Computer Network Specialist
A+ DOS/Windows Exam Objectives
San Antonio College of Medical & Dental Assistants
Information Technology Department


FINAL REVISION (as of July 17, 1998)

A+ DOS/Windows Service Technician Examination Blueprint

NOTE: This is the FINAL revision of the A+ DOS/Windows Service Technician exam blueprint.  This document was produced after the final technical and psychometric review of the item pool following the beta-testing period.  This document is reflective of the topics and technologies which appear as part of the A+ DOS/Windows Service Technician exam.

Introduction

For A+ Certification, the examinee must pass both this examination and the A+ Core Service Technician examination.  This examination measures essential operating system competencies for a break/fix microcomputer hardware service technician with six months of on-the-job experience.   The examinee must demonstrate basic knowledge of DOS, Windows 3.x, and
Windows 95 for installing, configuring, upgrading, troubleshooting, and repairing microcomputer systems.

The skills and knowledge measured by this examination are derived from an industry-wide job task analysis and validated through a worldwide survey of 5,000 A+ Certified professionals. The results of the worldwide survey were used in weighting the domains and ensuring that the weighting is representative of the relative importance of that content to the job requirements of a service technician with six months on-the-job experience.    The results of the job task analysis and survey can be found in the following reports:

  • CompTIA A+ Certification Technical and Customer Satisfaction Job Task Analysis: Phase 1 Report (June 27, 1997)
  • CompTIA A+ Certification Technical and Customer Satisfaction Job
    Task Analysis: Phase 2 Report  Survey Results (November 10, 1997)  ** A copy of the Job Task Analysis: Phase 2 Report is available for purchase by
    clicking here to download the order form.

This examination blueprint includes weighting, test objectives, and example content.  Example topics and concepts are included to clarify the test objectives; they should not be construed as a comprehensive listing of the content of this examination.

The table below lists the domains measured by this examination and the approximate extent to which they are represented.

Domain

% of Examination                                     (approximately)

1.0 Function, Structure, Operation, and File Management

30%

2.0 Memory Management

10%

3.0 Installation, Configuration and Upgrading

30%

4.0 Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

20%

5.0  Networks

10%

Total

100.00%

Approximately 75% of the test items will relate to Windows 95 and the remaining 25% will relate to DOS and Windows 3.x.

Domain 1.0 Function, Structure Operation and File Management

This domain requires knowledge of DOS, Windows 3.x, and Windows 95 operating systems in terms of its functions and structure, for managing files and directories, and running programs.  It also includes navigating through the operating system from DOS command line prompts and Windows procedures for accessing and retrieving information.

Content Limits

1.1 Identify the operating system's functions, structure, and major system files.

Content may include the following:

  • Functions of DOS, Windows 3.x and Windows 95
  • Major components of DOS, Windows 3.x and Windows 95
  • Contrasts between Windows 3.x and Windows 95
  • Major system files: what they are, where they are located, how theyare used and what they contain:
    • System, Configuration, and User Interface files
    • DOS
      • Autoexec.bat
      • Config.sys
      • Io.sys
      • Ansi.sys
      • Msdos.sys
      • Emm386.exe
      • HIMEM.SYS
      • Command.com (internal DOS commands)
    • Windows 3.x
      • Win.ini
      • System.ini
      • User.exe
      • Gdi.exe
      • win.ini
      • Win.com
      • Progman.ini
      • progMAN.exe
      • Krnlxxx.exe
    • Windows 95
      • Io.sys
      • Msdos.sys
      • Command.com
      • regedit.exe
      • System.dat
      • User.dat

1.2 Identify ways to navigate the operating system and how to get to needed technical information.

Content may include the following:

  • Procedures (e.g., menu or icon -driven) for navigating through DOS to perform such things as locating, accessing, and retrieving information
  • Procedures for navigating through  the Windows 3.x/Windows 95 operating system, accessing, and retrieving information

1.3  Identify basic concepts and procedures for creating, viewing and managing files and directories, including procedures for changing file attributes and the ramifications of those changes (for example, security issues).

Content may include the following:

  • File attributes
  • File naming conventions
  • Command syntax
  • Read Only, Hidden, System, and Archive attributes

1.4  Identify the procedures for basic disk management.

Content may include the following:

  • Using disk management utilities
  • Backing up
  • Formatting
  • Partitioning
  • Defragmenting
  • ScanDisk
  • FAT32
  • File allocation tables (FAT)
  • Virtual file allocation tables (VFAT)

Response Limits:

The examinee selects, from four (4) response options, the one option that best completes the statement or answers the question.  Distracters or wrong answers are response options that examinees with incomplete knowledge or skill would likely choose, but are generally plausible   responses fitting into the content area.

Sample Directions:

Read the statement or question and, from the response options, select only one letter that represents the most correct or best answer. 

Sample Test Items:

1. Which two files make up the Registry in Windows 95?

A. CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT
B. COMMAND.COM and CONFIG.SYS
C. MSDOS.SYS and IO.SYS
D. USER.DAT and SYSTEM.DAT

Correct answer: D

2. Which file starts programs automatically when Windows 3.1 starts?

A. WIN.INI
B. SETUP.INI
C. SYSTEM.INI
D. SYSTEM.DA0

Correct answer: A

3. The .PIF files are used by Windows to support _______ programs.

A. Windows
B. DOS
C. protected-mode
D. multitasking

Correct answer: B

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Domain 2.0 Memory Management

This domain requires knowledge of the types of memory used by DOS and Windows, and the potential for memory address conflicts. 

Content Limits

2.1  Differentiate between types of memory.

Content may include the following:

  • Conventional
  • Extended/upper memory
  • High memory
  • Expanded memory
  • Virtual memory

2.2  Identify typical memory conflict problems and how to optimize memory use.

Content may include the following:

  • What a memory conflict is
  • How it happens
  • When to employ utilities
  • System Monitor
  • General Protection Fault
  • Illegal operations occurrences
  • MemMaker or other optimization utilities
  • Himem.sys
  • SMARTDRV
  • Use of expanded memory blocks (using Emm386.exe)

Response Limits:

The examinee selects, from four (4) response options, the one option that best completes the statement or answers the question.  Distracters or wrong answers are response options that examinees with incomplete knowledge or skill would likely choose, but are generally plausible   responses fitting into the content area.

Sample Directions:

Read the statement or question and, from the response options, select only one letter that represents the most correct or best answer. 

Sample Test Items:

1. The memory addresses from 0 to 640KB are known as

A.  common memory
B.  high memory
C.  expanded memory
D.  conventional memory

Correct answer: D

2. Your customer's computer has two hard drives. Drive 1 is the C: drive; drive 2 is the D: drive. Windows 95 and all applications are installed on the C: drive.  Drive D: is mostly free space. The virtual memory settings are set to the default. How can you optimize your customer's computer via virtual memory?

A. Virtual memory settings are best kept as default.
B.  Move the virtual memory swap file to the D: drive.
C.  Move the virtual memory to the D: drive by copying the virtual memory swap file
D. Remove the virtual memory swap file, reboot, and let Windows 95 add the swap file automatically.

Correct answer: B

3. Your customer has a laptop computer with an 8-speed CD-ROM and 24MB of RAM.  The optimize access pattern for CD-ROM is currently set to "Quad-Speed or Higher."  How can you make sure the CD-ROM file system performance is optimized?

A. Leave the setting as it is.
B. Change the setting to "No read ahead."
C. Change the setting to "Full read ahead."
D. Change the setting to  "16MB of RAM or higher."

Correct answer: A

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Domain 3.0 Installation, Configuration and Upgrading

This domain requires knowledge of installing, configuring and upgrading DOS, Windows 3.x, and Windows 95. This includes knowledge of system boot sequences.

Content Limits

3.1  Identify the procedures for installing DOS, Windows 3.x, and Windows 95, and for bringing the software to a basic operational level.

Content may include the following:

  • Partition
  • Format drive
  • Run appropriate set up utility
  • Loading drivers

3.2 Identify steps to perform an operating system upgrade.

Content may include the following:

  • Upgrading from DOS to Windows 95
  • Upgrading from Windows 3.x to Windows 95

3.3 Identify the basic system boot sequences, and alternative ways to boot the system software, including the steps to create an emergency boot disk with utilities installed.

Content may include the following:

  • Files required to boot
  • Creating emergency boot disk
  • Startup disk
  • Safe Mode
  • DOS mode

3.4 Identify procedures for loading/adding device drivers and the necessary software for certain devices.

Content may include the following:

  • Windows 3.x procedures
  • Windows 95 Plug and Play

3.5   Identify the procedures for changing options, configuring, and using the Windows printing subsystem.

3.6  Identify the procedures for installing and launching typical Windows and non-Windows applications.

Response Limits:

The examinee selects, from four (4) response options, the one option that best completes the statement or answers the question.  Distracters or wrong answers are response options that examinees with incomplete knowledge or skill would likely choose, but are generally plausible    responses fitting into the content area.

Sample Directions:

Read the statement or question and, from the response options, select only one letter that represents the most correct or best answer. 

Sample Test Items:

1. A(n) ______ partition must exist on the hard drive in order to install Windows 95.

A. CDFS
B. HPFS
C. FAT
D. NTFS

Correct answer: C

2. COMMAND.COM contains which type of DOS commands?

A. internal
B. external
C. real mode
D. standard mode

Correct answer: A

3. In Windows 95, Plug and Play must use _______ virtual device drivers called VxDs.

A. 8-bit
B. 16-bit
C. 32-bit
D. 64-bit

Correct answer: C

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Domain 4.0 Diagnosing and Troubleshooting

This domain requires the ability to apply knowledge to diagnose and troubleshoot common problems relating to DOS, Windows 3.x, and Windows 95. This includes understanding normal operation and symptoms relating to common problems.

Content Limits

4.1  Recognize and interpret the meaning of common error codes and startup messages from the boot sequence, and identify steps to correct the problems.

Content may include the following:

  • Safe Mode
  • Incorrect DOS version
  • No operating system found
  • Error in CONFIG.SYS  line XX
  • Bad or missing Command.com
  • Himem.sys not loaded
  • Missing or corrupt Himem.sys
  • Swap file
  • A device referenced in SYSTEM.INI could not be found

4.2  Recognize Windows-specific printing problems and identify the procedures for correcting them. 

Content may include the following:

  • Print spool is stalled
  • Incorrect/incompatible driver for print

4.3  Recognize common problems and determine how to resolve them.

Content may include the following:

  • Common problems
    • General Protection Faults
    • Illegal operation
    • Invalid working directory
    • System lock up
    • Option will not function
    • Application will not start or load
    • Cannot log on to network
  • DOS and Windows-based utilities
    • ScanDisk
    • Device manager
    • ATTRIB.EXE
    • EXTRACT.EXE
    • Defrag.exe
    • Edit.com
    • Fdisk.exe
    • MSD.EXE
    • Mem.exe
    • SYSEDIT.EXE

4.4 Identify concepts relating to viruses and virus types  their danger, their symptoms, sources of viruses, how they infect, how to protect against them, and how to identify and remove them.

Content may include the following:

  • What they are
  • Sources
  • How to determine presence

Response Limits:

The examinee selects, from four (4) response options, the one option that best completes the statement or answers the question.  Distracters or wrong answers are response options that examinees with incomplete knowledge or skill would likely choose, but are generally plausible    responses fitting into the content area.

Sample Directions:

Read the statement or question and, from the response options, select only one letter that represents the most correct or best answer. 

Sample Test Items:

1. What is one way to recover from the error message  "No operating system found"  when starting Windows 95?

A. Insert a CD-ROM with the system files and run the SYS command.
B. Reboot on a floppy with system files and use the FORMAT C: /F command.
C. Insert the Windows 95 CD-ROM and use the FORMAT C: /F command.
D. Reboot on a floppy with system files and use the SYS C: command.

Correct answer: D

2. During a Windows 3.x boot process, the error "Bad or Missing HIMEM.SYS"  is displayed. This means HIMEM.SYS is not loaded in

A. WIN.INI
B. CONFIG.SYS
C. SYSTEM.INI
D. AUTOEXEC.BAT

Correct answer: B

3. In order to modify the Registry, which tool must first be used?

A. DEFRAG
B. REGMOD
C. FDISK
D. REGEDIT

Correct answer: D

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Domain 5.0 Networks

This domain requires knowledge of network capabilities of DOS and Windows, and how to connect to networks, including what the Internet is about, its capabilities, basic concepts relating to Internet access and generic procedures for system setup.

Content Limits

5.1 Identify the networking capabilities of DOS and Windows including procedures for connecting to the network.

Content may include the following:

  • Sharing disk drives
  • Sharing print and file services
  • Network type and network card

5.2  Identify concepts and capabilities relating to the Internet and basic procedures for setting up a system for Internet access.

Content may include the following:

  • TCP/IP
  • E-mail
  • HTML
  • HTTP://
  • FTP
  • Domain Names (Web sites)
  • ISP
  • Dial-up access

Response Limits:

The examinee selects, from four (4) response options, the one option that best completes the statement or answers the question.  Distracters or wrong answers are response options that examinees with incomplete knowledge or skill would likely choose, but are generally plausible    responses fitting into the content area.

Sample Directions:

Read the statement or question and, from the response options, select only one letter that represents the most correct or best answer. 

Sample Test Items:

1. How do you connect to a shared printer?

A.  From Control Panel select Add New Hardware and choose Network Printer.
B.  From the Printer folder double-click Add Printer and choose Network Printer.
C.  From Explorer choose Connect to Network Printer.
D.  From Control Panel choose Connect to Network Printer.

Correct answer: B

2. In a Windows 95 system, which tool will display the type of network card that is installed?

A.  Device Manager
B.  Internet
C.  Explorer
D.  File Manager

Correct answer: A

3. Which protocol does the Internet use?

A.  DLC
B.  IPX/SPX
C.  TCP/IP
D.  NetBEUI

Correct answer: C



Last updated: Friday, March 03, 2000

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