Monday 6 October 2008

CompTIA A+ Guide to Hardware Managing, Maintaining, and Troubleshooting Fourth Edition by: Jean Andrews

CompTIA A+ Guide to Hardware
Managing, Maintaining, and Troubleshooting

Fourth Edition

Jean Andrews
ISBN 9780619217624

Even though the CompTIA A+ exam objectives changed in 2006 from the old version of hardware and software, that is still the way that most people teach and learn the material. Therefore, this book and its companion volume CompTIA A+ Guide to Software cover all the material for the exams 2
20-601 A+ Essentials, 220-602 A+ IT Technician, 220-603 A+ Remote Support Technician and 220-604 Depot Technician.

These books have a number of great features. First is the exam objective map in the front cover of each book. It maps the exam objectives for each of the four exams to the chapters in the books. The second is the side marks; on each page there are either green or blue sidebars marking what part of the page is for what exam, or if it is not. (See Image) The extensive Appendixes in this book include:

o Appendix A How an OS Uses System Resources
o Appendix B Electricity and Multimeters
o Appendix C Supporting SCSI and Legacy Devices
o Appendix D Disassembling a Notebook
o Appendix E CompTIA A+ Acronym

These are very helpful and really should be essential reading for certification exam prep. Both books also have an extensive glossary; each word that is in the glossary appears in blue in the text of the book. From there the books become very different. The CD that comes with this book includes the test software and the Certblaster test software, as well as a slew of other resources to help you. If however you are working on this by yourself, get the Instructors book. It is the same book but the CD has extra features like test generation software, textbook answer keys, and powerpoint presentations for each chapter.

The Chapters are:
1.Introducing Hardware
2.PC Repair Fundamentals
3.Form Factors and Power Supplies
4.Processors and Chipsets
6.Upgrading Memory
7.Hard Drives
8.Installing and Supporting I/O Devices
9.Multimedia Devices and Mass Storage
10.PCs on a Network
11.Notebooks, Tablet PCs, and PDAs
12.Supporting Printers and Scanners

I have seen two or three other A+ books that friends have used, and none are as well laid out or designed for learning as these two. I have gone back and referenced these books a number of times, and use them almost every week. Worth the investment in a good resource for your IT tool box. The best thing about IT is realizing that you cannot know it all. A good IT person knows how to troubleshoot, how to research, and continually builds a network or contacts that they can draw upon. These two books will teach the first and give you a good start on the second. Other resources for you to draw upon are the CompTIA IT Pro forums, the CompTIA Facebook group, the CompTIA Certification site and the CompTIA LinkedIn groups.

(Here is a link to an article I wrote about the Certification Process and it has links to other cert book reviews.)

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