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CONCEPTS

There are several very important concepts in A+ Certification course. Five of these that are essential are the troubleshooting method, safety measures, interaction with customers, basic computer structure, and storage types. Each is explained briefly below.

The troubleshooting method is the way to approach a problem. This is mostly common sense, but the course structured it so it is easy to remember, and one does not forget any steps. First, one should collect basic information about the problem. Find out what the error looks like, when it first started occurring, and if possible, reproduce it to look for clues. Next, determine the cause. Hypothesize what may be causing the error, and make sure you start "clean", so unrelated problems donít hinder your troubleshooting. After that, isolate the problem by listing ideas, and then testing them in order of most probable causes. Finally, execute a plan by testing your ideas and finding which one corrects the error.

Safety measures are very important when performing any hardware operations. The most imminent danger is electric shock. Avoid shock by shutting off and unplugging the computer before you take it apart. Beware of frayed power cords and monitors, which carry high voltage. Some computers have built-in safety measures. Interlocks break electric connection when the case is opened. Strain relieves make sure that important connections are not prone to tension. Polarized plugs allow current to flow in a specific direction.

Interaction with customers applies to about any job one may take. Be aware of body language. Maintain adequate eye contact, adjust your facial expression to suit the personís state of mind, have respectful body posture, pay attention to what your hands are doing, and respect the customerís personal space requirements. Also, use a calm tone of voice with adequate inflection when speaking to someone. Answer the phone by greeting the person, giving your name and position, then asking what you can do for them. Tell them if you are going to put them on hold, and why. Before you hang up, make sure everything is clear and thank them for calling.

Basic computer structure knowledge is important to apply to both hardware and software activities. The central processing unit (CPU) is made of two components- the arithmetic logic unit (ALU) and the control unit. The ALU is where math and logic are performed. The control unit tells the ALU what to do. The CPU is part of the microprocessor (MPU). Also included in the microprocessor are on-board data storage areas. The MPU operates in cycles. First it decodes an instruction into a procedure, then the execution cycle performs the procedure.

Storage types are mediums that a computer stores data on. Punch cards are the oldest storage. Tapes were used also, but were slow because their data was sequential, all in row, and was therefore hard to access. Random-access storage devices are more widely used now, because information is quickly accessible. A disk drive is a fixed storage. A disk drive, or hard drive, is a rotating stack of disks divided into sectors and tracks. Removable storage devices include floppy disks and compact disk Ė read only memory (CD-ROMs), which read pits and lands as 0ís and 1ís. The computer decodes this data and uses it to perform actions.

Works Cited

A+ Core Module Study Guide by David Groth

A+ Certification Complete CD published by New Riderís Top Score

A+ Certification Course CD published by ForeFront