Sim-Ex™ Tutorial for A+ Essentials

3.0 Operating Systems

3.1 Identify the fundamentals of using operating systems

  • Identify differences between operating systems (e.g. Mac, Windows, Linux) and describe operating system revision levels including GUI, system requirements, application and hardware compatibility

  • Identify names, purposes and characteristics of the primary operating system components including registry, virtual memory and file system

  • Describe features of operating system interfaces, for example:

    • Windows Explorer

    • My Computer

    • Control Panel

    • Command Prompt

    • My Network Places

    • Task bar / systray

    • Start Menu

  • Identify the names, locations, purposes and characteristics of operating system files for example:

    • BOOT.INI

    • NTLDR



    • Registry data files

  • Identify concepts and procedures for creating, viewing, managing disks, directories and files in operating systems for example:

    • Disks (e.g. active, primary, extended and logical partitions)

    • File systems (e.g. FAT 32, NTFS)

    • Directory structures (e.g. create folders, navigate directory structures)

    • Files (e.g. creation, extensions, attributes, permissions)

3.2 Install, configure, optimize and upgrade operating systems – references to upgrading from Windows 95 and NT may be made

  • Identify procedures for installing operating systems including:

    • Verification of hardware compatibility and minimum requirements

    • Installation methods (e.g. boot media such as CD, floppy or USB, network installation, drive imaging)

    • Operating system installation options (e.g. attended / unattended, file system type, network configuration)

    • Disk preparation order (e.g. start installation, partition and format drive)

    • Device driver configuration (e.g. install and upload device drivers)

    • Verification of installation

  • Identify procedures for upgrading operating systems including:

    • Upgrade considerations (e.g. hardware, application and / or network compatibility)

    • Implementation (e.g. backup data, install additional Windows components)

  • Install / add a device including loading, adding device drivers and required software including:

    • Determine whether permissions are adequate for performing the task

    • Device driver installation (e.g. automated and / or manual search and installation of device drivers)

    • Using unsigned drivers (e.g. driver signing)

    • Verify installation of the driver (e.g. device manager and functionality)

  • Identify procedures and utilities used to optimize operating systems for example, virtual memory, hard drives, temporary files, service, startup and applications

3.3 Identify tools, diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for operating systems

  • Identify basic boot sequences, methods and utilities for recovering operating systems

    • Boot methods (e.g. safe mode, recovery console, boot to restore point)

    • Automated System Recovery (ASR) (e.g. Emergency Repair Disk (ERD))

  • Identify and apply diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for example:

    • Identify the problem by questioning the user and identifying user changes to the computer

    • Analyze problem including potential causes and initial determination of software and / or hardware problem 

    • Test related components including connections, hardware / software configurations, device manager and consulting vendor documentation

    • Evaluate results and take additional steps if needed such as consultation, alternate resources and manuals

    • Document activities and outcomes

  • Recognize and resolve common operational issues such as bluescreen, system lock-up, input / output device, application install, start or load and Windows-specific printing problems (e.g. print spool stalled, incorrect / incompatible driver for print)

  • Explain common error messages and codes for example:

    • Boot (e.g. invalid boot disk, inaccessible boot drive, missing NTLDR)

    • Startup (e.g. device / service failed to start, device / program in registry not found)

    • Event Viewer

    • Registry

    • Windows reporting

  • Identify the names, locations, purposes and characteristics of operating system utilities for example:

    • Disk management tools (e.g. DEFRAG, NTBACKUP, CHKDSK, Format)

    • System management tools (e.g. device and task manager, MSCONFIG.EXE)

    • File management tools (e.g. Windows Explorer, ATTRIB.EXE)

3.4 Perform preventive maintenance on operating systems

  • Describe common utilities for performing preventive maintenance on operating systems
    for example, software and Windows updates (e.g. service packs), scheduled backups /
    restore, restore points

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