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Compilation of CompTIA ITF key terms for revision

Lesson 1 - Common Computing Devices

a worldwide network of networks based on the TCP/IP protocol
not owned by a single company or organi­zation.
high-speed data commun­ica­tions lines between major host computers that route data and messages.
Power source for a portable computer, typically a rechar­geable Lithiu­m-ion (Li-ion) type
A small coin cell battery is also used in a computer to power CMOS RAM.
Cell phone(­mobile telephony)
works through a series of base station transm­itters (cells) that connect to the cellular and telephone networks
an be used for voice and data commun­ica­tions
2G(GSM; up to about 14 Kbps)
2.5G(GPRS, HSCSD, and EDGE; up to about 48 Kbps)
3G(WCDMA; up to about 2 Mbps)
4G(LTE; up to about 150 Mbps)
5G(up to 1 Gbps)
Embedded System
A computer system that is designed to perform a specific, dedicated function
e.g:mi­cro­con­troller in a medical drip or components in a control system managing a water treatment plant.
software instru­ctions stored semi-p­erm­anently (embedded) on a hardware device
e.g. BIOS instru­ctions stored in a ROM chip on the mother­board for instance
Internet of Things­(IoT)
global network of personal devices
such as: phones, tablets, and fitness trackers, home applia­nces, home control systems, vehicles, and other items that have been equipped with sensors, software, and network connec­tivity.
portable computer offering similar functi­onality to a desktop computer
comes with built-in LCD screens and input devices (keyboard and touchpad)
can be powered from building power (via an AC Adapter) or by a battery
Peripheral devices can be connected via USB, PCMCIA, or Expres­sCard adapters.
Mobile Device
Portable phones and smart phones can be used to interface with workst­ations using techno­logies such as Bluetooth or USB.
As such, they are increa­singly the focus of viruses and other malware
Portable devices storing valuable inform­ation are a consid­erable security risk when taken offsite.
Mobile Phone
UK English term for a cell phone.
mobile device that provides both phone and SMS text messaging functi­onality and general purpose computing functi­ona­lit­y((web browsing and email plus running software apps))
typically have screen sizes of between 4 and 5.5 inches.
A type of ultra-­por­table laptop with a touchs­creen
usually based on form factors with either 7" or 10" screens
A phablet is a smaller device (like a large smartp­hone).

Lesson 2 - Using a Workst­ation

Control Panel
The primary management interface for Windows.
primary user interface in Windows 7 and earlier is referred to as the desktop
at the top of the object hierarchy in Windows Explorer
ontaining the Computer, Documents, Network, and Recycle Bin objects
also stores shortcuts to programs, files, and system objects.
Notifi­cation Area
Part of the taskbar (on the right-hand side)
displays background applic­ations and status inform­ation (such as the date and time, anti-virus software, network connec­tions, and alerts)
In early versions of Windows this was managed by a systray process and is sometimes still referred to as the system tray.
An item typically placed on the desktop, or in the Start menu, which points to a program or data file.
When selected, the referenced program or file loads.
Start Menu
The standard interface provided to locate and load applic­ations in Windows 7 and earlier
the layout and features of the Start menu have changed in each version.
Start Screen
User interface introduced with Windows 8 to replace the Start Menu and manage a Windows device using a touchs­creen.
Windows devices can be set to show the Start Screen or the Desktop at startup.
means of locating running programs and also contains the Start menu and system tray/n­oti­fic­ation area (as well as an optional Quick Launch toolbar)
It appears (by default) at the bottom of the desktop.

Lesson 3: Using an OS

All operating systems have a kernel
which is a low-level piece of code respon­sible for contro­lling the rest of the operating system
Windows uses a multip­roc­essor aware, pre-em­ptive multit­asking kernel.
SOHO (Small Office Home Office)
Typically used to refer to network devices designed for small-­scale LANs (up to 10 users).
Open source mobile (smart­phone and tablet) OS software.
developed by the Open Handset Alliance (primarily sponsored by Google)
Desktop and portable computer (and latterly smartphone and tablet) manufa­cturer
Apple computers are built to use OS X which makes them incomp­atible with IBM PC/Win­dow­s-based software.
Chrome OS
derived from Linux, via an open source OS called Chromium
Chrome OS itself is propri­etary
developed by Google to run on specific laptop (chrom­ebooks) and PC (chrom­eboxes) hardware.
Mobile OS developed by Apple for its iPhone and iPad devices
An open-s­ource operating system supported by a wide range of hardware and software vendors.
world's foremost supplier of operating system and Office produc­tivity software
dominated the PC market since the develo­pment of the first IBM compatible PCs running MS-DOS.
Operating system designed by Apple for their range of iMac computers, Mac workst­ations, and MacBook portables
OS X is based on the BSD version of UNIX
OS X is well supported by applic­ation vendors, especially in the design industry (Adobe­/Ma­cro­media).
UNIX Systems
originally developed by the teleco­mmu­nic­ations company AT&T during the late 1960s and early 1970s
now a family of more than 20 related operating systems that are produced by various companies
operating system of choice for many high powered workst­ation
capable of supporting parallel processing and can run on a wide variety of platforms
offers a multitude of file systems in addition to its native system.
UNIX servers are the main types of server that form the Internet and are able to use the TCP/IP protocol suite to provide compat­ibility between networks.
Virtua­liz­ation Technology
Software allowing a single computer (the host) to run multiple "­gue­st" operating systems (or Virtual Machines [VM])
The VMs are configured via a hypervisor or VM Monitor (VMM)
Ms can be connected using virtual networks (vSwitch) or leverage the host's network interf­ace(s)
It is also possible for the VMs to share data with the host (via shared folders or the clipboard for instance)
VT is now used as major infras­tru­cture in data centers as well as for testing and training.
VM (Virtual Machine)
Operating systems running in Protected Mode can utilize a separate VM for various 32-bit processes.
This provides protection so that each program is protected from all other programs
refers to multiple operating systems installed on a single host PC using virtua­liz­ation software (a hyperv­isor), such as Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware.
Ubiquitous operating system from Microsoft.
Windows started as version 3.1 for 16-bit computers
A workgroup version provided rudime­ntary network facilitie
Windows NT 4 workst­ations and servers (intro­duced in 1993) provided reliable 32-bit operation and secure network facili­ties, based around domains
The Windows 9x clients (Windows 95, 98, and Me) had far lower reliab­ility and only support for workgr­oups, but were still hugely popular as home and business machines
Windows 2000 workst­ations (Windows 2000 Profes­sional) married the hardware flexib­ility and user interface of Windows 9x to the reliab­ility and security of Windows NT, while the server versions saw the introd­uction of Active Directory for managing network objects
Windows XP is the mainstream client version (with Home, Profes­sional, Media Center, Tablet PC, and 64-bit editions) while Windows Server 2003/2­008­/20­12/2016 provide the latest generation of servers
The subsequent client releases of Windows (Vista and Windows 7) feature a substa­ntially different interface (Aero) with 3D features as well as security improv­ements
The latest client versions - Windows 8 and Windows 10 - are designed for use with touchs­creen devices.
Windows Explorer
The standard interface provided for the management of files and folders under Windows
This has been renamed File Explorer in Windows 10 and is often just known as "­Exp­lor­er."­

Lesson 4: Managing an OS

Computer Management Console
provides tools for admini­stering the local computer, including Device Manager, Event Viewer, Disk Manage­ment, Services, and Perfor­mance Monitor
To access the console, alt-click (My) Computer and select Manage.
DOS (Disk Operating System)
Single tasking, real-mode operating system developed by Microsoft and widely adopted in the early 1980s
The last Microsoft release is MS-DOS Version 6.22, in June of 1994.
GUI (Graphical User Interface)
provides an easy to use, intuitive interface for a computer operating system
Most GUIs require a pointing device, such as a mouse, to operate effici­ently.
One of the world's first GUI-based operating systems was the Apple Mac OS, released in 1984
Therea­fter, Microsoft produced their Windows family of products based around their GUI
In fact, recogn­izing that GUI covers a whole range of designs, the Windows interface is better described as a WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointing [device]) interface.
The registry database is the config­uration database for Windows
The registry can be directly edited by experi­enced support personnel using a variety of tools
The registry should be backed up before system changes are made.
Windows machines run services to provide functions; for example, Plug-a­nd-­Play, the print spooler, DHCP client, and so on
These services can be viewed, config­ured, and starte­d/s­topped via the Services console
You can also configure which services run at startup using msconfig.
You can view background services (as well as applic­ations) using the Processes tab in Task Manager.
Task Manager
Program used to provide recovery of stalled applic­ations.
also allows for control of running tasks, processes, and CPU/memory utiliz­ation.
can be displayed by pressing Ctrl+S­hif­t+Esc, Ctrl+A­lt+Del, or alt-cl­icking the taskbar.
Task Scheduler
enables the user to perform an action (such as running a program or a script) automa­tically at a pre-set time or in response to some sort of trigger
UAC (User Account Control)
Security system in Windows designed to restrict abuse of accounts with admini­strator privil­eges.
Actions such as installing hardware and software can be performed without changing accounts but the user must authorize the use of admini­str­ative rights by clicking a prompt or re-ent­ering user creden­tials.
Virtual Memory
Virtual memory (also known as swapping or paging) is an area on the hard disk allocated to contain pages of memory
When the operating system doesn't have sufficient physical memory (RAM) to perform a task (such as load a program) pages of memory are moved to the paging file (also known as a swap file)
This frees physical RAM to enable the task to be completed
When the paged RAM is needed again, it is re-read into memory.
Unders­tanding and config­uring virtual memory settings is critical to optimizing the perfor­mance of the operating system.

Lesson 5: Troubl­esh­ooting and Support

Knowledge Base
A searchable database of product FAQs (Frequ­ently Asked Questi­ons), advice, and known troubl­esh­ooting issues.
POST (Power-On Self-Test)
The POST procedure is a hardware checking routine built into the PC firmware.
This test sequen­tially monitors the state of the memory chips, the processor, system clock, display, and firmware itself.
Errors that occur within vital components such as these are signified by beep codes emitted by the internal speaker of the computer
Further tests are then performed and any errors displayed as on-screen error codes and messages.
Additional interp­reter boards can be purchased that can supply inform­ation concerning boot failure.
requires a methodical approach
Having ensured that any data has been backed up, the first step is to gather inform­ation (from the user, error messages, diagnostic tools, or inspec­tion).
The next is to analyze the problem, again consulting docume­nta­tion, web resources, or manufa­ctu­rer's help resources if necessary.
When analyzing a problem, it helps to categorize it (for example, between hardware and software).
The next step is to choose and apply the most suitable solution
Having applied a solution, the next step is to test the system and related systems to verify functi­onality
The last step is to document the problem, steps taken, and the outcome
If the problem cannot be solved, it may be necessary to escalate it to another technician or manager.

Lesson 6: Using Data Types and Units

7-bit code page mapping binary values to character glyphs
Standard ASCII can represent 127 charac­ters, though some values are reserved for non-pr­inting control charac­ters.
Notational system with 2 values per digit (zero and one)
Computers process code in binary because the transi­stors in its CPU and memory components also have two states (off and on).
Units of storage. (See: Data Units.)
bps (Bits per Second)
The term "bits per second­" is used to describe data transfer speed - the higher the number, the higher the transm­ission speed.
Data type support 1-bit storage, repres­enting FALSE and TRUE
Boolean logic is a statement that resolves to a true or false condition and underpins the branching and looping features of computer code.
Data type supporting storage of a single character.
Data type supporting storage of floating point numbers (decimal fracti­ons).
Data type supporting storage of whole numbers.
Data type supporting storage of a variable length series of charac­ters.
Data Rate
Data rate is the speed at which data can be sent or received between two or more computer components
These components may be part of the same computer, or may be connected across a network.
The type of link that exists, the bus or port to which it is connected and the rate at which the data can be understood and processed are all factors that influence data rate
The peak (or maximum theore­tical) rate needs to be distin­guished from actual throughput (or sustained rate)
Data Units
The fundam­ental unit of data storage is the bit (binary digit) which can represent 1 or 0
A bit can be measured in multiples using Kilobit (Kb) and Megabit (Mb)
These units are often used to speak about network data transfer rates
The computer industry abuses the SI system of decimal measur­ements where kilo=1­,000, mega=1­,00­0,000 and giga=1­,00­0,0­00,000
Kilo is given a binary interp­ret­ation (a kilobit is 2^10 = 1024 bits)
Different units are used to describe file sizes and memory capacity. 8 bits form a byte (B). 1024 bytes make a kilobyte (that is 2 ^ 10 bytes); 1024 kilobytes (KB) make a Megabyte (MB); 1024 MB makes 1 Gigabyte (GB); 1024 GB makes 1 Terabyte (TB).
Other units include the nibble (½byte) and the word (2 bytes).
Notational system with 16 values per digit. Values above 9 are repres­ented by the letters A,B,C,­D,E,F.
Hex is a compact way of referring to long byte values, such as MAC and IPv6 addresses.
Transfer Rate
The amount of data that can be transf­erred over a network connection in a given amount of time, typically measured in bits or bytes per second (or some more suitable multiple thereof).
Transfer rate is also described variously as data rate, bit rate, connection speed, transm­ission speed, or (sometimes inaccu­rately) bandwidth or baud
Transfer rates are often quoted as the peak, maximum, theore­tical value; sustained, actual throughput is often consid­erably less.
Extensible system of code pages capable of repres­enting millions of character glyphs, allowing for intern­ational alphabets.

Lesson 7: Using Apps

CAD (Compu­ter­-Aided Design)
Computer Aided Design (CAD) software makes technical drawings and schematics easier to produce and revise.
Compat­ibility Mode
Windows can run a program with settings from previous versions of Windows to try to resolve compat­ibility problems.
This is configured from the program's shortcut properties dialog.
DTP (Desktop Publis­hing)
Desktop Publishing (DTP) is similar to word processing but with more emphasis on the formatting and layout of documents than on editing the text.
IM (Instant Messaging)
Real-time text commun­ica­tions products. IM also supports file exchange and remote desktop.
Like email, commun­ica­tions are generally unencr­ypted and unauth­ent­icated.
can be difficult to block on private networks as most applic­ations can work over HTTP.
Terms governing the instal­lation and use of operating system and applic­ation software
A license may cover use on a single computer or by a number of devices or concurrent users at a site.
Open Source
Open source means that the progra­mming code used to design the software is freely available.
PIM (Personal Inform­ation Manager)
software provides features for storing and organizing inform­ation such as contacts and calendar events and appoin­tments.
Presen­tation software enables users to create sophis­ticated business presen­tations that can be displayed as an on-screen slide show or printed onto overhead projector transp­are­ncies.
A spread­sheet consists of a table containing rows, columns, and cells.
When values are entered into the cells, formulas can be applied to them, enabling complex calcul­ations to be carried out.
Word Processing
Word processing means applic­ations that help users to write and edit documents.
A word processor will come with features enabling the user to edit, format, and review text quickly.
Product Key
A product key is often used to authen­ticate the use of a software package and may be required to activate the software for use.
Program Files
Windows folder providing the default location for instal­lation of applic­ation execut­ables and supporting files
Ideally, applic­ations should not write user data back to Program Files but use the approp­riate user profile folder. In x64 versions of Windows, "­Program Files" stores 64-bit applic­ations while 32-bit applic­ations are installed to "­Program Files (x86)."­
RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol)
Micros­oft's protocol for operating remote connec­tions to a Windows machine (Terminal Services), allowing specified users to log onto the Windows computer over the network and work remotely.
The protocol sends screen data from the remote host to the client and transfer mouse and keyboard input from the client to the remote host.
It uses TCP port 3389.
System Requir­ements
Before installing an OS (or a software applic­ation), the installer should check that the system meets the minimum hardware requir­ements
hese are typically for CPU speed, memory, and hard disk capacity.
Most software vendors specify minimum and recomm­ended requir­ements.
A system that does not meet the minimum requir­ements will not be able to run the software; one that does not meet the recomm­ended requir­ements will run the software slowly.
Video Confer­encing
Video confer­encing or Video Teleco­nfe­rencing (VTC) software allows users to configure virtual meeting rooms, with options for voice, video, and instant messaging.
VoIP (Voice over IP)
Voice over IP or Internet telephony refers to carrying voice traffic over data networks.
IP telephony provides integr­ation with the fixed and mobile telephone networks
A network carrying both voice and data is said to be converged.
Converged networks introduce a whole new class of devices whose security implic­ations need to be consid­ered.
There is also a greater vulner­ability to DoS (without redundancy the network is a single point of failure for both voice and data traffic) and eavesd­ropping on voice commun­ica­tions.

Lesson 8: Progra­mming and App Develo­pment

Writing out a program sequence using code blocks but without using the specific syntax of a particular progra­mming language.
Identifier for a value that can change during program execution.
Variables are usually declared with a particular data type.
Identifier for a group of variables of the same type.
The number of possible elements in a vector can vary during program execution.
Identifier for a group of variables of the same type
The number of possible elements in an array is fixed when the array is declared.
Identifier for a value that is fixed before program execution and does not change.
Assembly Language
A compiled software program is converted to binary machine code using the instru­ction set of the CPU platform
Assembly language is this machine code repres­ented in human-­rea­dable text.
Cloud Computing
Any enviro­nment where software (Software as a Service and Platform as a Service) or comput­er/­network resources (Infra­str­ucture as a Service and Network as a Service) are provided to an end user who has no knowledge of or respon­sib­ility for how the service is provided.
Cloud services provide elasticity of resources and pay-pe­r-use charging models
Cloud access arrang­ements can be public, hosted private, or private (this type of cloud could be onsite or offsite relative to the other business units).
The language (HyperText Markup Language) used to create web pages.
Progra­mming language used to create web server applic­ations (J2EE) and client­-side applic­ations (running in the Java VM).
Markup Language
System of tags used to structure a document. Examples include HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and eXtensible Markup Language (XML).
OOP (Objec­t-O­riented Progra­mming)
Technique for creating robust code by defining classes of "­thi­ngs­" in the code.
The objects have attrib­utes, methods, and proper­ties.
Code external to the object can only interface with it via its public methods and proper­ties.
Web Applic­ation
Software run from a web server.
Clients can access the applic­ation using just a web browser.
XML (eXten­sible Markup Language)
A system for struct­uring documents so that they are human- and machin­e-r­ead­able.
Inform­ation within the document is placed within tags, which describe how inform­ation within the document is struct­ured.

Lesson 9: Using Databases

Most network applic­ations utilize databases.
Major database server products include Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM's DB2 and Informix, and Sybase.
Many databases are operated using Structured Query Language (SQL, pronounced "­seq­uel­")
The freeware MySQL database is a popular choice to provide database functi­onality on websites
Database engines are often subject to software exploits, and so should be kept patched
Database design, progra­mming, and admini­str­ation is complex and security should be considered as a critical requir­ement.
Relational Database
Structured database in which inform­ation is stored in tables where columns represent typed data fields and rows represent records.
Tables can have relati­ons­hips, establ­ished by linking a unique primary key field in one table with the same value in a foreign key field in another table.
The overall structure of a particular database and its relations is called a schema.

Lesson 10: System Components

32-bit versus 64-bit
Processing modes referring to the size of each instru­ction processed by the CPU. 32-bit CPUs replaced earlier 16-bit CPUs and were used through the 1990s to the present day, though most CPUs now work in 64-bit mode.
The main 64-bit platform is called AMD64 or EM64T (by Intel)
This platform is supported by 64-bit versions of Windows as well as various Linux distri­butions
oftware can be compiled as 32-bit or 64-bit. 64-bit CPUs can run most 32-bit software but a 32-bit CPU cannot execute 64-bit software.
Adapter Card
Circuit board providing additional functi­onality to the computer system (video, sound, networ­king, modem, and so on).
An adapter card fits a slot on the PC's expansion bus and often provides ports through slots cut into the back of the PC case.
Different cards are designed for different slots (PCI or PCIe).
AMD (Advanced Micro Devices)
CPU manufa­cturer providing healthy compet­ition for Intel.
AMD chips such as the K6, Athlon 64, and Opteron have been very popular with computer manufa­cturers and have often out-pe­rformed their Intel equiva­lents.
ARM (Advanced RISC Machines)
Designer of CPU and chipset archit­ectures widely used in mobile devices.
RISC stands for Reduced Instru­ction Set Computing.
RISC microa­rch­ite­ctures use simple instru­ctions processed very quickly
This contrasts with Complex (CISC) microa­rch­ite­ctures, which use more powerful instru­ctions but process each one more slowly.
BIOS (Basic Input/­Output System)
The BIOS is firmware that contains programs and inform­ation relating to the basic operation of PC components such as drives, keyboard, video display, and ports.
It also contains specific routines to allow set-up config­uration to be viewed and edited and it contains the self-d­iag­nostic Power-On Self-Test (POST) program used to detect fundam­ental faults in PC components
BIOS can also be used to secure components not protected by the OS by specifying a supervisor password (to prevent tampering with BIOS settings) and a user password (to boot the PC).
Buses are the connec­tions between components on the mother­board and peripheral devices attached to the computer.
Buses are available in industry standard formats, each with its own advantages and disadv­antages
The standard functions of a bus are to provide data sharing, memory addres­sing, power supply, and timing.
Common bus types include PCI, PCI Express, Expres­sCard, and USB.
Celeron Processor Series
Budget processor models produced by Intel alongside their Pentium and Core ranges.
The chipset provides commun­ica­tions between different components by implem­enting various contro­llers (for memory, graphics, I/O, and so on).
The chipset may also provide "­int­egr­ate­d" adapters (video, sound, and networking for instance)
Histor­ically, "­fas­t" contro­llers (memory and video) were part of a "­nor­thb­rid­ge" chipset, placed close to the CPU and system memory.
Slower buses were part of a "­sou­thb­rid­ge" chipset
In modern PC archit­ecture, video and memory contro­llers are part of the CPU (on-die), the northb­ridge would mostly handle PCI Express adapters and the southb­ridge would host SATA, USB, audio and LAN functions, plus PCI/PATA legacy bus support.
Cooling Device
A CPU generates a large amount of heat that must be dissipated to prevent damage to the chip
Generally, a CPU will be fitted with a heatsink (a metal block with fins) and fan
Thermal compound is used at the contact point between the chip and the heatsink to ensure good heat transfer.
The PSU also incorp­orates a fan to expel warm air from the system.
Modern mother­boards have temper­ature sensors that provide warning of overhe­ating before damage can occur.
Very high perfor­mance or overcl­ocked systems or systems designed for quiet operation may require more sophis­ticated cooling systems, such as liquid cooling.
Cooling systems that work without electr­icity are described as passive; those requiring a power source are classed as active.
Core Processor Series
The latest generation of Intel proces­sors.
The Core, Core 2, and Core iX CPUs were developed from the Pentium M archit­ecture and have taken on the position of Intel's premium processor for both desktop and mobile platforms, replacing the long-s­tanding Pentium brand.
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
The principal microp­roc­essor in a computer or smartphone respon­sible for running operating system and applic­ations software.
DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate SDRAM)
Standard for SDRAM where data is transf­erred twice per clock cycle (making the maximum data rate [64+64] x the bus speed in bps)
DDR2/DDR3 SDRAM uses lower voltage chips and higher bus speeds.
DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module)
Dual in-line memory modules are the standard packaging for system memory.
There are different pin config­ura­tions for different RAM types (SDRAM [168], DDR SDRAM [184], and DDR2/3 SDRAM [240]).
DRAM (Dynamic RAM)
Dynamic RAM is a type of volatile memory that stores data in the form of electronic charges within transi­stors.
Due to the effects of leakage and the subsequent loss of electrical charge, DRAM has to be refreshed at regular intervals.
Memory refreshing can be performed when the data bits are accessed regularly, but this periodic access slows down the operation of this memory type.
Standard DRAM is the lowest common denomi­nator of the DRAM types.
Modern PCs use a DRAM derivative to store data (currently DDR2/3 SDRAM).
Dual Core
CPU design that puts two chips onto the same package; a cheap means of providing SMP.
FSB (Frontside Bus)
The bus between the CPU and the memory controller (system RAM).
Intel processors were used in the first IBM PCs and the company's CPUs and chipsets continue to dominate the PC and laptop market.
Liquid Cooling System
Using water piped around the PC and heatsinks for cooling.
This is more efficient and allows for fewer fans and less noise.
The computer mother­board, also called the system board, provides the basic foundation for all of the computer's hardware including the processor, RAM, BIOS, and expansion cards.
Several mother­board standards are available each with a different layout and associated advant­ages.
Multip­roc­essing can be used in systems where two or more processors are used on a single mother­board.
This can allow operations to be shared thereby increasing perfor­mance.
In order to use multip­roc­essing arrang­ements, the PC must have a compatible mother­board, an operating system that is able to use multiple proces­sors, and well-w­ritten software that does not intens­ively use one processor above another.
Business and profes­sional editions of Windows support a type of multip­roc­essing called Symmetric Multip­roc­essing (SMP) with a maximum of 2 CPUs.
PCI (Perip­heral Component Interc­onnect) Bus
The PCI bus was introduced in 1995 with the Pentium processor.
It connects the CPU, memory, and periph­erals to a 32-bit working at 33 MHz.
PCI supports bus mastering, IRQ steering, and Plug-a­nd-­Play.
Later versions defined 64-bit operation and 66 MHz clock but were not widely adopted on desktop PCs.
PCI Express (PCIe)
PCI Express (PCIe) is the latest expansion bus standard. PCI Express is serial with point-­to-­point connec­tions.
Each device on the bus can create a point-­to-­point link with the I/O controller or another device.
The link comprises one or more lanes (x1, x2, x4, x8, x12, x16, or x32)
Each lane supports a full-d­uplex transfer rate of 250 MBps (v1.0), 500 MBps (v2.0), or 1 GBps (v3.0)
The standard is software compatible with PCI, allowing for mother­boards with both types of connector.
Pentium Processor Series
Previously Intel's premium CPU brand, now re-pos­itioned as a chip for reliable "­alw­ays-on, always­-av­ail­abl­e" systems.
RAM (Random Access Memory)
Random Access Memory is the principal storage space for computer data and program instru­ctions.
RAM is generally described as being volatile in the sense that once power has been removed or the computer has been rebooted, data is lost.
SDRAM (Synch­ronous DRAM)
Synchr­onous DRAM is a variant on the DRAM chip designed to run at the speed of the system clock thus accele­rating the periodic refresh cycle times.
SDRAM can run at much higher clock speeds than previous types of DRAM
Basic SDRAM is now obsolete and has been replaced by DDR/DDR2/3 SDRAM.

Lesson 11: Using Device Interfaces

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electr­onics Engineers)
The Institute of Electrical and Electr­onics Engineers was formed as a profes­sional body to oversee the develo­pment and regist­ration of electronic standards
Examples of IEEE standards include the 802 protocols that describe the function and archit­ecture of different network techno­logies.
Short-­range radio-­based techno­logy, working at up to 10m (30 feet) at up to 1 Mbps used to connect periph­erals (such as mice, keyboards, and printers) and for commun­ication between two devices (such as a laptop and smartp­hone).
The advantage of radio-­based signals is that devices do not need line-o­f-s­ight, though the signals can still be blocked by thick walls and metal and can suffer from interf­erence from other radio sources operating at the same frequency (2.4 GHz)
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is designed for small batter­y-p­owered devices that transmit small amounts of data infreq­uently
BLE is not backwa­rds­-co­mpa­tible with "­cla­ssi­c" Bluetooth though a device can support both standards simult­ane­ously.
Transf­erring an image of a document over a telephone line.
Faxing is generally accomp­lished between two fax modems, often incorp­orated into Multif­unction Devices or PC equipment.
Firewire (IEEE 1394 Standard)
Firewire is the brand name for the IEEE standard 1394.
This serial SCSI bus standard supports high data rates (up to 400 Mbps) and this in turn, makes it attractive for applic­ations requiring intensive data transfer (such as video cameras, satellite receivers, and digital media players).
Fn (Function) Keys
Special command key combos on laptop keyboards for adjusting display output, volume, disabling wireless radio, and so on.
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)
High-s­pec­ifi­cation digital connector for audio-­video equipment.
Hot Swappable
A device that can be added or removed without having to restart the operating system.
I/O (Input­/Ou­tput) Ports
An input-­output port essent­ially describes a device connection through which data can be sent and received.
The oldest PC input device and still fundam­ental to operating a computer.
Desktop keyboards can have PS/2, USB, or wireless (IrDA or Bluetooth) interf­aces.
There are many different designs and layouts for different countries. Some keyboards feature special keys.
The essential device to implement a WIMP GUI, a mouse simply controls the movement of a cursor that can be used to select objects from the screen.
All Windows mice feature two click buttons, which are configured to perform different actions.
Many mice also feature a scroll wheel.
A mouse can be interfaced using a PS/2, USB, or wireless (IrDA or Bluetooth) port.
Propri­etary connector and interface for Apple devices.
Plug-a­nd-Play (PnP)
A Plug-a­nd-Play system (compr­ising a compatible BIOS, operating system, and hardware) is self-c­onf­igu­ring.
When a hardware device is added or removed, the operating system detects the change and automa­tically installs the approp­riate drivers
PS/2 Connector
A port for attaching a keyboard and mouse to a desktop computer, now largely replaced by USB.
RCA Connector
Good quality connector with a distin­ctive collar or ring used for a variety of Audio/­Visual (A/V) functions and equipment.
The connector is named after its developer (Radio Corpor­ation of America) but the socket is also referred to as a phono plug.
A digital image is made up of many thousands of picture elements (pixels).
Resolution describes the number of dots that an imaging device can use to sample or display the image, measured in pixels per inch (ppi); the higher the resolu­tion, the better the quality.
On a digital printer, the resolution is the number of toner or ink dots that the print engine can put on paper (measured in dots per inch [dpi]).
Note that sometimes dpi is used interc­han­geably with ppi to describe scanner or monitor resolu­tion, but image pixels and printer dots are not equiva­lent, as multiple print dots are required to represent a single image pixel accura­tely.
RFID (Radio Frequency IDenti­fic­ation)
A chip allowing data to be read wirele­ssly.
RFID tags are used in barcodes and smart cards.
RJ (Regis­tered Jack) Connector
Connector used for twisted pair cabling. 4-pair network cabling uses the larger RJ-45 connector.
Modem/­tel­ephone 2=pair cabling uses the RJ-11 connector.
A digitizer usually also employs a stylus as a pointing device (rather than using a finger), often as a drawing tool.
The Thunde­rbolt (TB) interface was developed by Intel and is primarily used on Apple workst­ations and laptops.
Thunde­rbolt can be used as a display interface (like Displa­yPort) and as a general peripheral interface (like USB 3).
Input device used on most laptops to replace the mouse.
The touchpad allows the user to control the cursor by moving a finger over the pad's surface.
There are usually buttons too but the pad may also recognize "­tap­" events and have scroll areas.
USB (Universal Serial Bus)
USB permits the connection of up to 127 different periph­erals. A larger Type A connector attaches to a port on the host; Type B and Mini- or Micro- Type B connectors are used for devices.
USB 1.1 supports 12 Mbps while USB 2.0 supports 480 Mbps and is backward compatible with 1.1 devices (which run at the slower speed).
USB devices are hot swappable.
A device can draw up to 2.5W power.
USB 3.0 defines a 4.8 Gbps SuperSpeed rate and can deliver 4.5W power.
VGA (Video Graphics Array) Connector
A 15-pin HD connector has been used to connect the graphics adapter to a monitor since 1987.
The use of digital flat-panel displays rather than CRTs means that as an analog connector, it is fast becoming obsolete.
Video Card
Provides the interface between the graphics components of the computer and the display device.
A number of connectors may be provided for the display, including VGA, DVI, and HDMI.
Graphics adapters receive inform­ation from the microp­roc­essor and store this data in video RAM.
An adapter may support both analog and digital outputs or analog­/di­gital only (as most LCDs use digital inputs the use of analog outputs is declin­ing).
Most adapters come with their own processor (Graphics Processing Unit [GPU]) and onboard memory.
Video Standards
Video standards define the resolution and color depth for a graphics adapter and computer display.
Early standards defined monoch­rome, low resolution displays.
The VGA standard defined a standard graphics mode of 640x480 in 16 colors.
Super VGA (SVGA) standard defines an extensible series of graphics modes, the default being 800x600 in True Color (24-bit).
There are also various XGA standards defining resolu­tions greater than 1024x768 (SXGA, UXGA), some of which are widescreen formats (WSXGA+, WUXGA).

Lesson 12: Using Peripheral Devices

Audio Card
Adapter card providing sound playback and recording functi­ona­lity.
Audio Port
A number of different audio ports exist on modern computer mother­boards or on specialist sound cards.
Commonly audio ports may be marked as: audio out, audio in, speaker out, microphone input/mic, and headph­ones.
CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) Monitor
A CRT receives an analog signal from the graphics adapter and forms a color image on the screen by illumi­nating red, green, and blue dots (triads), The screen size is the diagonal distance across the face of the CRT, though part of this area may be obscured by the case, making the viewable area consid­erably less than the quoted screen size.
CRTs are no longer mass-m­anu­fac­tured and modern systems use LCD panels.
Device Driver
A small piece of code that is loaded during the boot sequence of an operating system.
This code, usually provided by the hardware vendor, provides access to a device, or hardware, from the OS kernel.
Under Windows, a signing system is in place for drivers to ensure that they do not make the OS unstable.
Device Manager
Primary interface for config­uring and managing hardware devices in Windows.
Device Manager enables the admini­strator to disable and remove devices, view hardware properties and system resources, and update device drivers.
Digital Camera (Digicam)
A version of a 35mm film camera where the film is replaced by light-­sen­sitive diodes (an array of CCDs [Charge Coupled Devices]) and electronic storage media (typically a flash memory card).
The sensit­ivity of the array determines the maximum resolution of the image, typically 5 megapixels (2560x­1920) or better.
A digital camera can be connected to a computer via a USB or Firewire port.
Digital A/V interface developed by VESA.
Displa­yPort supports some cross-­com­pat­ibility with DVI and HDMI devices.
DVI (Digital Video Interface)
Video adapter designed to replace the VGA port used by CRT monitors.
The DVI interface supports digital only or digital and analog signaling.
Flatbed Scanner
A type of scanner where the object is placed on a glass faceplate and the scan head moved underneath it.
Assembly that fixes toner to media.
This is typically a combin­ation of a heat and pressure roller, though non-co­ntact flash fusing using xenon lamps is found on some high-end printers.
Ink Dispersion Printer
Better known as inkjets, this is a type of printer where colored ink is sprayed onto the paper using micros­copic nozzles in the print head.
There are two main types of ink dispersion system: thermal shock (heating the ink to form a bubble that bursts through the nozzles) and piezoe­lectric (using a tiny element that changes shape to act as a pump).
Laser Printer
A type of printer that develops an image on a drum using electrical charges to attract special toner then applying it to paper.
The toner is then fixed to the paper using a high-heat and pressure roller (fuser).
The process can be used with black toner only or four color toner cartridges (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) to create full-color prints.
Monochrome laser printers are the "­wor­kho­rse­s" of office printing solutions.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) Panel
A display technology where the image is made up of liquid crystal cells controlled using electrical charges.
Modern active matrix displays produce high quality images.
LCD panels are used on portable computers and (as prices have fallen) are popular with desktop systems too, as they take up much less desk space than CRTs.
The main problem with LCDs is that they are not good at displaying an image at any resolution other than the native resolution of the display.
Multimedia refers to PC components that can playback and record sound and video (or to sound and video files).
There are numerous sound and video file formats, including legacy Window­s-s­pecific formats such as WAV (for audio) or AVI (for video and audio).
The preferred file format for Windows Media Player is ASF (Advanced Systems Format), which is usually compressed (WMA or WMV)
Other file formats include those used for Apple's QuickTime player (MOV and QT), Apple's iTunes format (AIFF), and RealNe­tworks player (RA or RAM).
The most popular standa­rds­-based format is MPEG.
Network Adapter (NIC [Network Interface Card])
The network adapter allows a physical connection between the host and the transm­ission media
A NIC can address other cards and can recognize data that is destined for it, using a unique address known as the Media Access Control (MAC) address
The card also performs error checking. Network cards are designed for specific types of networks and do not work on different network products.
Different adapters may also support different connection speeds and connector types.
NFC (Nearfield Commun­ica­tions)
Standard for peer-t­o-peer (2-way) radio commun­ica­tions over very short (around 4") distances, facili­tating contac­tless payment and similar techno­logies.
NFC is based on RFID.
OCR (Optical Character Recogn­ition)
Software that can identify the shapes of characters and digits to convert them from printed images to electronic data files that can be modified in a word processing program.
Intell­igent Character Recogn­ition (ICR) is an advanced type of OCR, focusing on handwr­itten text.
"­Pri­nte­r" is often used to mean "­print device­" but also refers to a term used to describe the software components of a printing solution.
The printer is the object that Windows sends output to.
It consists of a spool directory, a printer driver, and config­uration inform­ation.
Large format display techno­logy.
Projectors can use CRT or LCD mechanisms but the market­-le­ading technology is generally considered to be DLP.
A type of photoc­opier that can convert the image of a physical object into an electronic data file.
The two main components of a scanner are the lamp, which illumi­nates the object, and the recording device, an array of CCDs (Charge Coupled Devices).
There are flatbed and sheet-fed versions, with sheet-fed versions typically being incorp­orated with a printer and fax machine into a multif­unction device.
Scanners can output images directly to a printer or to a suitable file format (such as JPEG, PNG, or TIFF).
Scanners can also interface with applic­ations software using one of several interfaces (TWAIN, WIA, SANE, or ISIS).
Test Page
When a printer is installed or reconf­igured, the installer should print a test page to verify functi­ona­lity.
TFT (Thin Film Transi­stor) Active Matrix Display
The TFT display provides the best resolution of all of the currently available flat-panel Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) designs, although they are also the most expensive.
TFT displays offer very high image clarity, contrast ratios of between 150:1 to 200:1, fast refresh rates, and wide viewing angles.
Specially formulated compound to impart dye to paper through an electr­ogr­aphic process (used by laser printers and photoc­opi­ers).
The key properties of toner are the colorant (dye), ability to fuse (wax or plastic), and ability to hold a charge
There are three main types of toner, distin­guished by the mechanism of applying the toner to the developer roller: dual component (where the toner is mixed with a separate magnetic develo­per), mono-c­omp­onent (where the toner itself is magnetic), and non-ma­gnetic mono-c­omp­onent (where the toner is transf­erred using static proper­ties).
Back of Flashcard 24 of 27 A display screen that is responsive to touch input
Standard "­dri­ver­" model for interf­acing scanner hardware with applic­ations software.
A webcam can be used to record video
There are many types, from devices built into laptops to standalone units.
While early devices were only capable of low resolu­tions, most webcams are now HD-cap­able.
WIA (Windows Image Acquis­ition)
Driver model and API (Appli­cation Progra­mming Interface) for interf­acing scanner hardware with applic­ations software on Windows PCs.

Lesson 13: Using Storage Devices

Parallel ATA (Advanced Technology Attach­ment) was the main disk interface for PCs
The interface was very commonly called IDE [Integ­rated Drive Electr­onics] or Enhanced IDE (EIDE)
Each PATA adapter supports two devices, commonly called master and slave
A drive is connected to the bus by a 40-pin ribbon cable.
The PATA interface has been replaced by SATA.
Latest generation of optical drive techno­logy, with disc capacity of 25 GB per layer.
Transfer rates are measured in multiples of 36 MBps.
CD-ROM (Compact Disc - Read Only Memory)
CD-ROM disc is an optical storage techno­logy.
The discs can normally hold 700 MB of data or 80 minutes of audio data
Recordable and re-wri­table CDs (and DVDs) are a popular backup solution for home users.
They are also useful for archiving material.
Unlike magnetic media, the data on the disc cannot be changed (assuming that the disc is closed to prevent further rewriting in the case of RW media).
This makes them useful for preserving tamper­-proof records.
DVD (Digital Video/­Ver­satile Disk)
DVD discs offer higher capacities (4.7 GB per layer) than the preceding CD-ROM format.
As with CDs, recordable and re-wri­table forms of DVD exist, though there are numerous competing formats (notably ±R and ±RW and DVD-RAM).
Flash Memory
Flash RAM is similar to a ROM chip in that it retains inform­ation even when power is removed, but it adds flexib­ility in that it can be reprog­rammed with new contents quickly.
Flash memory has found a popular role in USB thumb drives and memory cards.
These tiny cards can provide removable, megabyte or gigabyte storage for devices such as digital cameras.
Other evolving uses of flash memory are in Solid State Drives (SSD), designed to replicate the function of hard drives, and hybrid drives (standard hard drives with a multi-­gig­abyte flash memory cache).
HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
High capacity units typically providing persistent mass storage for a PC (saving data when the computer is turned off).
Data is stored using platters with a magnetic coating that are spun under disk heads that can read and write to locations on each platter (sectors)
A HDD installed within a PC is referred to as the fixed disks.
HDDs are often used with enclosures as portable storage or as Network Attached Storage (NAS).
Recordable CD Drives
CD/DVD writers are now mainstream devices, used for data transfer and archiving.
Recordable CDs are available in two general forms: those that can be written to once and read many times (CD-R) and those that can be written to and erased (CD-RW).
CD writers use a laser to disrupt the medium of the disk - either by heating a dye, by altering the magnetic properties of the metal disk, or by changing disc structure through phase-­change techni­ques.
Media varies in terms of longevity and maximum supported recording speed. DVD also has R and RW formats, both of which feature competing + and - standards.
DVD recorders can also perform CD-R/RW recording.
An additional consid­eration is whether drives and media support dual-layer and/or double­-sided recording.
Blu-ray has recordable (BD-R) and rewritable (BD-RE) formats and supports dual-layer but not double­-sided recording.
Removable Media
In order to share files and programs, computers can either be connected to each other (across a direct link or via a network) or must be able store and retrieve files from an interim storage medium.
The most common types of removable media are floppy disks and optical discs.
However the term "­rem­ovable media" also covers tape drives, high capacity disks, and removable hard drives.
SATA (Serial ATA)
Standard IDE/ATA uses parallel data transm­ission.
Serial ATA allows for faster transfer rates and longer, more compact cabling (it features a 7-pin data connec­tor).
There are three SATA standards specifying bandwidths of 1.5 Gbps, 3 Gbps, and 6 Gbps respec­tively.
SATA drives also use a new 15-pin power connector, though adapters for the old style 4-pin Molex connectors are available.
External drives are also supported via the eSATA interface.
SD (Secure Digital) Card
One of the first types of flash memory card.
Thumb Drive
A flash memory card with USB adapter.
WORM (Write Once, Read Many) Drive
A WORM drive is able to write data to a recordable CD disc only once, although the data can be read many times.

Lesson 14: Using File Systems

8.3 Filenames
The DOS file naming standard - an eight-­cha­racter ASCII name followed by a three-­cha­racter file extension (which identifies the file type).
Windows supports long file names but can also generate a short file name, based on DOS 8.3 naming rules.
This provides backwards compat­ibility for older applic­ations.
A discrete area of storage defined on a hard disk using either the Master Boot Record (MBR) scheme or the GUID Partition Table (GPT) scheme.
Each partition can be formatted with a different file system, and a partition can be marked as active (made bootable).
Boot Partition
In Microsoft termin­ology, the partition that contains the operating system (that is, the \WINDOWS folder) is referred to as the boot partition.
This is typically a different partition to the system partition (the partition containing the boot files).
Compre­ssion Software
To send or store a file it often needs to be compressed in some way, to reduce the amount of space it takes up on the storage media or the bandwidth required to send it over a network.
There are a number of compre­ssion utilities and formats.
A file system object used to organize files. Direct­ories can be created on any drive (the directory for the drive itself is called the root) and within other direct­ories (subdi­rec­tory).
Different file systems put limits on the number of files or direct­ories that can be created on the root or the number of subdir­ectory levels
In Windows, direct­ories are usually referred to as folders.
FAT (File Allocation Table)
When a disk is formatted using the FAT or FAT32 file system a File Allocation Table (FAT) is written in a particular track or sector.
The FAT contains inform­ation relating to the position of file data chunks on the disk; data is not always written to one area of the disk but may be spread over several tracks.
The original 16-bit version (FAT16, but often simply called FAT) was replaced by a 32-bit version that is almost univer­sally supported by different operating systems and devices.
A 64-bit version (exFAT) was introduced with Windows 7 and is also supported by XP SP3 and Vista SP1 and some versions of Linux and OS X.
Data used by a computer is stored by saving it as a file on a disk. Files store either plain text data or binary data.
Binary data must only be modified in a suitable applic­ation or the file will be corrupted.
A file is created by specifying a name. Naming rules depend on the version of Windows and the file system
Files usually have a three character extension (the last 3 characters in the file named preceded by a period).
The file extension is used to associate the file with a particular software applic­ation.
Files have primary attributes (Read-­Only, System, Hidden, and Archive) and other properties (date created or modified for instance).
Files stored on an NTFS partition can have extended attributes (access control, compre­ssion, and encryp­tion).
File System
When data is stored on a disk, it is located on that medium in a partic­ular, standa­rdized format.
This allows the drive and the computer to be able to extract the inform­ation from the disk using similar functions and thus data can be accessed in a predic­table manner.
Examples of file systems include FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS (all used for hard disks) and CDFS (ISO 9660) and UDF (Universal Disk Format), used for optical media such as CD, DVD, and Blu-ray.
Virtual folder feature introduced in Windows 7 as a wrapper for multiple folder locations (which can be local or network) that store files that are part of the same logical "­col­lec­tio­n."
The system is installed with default libraries for documents, pictures, and music and the user can add locations to these or create new libraries.
Long File Names
A 255 character Unicode name that can contain spaces and multiple periods.
Moving Pictures Expert Group is an ISO standards committee for audio and video compre­ssion and playback
There have been numerous MPEG standards over the years
From MPEG-1, the mp3 audio compre­ssion format remains very popular.
MPEG-2 is widely used for file and broadcast delivery.
MPEG-4 (or MP4) extends the MPEG-2 specif­ica­tion, notably providing support for Digital Rights Management (DRM), which enables playback to be tied to particular hardware devices.
NTFS (New Technology Filing System)
The NT File System supports a 64-bit address space and is able to provide extra features such as file-b­y-file compre­ssion and RAID support as well as advanced file attribute management tools, encryp­tion, and disk quotas.
PDF (Portable Document Format)
Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format for distri­buting documents
PDF was envisioned as a "­fin­al" format for the distri­bution of a published document.
To access files and folders on a volume, the admini­strator of the computer will need to grant file permis­sions to the user (or a group to which the user belongs).
File permis­sions are supported by NTFS-based Windows systems.
Recycle Bin
When files are deleted from a local hard disk, they are stored in the recycle bin.
They can be recovered from here if so desired.
UDF (Universal Disk Format)
File system used for optical media, replacing CDFS (ISO 9660).


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