Page 3 902 Windows Operating Systems Study Guide for the CompTIA® A+ exam

Networking with Windows

You need to be familiar with Windows networking. You may be given a scenario and asked to address issues with Windows. Be able to configure Windows to connect to the Internet, understand default gateway settings, DNS, as well as DHCP.

HomeGroup vs. WorkGroup

The concept of a HomeGroup was added with Windows 7 and carries through to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Homegroup is intended to allow for the easy sharing of printers, music, pictures, movies on a small home network. A workgroup is a network made up of a logical grouping of devices. As an example, a small company might create a “Sales” workgroup made up of all the people in the sales department. This would allow sharing files and devices within the group.

Domain Setup

A domain setup is typically done in large corporations because it allows for centralized control of the entire network from one or more domain controllers. This has the advantage of better security and simplified management.

Shares and Mapping

A share is any network object that can be used by other users with the correct credentials; a shared folder is an example. Mapping is the process of establishing a connection to a shared item on a network. As an example, if a file is shared on a network, a user with proper credentials can map the folder to a drive letter on her PC.

Printer Sharing vs. Mapping

Printer sharing is intended for small workgroups. The printer is available only when the PC sharing the device is available. On larger networks, printers can be mapped so as to be available when needed.

Networking Connections

There are numerous ways to establish a network connection, typically done through the Control Panel. Understand the reason to use dial-up connections, wired connections, VPN, wired as well as cellular.

Proxy Settings

Connections to the Internet can be accomplished in many ways. A proxy is a device that acts as an intermediary between the user and the endpoint. They are used to increase performance and enhance security.

Remote Desktop Connection

Remote desktop is available in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 and 8.1. It allows a PC to connect to a remote location usually to provide assistance to remote users. When established, this allows for ongoing connection.

Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance allows one-time access to a remote computer to provide assistance.

Network Settings

Understand the difference between Home, Work, and Public network, with regard to security and privileges.


The firewall is included with the operating system on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 and 8.1. Make sure you understand port numbers and the advanced settings for Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 and 8.1, and how to disable and enable the firewall.

Alternative IP Address

A PC normally acquires all the configuration for the network interface card by the DHCP server. There is also an optional alternate configuration available that allows you to configure a second IP address, subnet mask, default gateway, and DNS. This would become available if the DHCP server failed. Care must be taken to ensure the assigned address used is on the correct network and would not conflict with another PC on the same network.

Network Card Properties

Be familiar with the various setting available to a network interface card. Know the difference between half and full duplex, and the function of Wake-on-Lan, QoS (Quality of Service), and any BIOS settings required.

Preventive Maintenance

Many operating system issues can be avoided with proper preventive procedures. Understand the need to establish these maintenance procedures in the following areas.

Best Practices

Best practices regarding PC maintenance is more than removing internal dust periodically to prevent overheating. Establishing procedures and schedules must be considered for defragmenting hard drives, running scan disk, virus scans, checking the event viewer, updating drivers.


Understand the procedures to establish regularly scheduled backups of the operating system.

Disk Maintenance

Understand the procedures to set up and automatically run disk defragment.


Know the command to automate updates on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 and 8.1, as well as enabling automatic updates for drivers and schedules for BIOS updates and anti-virus and anti-malware.

Patch Management

To maintain the integrity of the operating system, Microsoft issues patches (updates) as needed. Understand the importance of incorporating patches to your system on a timely basis.


Be familiar with the tools necessary to perform system backup and restore, creating system images and disk maintenance utilities.


Understand the procedures for creating automatic system backups for each operating system.

System Restore

Understand the procedures required to perform a System Restore for each operating system.

Recovery Image

Understand the procedure for creating a complete system image for each operating system.

Disk Maintenance Utilities

Understand the procedure for automating disk defragmentation as well as manual disk defragmenting. Understand SMART technology (Self Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) and how it applies to system drives.