Page 1 902 Operational Procedures Study Guide for the CompTIA® A+ exam

How to Prepare for the Operational Procedures Questions on the CompTIA A+ 902 Test

General Information

When dealing with operational procedures, it is important to consider not only the equipment, but also the people who depend on that equipment for important purposes. Having standard procedures can make your customer contact more productive. Here are the major practices you need to consider, as well as the most important terms and procedures that apply to them.

These objective lists may not have absolutely all of the content covered in the exam. Test producers say that the content is constantly being reviewed and revised, so this is the latest version.


When dealing and working with computer components, keep safety at the forefront for both you and the device’s sake. The following sections may be delivered as “scenario-based” questions in the exam environment, so you must be very comfortable with these topics.


Equipment grounding is a way to transport any excess electrical discharge away from the component and into the electrical ground wiring. This is a safety mechanism that is included on all outlets, significantly reducing the risk of electrical shock, should there be a fault within the system.

Handling and Storage

You should be fully aware of how to handle and store the various components that can produce electrostatic discharge (ESD). The following items are the most common when managing ESD.

antistatic bags: These are used to store computer components when removing them from a computer and moving them around. This will ensure minimal static buildup and prevent damage.

ESD straps and mats: This strap-and-mat combo is used when removing components of computer. Place the component on this anti-static mat. The mat then connects to another piece that is strapped around your wrist. This helps in maintaining the static balance between you and the components being worked on.

self-grounding: Self-grounding means to remove or minimize the risk of ESD by taking premeditated actions before working inside of a computer. This can be done by: working on hard wood tables, working on hard floors, wearing cotton clothing, and working in higher humidity environments.

Toxic Waste

You should be familiar with the proper procedures for handling several items that are considered toxic, including these:

batteries: You should wear protective goggles and air filters when working with these items. They should be taken to waste facilities for proper disposal due to chemical properties.

toner: You should wear protective goggles and air filters when working with these items. This is due to the toner and dust that can be floating around from the printer.

cathode ray tube (CRT): You should wear protective goggles and air filters when working with these items. They should be taken to waste facilities for proper disposal due to the lead contained in the glass.

Personal Safety

Be familiar with the following guidelines related to personal safety when dealing with computer components.

power supply: All power sources should be disconnected prior to working inside of a computer. Power supplies are typically replaced as a whole rather than smaller, individual parts.

jewelry: All jewelry or anything dangling from your body should be removed. They can create a tangling hazard and/or a short circuit when near components.

lifting: Always lift heavy equipment using your legs and not your back.

weight limits: Use a rolling cart or something similar for overweight items, when possible. Do not attempt to lift overweight items by yourself. Weight limits are usually posted on the outside of the boxing material.

fire safety: For electrical fires, use specialized dry fire prevention or extinguishing chemicals, such as carbon dioxide. Wet chemicals or water should not be used on electrical fires.

cables: Cabling should be tied together when run across spaces to prevent tripping. There should never be any loose cabling to pose a hazard.

goggles: Use goggles when around chemicals, batteries, or printer toner.

masks: Air filter masks help to filter out dust and toner when working within typical laser printers.


When dealing with a networking environment, there are several regulations to keep in mind. These include: electrical codes for running high/low voltage cabling, environmental codes for disposing of chemicals or hardware, fire prevention codes requiring the specific use of dry or wet systems, and building codes that specify how cabling can be run through a building.

Environmental Impact

You should be able to quickly analyze and apply the proper controls for any possible environmental impacts. Some questions in this area will be of the scenario type.


The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) outlines the procedures for disposing hazardous materials. This should be referenced if there is a question about properly disposing hazardous material. The MSDS is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the United States.

Environmental Conditions

The temperature and humidity in the environment where components are stored should reflect the levels outlined in the MSDS. For an electronic environment, it is usually best to balance the humidity as efficiently as possible to avoid extreme condensation or static discharge. It is also important to keep a closed-in area well ventilated, so that the room does not become too hot when the equipment is running.

Power Variation

There are a few types of variations in power that are specified in this exam.

Surges occur when there is a spike in voltage or noise along the line. This can cause damage to equipment if it is reached. Surge protectors can counter this and send the excess voltage to the ground.

Brownouts occur when the voltage on the lines drops below normal. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) can help counter these by providing extra battery power.

Blackouts occur when all voltage or power has been lost on the line. In this case, using a UPS is one of the best counter measures, as it can use battery backups to maintain the power for a period of time.

Battery backup is used in UPS systems for emergency situations when all power is lost or drops down below a certain threshold. The UPS will automatically activate and provide power for the connected equipment via batteries.

A surge suppressor works by checking for spikes in voltage along the line. If a spike is detected, the surge protector moves the excess power to the ground and only allows the proper amount to be passed along to the connected devices.

Airborne Particles

You should be familiar with these two types of methods to counter airborne particles:

enclosures: Your computer can be placed inside a special enclosure if it is at a location where there are a lot of particles in the air, such as smoke or dust. These are typically found in factory or plant locations.

air filters/masks: To protect yourself from an environment where dust, smoke, or other air particles exist in the surrounding atmosphere, you should wear a special mask used to filter out these items.

Dust and Debris

You should be familiar with these two methods for cleaning dust and debris in a computing environment:

compressed air: Compressed air can be used to clean out the inside of computer equipment, as well as printers or other devices. It is better to use natural compressed air versus any chemical-based compressed material.

vacuums: Only specialized anti-static vacuums should be used in electronic environments. These vacuums can help reduce the risk of a static discharge or damage to the component.


You should be aware of any local regulations regarding the industry in which you operate, such as disposal procedures or safety implications. In addition, the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) outlines how to dispose of hazardous materials. This should be referenced if there is a question about how to properly dispose of any hazardous material or if you simply require more information about the item in question. The MSDS is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the United States. Environmental concerns are administered nationally by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).