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1: The Path of the PC Tech
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1 Write a short essay on the benefits of certification in the field of computers Include discussion on how the CompTIA certifications function within the broader category of computer certification Why do you suppose people get certifications rather than (or in addition to) two- and four-year college degrees in IT
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astering the craft of a PC technician requires you to learn a lot of details about the many pieces of hardware in the typical PC Even the most basic
In this chapter, you will learn how to
Describe how the PC works Identify the essential tools of the trade and avoid electrostatic discharge Identify the different connectors on a typical PC system unit Identify the major internal and external components of a PC
PC contains hundreds of discrete hardware components, each with its own set of characteristics, shapes, sizes, colors, connections, and so on By the end of this book, you will be able to discuss all of these components in detail This chapter takes you inside a typical PC, starting with an overview of how computers work Because it s always good to follow the physician s rule, First, do no harm, the second section of the chapter gives you the scoop on how to avoid damaging anything when you open up the computer Remember the children s song that goes, Oh, the leg bone connects to the thigh bone Well, think of the rest of the chapter in that manner, showing you what the parts look like and giving you a rough idea as to how they work and connect In later chapters, you ll dissect all these PC leg bones and thigh bones and get to the level of detail you need to install, configure, maintain, and fix computers Even if you are an expert, do not skip this chapter! It introduces a large number of terms that will be used throughout the rest of the book Many of these terms you will know, but some you will not, so take some time and read it
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It is handy, although certainly not required, to have a PC that you can take the lid off of and inspect as you progress Almost any old PC will help it doesn t even need to work So get thee a screwdriver, grab your PC, and see if you can recognize the various components as you read about them
Historical/Conceptual
How the PC Works
You ve undoubtedly seen a PC in action a nice, glossy monitor displaying a picture that changes according to the actions of the person sitting in front of it, typing away on a keyboard, clicking a mouse, or twisting a joystick Sound pours out of tiny speakers that flank the screen, and a box whirs happily beneath the table The PC is a computer: a machine that enables you to do work, produce documents, play games, balance your checkbook, and check up on the latest sports scores on the Internet Although the computer is certainly a machine, it s also programming : the commands that tell the computer what to do to get work done These commands are just ones and zeroes that the computer s hardware understands, enabling it to do amazing actions, such as perform powerful mathematic functions, move data (also ones and zeroes), realize the mouse has moved, and put pretty icons on the screen So a computer is a complex interaction between hardware and computer programming, created by your fellow humans Ever heard of Morse code Morse code is nothing more than dots and dashes to those who do not understand it, but if you send dots and dashes (in the right order) to a guy who understands Morse code, you can tell him a joke Think of programming as Morse code for the computer You may not understand those ones and zeroes, but your I know this This is binary! It all makes sense now computer certainly does! (See Figure 21) There s more to the ones and zeroes than just programming All of the data on the computer the Web pages, your documents, your e-mail is also stored as ones and zeroes Programs know how to translate these ones and zeroes into a form humans understand Programming comes in two forms First are the applications the programs that get work done Word processing programs, Web browsers, and e-mail programs are all considered applications But applications need a main program to support them They need a program that enables you to start and stop applications, copy/move/ delete data, talk to the hardware, and perform lots Figure 21 Computer musing that a string of ones and zeroes makes of other jobs This program is called the operating
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