBus interfaces in 32 bit burst mode depends on the transfer type; in byte mode it is 33 MB/s, in Word mode it is 66 MB/s, and in DWord mode it is 132 MB/s.

User Input Devices
There are several types of user input devices available on laptop computers: keyboard, trackpad, eraserhead style pointer, trackball. The user input devices are slightly different on mobile devices than their desktop counterparts. Typical laptops have a “full size” keyboard with no numeric keypad. Smaller, lightweight notebooks have smaller, condensed keyboards. With a built in trackpad, eraser head style pointer, or trackball, controlling the mouse is slightly different on a laptop. Most laptops have a USB port or Bluetooth to use an external mouse if the user desires.

Difference Between Desktop and Mobile Technologies
There are many differences between desktop computers and mobile computers, as illustrated in the discussion of different parts of notebook computers above. The primary technology differences between a laptop and desktop come from the requirement for low power consumption and small form factor for laptop computers. This requires processors which use less money, circuit boards which take up less space, and an overall design which can fit into a unit no bigger than three inches high while closed.

33 Notebook computers use power management to control the amount of power it uses to increase battery life time. Power management does a combination of things, including slowing down the hard drive, dimming the monitor, and throttling down the processor to reduce power usage. Mobile computers are also more likely to use wifi than desktop computers. Since the computer is more mobile, it is likely to have wireless networking built-in to take advantage of wireless hotspots and corporate wireless implementations.

Installing, Configuring, and Upgrading Laptops
Power Management
BIOS ACPI
The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) specification defines common interfaces for hardware recognition, motherboard and device configuration, and power management. ACPI is used for power management and is different than the previous APM BIOS model by putting the Operating System in charge of power management. Previously, APM had the BIOS control power management. ACPI also brought the power management features from laptop computers to desktops and servers, allowing desktops and servers to utilize low power modes where only the RAM is powered with the ability to quickly “wake up” on command. Microsoft first supported ACPI in Windows 98 and continues to support it through current operating systems. ACPI requires compliant hardware, so it cannot be applied to older systems.

Suspend, Hibernate, Standby
Sleep mode, or “standby”, is a mode in which your computer uses a little power to retain the information in memory. This requires the computer have some power in the battery or be plugged into an AC outlet. In hibernate mode, the contents of the memory are written to a special area on the hard disk and then recovered from the hard disk when the computer is woken up. Because it is writing the contents of the memory to the hard disk, it takes longer to recover from hibernation than from standby.

In Windows XP, you have an option to select Standby when you choose to shut down the computer.

34 In Windows Vista, you can set your computer to Sleep or Hibernate via the shutdown menu in the Start menu.

Hot Swappable versus Non-Hot Swappable Devices
A hot swappable device is one which can be removed from a computer while it is powered on and does not require a reboot. For example, an external USB thumb drive is hot swappable – it can be inserted and removed from a computer without the computer needing to be turned off. A non-hot swappable device requires the computer to be shut off before removing the device. For example, an internal hard drive is a non-hot swappable device. You cannot remove it (or add one) with the power on.

Though hardware may be hot swappable, it is a good idea to use Window’s Safely Remove Hardware utility to stop the device before removal. The icon is found in the status bar when you have a hot swappable device (such as a USB hard drive) connected.

Troubleshooting Issues with Laptops
Diagnosing Problems
There are several diagnostic steps you can take to troubleshoot problems on a laptop. First, you should verify you have AC Power by LEDs on the AC power adapter or by swapping out the AC adapter. Second, you should verify you have DC Power through the operating system power charging status.

Many laptop manufacturers have a status light available on the battery to determine its charge. The example above is from a Dell battery and shows you the strength of the battery.

35 Third, you should remove unneeded peripherals when troubleshooting problems. Things such as external hard drives, printers, scanners, mice, external monitors can be removed to thoroughly troubleshoot the problem. Fourth, you should toggle the Fn keys and lock keys, suck has NumLock, ScrollLock, or other function keys on your laptop. There is a common problem with users who have numlock on and try to enter a password. Fifth, if you are experiencing a monitor issue, try issuing the function keys which rotate the display between the internal and external monitors (e.g. Function+F4). These are steps you should understand when troubleshooting problems with notebook computers.

Monitor Issues
You might also experience problems with the LCD screen on the laptop. LCD screens could have backlight or pixilation issues. The backlight is the light which makes your LCD screen bright. If it is not functioning, the screen will be very dull. Pixilation issues occur when individuals pixels on the monitor have a problem or are dead.

The Blue Square is a Dead Pixel

Stylus Issues
On Tablet PC notebook computers, you use a stylus to act as a mouse and for handwriting input. This stylus may malfunction or operate incorrectly. If you are experiencing stylus issues, check to see the battery inside the stylus has power. Next, run the calibration utility included with the computer to calibrate the stylus to the screen.

Preventative Maintenance and Laptops
Preventative Maintenance Techniques
There are several preventative maintenance techniques you should be aware of. First, as we mentioned earlier, laptop computers often suffer from heat problems. You can alleviate heat issues by using a cooling pad to reduce the temperate at the bottom of the laptop.

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The cooling pad uses several fans to move heat away from the laptop. It usually uses DC power via a USB plugin. Second, you need to be aware that you should only use approved cleaning solutions for notebook monitors and hardware. Compressed air should be used to clean out the keyboard and LCD monitor wipes can be used to clean the screen. Finally, you should be aware that laptop computers should be shipped and transported in containers designed for them. This will reduce the chance for breakage during shipment.

Section 3: Operating Systems
Windows 2000 and XP represent a new more stable core for Microsoft Windows. Both Operating Systems feature wide device driver support, multimedia, and a much more secure and easy to use system. In this section, you will learn the core functions of the OS, how people interact with it, how to install, configure, and upgrade the OS, and troubleshooting techniques when problems arise. Additionally, we added a section on Windows Vista so you can understand the core differences between this Operating System and its predecessors. Many of the functions are the same, but Vista does have many new features which you will appreciate in your role as a support technician.

Operating System Fundamentals
Differences Between Operating System Platforms
The gap between the three major Operating Systems (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux) has been narrowing over the past few years. Much of the user interface interaction is duplicated across the platforms and communication with and sharing documents between each OS has improved to the point that you can run all three in a networked environment with very few problems. This has resulted in a quite a few mixed environments where you will be expected to support any (and all!) of these operating systems.

Windows
As you already know, Microsoft Windows is the dominant Operating System in terms of market share. Currently, Windows holds a commanding lead of around 90% of the PC OS market. Microsoft Windows has been around since the early 90s, but today’s OS barely resembles Windows 286 and Windows 3.0. There are several versions of Microsoft Windows you should be aware of:

37 · Windows 3.11 for Workgroups: a networked version of Windows 3.0. This version of the OS was an overlay on top of DOS and was very limited in its features. · Windows 95/98: Still had a core of DOS underneath, but started moving into a much more user friendly OS. Windows 95/98 are often referred to as Windows 9x which can also include Windows ME. · Windows ME: Windows Millenium Edition was a stepping stone from the 95/98 OS to Windows 2000 and subsequently Windows XP. A problematic OS which was supposed to integrated new multimedia functionality. Anyone moving to this OS was promptly recommended to move off of it with all of the issues and problems it had. · Windows NT: Came in two “modern” versions: 3.51 and 4.0. Designed as a business operating system and lacked many of the features consumers came to enjoy such as “plug’n’play.” Added security in the form of users and groups, business networking features, and NTFS (New Technology File System). All of us who had to support Windows NT have a special place in our heart for this rigid OS – it was a great learning experience! · Windows 2000: The upgrade for Windows NT for businesses, Windows 2000 combined many of the features we love on the consumer side (plug’n’play) with the stability of NT. Windows 2000 was a stable and easy to use OS – I kept it installed on one of my machines for many years after XP was out – it just worked! · Windows XP: The welding of the consumer side and business side into one code base. Windows XP came in several “flavors”: Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE), and Windows XP Professional x64 edition. Windows XP was a big step forward for Microsoft in terms of integration of their product set and creating a stable platform by which to launch many new desktop applications. Last report I saw has Windows XP market share in the low 80s, even after Vista has been on the market for months. · Windows Vista: Released in 2007, Windows Vista is the next step forward for Microsoft. Windows Vista includes many new features to help users take a step forward with productivity – and to add a little eye candy. It’s the first major interface change for Microsoft in many years, so getting used to where everything is organized in the new OS will be the biggest challenge for users and support technicians.

Mac OS
The Mac OS has been around since the mid 1980s, but recently was moved from Motorola chips to Intel based processors. This move has allowed Apple to take advantage of Intel dual core chips and to continue to increase its market share – which stands at about 3% of the market. Apple has been very successful with its iPod and other products to make penetration as a “digital home” manufacturer, not just another PC maker. Companies are starting to buy a few more Macs as there are very few interoperability problems between PCs and Macs. Plus, they produce really great commercials!

38 The Mac OS uses a concept of a Finder (think Windows Explorer) to manage the basic aspects of the OS and desktop. A lot of the concepts you find on the Windows side you will find on the Mac. Since the Mac OS is a variation of BSD, many Linux (and Unix) commands are available via a command line if you want to get into the guts of supporting the OS. We recommend you become familiar with the basic operation of the Macintosh if you have a chance, it really is a nice operating system.

Figure 17: Finder Window Guide, retrieved from http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=304723 The Finder Window is similar to an Explorer window. Many of the usability features you will find similar to other OSes. Figure 1 shows the main features of the Finder window. One of the funny things you will notice which makes it interesting to transition back and forth between the Operating Systems is the window control buttons – Close, Minimize, and Expand are on the opposite side of the top window bar – on the left, as opposed to the right. If you frequently use both Windows and OS X, you will find this to be a difficult thing to remember, always moving the mouse in the wrong direction at first.

The Finder also provides a column view so as you move through the hierarchy of the drive, you see the path you took.

The Mac OS X Dock provides quick access to commonly used applications and open applications. You will find an arrow below the applications which are currently open.

Unlike Windows Applications, the menu bar is at the top of the screen and does not exist within the application window. This menu bar changes based on which application you are in, the image above shows Finder’s menu bar.

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Figure 18: Mac OS X System Preferences, retrieved from http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html? artnum=304723 The Mac OS X System Preferences are similar to the Windows Control Panel. These preferences control the settings of the Mac computer and allow you to customize the machine to your liking.

Figure 19: Safari Web Browser, retrieved from http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=304776 Browsing the Internet is easy on the Apple Macintosh. Apple has included a web browser, Safari, to surf the Internet which is similar in features to other browsers on the market. You are welcome to install other browsers such as Firefox, Opera, or even Internet Explorer – though Microsoft has discontinued development of IE on the Mac.

Installing a printer is somewhat easier on a Mac than on a Windows PC. Most printers are installed automatically if you plug them into the Mac. On my home network, I plugged a HP Color Laserjet into the network, assigned it an IP address and my Mac automatically found it and installed a driver. On my PC, the setup wasn’t quite that easy, but 15 clicks later, I had it installed on the Windows machine as well. This little tour is meant to expose you to the Macintosh platform.

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Linux
2007 was supposed to be the year of the Linux desktop, but it hasn’t turned out that way. While Linux has made great in roads into the data center, Linux on the desktop hasn’t been as popular as once thought. The Linux Operating System has many great variations from Red Hat to Ubuntu and is equal in many of its features as its bigger commercial rivals. Linux is an open source Operating System, meaning anyone can view or change the source code as they wish. It is developed by thousands of volunteers worldwide and dozens of companies which maintain their own versions of Linux, called distributions. In this section, we will review the similarities and differences between two of the major distributions (Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu) and Microsoft Windows.

Figure 20: Ubuntu Desktop, retrieved from https://help.ubuntu.com/5.10/kubuntu/kquickguide/C/sectkde-desktop.html

Figure 21: Red Hat Desktop, retrieved from http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/RHEL-4Manual/step-guide/ch-kde.html The Desktop is very clean and has a Start menu in the form of the distributions logo. Both Red Hat and Ubuntu (shown above) are based on KDE, a windowing environment on Linux (whose largest competitor is Gnome).

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Figure 22: Konqueror File Manager, retrieved from http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/RHEL-4-Manual/step-guide/s1-konqueror-files.html Konqueror file manager is similar to Windows Explorer and allows you to explore the computer and storage devices. Notice the menu bars are at the top of the window.

Most Linux distributions provide Gnome or KDE as the user interface environment. Linux allows you to setup multiple “desktops” – each running their own applications – so you can rotate through those and not get one desktop too cluttered. Does it improve productivity? I don’t know, but Linux users I know love it. “The Panel” as it’s called in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, is similar to the taskbar in Windows. The Panel contains the Red Hat Menu (similar to the Start Menu), shortcuts to applications and other virtual desktops, and open applications.

Figure 23: Konqueror Web Browser, retrieved from http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/RHEL-4-Manual/step-guide/s1-browserskonqueror.html

42 Like the other platforms, Linux comes with its own web browser. In RHEL, it’s Konqueror shown above. You can install other browsers if you would like, but the default one has competitive features with other browsers on the market.

Figure 24: Ubuntu Also Includes Konqueror

Figure 25: Settings on Konqueror on Ubuntu, retrieved from https://help.ubuntu.com/5.10/kubuntu/kquickguide/C/sect-settings.html Ubuntu (and all other flavors of Linux) includes a Settings section which is similar to the Windows Control Panel. Here, you can personalize the OS to meet your needs.

Figure 26: Open Office Writer

43 One of the frequent assertions in the OS wars is that Linux and many of its applications are free – so there should be more adoption. Open Office is the most popular free suite of desktop applications which is very similar to Microsoft Office. Open Office Writer is the Microsoft Word equivalent.

OS Components
In the previous section, you had a great opportunity to review the similarities and differences between Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. In this section, we start really exploring the internals of Microsoft Windows, the largest install base and is most likely the OS you will work on frequently in your next job as a computer support technician or network administrator. This section provides us an opportunity to review the components that provide the core services of the OS to run. In later sections, we look at more of the “front end” pieces of the operating system – such as Windows Explorer, My Computer, the Control Panel, and the command prompt. This section provides detail on the innards of the OS and how it all works together.

Core Services
Microsoft Windows is a very complex operating system with millions of lines of code. It has to be – just think of all of the different types of computers and components out there Microsoft has to support. With millions of different combinations of motherboards, hard drives, accessories, and software applications, Microsoft has a tremendous job to produce a stable OS which doesn’t crash at a moment’s notice. I could insert a joke here about Windows crashing, but just think about the stability of your computer systems over the past few years. I very infrequently have my laptop suffer a crash – in fact, I can’t remember the last one I had. The core services in Microsoft Windows are the file system, virtual memory, and the registry.

File System
The File System is responsible for managing all of the storage system activities. Windows NT based Operating Systems such as Windows 2000, XP, and Vista have two primary file systems available: FAT and NTFS. The Installable File System (IFS) Manager in the I/O Manager is responsible for managing file systems. On FAT systems, it has two partition types available for each hard drive: primary and extended. A primary drive partition is what is commonly referred to as the “C:” drive. Up to 23 logical drives can exist in the extended partition – allowing you to partition one physical drive into several “drives” on your computer – e.g. C:, E:, F:, etc. The active partition is the logical drive the system will boot up to. The system files need to be located on this partition and it must be set to active for the system to properly boot. The active partition must be the primary partition in a FAT system. NTFS differs in many ways from FAT. NTFS can have up to four primary partitions or three primary partitions and one extended partition. Primary partitions can be marked as active in NTFS system. One hard drive only supports up to 32 primary partitions plus logical drives.

Virtual Memory
PCs are often limited by the amount of physical RAM (Random Access Memory) they contain. Often, Windows requires more memory than the system physically has to open all of the applications and services you want to run. The Operating System exceeds the physical limits of the system by providing

44 virtual memory, or memory space which is swapped back and forth to your physical hard disk. Later, you will learn about the paging file and how this swap occurs from physical memory to the hard disk.

Figure 27: Windows Task Manager

The Registry
In the days before Window 9x, system and application settings were stored in .ini files. With a few applications, the OS could get away with managing a couple .ini files, but can you imagine doing that now? With dozens of applications installed on a given machine and thousands of potential preferences and settings, not to mention multiple users on each machine, the OS would not be able to manage the potentially thousands of settings files. Enter the registry, a database containing all of those application settings and user preferences stored in a hierarchal structure. Understanding how the registry works – and what you can and can’t do in it – will be crucial to your role as a computer support technician. Since the registry is such an integral part of the Operating System, changing it manually can cause major problems – including a non-booting system. Likewise, if parts of the registry become corrupt, it can also cause major problems which you will learn more about in the troubleshooting sections .

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Figure 28: The Registry Editor - One Way to Edit the Registry The Registry is divided into five sections: 1. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT (HKCR) 2. HKEY_CURRENT_USER (HKCU) 3. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM) 4. HKEY_USERS (HKU) 5. HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG (HKCC) Each of these five sections has a specific purpose for the operation of Windows. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, sometimes abbreviated HKCR, is really a subkey of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software. This key ensures that the proper application opens when you double-click on a file in Windows Explorer. For example, if you open your C: drive and double-click on a .xls file, Windows looks at HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT to see what application .xls files are associated with, finds out that it is Microsoft Excel, and then opens Microsoft Excel to view the file. HKEY_CURRENT_USER HKEY_CURRENT_USER contains the root of configuration information for the user who is currently logged on. The information is the settings, user’s folders, configuration options, and user’s profile. This key is frequently abbreviated as “HKCU.” HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE One of the most frequently accessed areas in the registry, HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM) contains the configuration information for the entirely computer – applicable for any user. HKEY_USERS HKEY_USERS, sometimes abbreviated HKU, contains the configuration information for each of the user profiles on the machine. HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG Contains information about the hardware profile that is used by the local computer at startup.

46 Registry Files Unlike a traditional database, the registry is not stored in just one file. There are several files (and supporting files) which make up a registry. In Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003, the registry files (other than HKEY_CURRENT_USER) are located in Systemroot\System32\Config, for example, on my system that is c:\windows\system32\config. The following files make up the sections of the registry: Registry hive Supporting files HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SAM Sam, Sam.log, Sam.sav HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Secur Security, Security.log, Security.sav ity HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SoftwSoftware, Software.log, Software.sav are HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Syste System, System.alt, System.log, System.sav m HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG System, System.alt, System.log, System.sav, Ntuser.dat, Ntuser.dat.log HKEY_USERS\DEFAULT Default, Default.log, Default.sav Table 2: Registry File Locations, retrieved from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/256986/ The HKEY_CURRENT_USER supporting files are located in the user profiles, often located at C:\WINNT\Profiles\Username\, C:\Documents and Settings\Username\, or C:\Users\Username\ depending on the OS. Classic Windows: In Windows 98, the registry files are name User.dat and System.dat. In Windows ME, the files are Classes.dat, User.dat, and System.dat. Backing Up the Registry It’s very important to backup the registry before you make any changes as you can seriously damage your computer system if you make a mistake. We recommend using Windows Backup or an industry standard backup software application to keep your system backed up on a regular basis. Since we also know that hardly anyone does this, it’s important to know how to backup your registry before making any changes. Manual Steps to Export Registry Subkeys If you are editing a single subkey in the registry, it may make sense just to backup that subkey versus the whole registry. Follow these steps to backup a subkey: 1. Click Start, and then click Run. 2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK. 3. Locate and then click the subkey that contains the value that you want to edit. 4. On the File menu, click Export. 5. In the Save in box, select a location where you want to save the Registration Entries (.reg) file, type a file name in the File name box, and then click Save. Do not use this process if you want to backup an entire area of the registry, for example all of HKEY_CURRENT_USER. Instead, follow the next process and use Windows Backup to backup the registry. Backing Up the Registry Using Windows Backup

47 1. Click Start, click Run, type ntbackup.exe, and then click OK. 2. On the "Welcome to the Backup and Restore Wizard" page, click Advanced Mode. 3. Click the Backup tab. 4. On the Job menu, click New. 5. Click to select the check boxes for the drives that you want to back up. If you want to be more specific in your selections, expand the drive that you want, and then click to select the check boxes for the files or for the folders that you want. 6. Click to select the System State check box. 7. If you want to back up system settings and data files, back up all the data on your computer plus the System State data. The System State data includes such things as the registry, the COM+ class registration database, files that are under Windows File Protection, and boot files. 8. In the Backup destination list, click the backup destination that you want to use. 9. If you clicked File in the previous step, click Browse, and then select the location. You can specify a network share as a destination for the backup file. 10. On the Backup tab, click Start Backup. The Backup Job Information dialog box appears. 11. Click Advanced. 12. Click to select the Verify data after backup check box. 13. In the Backup Type box, click the type of backup that you want. When you click a backup type, a description of that backup type appears under "Description." 14. Click OK, and then click Start Backup. A Backup Progress dialog box appears, and the backup starts. 15. When the backup is complete, click Close. 16. On the Job menu, click Exit. Backing Up the Registry in Windows Vista Windows Vista streamlines the backup process and provides a single full computer backup interface.

Figure 29: Windows Vista Backup and Restore Center

48 The Backup and Restore Center (available under All Programs\Maintenance or the Control Panel) has several options to backup your computer. You can select to just backup your files or the entire computer. Additionally, if you select Backup Status and Configuration under the All Programs\Accessories\Tools menu on the Start menu, you can setup automatic backups to occur at some frequency. These options eliminate some of the advanced settings you could do under previous versions of Windows, but reduces complexity significantly for most users.

Editing the Registry
As we mentioned earlier, editing the registry is very dangerous and should only occur when all other resolutions have failed. We recommend backing up the registry prior to editing it. Here, I will also say it in BOLD print: we recommend backing up the registry prior to editing it. There are two ways to edit the registry. Well, in actuality, there are several ways to edit the registry, the two programs you need to know about for registry editing are regedit.exe and regedt32.exe. In Windows XP and newer (including Windows Server 2003), regedt32.exe is just a pointer to regedit.exe – they eliminated the need to have two programs. In Windows 2000, however, you still had two different programs to contend with. Here’s a summary (according to Microsoft) of what each one does: Regedit.exe Regedit.exe is included with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 primarily for its search capability. You can use Regedit.exe to make changes in the Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 registry, but you cannot use it to view or edit all functions or data types on Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. The following limitations exist in the Regedit.exe version that is included with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000: . You cannot set the security for registry keys. . You cannot view, edit, or search the value data types REG_EXPAND_SZ and REG_MULTI_SZ. If you try to view a REG_EXPAND_SZ value, Regedit.exe displays it as a binary data type. If you try to edit either of these data types, Regedit.exe saves it as REG_SZ, and the data type no longer performs its intended function. . You cannot save or restore keys as hive files. Microsoft recommends that you use Regedit.exe only for its search capabilities on a Windows NT 4.0based or Windows 2000-based computer. Regedt32.exe Regedt32.exe is the configuration editor for Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000. Regedt32.exe is used to modify the Windows NT configuration database, or the Windows NT registry. This editor allows you to view or modify the Windows NT registry. The editor provides views of windows that represent sections of the registry, named hives. Each window displays two sections. On the left side, there are folders that represent registry keys. On the right side, there are the values associated with the selected registry key. Regedt32 is a powerful tool, and you must use it with extreme caution when you change registry values. Missing or incorrect values in the registry can make the Windows installation unusable. Note Unlike Regedit.exe, Regedt32.exe does not support importing and exporting registration entries (.reg) files. Source: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/141377/

49 So, silly Microsoft had two separate applications where one would suffice. Fortunately for us, they moved down to one application, regedit.exe, for XP and future operating systems.

Windows Interface Components
Windows has several ways to interact with it to get a certain job done. You could use Windows Explorer, My Computer, or a command prompt to perform file maintenance tasks. You could open My Network Places to find a file on the network – or use Explorer. This section looks at several different ways you can interface with Windows and what is unique about each method.

Windows Explorer

Windows Explorer is a graphical user interface into the computer to manage and access files and disk drives. It can be opened through the Start Menu:

Additionally, Explorer can be started by Running explorer.exe. The Windows Explorer debuted in Windows 95 and has been a mainstay of all of the versions of Windows since. The underlying Explorer process controls Windows Explorer, displaying desktop icons, the Start menu, the task bar, and the control panel.

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Windows 95 Explorer was very similar to the Program Manager in Windows 3.x. As folders were opened in Windows 95 Explorer, the window size was determined by the number of files in the folder – a folder with 2 files would have a smaller window than a folder with 12 files. If a folder had hundreds of files, it would default to a list style window.

Windows Explorer in Windows 98 was based on Internet Explorer technology which was integrated into the Operating System. Note the addition of an address bar at the top of the window. Additionally, Windows 98 provided the ability to customize the view of folders. Windows 98 also saw the addition of an Active Desktop, allowing a user to add Internet items to the desktop. You could also choose “single click” icons instead of double-click.

Windows 2000 and ME saw the addition of full text searching and a built-in media player application to play media files directly in explorer.

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Windows XP added many new features such as the task pane on the left hand side of Explorer. These features were designed to increase productivity in Explorer. Microsoft also changed search functionality in an attempt to make it easier and more useful for users.

Windows XP also added preview functionality in Explorer to see what is in a folder and to preview images directly from Explorer.

Windows Vista saw even more changes in Explorer including new search functionality, a greater integration of Explorer into Windows, document previews, and the details pane at the bottom of the screen:

Additionally, Windows Vista adds new quick access to file metadata to allow individuals to rate and add keywords to files and images. Windows Vista also increased the number of view options to allow you to see images at larger sizes. Microsoft removed the integration of IE into Explorer and added support for burning CDs and DVDs.

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My Computer

My Computer is one of the most frequently access interfaces into your computer. It is similar to Windows Explorer as it allows you to explore and work with files on your drives. It also has links to My Documents, My Network Places, and Network and Dial-up Connections.

Windows XP has a few more links in the sidebar on the left. For the exam, you should explore the My Computer interface and become familiar with how to navigate it.

My Documents
Windows 2000 and XP are multi-user friendly operating systems and stores users’ data in their own user profile. When you open My Documents, you are really looking at a folder elsewhere on the computer. Each user has their own My Documents folder to store their personal documents in. Administrators on the computer can open everyone’s My Documents folder. Changing the My Documents Folder Location The My Documents location can be changed in Windows XP by right-clicking on the My Documents folder and selecting Properties. Click on the Target tab. Type in the path you want the My Documents folder to point to, e.g. C:\MyFiles. Click OK.

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The Recycle Bin

On your desktop, there is a Recycle Bin for deleting your files. The Recycle Bin holds a link to the file you wish to delete but does not automatically delete the file until you empty the Recycle Bin. Right-click on it to delete all of the files in the Recycle Bin. You need to be aware that placing a file in the Recycle Bin does not automatically delete it, but instead, this is an additional step the users need to do. If you move something from a removable media device (such as a USB memory stick) to the Recycle Bin it is automatically deleted – it is not temporarily stored. Be aware of this.

Control Panel
The Control Panel is the interface to most of the settings on your computer. Windows 2000 and Windows XP have slightly different interfaces to the Control Panel as you can see by the screenshots. Each of the icons in the Control Panel is a Control Panel Applet – controlling the settings of one area of the operating system or PC. Review the different Control Panel Applets and become familiar with their function.

Figure 30: Windows 2000 Control Panel

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Figure 31: Windows XP Default Control Panel

Figure 32: Windows XP Classic View Control Panel

Command Prompt
Though most users have given up on using the command prompt years ago, technicians still frequently access it to perform many functions. To start a command prompt session, click on the Start menu and click on Run. Type in cmd to open a command prompt.

To enter a command, just start typing. All commands in the Command Prompt are entered via the keyboard. To see the available options for a command, type in the command name followed by /?, such as: dir /? Common Drive Commands You will often find that you use the Command Prompt to perform disk drive, directory, and file related maintenance. There are several commands you should be familiar with for the exam:

55 Convert The Convert command converts a drive from FAT to NTFS (though it cannot convert the other direction). You will use this command commonly if setup installs the drive in FAT format. The format for this command is: Convert C: /FS:NTFS This will convert the C: drive to the NTFS file system. If you wanted to convert the E: drive, simply change the drive letter like this: convert E: /FS:NTFS. Format The Format command formats a disk – from a floppy disk through an entire hard disk. Since the format command destroys data, ensure you use it correctly. The command format can be as simple as: Format a:

Format /? shows you all of options available for the format command. You could perform a command like this: Format e: /FS:NTFS /Q /C This command formats the E: drive with the NTFS file system, quick, with compression enabled by default. Dir The dir command shows a listing of the current directory. You should become familiar with the different options available with the dir command. With the dir command, you can also show files meeting a certain filename pattern, such as this command: Dir *.doc /S This will show you all .doc (Microsoft Word) files in all of the subdirectories on the current drive. Command commands you should know for the exam include dir /w which shows a directory the width of screen and dir /p which pauses each screen length of data for you to view and press any key to continue. MD The MD command creates a directory. For example:

56 md MyFolder This command creates a folder named MyFolder in the current directory. RD The RD command removes a directory. CD The CD command changes the current directory. Common uses include cd .. which changes the directory up one directory and cd/ which will change the root of the current drive. In addition to changing to a directory on the current drive, you can use a command such as cd e: to change to the e: drive.

My Network Places

My Network Places is a view into the network shares available on your computer. A network share is a resource available to your computer externally – such as a shared drive on a file server. My Network Places also lets you browse computers on your network – such as in your local workgroup or in the local domain.

Task Bar and System Tray
The Taskbar is the bar at the bottom of the screen that starts with the Start Menu and ends with the System Tray. The Taskbar lists open application and if turned on, has links to frequently accessed applications.

57 There are several properties you can set by right-clicking on the taskbar and choosing Properties. On Windows XP, you can make the taskbar and Start Menu look like the Windows 2000 version by clicking on the Advanced tab and selecting “Classic Start Menu.”

Start Menu
Nothing has evolved more over the years than the Start Menu. The Start Menu is probably the most frequently accessed part of your system and you use it to open applications, open the Control Panel, or a command prompt. We started in the Windows 9x era with a small Start Menu, it evolved into a very wide Start Menu with a lot of options in Windows XP, and shrunk down to a more manageable size in Windows Vista (and lost the name “Start” menu – replaced by a Windows logo. Rumor has it that Prince (or the star formerly known as Prince) had a hand in forcing the Start Menu to lose its name into Windows Vista and be replaced by formerly known as the Start Menu. Another rumor is Bill Gates was tired of people using the joke, “Only Microsoft would come with an operating system where you have to click Start to shut down.”

Figure 33: Windows 95 Start Menu The Windows 95 Start Menu is the first iteration of the Start menu – notice the annoying multiple levels of folders to open what you’re looking for.

Figure 34: Windows 98 Start Menu Not much changed in the Start Menu from Windows 95 to 98 – other than the number on the left…

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Figure 35: Windows ME Start Menu As you’ll notice in the picture, Windows ME changed… well, not much. Same ole Start Menu.

Figure 36: Windows 2000 Start Menu Why mess with a good thing? Well, Microsoft apparently didn’t want to. Windows 2000 Professional has the same Start Menu you’re used to.

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Windows XP Start Menu Windows XP changes the Start Menu significantly from previous versions. First, you will see a quick access area to your most frequently used applications. The different menus have changes and moved, with the old Programs menu changed to All Programs and relocated to the bottom.

Windows Vista Start Menu Microsoft changed the Start Menu in Windows Vista in another attempt to improve user productivity. Now, instead of using a pop-out menu for All Programs, the Vista Start Menu changes the left pane depending on what you are looking for. You will also notice the Run command is missing – it can be added back through the Start Menu Properties dialog box. A “search” field has been entered at the bottom. It also acts like a Run command – for example, if you type in calc and press Enter, the calculator application will be loaded.

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Operating System Files
BOOT.INI
The BOOT.INI file is located in the root directory of the boot drive. The BOOT.INI file controls the boot settings for Windows and provides a boot menu for multiple OS installations. NTLDR uses the BOOT.INI file to determine the operating system options to display during the boot process. The file should only be edited by someone who understands what they are doing. There are MANY options you can place in a BOOT.INI file, including:

/3GB Increases the size of the user process address space from 2 GB to 3 GB (and therefore reduces the size of system space from 2 GB to 1 GB). Giving virtual-memory- intensive applications such as database servers a larger address space can improve their performance. For an application to take advantage of this feature, however, two additional conditions must be met: the system must be running Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows NT 4 Enterprise Edition, Windows 2000 Advanced Server or Datacenter Server and the application .exe must be flagged as a 3-GB-aware application. Applies to 32-bit systems only. /BASEVIDEO Causes Windows to use the standard VGA display driver for GUI-mode operations. /BAUDRATE= Enables kernel-mode debugging and specifies an override for the default baud rate (19200) at which a remote kernel debugger host will connect. Example: /BAUDRATE=115200. /BOOTLOG Causes Windows to write a log of the boot to the file %SystemRoot%\Ntbtlog.txt. /BOOTLOGO Use this switch to have Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 display an installable splash screen instead of the standard splash screen. First, create a 16-color (any 16 colors) 640x480 bitmap and save it in the Windows directory with the name Boot.bmp. Then add "/bootlogo /noguiboot" to the boot.ini selection. /BREAK Causes the hardware abstraction layer (HAL) to stop at a breakpoint at HAL initialization. The first thing the Windows kernel does when it initializes is to initialize the HAL, so this breakpoint is the earliest one possible. The HAL will wait indefinitely at the breakpoint until a kerneldebugger connection is made. If the switch is used without the /DEBUG switch, the system will Blue Screen with a STOP code of 0x00000078 (PHASE0_ EXCEPTION). /BURNMEMORY= Specifies an amount of memory Windows can't use (similar to the /MAXMEM switch). The value is specified in megabytes. Example: /BURNMEMORY=128 would indicate that Windows can't use 128 MB of the total physical memory on the machine. /CHANNEL= Used on conjunction with /DEBUGPORT=1394 to specify the IEEE 1394 channel through which kernel debugging communications will flow. This can be any number between 0 and 62 and defaults to 0 if not set. /CLKLVL Causes the standard x86 multiprocessor HAL (Halmps.dll) to configure itself for a level-sensitive system clock rather then an edge-triggered clock. Level-sensitive and edge-triggered are terms used to describe hardware interrupt types.

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/CMDCONS Passed when booting with into the Recovery Console (described later in this chapter). /CRASHDEBUG Causes the kernel debugger to be loaded when the system boots, but to remain inactive unless a crash occurs. This allows the serial port that the kernel debugger would use to be available for use by the system until the system crashes (vs. /DEBUG, which causes the kernel debugger to use the serial port for the life of the system session). /DEBUG Enables kernel-mode debugging. /DEBUGPORT= Enables kernel-mode debugging and specifies an override for the default serial (usually COM2 on systems with at least two serial ports) to which a remote kernel-debugger host is connected. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 also support debugging through accept IEEE 1394 ports. Examples: /DEBUGPORT=COM2, /DEBUGPORT=1394. /EXECUTE This option disables no-execute protection. See the /NOEXECUTE switch for more information. /FASTDETECT Default boot option for Windows. Replaces the Windows NT 4 switch /NOSERIALMICE. The reason the qualifier exists (vs. just having NTDETECT perform this operation by default) is so that NTDETECT can support booting Windows NT 4. Windows Plug and Play device drivers perform detection of parallel and serial devices, but Windows NT 4 expects NTDETECT to perform the detection. Thus, specifying /FASTDETECT causes NTDETECT to skip parallel and serial device enumeration (actions that are not required when booting Windows), whereas omitting the switch causes NTDETECT to perform this enumeration (which is required for booting Windows NT 4). /INTAFFINITY Directs the standard x86 multiprocessor HAL (Halmps.dll) to set interrupt affinities such that only the highest numbered processor will receive interrupts. Without the switch, the HAL defaults to its normal behavior of letting all processors receive interrupts. /KERNEL=/HAL= Enable you to override Ntldr's default filename for the kernel image (Ntoskrnl.exe) and/or the HAL (Hal.dll). These options are useful for alternating between a checked kernel environment and a free (retail) kernel environment or even to manually select a different HAL. If you want to boot a checked environment that consists solely of the checked kernel and HAL, which is typically all that is needed to test drivers, follow these steps on a system installed with the free build:

1. Copy the checked versions of the kernel images from the checked build CD to your \Windows\System32 directory, giving the images different names than the default. For example, if you're on a uniprocessor, copy Ntoskrnl.exe to Ntoschk.exe and Ntkrnlpa.exe to Ntoschkpa.exe. If you're on a multiprocessor, copy Ntkrnlmp.exe to Ntoschk.exe and Ntkrpamp.exe to Ntoschkpa.exe. The kernel filename must be an 8.3-style short name. 2. Copy the checked version of the appropriate HAL needed for your system from \I386\Driver.cab on the checked build CD to your \Windows\System32 directory, naming it Halchk.dll. To determine which HAL to copy, open \Windows\Repair\Setup.log and search for Hal.dll; you'll find a line like \WINDOWS\system32\ hal.dll="halacpi.dll","1d8a1". The name immediately to the right of the equals sign is the name of the HAL you should copy. The HAL filename must be an 8.3-style short name.

62 3. Make a copy of the default line in the system's Boot.ini file. 4. In the string description of the boot selection, add something that indicates that the new selection will be for a checked build environment (for example, "Windows XP Professional Checked"). 5. Add the following to the end of the new selection's line: /KERNEL=NTOSCHK.EXE /HAL= HALCHK.DLL 6. Now when the selection menu appears during the boot process you can select the new entry to boot a checked environment or select the entry you were using to boot the free build.

/LASTKNOWNGOOD Causes the system to boot as if the LastKnownGood boot option was selected. /MAXMEM= Limits Windows to ignore (not use) physical memory beyond the amount indicated. The number is interpreted in megabytes. Example: /MAXMEM=32 would limit the system to using the first 32 MB of physical memory even if more were present. /MAXPROCSPERCLUSTER= For the standard x86 multiprocessor HAL (Halmps.dll), forces cluster-mode Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC) addressing (not supported on systems with an 82489DX external APIC interrupt controller). /MININT This option is used by Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) and causes the Configuration Manager to load the Registry SYSTEM hive as a volatile hive such that changes made to it in memory are not saved back to the hive image. /NODEBUG Prevents kernel-mode debugging from being initialized. Overrides the specification of any of the three debug-related switches, /DEBUG, /DEBUGPORT, and /BAUDRATE. /NOEXECUTE This option is only available on 32-bit versions of Windows when running on processors supporting no-execute protection. It enables no-execute protection (also known as Data Execution Protection - DEP), which results in the Memory Manager marking pages containing data as noexecute so that they cannot be executed as code. This can be useful for preventing malicious code from exploiting buffer overflow bugs with unexpected program input in order to execute arbitrary code. No-execute protection is always enabled on 64-bit versions of Windows on processors that support no-execute protection. There are several options you can specify with this switch: /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN Enables DEP for core system images and those specified in the DEP configuration dialog.  /NOEXECUTE=OPTOUT Enables DEP for all images except those specified in the DEP configuration dialog.  /NOEXECUTE=ALWAYSON Enables DEP on all images.  /NOEXECUTE=ALWAYSOFF Disables DEP. /NOGUIBOOT Instructs Windows not to initialize the VGA video driver responsible for presenting bitmapped graphics during the boot process. The driver is used to display boot progress information, so disabling it will disable the ability of Windows to show this information.

/NOLOWMEM Requires that the /PAE switch be present and that the system have more than 4 GB of physical memory. If these conditions are met, the PAE-enabled version of the Windows kernel, Ntkrnlpa.exe, won't use the first 4 GB of physical memory. Instead, it will load all applications

63 and device drivers, and allocate all memory pools, from above that boundary. This switch is useful only to test device driver compatibility with large memory systems.

/NOPAE Forces Ntldr to load the non-Physical Address Extension (PAE) version of the Windows kernel, even if the system is detected as supporting x86 PAEs and has more than 4 GB of physical memory. /NOSERIALMICE=[COMx | COMx,y,z...] Obsolete Windows NT 4 qualifier-replaced by the absence of the /FASTDETECT switch. Disables serial mouse detection of the specified COM ports. This switch was used if you had a device other than a mouse attached to a serial port during the startup sequence. Using /NOSERIALMICE without specifying a COM port disables serial mouse detection on all COM ports. See Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q131976 for more information. /NUMPROC= Specifies the number of CPUs that can be used on a multiprocessor system. Example: /NUMPROC=2 on a four-way system will prevent Windows from using two of the four processors. /ONECPU Causes Windows to use only one CPU on a multiprocessor system. /PAE Causes Ntldr to load Ntkrnlpa.exe, which is the version of the x86 kernel that is able to take advantage of x86 PAEs. The PAE version of the kernel presents 64-bit physical addresses to device drivers, so this switch is helpful for testing device driver support for large memory systems. /PCILOCK Stops Windows from dynamically assigning IO/IRQ resources to PCI devices and leaves the devices configured by the BIOS. See Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q148501 for more information. /RDPATH= Specifies the path to a System Disk Image (SDI) file, which can be on the network, that the system will use to boot from. Often used in conjunction with the /RDIMAGEOFFSET= flag to indicate to NTLDR where in the file the system image starts. /REDIRECT Introduced with Windows XP. Used to cause Windows to enable Emergency Management Services (EMS) that reports boot information and accepts system management commands through a serial port. Specify serial port and baudrate used in conjunction with EMS with redirect= and redirectbaudrate= lines in the [boot loader] section of the Boot.ini file. /SAFEBOOT: Specifies options for a safe boot. You should never have to specify this option manually, since Ntldr specifies it for you when you use the F8 menu to perform a safe boot. (A safe boot is a boot in which Windows only loads drivers and services that are specified by name or group under the Minimal or Network registry keys under HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot.) Following the colon in the option you must specify one of three additional switches: MINIMAL, NETWORK, or DSREPAIR. The MINIMAL and NETWORK flags correspond to safe boot with no network and safe boot with network support, respectively. The DSREPAIR (Directory Services Repair) switch causes Windows to boot into a mode in which it restores the Active Directory directory service from a backup medium you present. An additional option you can append is (ALTERNATESHELL), which tells Windows to use the program specified by the

64 HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ SafeBoot\AlternateShell value as the graphical shell rather than to use the default, which is Windows Explorer.

/SDIBOOT= Used in Windows XP Embedded systems to have Windows boot from a RAM disk image stored in the specified System Disk Image (SDI) file. /SOS Causes Windows to list the device drivers marked to load at boot time and then to display the system version number (including the build number), amount of physical memory, and number of processors. /TIMERES= Sets the resolution of the system timer on the standard x86 multiprocessor HAL (Halmps.dll). The argument is a number interpreted in hundreds of nanoseconds, but the rate is set to the closest resolution the HAL supports that isn't larger than the one requested. The HAL supports the following resolutions: Hundreds of nanoseconds Milliseconds (ms) 9766 0.98 19532 2.00 39063 3.90 78125 7.80 The default resolution is 7.8 ms. The system timer resolution affects the resolution of waitable timers. Example: /TIMERES=21000 would set the timer to a resolution of 2.0 ms. /USERVA= This switch is only supported on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Like the /3GB switch, this switch gives applications a larger address space. Specify the amount in MB between 2048 and 3072. This switch has the same application requirements as the /3GB switch and requires that the /3GB switch be present. Applies to 32-bit systems only. /WIN95 Directs Ntldr to boot the Consumer Windows boot sector stored in Bootsect.w40. This switch is pertinent only on a triple-boot system that has MS-DOS, Consumer Windows, and Windows installed. See Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q157992 for more information. /WIN95DOS Directs Ntldr to boot the MS-DOS boot sector stored in Bootsect.dos. This switch is pertinent only on a triple-boot system that has MS-DOS, Consumer Windows, and Windows installed. See Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q157992 for more information. /YEAR= Instructs the Windows core time function to ignore the year that the computer's real-time clock reports and instead use the one indicated. Thus, the year used in the switch affects every piece of software on the system, including the Windows kernel. Example: /YEAR=2001. (This switch was created to assist in Y2K testing.)

From http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963892.aspx The BOOT.INI was deprecated in Windows Vista in favor of a different technology called BCD. To edit the boot options in Vista, you need to use the BCDEDIT.exe tool. You can access this tool by opening a command prompt and typing: cd c:\windows\system32 Now, to see options for the BCDEDIT Application, type in: bcdedit /? As with the BOOT.INI file, be very careful what you change using BCDEDIT. Example BOOT.INI File:

65 [boot loader] timeout=30 default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS [operating systems] multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

NTLDR
NTLDR, or NT Loader, is the boot loader for Windows NT – XP. NTLDR is located on the boot volume and requires the BOOT.INI file to load Windows. NTLDR follows this boot process (from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NTLDR): 1. Accesses the file system on the boot drive (either FAT or NT File System NTFS). 2. If hiberfil.sys is found, and it finds a hibernation image, its contents are loaded into memory and the system resumes where it left off. 3. Otherwise, reads boot.ini and prompts the user with the boot menu accordingly. 4. If a non NT-based OS is selected, then NTLDR loads the associated file listed in boot.ini (bootsect.dos if no file is specified or if the user is booting into a DOS based OS) and gives it control. 5. If an NT-based OS is selected, then NTLDR runs ntdetect.com, which gathers information about the computer's hardware. (If ntdetect hangs during hardware detection there is a debug version called ntdetect.chk which can be found on Microsoft support.) 6. Starts Ntoskrnl.exe, passing to it the information returned by ntdetect.com. Windows Vista Windows Vista dumped NTLDR along with the BOOT.INI, relying instead on winload.exe and the Windows Boot Manager.

NTDETECT.COM
NTDETECT.COM is a component of Windows NT-Vista which detects the basic hardware in order to start the OS. NTDETECT handles assigning resources to devices if ACPI is supported. If ACPI is not supported, the BIOS handles assigning resources. Additionally, NTDETECT.COM determines which (if any) hardware profile to load. On pre-Windows Vista Operating Systems, the OS can be setup with multiple hardware profiles to support different drivers for different configurations – such as if a laptop docking station is present. Classes of hardware that NTDETECT.COM will detect include: · Hardware identification · Hardware date & time · Bus and adapter types · SCSI adapters · Video adapters · Keyboard · Serial and parallel communication ports · Hard drives

66 · Floppy disks · Mouse · Floating-point coprocessor · Industry Standard Architecture-based devices Windows Vista Windows Vista only supports ACPI, so Windows must allocate resources to devices. Additionally, Windows Vista dropped support for hardware profiles.

NTBOOTDD.SYS
The NTBOOTDD.SYS file is created for systems which have a primary SCSI boot device not using realmode INT0x13. It handles disk access based on the driver installed for the particular SCSI card and device you are using.

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