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A+ Series Supplemental Information


What is firmware and what part does it play in the boot process? Firmware can be thought of as a combination of hardware and software. ROM (Read Only Memory) is an example of firmware where we have software, or code, embedded on a memory chip. The memory is nonvolatile, meaning the information does not go away once the computer is turned off. Firmware, specifically ROM BIOS, plays a crucial role in the boot process since it contains much of the low level operating instructions that enable the PC to boot properly. Occasionally when new peripherals are introduced systems BIOS will need to be upgraded in order to recognize the new component. Q: A: What is an LCD what part does it play in the boot process of a portable system? LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display, and it is the primary display device on portable computers (laptops). Without a functioning display device, no information can be gathered regarding the boot process, and depending on the nature of the problem, the system might not boot at all. To check to see if the LCD is working properly, most laptops are able to connect to an external monitor or projector. This allows you to see the boot process and narrow down the cause of the problem. If an external monitor still doesnt work, the problem is more than likely beyond the LCD and will require further troubleshooting. Q: A: What is a PDA? PDA stands for Personal Digital Assistant, and they have become increasingly popular over the last several years. Palm (Palm Pilot) has been the predominant product in the marketplace, but the Pocket PC is gaining market share with its Microsoft Windows familiar interface. Pretty much all PDAs offer basic functionality such as a calendar, address book, notepad, a calculator, etc., but some offer additional features such as voice recording, .mp3 playback, wireless connectivity, etc. Q: A: How do I install or upgrade my video card? Video cards (sometimes referred to as video boards) are the hardware component that provides display functionality on a PC. Most motherboards have on-board video, however the processing power and functionality rd is usually below 3 party add-on boards. People who need additional processing power for CAD programs, 3D games and graphic intensive applications usually install add-on boards with increased 3D hardware acceleration. This takes the load off the main processor and frees the CPU to process other information. To install a video card, power down the PC, remove the power plug from the back of the PC. Make sure to have an ESD wrist strap on and properly grounded to avoid damaging the PC or any components. Remove the cover from your PC to reveal the motherboard. Make sure you have a slot available, and that the slot matches the type of video card you are installing (PCI or AGP are most common). Remove the video card from its anti-static bag and insert into the appropriate slot on a slight angle. Rocking the card into place youll feel it gently snap into place. Dont force the card and make sure the card is lined up properly before exerting any force. Once the card is in place, replace the retaining screw, making sure not to tighten the screw too much. Over tightening the screw can actually cause the card to rise up slightly out of the slot, potentially causing intermittent problems down the road. Q: A: What is the process for adding portable system components? Portable systems (i.e. laptops) function in much the same way their larger desktop cousins do. The main difference is that upgrading internal components in laptops is more difficult due to limited space, smaller size, and the fact that laptops are not designed for easy disassembly. Their functionality is usually upgraded through the addition of PC cards or some external device (connected via serial, parallel, USB or firewire connections). Connecting external devices is fairly simple due to the advent of plug & play operating systems such as Microsoft Windows. As an example, if you wanted to attach a digital camera to your system to view pictures youve taken or perhaps use it as a web cam, you would connect the camera directly to the PC via one of several methods. Most cameras connect via a USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable, but firewire is becoming more common, especially for digital video cameras. External display devices, such as LCD flat panel monitors are connected in much the same way. Some panels
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connect via the 15-pin monitor-out port on the back of a laptop, while others can connect via USB. Q: A: What is 1284? 1284 refers to the IEEE specification of the same number. IEEE stands for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, an organization best known for designing standards for the computer and electronics industries. IEEE 1284 refers to bi-directional communication between a PC and an external device (usually a printer). Before the implementation of the IEEE 1284 standard, communication between a PC and printer was one way. The computer sent information to the printer, but wasnt able to receive information back. With the advent of bidirectional communication, printers can now send feedback (error and status messages, etc) to the PC. In order for this communication to take place over a parallel port, youll need to have an IEEE 1284 parallel cable, compatible device and operating system that supports it. How is infrared configured and utilized? Infrared (IrDA) allows you to enable communication between a computer equipped with an infrared port and an external device. Infrared can be used for a number of applications, typically however its used for communicating with a printer or for line-of-sight networking. In Microsoft Windows operating systems simply align your devices so that the infrared transceivers are within one meter of each other, and the transceivers are pointing at each other. When the devices are correctly aligned, the connection icon appears on the taskbar. If the computer doesnt have an IrDA port, you can connect an IrDA transceiver to a serial port Q: A: How do you upgrade the system BIOS? BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is the low-level set of instructions that contains all the code required to control the keyboard, display screen, disk drives, serial communications, and a number of miscellaneous functions. BIOS is stored on a memory chip that can be upgraded electronically. The EEPROM (Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) is upgraded through a process called flashing. Flashing the BIOS is a matter of downloading an updated BIOS from one of several places: Motherboard Manufacturer BIOS manufacturer Computer Manufacturer

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Once downloaded, expand the file onto a floppy disk and reboot the PC with the floppy inserted. Upon reboot, the code will be copied from the floppy and the BIOS will be flashed adding the new functionality. Its important to note that you definitely dont want to interrupt the flashing procedure while its in progress. Before you upgrade any major component in your computer, including the BIOS, always back up the PC just in case something goes awry. Q: A: What are some components that may need to be replaced or upgraded with a portable system (laptop)? Upgrading components with a laptop is not as simple as upgrading components in a desktop system, but some things can be easily upgraded. Laptop batteries will, over time, lose their ability to retain a charge and eventually need replacing. Identify common symptoms and problems associated with mice. Mice can present problems in responsiveness when the tracking mechanism (ball and tracking wheels) become corroded with dirt, dust and lint. Turn the mouse upside down and twist the retaining ring around the ball counter-clockwise to remove the ball. Visually inspect the tracking wheels for corrosion, and remove any dirt or dust. Mice can also cause problems when they have a device conflict with some other peripheral. PS/2 mice use IRQ 12, so make sure its not conflicting with another device. Other things to consider is to make sure the mouse is connected properly, plugged into the mouse port (not the keyboard port) and that it is functioning properly. You can plug the mouse into another system to see if its
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Mice are inexpensive to replace and if its determined that the device is not working, it should just be replaced. Q: A: Identify common symptoms and problems associated with floppy drives. Floppy drives usually present problems after youve opened the PC and disconnected the drives to work on something, or perhaps installed a new floppy drive. In either case, when reconnecting the floppy, and common error is to connect the ribbon cable backwards. When the cable is connected backwards, the drive indicator will stay lit and the drive wont function. Also make sure no other device is conflicting with the floppy device controller. The floppy drive will typically use IRQ 6 and DMA channel 2. As always, swap the device out with a known good floppy drive to rule out the floppy drive controller being the culprit. Some other things to consider are perhaps the drive itself is out of alignment. If it can read some disks and not others, this might be the problem. In other words, the read/write heads on the drive are out of alignment enough so that it cant read disks that werent formatted with the drive. However, the drive can read disks that it formatted with its own alignment. Check the BIOS to make sure the settings are correct. Occasionally BIOS settings will be lost (usually when the CMOS battery is failing or replaced, but could also be from a user poking around in the BIOS). Q: A: Identify common symptoms and problems associated with parallel ports. Most problems with parallel ports stem from the cables being too long. When electronic signals are transmitted over a wire, they will lose clarity, or attenuate, over distance. Parallel cables should be 10 feet in length or less, with one of the most common length of cable being 6 ft. If the cable is too long, the signal will degrade over distance and affect performance. Q: A: Identify common symptoms and problems associated with DVD drives. DVD drives connect to a PC and operate in much the same way cd-rom drives do. They can be internal IDE or SCSI devices, or could utilize SCSI, USB or firewire if they are external devices. Cable connections, jumper settings (master/slave) and power connections are common problems with DVD drives, just as they are with CD drives. Also, when the laser or pickup is dirty or misaligned, read errors will result. If you inserted a disk into your DVD drive and it didnt play, or you werent able to access any data on the drive, any one of a number of things could be wrong. The cabling to the DVD drive could be connected wrong, or not at all. Check to make sure all connections are correct. Drivers for the drive are either incorrect or not present. Install the proper drivers (usually found at the manufacturers website, or the OS manufacturer. BIOS could have either lost its data (CMOS settings), been configured incorrectly, or need upgrading to recognize a new peripheral. Check the BIOS to ensure the proper settings are in place, and also confirm you have the latest version of the BIOS for your particular PC.

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What are some common symptoms and problems with a NIC and what are ways to troubleshoot? A NIC is a Network Interface Card, and like most peripherals it requires an IRQ. While older ISA cards required a unique IRQ, newer PCI devices are able to share IRQs. If the device or the OS is not plug_and_play compatible, an IRQ needs to be manually assigned either through jumper settings, dip switches or through software. Some older cards had the IRQ hard coded and couldnt be changed. A NIC could also simply fail, at which point network connectivity would cease. Dont overlook the fact that sometimes components just go bad.
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Intermittent problems could occur if the card is starting to fail or perhaps not fully seated in its slot. Moving the PC can cause peripheral cards to work loose from their seating, as can over tightening the retaining screw on the card itself. When network connectivity is intermittent, its important to narrow the problem down. Use the TCP/IP ping utility to test connectivity to various points on the network. Start by pinging the local host, and then ping a host on the same segment. If you get a response from your machine and another local machine, the NIC is functioning properly and the problem lies with the network somewhere. You would further isolate the problem at that point by trying to ping the near side of your router (gateway) and then the far side. Also check your TCP/IP settings to make sure your default subnet mask and gateway addresses are correct. Q: A: What are some common symptoms and problems with a power supply and what are ways to troubleshoot? Power supplies can cause some headaches when they start to go bad. When a power supply has completely failed, its fairly obvious what the problem is. However, when a power supply is starting to fail, it can supply power to your PC, but the voltage may be less than is required for optimal functionality. This results in intermittent lockups and various errors (keyboard, memory, etc). These types of errors are hard to troubleshoot because they come and go, and are hard to duplicate. Overheating can be a common cause of intermittent errors, so with the PC turned off and the cover removed, use compressed air to blow any dust out of the power supply and fans. Dust acts an insulator and raises the temperature considerably. Also make sure all slot covers are in place on the back of the PC. The PC is designed to have all slot covers in place unless there is a card installed, in order to maximize air flow and cooling efficiency. Keeping the slot covers off (to allow more air to flow in) actually has the opposite effect and raises the internal temperature. You can compare this to opening the slot on the side of a vacuums hose. When the slot is open, the suction is reduced considerably. The fans in the PC function much like a vacuum, pulling cool air from the outside through the PC. When the slot covers are removed, they reduce the fans capacity to bring cool air in, ultimately raising the temperature inside the PC. If you suspect a failing power supply, its best to use your multi-meter to test the voltages being produced by the power supply. Remember, there are two main types of power supplies, AT and ATX both of which supply DC power to the computer. Newer computers will utilize ATX style power supplies, which have 20 pins in the connector that plugs into the motherboard. The older AT style power supplies have 12 pins, broken up into two connectors of 6 pins each, usually labeled P8 and P9. A breakdown of the voltages supplied on each wire of the connectors is listed below:

AT Power Supply
Connection P8 Lead 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 Description Power Good Not used or +5 Volts +12 volts -12 volts Black Ground Black Ground Black Ground Black Ground -5 volts +5 volts +5 volts +5 volts
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Color Orange Red Yellow Blue Black Black Black Black White Red Red Red

Acceptable Range +4.4 to +5.2 volts +10.8 to +13.2 volts -10.8 to -13.2 volts

P9

-4.5 to -5.5 volts +4.5 to +5.5 volts +4.5 to +5.5 volts +4.5 to +5.5
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ATX Power Supply


Unnotched Side Lead Description 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 +12 volts +5 volts standby Power Good Black Ground +5 volts Black Ground +5 volts Black Ground +3.3 volts +3.3 volts Acceptable Range +10.8 to +13.2 +4.5 to +5.5 volts Notched Side Lead Description 1 2 3 4 +4.5 to +5.5 volts 5 6 +4.5 to +5.5 volts 7 On 8 +3.1 to +3.5 volts +3.1 to +3.5 volts 9 10 Black Ground -12 volts +3.3 volts -10.8 to -13.2 volts +3.1 to +3.5 volts +5 volts +5 volts -5 volts Black Ground Black Ground Black Ground Power Supply Acceptable Range +4.5 to +5.5 volts +4.5 to +5.5 volts -4.5 to -5.5 volts

For us to test the power supply with our multi-meter, we need to do so with the power on. Well also need to set our multi-meter to measure direct current (DC) and set the range to 20 volts. Once thats completed well place the red probe on lead 3 (AT power supply) and the black probe in one of the black ground leads. The voltage should read +12 volts (or fall somewhere in the acceptable range). Move the black probe to each of the other black ground leads to make sure they are all working properly. Next, keeping the black probe in one of the black ground leads, move the red probe to each other leads comparing their voltages to the chart above. ATX power supplies are measured in the same fashion, just keep in mind they also supply 3.3volts for the newer processors. If the power supply is falling out of the acceptable range, replace it with a new one. Power supplies are considered an FRU (Field Replaceable Unit). Q: A: What is LBA mode? LBA stands for logical block addressing, and its a way to support large-capacity drives (drives larger than 504 MB). For drives larger than 504 MB in size, LBA is the most popular type of translation method. Errors can occur, including Invalid System Disk if the incorrect mode is set in CMOS. Go to CMOS and make sure settings are set to LBA mode instead of non-LBA or normal mode. What are some common problems associated with cabling and keyboards? Cabling can often be a difficult thing to troubleshoot. When a cable goes completely bad, its fairly obvious what the problem is. However, when a cable has a broken pin or a break in the wires that is either not complete or complete but held in place, intermittent errors can occur. Subtle movement in the cable can cause the broken pin or wire to lose connectivity, but as the cable is moved, the connection is made again. This causes intermittent connectivity errors that can cause the cabling to be overlooked. Replacing cabling with known-good cables or switching the suspect cables onto a new machine can quickly narrow-down the nature of the problem. Keyboard errors can be caused by broken pins on the connector, but can also be caused by contacts on the keyboard being broken or stuck (key stuck from spilling something sticky on the keyboard). Check to make sure
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nothing is lying on the keyboard pressing on a key as well (a stuck key will generate a POST error on system boot). Applications that lock the computer will also make the keyboard appear to not work, when in reality its a software issue. Rebooting the computer should solve the problem. If the problem persists, you should troubleshoot the application or operating system to further narrow down the nature of the problem. As always, swap the keyboard if possible with a known-good one to quickly determine if the keyboard is the source of the problem. Q: A: Identify basic troubleshooting procedures and how to elicit problem symptoms from customers. When working with customers to determine problems, its always a good idea to approach things methodically, dont overlook the obvious, and start with the simple things first. When trying to determine if the problem is hardware or software related, ask questions to narrow down the nature of the problem. What type of error are you experiencing? Can you duplicate the error, or is it intermittent? What has changed since the problem was last working correctly? Have there been electrical storms recently? Has the PC been moved, or perhaps bumped recently? Have you installed any new hardware or software recently? Questions along these lines allow you to start to lean toward either software or hardware as the source of the problem. If you suspect software as the problem, ask the user questions regarding changes to software and environment. Perhaps they installed software or deleted data from their computer they no longer needed, or didnt think they needed. See if the problem occurs all the time, or sporadically, and see if you can duplicate the problem. Also ask what type of error messages or beeps (if any) they are experiencing. Error codes and beeps will vary depending on motherboard manufacturer, so refer to your motherboard manual for specifics. Each question you ask will help to narrow the problem down. By isolating the problem, or isolating components one by one, you can quickly narrow things down. Booting windows into safe mode allows you to load only the bare bones to get the OS running, and then you can selectively add components, drivers, etc., one by one until the offending piece of software presents itself. A similar methodology can be applied to hardware troubleshooting. Talking with the user can help determine if they changed anything since the last time the system was working correctly. They can also provide insight into other potential causes of trouble such as electrical storms, power outages or drastic changes in temperature (perhaps the air conditioning failed over the weekend at the office and the temperature reached 100+ degrees). Once you have an idea of where to start, you can start swapping out suspected bad components with knowngood components. As an example, if you were having trouble with the video on the PC and you ruled out drivers or software issues, you could try swapping out the video card, monitor cable and monitor. These should be done one at a time to determine which one (if any) resolves the problem. Replacing more than one thing at a time doesnt reveal which item resolved the problem. As always, document what you did and how you did it, along with the details such as symptoms and troubleshooting steps so the next time you have to deal with the same or similar problems you wont have to spend as long narrowing things down.

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What are some preventive maintenance things that can be done to keep things running as smoothly as possible? Your PC should be kept clean both inside and out to ensure things run smoothly, which will ultimately extend the life of your system.
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Liquid cleaning compounds such as alcohol and warm water (used in very small amounts) can be used to clean the PC inside and outside. Liquid compounds should only be used to remove dust and dirt from the case, monitor screen, print rollers, etc. Compressed air is also a good idea to use to clean accumulated dust from the keyboard, inside the PC (along with fans, power supply or any areas where dust is accumulated) and along any vent openings. Make sure not to use liquid cleaners on peripherals, the CPU or electrical components. They can be used to clean contacts and connections, but care should be taken to use only in small amounts. Q: A: What are signs that your PC is suffering from power related issues? Fluctuations in power can present problems such as intermittent lockups, loss or corruption of data. Fluctuations in power can in the form or spikes, sags or brownouts and blackouts. Sag/brownout Where the required amount of power dips momentarily but not enough to shut down the system; usually not noticeable to the user. Spike sudden surge in power that can cause damage to computer peripherals because of the sudden increase in voltage Blackout complete loss of power that is noticeable to the user and can result in corrupted or lost data, and in some cases damage to computer components. Q: A: What are some hazards regarding lasers (laser printers and CD/DVD-rom drives) Lasers can be potentially dangerous to your eyes if the laser shines directly into the eye. Care should be taken to not look directly into the laser beam when working on a laser printer or CD/DVD drive. While most laser printers are designed to turn the laser off when the printer is open, you should be aware of potential dangers. Why do you need to exercise extreme caution when dealing with power supplies, monitors and other high voltage systems? Power supplies and monitors contain capacitors which are capable of storing large amounts of electricity even after the PC is shut off and power disconnected. Typically you would not open a power supply or monitor to work on the internal components unless you are specially trained to do so. Another no-no is wearing your ESD wrist-strap if you are going to be working on these components because you dont want to be the ground when dealing with high voltage. It could be a truly shocking experience! Q: A: Are there any special considerations when dealing with the disposal of computer equipment? When disposing of used or broken equipment, special care should be taken when dealing with such thing like printer toner cartridges, batteries and monitors. Power supplies and monitors weve already mentioned can retain a large amount of electricity even after theyve been disconnected from a power source; which means the capacitors should be discharged prior to disposing. Documentation provided by the manufacturer of your computer equipment, as well as local governmental guidelines will provide details on how to dispose of various computer components. Some common components and their disposal methods are: Batteries (normal AAA through C, D and 9-volt) can be disposed of in the regular trash. Computer batteries used in laptops and cameras contain hazardous materials and should be returned to the dealer, or taken to a recycling plant. When transporting your batteries to a recycling facility, make sure to package them separate from other items so they are accidentally mishandled. Laser printer toner cartridges should be returned to the dealer (or manufacturer) or a recycling facility Inkjet printer cartridges should be taken to a recycling facility or check with local or state guidelines for additional guidance. Computers, monitors and chemical solvents should be taken to a recycling facility or check with local or state guidelines for additional guidance. When dealing with chemical solvents, check for an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) which should come packaged with the solvent. It contains valuable information regarding proper handling, health considerations,
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toxicity, what to do if you come in contact or ingest the material and spill clean-up procedures. If you are working in a commercial setting and work with these types of chemicals, the MSDS should be displayed somewhere in the work area. MSDS information can also be obtained from the internet, and/or the manufacturer of the solvent. When working with PCs, damage can occur to both you and the computer equipment if proper care is not taken. The most common type of damage to computer components is caused by electro-static discharge (ESD). The best way to prevent this is by wearing an ESD wrist-strap which is properly grounded. Additional protection can be provided by using a grounding mat, which you stand on and is connected to a wall out (grounded to the wall outlet). As I mentioned earlier however, an ESD wrist-strap should NOT be worn when working with power supplies or the inside of a monitor. Q: A: What are the different categories of RAM, their locations, and associated terminology? RAM (Random Access Memory), as the name implies, is temporary memory stored on chips. The memory is gone however when the computer is turned off. There are two main types of RAM, which are as follows: DRAM Dynamic RAM which holds information for a short period of time and needs to be constantly refreshed to maintain its memory. SRAM Static RAM holds information until power is turned off and as a result is much faster (and more expensive) than DRAM. For this reason, the majority of memory in a PC is DRAM. Some types of DRAM are: EDO RAM Extended Data Out RAM is considered a legacy product, but can still be found in older computers. It was originally designed for the Pentium computer; newer types of memory are recommended for the newer, faster computers. RDRAM Rambus DRAM contains RIMMs (Rambus Inline Memory Modules) and is a high speed form of memory that uses a high-speed bus with speeds up to 800 MHz. SDRAM Synchronous DRAM is a higher speed DRAM that is about three times as fast as conventional memory and twice as fast as EDO RAM.

VRAM Video RAM is a special type of RAM used for video cards. It can be access by two devices at once yielding higher performance (and higher prices) than regular RAM. WRAM Windows RAM is a newer type of video RAM that yields even higher performance than VRAM because it can address larger blocks or video memory. Q: A: What is a COM port? Most PCs have two serial ports that enable the transmission of data in single-file, bit by bit fashion. To make the configuration of these ports and assignment of resources easier, they have been assigned communications ports (COM1 and COM2 originally, with COM3 and COM4 being added later). While some people refer to the serial ports on the back of a PC as COM1 and COM2, they are actually serial port 1 and serial port 2. COM1 and COM2 are just the logical representations of the serial ports. (Just like a telephone is not 555-1212, thats just the logical number assigned to the telephone). The following table illustrates the default port assignments; Port COM1 COM2 COM3 COM4 LPT1 IRQ 4 3 4 3 7 I/O Address 03F8-03FF 02F8-02FF 03E8-03FF 02E8-02FF 0378-037F
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Type of Port Serial Serial Serial Serial Parallel


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LPT2 5 027F-0278

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Parallel

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Are there compatibility issues with IDE devices? IDE (Integrated Device Electronics) is a general reference to a technology that allows mass storage devices to be connected to a PC. EIDE (Enhanced IDE) allows for faster data throughput rates and larger drives than the older IDE standard. The ATA standard (Advanced Technology Attachment) couples the controller on the drive itself, and has evolved over the years to where it currently is as of this writing, ATA-100; which allows for data transfer rates of up to 100 MBps. The ATAPI standard (AT Attachment Packet Interface) is an extension to the EIDE standard that allows not only hard drives, but also cd-rom, DVD and other ATAPI compliant devices to be supported. All ATAPI compliant devices can be attached to the motherboard via IDE 1 or IDE 2 (plugging into the ribbon cable which attaches to IDE 1 or 2).

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What is CMOS and how is it accessed and/or changed? CMOS stands for Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor, and it works in tandem with the system BIOS. In fact, CMOS is where the user configurable settings are stored (such as date, time, and various user configurable parameters). Most computers have a key-stroke combination that needs to be pressed while the computer is booting in order to access CMOS (often called the setup utility). Common keystrokes are F2, DEL, ESC, Ctrl-ESC and Ctrl-Alt-ESC. CMOS settings that are incorrectly set are often areas of contention. For instance, in CMOS you can set the boot order for devices in your computer. A common configuration is to have the cd-rom boot first, floppy second, hard drive third and so forth. If cd-rom is set to boot after the hard drive, you wouldnt be able to boot from the cd-rom if the hard drive was already functional. This could be a problem if you needed to boot from the CD. The same type of problem could exist if you need to boot to the floppy disk but set incorrectly in the boot order (set to boot after the hard drive). Luckily, these are all easy items to correct once CMOS is accessed.

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How do you enable or disable a floppy drive, and what are the various sizes and storage capacities? Floppy drives at one point used to come in several sizes (5.25 and 3.5), although all newer computers utilize only 3.5 disks. The larger 5.25 disks actually held less data than their smaller cousins, and were more susceptible to damage. Disabling a drive can be done in BIOS by changing the CMOS setting for the floppy drive to none. Disks also come in several densities, including double-, high- and extra high-density. Refer to the following chart for further information.

Type 3 extra high density 3 high-density 3 double density 5 high-density 5 double-density

Storage Capacity 2.88 MB 1.44 MB 720 K 1.2 MB 360 K

Number of Tracks p/ side 80 80 80 80 40

Number of Sectors p/ side 36 18 9 15 9

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What are some password considerations when dealing with BIOS/CMOS? System passwords allow you to prevent someone from booting your computer without the proper password. However, since the password is stored in CMOS and CMOS retains its memory via battery, removal of the battery will wipe the system password (along with any other CMOS settings including date and time). System or boot passwords offer a level of security, but dont be fooled into a false sense of it. It will keep most people out of your system, but it can be bypassed.

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What is a Plug & Play BIOS? Plug and Play is an environment in MS Windows systems what allows automatic configuration of compatible plug & play devices. A Plug and Play BIOS in addition to a plug and play operating system provides for automatic allocation of resources such as IRQ, I/O Address, DMA and Memory addresses. Plug and play depends of having three things in place: Plug and Play BIOS Plug and Play Operating System Plug and Play Device

Non-plug and play devices can be used in a plug and play environment, but they need to be configured manually. Q: A: How do you handle a printer paper jam? Follow printer directions for handling a jam, as printers will vary in the form and function. However, a general rule of thumb is to not try to jerk the paper from the printer. This can cause the paper to rip and increase the difficulty in removing it. Remove the paper by pulling it slowly and evenly from the printer. Occasionally the printer will display that it has a paper jam, even though there isnt one. Remove the paper tray and check for any loose pieces of paper caught in the paper path, and then replace the tray. If a jam is still being displayed, check the paper tray itself. In laser printers, there is a metal plate on the bottom of the paper tray that lifts the paper up and allows it to be pulled into the printer. If the lift plate is not working, it could cause the paper to not feed properly and possibly jam (or incorrectly report a jam even though there isnt one). Q: A: How do you install and configure and network card? Installing a network card is the same as installing any type of peripheral. Make sure the card you are purchasing or installing matches the type of slot available in your PC (ISA or PCI). The card is physically inserted into the slot until you feel it snap into place. Once the card is installed and the machine rebooted, the card should be automatically detected if you are working in a plug and play operating system. If not, or if the card is too new to be detected by the operating system, youll need to install the drivers manually. If the card is older (legacy technology) you may also be required to set jumpers or DIP switches on the card to assign resources (I/O address and IRQ settings). Drivers can be supplied on disk, downloaded from the PC manufacturer, or the preferred way of downloading directly from the network card manufacturers web site. Once everything is installed including drivers (if needed) we can then configure the network card (NIC) for internet or network access. The network card can configured with a static IP address, subnet mask and default gateway, or it can obtain this information automatically if a DHCP server is available (or if Internet Connection Sharing is enabled). The process for configuring the network card will vary slightly from operating system to operating system, but generally speaking, if you go into the control panel, then choose the network applet, you will see your network connection listed. Right click the icon, and then choose properties. From there highlight TCP/IP for your network adapter and hit properties. You will then be able to choose to have your TCP/IP address assigned statically or dynamically. If you choose dynamic, no further configuration is needed. If you statically assign the IP address, you need to make sure you correctly enter in the IP address and default subnet mask (and default gateway if plan to communicate outside of your local segment). If your PC cant connect to the network after installation and configuration, you might have a resource conflict (check in Device Manager and/or System Information Applet).
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How can I increase bandwidth? When talking about connectivity to a network, bandwidth can be increased by installing a faster NIC, if the network will support it. In other words, if you have a 10 Mbps NIC installed in your system and you want to upgrade to a 100 Mbps NIC, the hub or switch youre plugging into will need to support the speed increase. As for connecting to the internet, the basic level of communication is dial-up access. Speeds range from 28.8kbps to 56kpbs depending on line conditions and modem speeds. To increase bandwidth, you have several options depending on whats available in your area: - ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network; Direct connect method with speeds ranging from 128kbps (BRI) to 1.54 Mbps (PRI). ISDN is expensive compared to cable and DSL and requires a leased line. - Cable modem Direct connection method with speeds typically in the 640kbps to 1.5Mbps range - DSL Digital Subscriber Line; speeds will vary greatly depending on distance from Central Office (CO), typically in the 640k to 1.54Mbps range. - Satellite Direct connect method utilizing satellite. Communication used to be downstream only with upstream requiring dial-up, but now two-way communication is possible. Speeds typically in the 400kbps range and requires special satellite equipment. Regardless of the type of broadband connection you choose, youll need a network interface card in your computer to attached to the specialized modem (whether its cable, DSL, ISDN or satellite).

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How do you check which OS version you are running? In Windows, you can right-click on the My Computer icon on the desktop, and choose properties. From there, click on the general tab if it is not selected. The OS version is displayed, along with CPU and the amount of RAM. What is Explorer? Explorer is the file manager in windows 9x and up. It replaces the file manager in Windows 3.1 and allows you to browse your computers hard drive(s), floppy drives, etc., copy/move/delete files and perform various file maintenance functions. Explorer is tightly integrated with Internet Explorer; in fact, if you type a web address in the explorer address bar (instead of a location on your hard drive) youll display the website (assuming its a valid address and you have an internet connection). What is the boot.ini file? Boot.ini is used in NT4, Windows 2000 and XP to build the boot loader menu and options that are to be displayed when the system is booted. Boot.ini is a read only file usually located on the c:\ drive (root directory of the system partition).

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What is win.com? Win.com is the executable file responsible for Windows start-up. It runs after autoexec.bat is processed. In the older Windows 3.x environment, the win.com file is executed by typing "win" at the DOS prompt. In version 9x OSs, win.com runs automatically. What is Sysedit? (Windows 98) In the 'Windows 9x' operating system, Sysedit, or System Editor, is a convenient method of editing the Windows startup files such as 'autoexec.bat', 'config.sys' and the Windows initialization files without having to open and DOS text editor or notepad. Sysedit also opens all the relevant system files without having to remember their names and locations.

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What is SETVER.EXE? (Windows 98) SETVER.EXE is a DOS executable that enables programs that were designed to run in older versions of DOS to run in newer versions 5.0 and up. Some earlier programs that are in fact compatible with the newer versions of DOS incorrectly report they are not, because they dont recognize the version number. SETVER maintains a table of applications and what version number it should report back to the program.
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To use SETVER, you must also have the "DEVICE=C:\DOS\SETVER.EXE" command in your CONFIG.SYS file. This command installs the SETVER.EXE file, which contains the version table, each time you start your computer. Again, this is legacy technology, but usually setup adds this command for you when you install MS-DOS version 5.0, 6.0, or 6.2 on your computer. Q: A: What is SMARTDRV.EXE? (Windows 98) SMARTDRV.EXE is a disk caching program that comes with DOS and boosts system performance by using a portion of RAM to cache files before being written to the hard disk. What is DOSSTART.BAT? (Windows 98) In MS Windows, when you restart your computer in MS-DOS mode, any commands contained in the DOSSTART.BAT file will be carried out. DOSSTART.BAT is a text file and can be edited with any text editor, including notepad. Q: A: What is DriveSpace? (Windows 98) DriveSpace is a disk compression utility that is used to compress hard drives and free up space. While disk space was a major concern in the past, the size of hard drives has grown extremely large while the prices continue to drop. As a result, disk compression utilities are not as necessary as they once were. In addition, disk compression utilities like DriveSpace have a tendency to slow things down quite a bit and the file is susceptible to corruption. If the file is corrupted, all files contained in the compressed file are lost. Q: A: What is REGEDT32? (Windows 2000) REGEDT32 is the preferred registry editor for Windows 2000. Preferred because it handles several data types that regedit.exe doesnt handle such as REG_MULTI_SZ.

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What is the boot process in Windows NT/2000? The boot sequence is as follows 1. Power on self test (POST) routines are run 2. Master Boot Record (MBR) is loaded into memory, and the program is run 3. The Boot Sector from Active Partition is Loaded into Memory 4. Ntldr is loaded and initialized from the boot sector 5. Change the processor from real mode to 32-bit flat memory mode 6. Ntldr starts the appropriate minifile system drivers. Minifile system drivers are built into Ntldr and can read FAT or NTFS 7. Ntldr reads the Boot.ini file 8. Ntldr loads the operating system selected, on of two things happen - If Windows NT is selected, Ntldr runs Ntdetect.com - For other operating system, Ntldr loads and runs Bootsect.dos, which is the boot sector that existed before Windows NT/2000 was installed, and passes control to it. The Windows NT process ends here 9. Ntdetect.com scans the computer hardware and sends the list to Ntldr for inclusion in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE 10. Ntldr then loads Ntoskrnl.exe, Hal.dll and the system hive 11. Ntldr scans the System hive and loads the device drivers configured to start at boot time 12. Ntldr passes control to Ntoskrnl.exe, at which point the boot process ends and the load phases begin At a command prompt, what does VER do? The VER command is used to display the version of the operating system your using (the version of MS-DOS or the version of Windows). At a command prompt, what does the MEM command do? Typing MEM at a command prompt will display the amount of memory currently in the system and how much is available. Here is a sample output: 655360 bytes total conventional memory 655360 bytes available to MS-DOS 634112 largest executable program size
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1048576 bytes total contiguous extended memory 0 bytes available contiguous extended memory 941056 bytes available XMS memory MS-DOS resident in High Memory Area Q: A:

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At a command prompt, what does SCANDISK do? SCANDISK is a utility that can find different types of errors on hard disks and correct some of them; as an example lost clusters. The program also scans the surface of the hard disk (the disk platters) for physical defects. At a command prompt, what does XCOPY do? XCOPY is a utility that copies files and directory trees. There are a number of switches (18 of them) to affect the way files and directories are copied. XCOPY can be used to copy large amounts of data from one fixed disk to another. It is more powerful than the COPY command because of its ability to copy not only files but entire directory structures as well. Although it could be used to backup data, backup programs designed specifically for this purpose are a better choice.

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What is MSCDEX? MSCDEX stands for Microsoft CD-ROM Extensions, and it allows DOS and Windows 3.1 to recognize cd-rom drives. Windows 95 and up dont need the driver, its replaced with something called CDFS, but for older legacy operating systems, MSCDEX is necessary. MSCDEX is called from Autoexec.bat and there must be a matching line in the config.sys file in order to enable cd-rom access. In other words, the driver being called by the /D: MSCD0001 must appear correctly in both files otherwise the drivers will not load correctly. Below is an example how it should appear in both autoexec.bat and config.sys. Autoexec.bat LH C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE /D: MSCD0001 Config.sys DEVICEHIGH=C:\MTMCDAI.SYS /D: MSCD0001 MSCDEX is usually located in the c:\windows\command directory in Windows 95 and up operating systems. It may be located in c:\dos or c:\windows if you have an earlier operating system.

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In Windows 2000, what are the COMPRESS and ENCRYPT attributes? Compress and encrypt are both extended attributes that can be accessed by right-clicking on the file or folder, choosing properties and then clicking on the advanced button. You can choose to either compress or encrypt, but not both. When you compress a file you reduce the file size (amount of reduction depends on the type of file some reduce more than others). When you encrypt a file you are in essence scrambling the contents with a key combination in such a way that only the holder of the private portion of the key can decrypt the file.

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How do you back and restore files? Backing up your data is an extremely important practice to get in the habit of doing. End users rarely back up their data, while corporate IT administrators know all too well the importance of keeping their data safe. When backing up data, whether using specialized 3 party software or the backup utilities built into the operating system we need to be aware of a few concepts. When a file is created or changed in some fashion, there is a flag or attribute that is set called the archive attribute. When the archive bit is set, it is stating that the file is ready to be backed up. What this means is that when the backup software runs, it looks at the archive bit to determine if the file should be backed up or not. There are several types of backup methods that you should be aware of, each of which handles the archive bit differently. They are full, differential, incremental, copy and daily. Full A full backup will copy all files and reset the archive bit. The archive bit reset means the files
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will be backed up again the next time a full backup is performed.

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Incremental Backs up all files that have changed since the last full or incremental backup and resets the archive bit. Incremental backups take less time to backup but more time to restore. Differential Backs up all files since the last full backup and does not reset the archive bit. Differential backups take more time to backup but less time to restore. Copy A full copy backup is similar to a full backup except it doesnt reset the archive bit. This is useful when you want to take a snapshot of your system, or do a backup without interrupting normal backup schedules. Daily Daily backups will backup only files that have changed that day and does not reset the archive bit.

Additionally, its important to understand that the information above discusses types of backups, or backup methods. Another point to understand is something backup rotation or media rotation schemes. This refers to how the backup tapes or media are used and stored for maximum efficiency and data integrity. The most common type of media rotation scheme is called grandfather, father, son or GFS rotation. GFS rotation refers to way backup tapes are handled and reused. Each daily backup tape is referred to as the son tapes, the weekly tapes are the father tapes, and the monthly tapes are the grandfather tapes. The rotation works as follows: Each day a backup is performed (usually incremental or differential), this is the son tape. They are reused each week, in other words the Monday tape of week one would be reused on the Monday of week two, the Monday of week three, etc. The last day of the week a full backup is performed, which is the father tape. This is reused each month, in other words the week one of month one tape is reused for week one of month two, then week one of month three, etc. The grandfather tape is a full backup that is done the last day of the month. This tape is not reused typically. There will be one tape for each month and this tape should be stored off-site to ensure maximum data integrity. Depending on the environment, the tapes might be reused the following year (January tape of year one is reused as the January tape of year two, etc). or they may be stored permanently and never reused. Q: A: What is NTFS5 and how does it differ from NTFS4? NTFS stands for New Technology File System, and is the native file system in Windows NT4, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. NTFS4 first appeared in Windows NT 4.0 and has since evolved into NTFS5 which was introduced with Windows 2000. In earlier versions of Windows NT (Versions 3.51 and earlier) HPFS was the native file system. HPFS (High Performance File System) was first introduced with IBMs OS/2 operating system and was later adopted in Windows NT 3.1, 3.5 and 3.51 (It is not supported in NT4 and later). NTFS uses file-level security, which allows an administrator to assign various levels of access to different users for individual files or folders. Other file systems, such as FAT or FAT32 offer share-level security which assigns one password for read-only access and one-password for full-access. NTFS introduces several new features, most notably the ability to encrypt data and also quota management. Encryption is the process of protecting a file or folder using a two-part key consisting of a public key and private key. What this basically does is ensure that only the user (or the holder of the users keys) can decrypt a file that they encrypted. Quota management allows an administrator to set limits on how much hard disk space a particular user can have. As an example, if a user has home directory on a server, and that server is set with quotas limiting the user to only 20 MB of storage space, then once they reach that limit they get an error stating there is no more disk space, even though there might be hundreds of gigabytes of storage space available.
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Overall, NTFS is a more secure, stable and efficient file system than FAT or FAT32 and should be used whenever security is a concern. Since NTFS uses smaller cluster sizes than other file systems, it is well suited to larger drives. NTFS is not recommended for drives smaller than 400 MB due to file system overhead. Q: A: What is EDIT.COM? EDIT.COM is a DOS-based text editor that allows you to create, read and modify text documents, batch files (.bat), initialization files (.ini) and some .sys and .com files. It is invoked by typing EDIT from a command prompt. What is WSCRIPT.EXE? WSCRIPT.EXE is Microsoft Windows Script Host is a language-independent scripting host for ActiveX scripting engines. It allows you to run scripts from both the Windows desktop and the command prompt. Typing WSCRIPT from the command prompt or the run dialog box allows you to set global scripting options for all scripts run on the local machine. Q: A: What is HWINFO.EXE? HWINFO is an unsupported Microsoft tool that provides the same information (but in a different view) that the Microsoft System Information tool does (MSINFO32.EXE). HWINFO only applies to Windows 98 and Windows ME. MSINFO32.EXE provides the same information and is the Microsoft supported way to access this information. Q: A: What is ASD.EXE? ASD.EXE is the Automatic Skip Driver agent, which is a Windows 98/ME utility that identifies devices that are causing a PC to hang during startup. Utilizing this information, ASD bypasses the problem devices by disabling them the next time you restart the computer. ASD.EXE is located in the \Windows folder. To start Automatic Skip Driver through the Microsoft System Information tool, select: Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information, then select Automatic Skip Driver Agent from the Tools menu. If you prefer, you can start ASD by selecting Start > Run and entering asd.exe. If the utility does not detect any device problems when you start it, it will display a message stating what it found (or didnt find). Automatic Skip Driver Agent keeps a record of all the devices it disables in a file called asd.log. Last but not least, you can also instruct ASD to enable a device it previously disabled. Q: A: How do you upgrade Windows 95 to Windows 98? Upgrading to Windows 98 from Windows 95 is a very straight forward process, since the core components between the two operating systems are quite similar. As always, before doing any upgrade or major maintenance, back up your system to ensure the integrity of your data in the event things dont go as planned. To upgrade, insert the CD in the tray and the wizard will prompt you through the process. Choose upgrade, and your existing settings, installed applications, etc., will be retained. Also, before you upgrade, make sure the hardware you have is compatible with Windows 98 and that you meet the minimum hardware requirements (hard drive space, processor speed, CD/DVD drive, RAM, etc). Q: A: How do you dual boot with Windows 98 and Windows NT/2000? The preferred method of dual booting between these two operating systems is to have Windows 98 installed first, and then install Windows 2000. Additionally, you should have separate partitions for both operating systems so they dont interfere with each others critical files. From within Windows 98, insert the Windows 2000 CD which will bring up a screen telling you that the CD-ROM contains a newer OS than the one your currently using, and asks you if you want to upgrade. Even though were not upgrading, choose OK. This will launch the install wizard which then gives you the choice to upgrade the existing OS, or install a new copy. We want to choose install a new copy
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After youve read the EULA and entered the correct product key, youre presented with the special options page. Click on the advanced options box and tell it you want to choose the installation partition during setup (this step is very important!). Once youve done this the system will reboot and youre then in the text based portion of the installation. Youll be asked to choose the partition to install the OS, just make sure to choose the partition that Windows 98 is not on (If Windows 98 is on C:, then choose D: for Windows 2000). The installation program will then copy over the necessary files to the C: drive to make dual booting possible (Ntldr, ntdetect, boot.ini, etc). Q: A: What is safe mode? Safe mode is a Windows state that can be invoked manually while booting a system, or can be invoked automatically at times when drivers are installed incorrectly. Safe mode loads Windows 9x/ME/2000 with a minimal set of drivers, and bypasses the commands found in autoexec.bat or config.sys. Windows 95 safe mode does not allow for network support, whereas the other operating systems do. Safe mode can be invoked manually in Windows 9x/Me by pressing F5 while you see the Starting OS message. In windows 2000/XP you can enter safe mode by pressing F8 and choosing Safe Mode from the resultant menu. There are several other options when booting into safe mode, such as safe mode with networking This allows you boot into safe mode, but also load the NIC drivers to allow network access. Safe mode with command prompt bypasses the autoexec.bat and config.sys and presents you with a command prompt (Windows 9x). Safe mode is a great troubleshooting tool because it allows you to undo errors in configuration or driver installation, or if something becomes corrupt that would normally leave the system unusable. You can boot into safe mode, correct the problem, and then reboot the computer as normal. Q: A: How do I install and launch an application? Installing an application in Windows is typically a pretty straightforward process. Most applications have an accompanying installer program that walks you through the process, creates the appropriate program groups, associations, and desktop icons. Launching the program is then just a matter of either double-clicking on the corresponding desktop icon, or going to start > programs > application > program (the app your trying to run). For applications that dont have an installer program, you will usually need to click on the executable (.exe, .com or .bat file) that comes with the program and it should install itself in the proper location (or ask you where to install). These types of application may or may not create program groups and icons so you may need to remember where the application is installed and go to that location to launch the program manually. Of you course you can always create a shortcut to the program and put it somewhere easy to remember (like the desktop). Q: A: How do I setup a printer and/or choose my default printer? In Microsoft-speak, there is a distinction between a printer and print device. What most people think of as a printer (the physical hardware that transfers text and images to a page) is actually the print device. The printer is the software driver (and the accompanying icon) on the computer. If you have only one printer on your PC, it will become the default printer automatically. If you have more than one printer, you can choose the default printer by right clicking on its icon and choosing make default printer. If you are having trouble printing to the print device it could be a driver issue, or a stalled printer spooler. Try removing the printer by highlighting it and removing (deleting) it and then reinstalling. The print spooler is a holding area where documents are sent, or queued, waiting to be printed. The spooler allows the computer to send the document off to be printed and get back to what its doing more quickly than if it had to wait for the entire document to print before continuing. You can restart a stalled printer spooler by deleting all print jobs in the printers queue. Double click the printer
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icon in the printers window, select Printer, Purge Print Documents. Q: A:

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What happens if I get the error message no operating system found? This can be caused by a number of things, but if the hard drive had previously been working fine, and hadnt been moved to a new system or changed in any way, the operating system startup files on the PC more than likely have become corrupted. It could also mean the Master Boot Record is unable to locate or read the OS boot sector on the active partition. Also be sure to check for viruses, as they could cause similar errors. If the hard disk had worked previously but has been moved to a different, the problem could be the way the BIOS is referencing the hard drive. Check to make sure the BIOS is configured correctly, make sure there are no resource conflicts and if necessary, flash the BIOS to update it to the latest version.

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What is COMMAND.COM? COMMAND.COM is the command interpreter and if you get an error message stating an invalid or missing COMMAND.COM it could be caused by a non-bootable disk in the A: drive; remove the disk and reboot the PC. If the error is received and there is no disk in the a: drive, the COMMAND.COM file on C: may have been corrupted or the path where the file is located could not be found. If you have access to a boot disk you can copy COMMAND.COM from the disk to the hard drive (making sure the boot disk is the same OS version).

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What happens if HIMEM.SYS is missing or corrupt? HIMEM.SYS is an extended memory manager is automatically loaded by Windows 95 and newer operating systems. Older OSs like Windows 3.1 or DOS need to have HIMEM.SYS loaded specifically in config.sys. If the file is missing or corrupt, DOS or Windows cant access anything over 1 MB of memory. Copy himem.sys from another source (floppy, installation CD, etc).

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What are some common numeric error codes that could occur during the POST? Common numeric error codes are: 100 range 200 range 300 range 500 range 6000 range 7300 range System board errors RAM errors Keyboard errors Video controller errors SCSI or network card errors Floppy drive errors

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What are Windows NT boot issues? Windows NT provides a number of troubleshooting aides in the event your having trouble booting the OS. Whenever a system is booted and successfully logged into, NT copies that configuration to the last known good configuration. This is saved in the registry, so that if drivers or some type of configuration has changed that causes errors or causes the system to hang, you can reboot the system and choose last known good configuration by pressing L during menu that appears during the boot process. Just make sure not to logon to the system if you suspect errors, because as soon as you successfully logon to the system, that becomes the last known good configuration. Windows NT also has a set of boot disks that can be utilized to boot the system (Windows 9x and ME need only one boot disk, Windows NT requires three). If you dont have the boot disks, they can be created by running the winnt.exe or winnt32.exe program, and using the /OX switch. Windows NT also has an Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) that can be used along with the boot disks to fix potential errors. Always remember to keep your ERD updated however, since it has data specific to your PC. You can create an ERD from a command prompt by typing rdisk.exe /s (/s updates the Security Accounts Manager as well).

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What is Dr. Watson?


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Dr. Watson is a troubleshooting tool that can be used to help diagnose and track down errors and the programs that caused them. Dr. Watson also records detailed system information along with application errors in a log file that is located in \windows\drwatson\watsonXX.wlg, where XX is an incrementing number. If you are experiencing application errors that you can reproduce, you can start Dr. Watson then produce the error. The information will be captured in the log file and can then be used to check Microsofts support site at support.microsoft.com for the specific problem and solution (hopefully). When you have errors that are intermittent and you cant produce at will, you can load Dr. Watson at startup by placing a shortcut to drwatson.exe in the startup folder.

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What is the GUI? GUI is the Graphical User Interface and there a number of files that are required to load in order to bring the desktop to the user. In Windows 9x, VMM32.VXD and several other files are used to load the desktop. In Windows 2000 if the GUI wont start for some reason (file corruption, virus,etc) you can possibly recover and replace the missing or corrupt files by loading the Recovery Console. This is a command line interface that allows you to perform many troubleshooting functions. You can run Recovery Console directly from the Windows 2000 installation CD (by booting to the CD and choosing the repair option) or you can install Recovery Console as a boot option so its always available. To install the Recovery Console on your system, get to a command prompt and type:

drive :\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons (drive = the location of your Windows 2000 installation CD) This will load the Recovery Console and make it available at system boot. Using Recovery Console
enables you to recover from the following problems: Corrupted or deleted startup files caused by incompatible software, user error, or virus activity. Disk problems related to damage to the master boot record (MBR), partition table, or boot sector on x86-based systems. A partition boot sector overwritten by another operating system's setup program.

If critical system files, such as Ntldr or Ntoskrnl.exe, are missing or corrupted, you can restore them by starting Recovery Console and copying the original files from the Windows 2000 installation CD or other removable disk media that has copies of these files. Q: A: What is a Windows Protection Error? Windows Protection Errors usually occurs when the system tries to load or unload a virtual device driver. Often you can tell which driver caused the error by the error message you receive, but other times the error message is ambiguous. According to Microsofts Website, Windows Protection Errors can occur: If a real-mode driver and a protected-mode driver are in conflict If the registry is damaged If either the Win.com file or the Command.com file are infected with a virus, or if either of the files are damaged If a protected-mode driver is loaded from the System.ini file and the driver is already initialized If there is a physical input/output (I/O) address conflict or a random access memory (RAM) address conflict If there are incorrect complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) settings for a built-in peripheral device (such as cache settings, CPU timing, hard disks, and so on) If the Plug and Play feature of the basic input/output system (BIOS) on the computer is not working correctly
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If the computer contains a malfunctioning cache or malfunctioning memory If the motherboard on the computer is not working properly If you installed Microsoft Office 97 and you are using the Novell Client 32 software

In Windows 9x you can create a boot log, which is a text file showing the last driver to load, and potentially the driver that failed. To create a boot log, type win /b when loading windows, and it will create the bootlog.txt file in the c:\windows directory. You can also boot into safe mode and from there type msconfig to load the configuration utility. From there you can uncheck items in the system.ini, win.ini autoexec.bat and config.sys files and reboot. Each time you reboot, add items back in one at a time until you discover the one causing the error. From there either permanently remove the item/driver or reinstall. Q: A: What problems can be realized when you have devices or device drivers referenced in system.ini or win.ini that is different than what is listed in the registry? VxDs (Virtual Device Drivers) at one point were housed in the [386enh] section of system.ini in Windows 3.x. In Windows 9x however things have changed a bit. Vmm32.vxd is a machine specific compilation of VxDs necessary for the successful booting of the PC (embedded in the file). If for some reason there is an issue with one of the VxDs that is part of vmm32.vxd, you can copy a new version of the driver to the \windows\system\vmm32 directory. If there is a driver in this location, Windows will utilize that one instead of the one embedded in vmm32.vxd. VxDs are listed in the registry and also in system.ini. The listings are usually the same (system.ini is used for backward compatibility). If system.ini entry is different from the one in the registry, the system.ini value is used. Q: A: What causes an illegal operation error? Illegal operation errors can come from a variety or sources and happen for any number of reasons. Generally speaking however, illegal operation errors occur when an application does something the computer (CPU) doesnt know how to interpret and/or process. When this happens, the offending application usually terminates and any work you had that wasnt saved will more than likely be lost. Other causes of illegal operation errors are shortage of available resources and driver conflicts. If you have too many applications or tasks running at once, all available resources could be consumed for a period of time. Try reducing the number of tasks running at once and/or increasing resources (RAM, processor speed, etc). Printer drivers can also often be the culprit in illegal operation errors. There is no rhyme or reason as to why printer drives work fine with some applications and not others. Updating printer drivers to the latest version usually alleviates the problem, but occasionally solving incompatibility with one program creates incompatibilities with another. Since there are so many printer manufacturers, drivers, software applications and hardware combinations its a matter of trial and error to implement drivers that function correctly across the board. Q: A: What is a TSR and how does it apply to viruses? A TSR is a memory resident program (Terminate and Stay Resident) which means a program will execute once but remain in memory. Viruses that are TSRs can infect all programs that are run by the computer (once the virus has been run and become memory resident). Anti-Virus software is a must for any computer regardless of whether the computer is connected to the internet or not. Viruses can come from many sources, including internet web pages, e-mail attachments, Microsoft Office documents (vbscript and macro viruses), games, floppy disks, etc. Trojans, while not technically a virus, get lumped in with viruses because they pose similar threats. While viruses are created to replicate and spread, Trojans are designed to allow access to a machine or network. Sometimes referred to as backdoors, Trojans allow hacker full access to a compromised system including the ability to log keystrokes, retrieve cached passwords, upload and download to and from the compromised machine, turn on web cams or microphones and capture audio or video, etc. Trojans, piggybacking on a legitimate program, install themselves into the registry and many will attempt to shut down anti-virus or firewall programs.
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Many times viruses will cause intermittent errors on a PC ranging from applications locking up and random reboots/shutdowns to complete loss of data. If your system is starting to lock up intermittently or exhibiting strange behavior be sure to update your anti-virus software and do a complete system scan. Trojans are harder to detect since they are designed to operate in stealth mode but looking at active TCP/IP connections can be a clue (in Windows NT/2000 type netstat a from a command prompt). Also running a port scanner on your system to see what ports are open and listening can be a way to determine if a trojan is on your system (assuming its listening on its default port each type of Trojan uses different ports and they can be changed at will). Your best bet to detect Trojans and/or viruses is to utilize 3 party software specifically designed for that purpose. As always, make sure to keep the software up-to-date as new Trojans and viruses are discovered every day. Q: A: How do I install or update my browser? Web browsers are an essential component to life on the internet. Keeping your browser up-to-date is equally important as there are vulnerabilities and exploits discovered practically every day that could lead to your system being compromised. Additionally, the majority of websites are designed with modern browsers in mind and many require the latest versions of browsers and/or plug-ins such as Flash or Shockwave to deliver the best experience. Installing a browser is a straight forward process, much the same as installing any application. If you have a connection to the internet, you can download a small installer program that will then connect to the browsers FTP or download site and download and install the browser automatically. You can also usually choose to download the file without installing if you want to copy the file over to a network location and make it available to others on a network. Q: A: What are some concepts and general terminology relating to networking? ISP - Internet Service Provider. An ISP is a company that provides internet access to others whether it be a company or individual home user. Smaller ISPs will by bandwidth from larger ISPs and resell access to the end user. IPX/SPX Internetwork Packet Exchange/Sequenced Packet Exchange. IPX/SPX is a networking protocol used in Novell (Netware) networks. Microsoft has a compatible protocol called NWLink. NetBEUI NetBIOS Extended User Interface. NetBEUI is a fast, connectionless protocol that is non-routable and used typically in small peer-to-peer networks. Its low overhead and minimal configuration make it well suited to small, single-segment networks. E-mail Electronic Mail. Method of sending messages including text, graphics, audio and executable files over the internet or intranet. Much like regular mail, a message has a sender and one or more recipients. Messages must be addressed properly or they will be returned to send. HTML Hypertext Markup Language. HTML is the most common language that web pages are written in, which includes special codes and tags. HTML files include the ability to link places in a document to other places (which could be in the same document, on the same server, or located elsewhere on the internet). HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the protocol that is used to deliver web pages over the internet. It operates by default on port 80 and communication takes place between a web server and client (via a web browser). A user inputs a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or domain name into a web browser (such as www.cbtnuggets.com) which gets resolved to an IP address via DNS (Domain Name System). Once resolved, the client contacts the web server via IP address and requests a web page via HTTP over port 80. Access to the internet can come from a variety of sources including DUN (Dial-up Networking), Cable, DSL, Satellite, ISDN or T1 (or higher). FTP File Transfer Protocol. FTP is a protocol used to transfer files from one machine to another (usually over the internet). It operates over port 21 and consists of an FTP server and FTP client. TRACERT.EXE TRACERT (short for trace route) is a utility that originated in UNIX as traceroute but has found
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its way over to Windows as tracert. Tracert.exe allows you to trace the path of communication between a PC and an internet host, showing the hops (routers) along the way. NSLOOKUP.EXE Another UNIX utility that has crossed over to NT/2000 that is used to query a DNS server for any type of supported name record (host, alias, name server, mail server, etc) It can be used to find out information about an internet host (such as IP address) or specific information about a domain such as the domains mail server addresses, host addresses, etc.

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