220-1102 Operating Systems Study Guide for the CompTIA A+ Core Series Exam
If every business used a Mac or all businesses used Windows, your job in IT support would be a lot less complicated. But they don’t, so it’s not. To support all clients, you need to be conversant in all types of systems, including system configuration and troubleshooting for Mac, Chrome, Android, and Linux operating systems (OS). You’ll also need to be able to install and support Windows systems. This all-encompassing content is why 31% of the CompTIA A+ 1102 questions are devoted to operating systems. Over half (64%) of the questions about operating systems will begin with a scenario.
Microsoft Windows is the most widely used workstation operating system. It can be installed on a wide variety of compatible hardware from many manufacturers, and it is commonly used in homes, schools, and offices. For the CompTIA A+ 1102 exam, you must be able to identify basic features of common editions.
Windows 10 Editions
Windows 10 has had 15 total editions released with 10 editions still in use today. Windows 10 was offered as a free upgrade from Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. For the purposes of the exam, only the Windows Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Enterprise editions will be focused on.
Windows 10 comes preinstalled on vendor hardware and is referred to as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) OS. Windows 10 is also available as a retail product but lacks the ability to join a domain, which other Windows editions offer.
Windows Pro allows the user to join corporate domains, which makes it the most common OEM OS and the premier Windows retail edition offering.
Pro for Workstations
Windows Pro for Workstations supports up to four CPUs and 6 TB of memory as well as remote directory memory access (RDMA) and non-volatile dual inline memory modules (NVDIMM), which makes it ideal for high-end workstations that require more than two CPUs and over 2 TB of memory.
Windows 10 Enterprise offers all the same functionality as Windows Pro and can be volume licensed for larger enterprises.
The features that are offered by the Windows OS depend on the edition of Windows purchased or preinstalled.
Domain Access vs. Workgroup
Domain access is the ability of the OS to connect to a domain-joined network of computers that provide centralized authentication, administration, and auditing. It is often found in large corporate networks. Domain access is supported in the Windows Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Enterprise editions. A workgroup is the default mode for the Windows OS and is a decentralized collection of computers or workstations. Windows Home only has the workgroup capability and not domain access.
Desktop Styles/User Interface
The Windows desktop and user interface are very similar to previous editions of Windows going back to Windows 95. Users are, however, able to easily customize and personalize the desktop and user interface through the Settings menu. Standard items found on the Windows desktop include the Start menu, the taskbar, and various icons or shortcuts.
Availability of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is not supported on Windows Home, but it is supported on Windows Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Enterprise.
Random-Access Memory (RAM) Support Limitations
Windows Home supports 128 GB of RAM and two CPUs. Windows Pro supports 2 TB of RAM and two CPUs. Windows Pro for Workstations supports 6 TB of RAM and four CPUs. Windows Enterprise supports 6 TB of RAM and two CPUs.
BitLocker is an encryption program that allows for drive encryption to protect files. BitLocker is not available with Windows Home edition but is available with Windows Pro, Windows Pro for Workstations, and Windows Enterprise.
The group policy feature is available on all of the covered editions except for Windows Home. Group policy allows for all domain-connected computers to have group policies and permissions applied through the domain. Group policies may also be applied locally by using the
Upgrade paths vary depending on the edition of Windows installed. It is recommended that the OS is upgraded with like-to-like editions. Upgrading to an elevated edition requires the use of an activation key. Also, be aware of the recommendations to upgrade to newer versions of the current version before upgrading to Windows 10. For example, before upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 8, it is recommended that the OS is first upgraded to Windows 8.1.
An in-place upgrade is a straight upgrade from the current edition to the latest edition as long as system requirements are met.
Microsoft Command-Line Tools
Microsoft command-line tools are command lines specific to Microsoft operating systems. You will need to know the appropriate command-line tool when given a scenario.
Navigation using the command line allows the user to navigate the file system using predetermined commands.
cd command allows the user to change directories and is shorthand for the
dir command allows the user to view a listing of files and folders/subdirectories in a directory.
md command allows the user to make a directory and is shorthand for the
rmdir command allows the user to delete directories. The
rd command is shorthand for this.
Drive Navigation Inputs
cd command allows for navigation within the current drive. To navigate to another drive, you may use the drive letter followed by a semicolon command.
C— Changes to C drive
D— Changes to D drive
x— Changes to X drive
Command-line tools can also be used for numerous other functions, such as testing or tracing network connectivity or paths. You should be familiar with common command-line tools.
ipconfig command is used to display basic connectivity information, such as the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway. This command is highly useful in diagnosing network issues.
ping command is used to verify network connectivity by sending an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packet to a specified address, such as the default gateway.
hostname command is used to pull up the identity of the computer the Command Prompt is open on.
netstat command is used to display all the listening and established connections on the host network.
nslookup command is used to verify DNS addresses. This command can be used for inline query or interactively.
chkdsk command is used to view information about the hard disk, including the creation and viewing of reports, as well as to correct file system problems and disk errors.
net user command is a subcommand used to list all local accounts on the host system.
net use command is used to map drive letters to network shares.
tracert command is used to show the path a packet takes on a network to arrive at a specified destination.
format command is used to remove data from disks and prepare disks for new use.
xcopy command is used to copy folders and files.
copy command is used to copy specified files.
robocopy command is used to copy files while keeping permissions intact.
gpupdate command is used to update group policies.
gpresult command is used to view the report/values of the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) for a remote user and the users’ computer.
shutdown command can be used for scheduling a complete shutdown or a restart remotely or locally.
sfc—System File Checker, or the
sfc command, is a utility command that verifies and checks the version of the file system on the computer.
/? command is used to provide help for a specified command.
diskpart command is a tool for managing disks, partitions, and volumes.
pathping command is a mixture of the
winver command is used to display a GUI dialog box.
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