Designed to prepare you for the Industry recognised CompTIA A+ certification. Run over eighteen sessions totalling over 72 hours of training, and utilising the latest Cisco Systems Networking Academy Program, this course presents an in-depth exposure to computer hardware, peripherals and operating systems. You will learn how to assemble and configure computers, associated peripheral devices, how to install and configure basic wired and wireless networks and more.



National Code 0008ECS45
Study Areas Certifications
Study Level Short Course

Martin Tran / David Brooks

Course Outline

This course provides an excellent introduction to the IT industry and in-depth exposure to personal computers, hardware, and operating systems. Students learn the functionality of various hardware and software components and best practices in maintenance and safety issues. Through hands-on lab activities, students learn how to assemble and configure computers, install operating systems and software, and troubleshoot hardware and software problems. This course prepares you for the CompTIA A+ Training certification. Please note that this exam will need to be booked separately to your enrolment in this course

IT Essentials Fundamentals Chapter Outline

Chapter 1. Introduction to the Personal Computer

  • 1.1 Explain IT industry certifications
  • Identify education and certifications
  • 1.1.2 Describe the A+ certification 
  • 1.1.3 Describe the EU CIP certification
  • 1.2 Describe a computer system
  • 1.3 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of cases and power supplies 
  • 1.3.1 Describe cases
  • 1.3.2 Describe power supplies
  • 1.4 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of internal components 
  • 1.4.1 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of motherboards 
  • 1.4.2 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of CPUs
  • 1.4.3 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of cooling systems
  • 1.4.4 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of ROM and RAM 
  • 1.4.5 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of adapter cards 
  • 1.4.6 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of storage drives 
  • 1.4.7 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of internal cables
  • 1.5 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of ports and cables
  • 1.6 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of input devices
  • 1.7 Identify the names, purposes, and characteristics of output devices
  • 1.8 Explain system resources and their purpose
  • 1.9 Chapter summary

Chapter 2. Safe Lab Procedures and Tool Use

  • 2.1 Explain the purpose of safe working conditions and procedures
  • 2.1.1 Identify safety procedures and potential hazards for users and technicians 
  • 2.1.2 Identify safety procedures to protect equipment from damage and data from loss 
  • 2.1.3 Identify safety procedures to protect the environment from contamination
  • 2.2 Identify tools and software used with personal computer components and their purposes
  • 2.2.1 Identify hardware tools and their purpose
  • 2.2.2 Identify software tools and their purpose
  • 2.2.3 Identify organizational tools and their purpose
  • 2.3 Implement proper tool use
  • 2.3.1 Demonstrate proper use of an antistatic wrist strap
  • 2.3.2 Demonstrate proper use of an antistatic mat 
  • 2.3.3 Demonstrate proper use of various hand tools 
  • 2.3.4 Demonstrate proper use of cleaning materials
  • 2.4 Chapter summary

Chapter 3. Computer Assembly – Step by Step

  • 3.1 Open the case
  • 3.2 Install the power supply
  • 3.3 Attach the components to the motherboard and install the motherboard
  • 3.3.1 Install a CPU and a heat sink / fan assembly 
  • 3.3.2 Install the RAM 
  • 3.3.3 Install the motherboard
  • 3.4 Install internal drives
  • 3.5 Install drives in external bays
  • 3.5.1 Install the optical drive
  • 3.5.2 Install the floppy drive
  • 3.6 Install adapter cards 
  • 3.6.1 Install the NIC
  • 3.6.2 Install the wireless NIC
  • 3.6.3 Install the video adapter card
  • 3.7 Connect all internal cables 
  • 3.7.1 Connect the power cables
  • 3.7.2 Connect the data cables
  • 3.8 Re-attach the side panels and connect external cables to the computer
  • 3.8.1 Re-attach the side panels to the case
  • 3.8.2 Connect external cables to the computer
  • 3.9 Boot computer for the first time 
  • 3.9.1 Identify beep codes 
  • 3.9.2 Describe BIOS setup
  • 3.10 Chapter summary

Chapter 4. Basics of Preventive Maintenance and Troubleshooting

  • 4.1 Explain the purpose of preventive maintenance
  • 4.2 Identify the steps of the troubleshooting process
  • 4.2.1 Explain the purpose of data protection 
  • 4.2.2 Identify the problem 
  • 4.2.3 Establish a theory of probable causes 
  • 4.2.4 Determine an exact cause 
  • 4.2.5 Implement the solution 
  • 4.2.6 Verify solution and full system functionality
  • 4.2.7 Document findings 4.3 Chapter summary

Chapter 5. Fundamental Operating Systems

  • 5.1 Explain the purpose of an operating system 
  • 5.1.1 Describe the characteristics of modern operating systems 
  • 5.1.2 Explain operating system concepts
  • 5.2 Describe and compare operating systems to include purpose, limitations, and compatibilities 
  • 5.2.1 Describe desktop operating systems 
  • 5.2.2 Describe network operating systems
  • 5.3 Determine operating system based on customer needs 
  • 5.3.1 Identify applications and environments that are compatible with an operating system 
  • 5.3.2 Determine minimum hardware requirements and compatibility with the OS platform
  • 5.4 Install an operating system 
  • 5.4.1 Identify hard drive setup procedures 
  • 5.4.2 Prepare hard drive 
  • 5.4.3 Install the operating system using default settings 
  • 5.4.4 Create accounts 
  • 5.4.5 Complete the installation 
  • 5.4.6 Describe custom installation option 
  • 5.4.7 Identify the boot sequence files and Registry files 
  • 5.4.8 Describe how to manipulate operating system files 
  • 5.4.9 Describe directory structures
  • 5 .5 Navigate a GUI (Windows) 
  • 5.5.1 Manipulate items on the desktop 
  • 5.5.2 Explore Control Panel applets 
  • 5.5.3 Explore administrative tools 
  • 5.5.4 Install, navigate, and uninstall an application 
  • 5.5.5 Describe upgrading an operating system
  • 5 .6 Identify and apply common preventive maintenance techniques for operating systems 
  • 5.6.1 Create a preventive maintenance plan 
  • 5.6.2 Schedule a task 
  • 5.6.3 Back up the hard drive
  • 5 .7 Troubleshoot operating systems 
  • 5.7.1 Review the troubleshooting process 
  • 5.7.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 5 .8 Chapter summary

Chapter 6. Fundamental Laptops and Portable Devices

  • 6.1 Describe laptops and other portable devices
  • 6.1.1 Identify some common uses of laptops
  • 6.1.2 Identify some common uses of PDAs and smartphones
  • 6.2 Identify and describe the components of a laptop 
  • 6.2.1 Describe the components found on the outside of the laptop 
  • 6.2.2 Describe the components found on the inside of the laptop 
  • 6.2.3 Describe the components found on the laptop docking station
  • 6.3 Compare and contrast desktop and laptop components 
  • 6.3.1 Compare and contrast desktop and laptop motherboards 
  • 6.3.2 Compare and contrast desktop and laptop processors 
  • 6.3.3 Compare and contrast desktop and laptop power management 
  • 6.3.4 Compare and contrast desktop and laptop expansion capabilities
  • 6.4 Explain how to configure laptops
  • 6.4.1 Describe how to configure power settings
  • 6.4.2 Describe the safe installation and removal of laptop components
  • 6.4.3 Laptop communication hardware installation and configuration
  • 6.5 Compare the different mobile phone standards
  • 6.6 Identify common preventive maintenance techniques for laptops and portable devices
  • 6.6.1 Identify appropriate cleaning procedures
  • 6.6.2 Identify optimal operating environments
  • 6.7 Describe how to troubleshoot laptops and portable devices 
  • 6.7.1 Review the troubleshooting process
  • 6.7.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 6.8 Chapter summary

Chapter 7. Fundamental Printers and Scanners

  • 7 .1 Describe the types of printers currently available 
  • 7.1.1 Describe characteristics and capabilities of printers 
  • 7.1.2 Describe printer to computer interfaces 
  • 7.1.3 Describe laser printers 
  • 7.1.4 Describe impact printers 
  • 7.1.5 Describe ink jet printers 
  • 7.1.6 Describe solid-ink printers 
  • 7.1.7 Describe other printer types
  • 7 .2 Describe the installation and configuration process for printers
  • 7.2.1 Describe how to set up a printer
  • 7.2.2 Explain how to power and connect a device using local or network port
  • 7.2.3 Describe how to install and update a device driver, firmware, and RAM
  • 7.2.4 Identify configuration options and default settings
  • 7.2.5 Explain how to optimize printer performance
  • 7.2.6 Describe how to print a test page
  • 7.2.7 Describe how to share a printer
  • 7.3 Describe the types of scanners currently available 
  • 7.3.1 Describe scanner types, resolution, and interfaces
  • 7.3.2 Describe all-in-one devices 
  • 7.3.3 Describe flatbed scanners 
  • 7.3.4 Describe handheld scanners 
  • 7.3.5 Describe drum scanners
  • 7.4 Describe the installation and configuration process for scanners 
  • 7.4.1 Explain how to power and connect a scanner 
  • 7.4.2 Describe how to install and update the device driver 
  • 7.4.3 Identify configuration options and default settings
  • 7.5 Identify and apply common preventive maintenance techniques for printers and scanners 
  • 7.5.1 Describe printer maintenance 
  • 7.5.2 Describe scanner maintenance
  • 7.6 Troubleshoot printers and scanners 
  • 7.6.1 Review the troubleshooting process 
  • 7.6.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 7.7 Chapter summary

Chapter 8. Fundamental Networks

  • 8.1 Explain the principles of networking 
  • 8.1.1 Define computer networks 
  • 8.1.2 Explain the benefits of networks
  • 8.2 Describe types of networks 
  • 8.2.1 Describe a LAN 
  • 8.2.2 Describe a WAN 
  • 8.2.3 Describe a WLAN 
  • 8.2.4 Explain peer-to-peer networks 
  • 8.2.5 Explain client/server networks
  • 8.3 Describe basic networking concepts and technologies 
  • 8.3.1 Explain bandwidth and data transmission 
  • 8.3.2 Describe IP addressing 
  • 8.3.3 Define DHCP 
  • 8.3.4 Describe Internet protocols and applications
  • 8.3.5 Define ICMP
  • 8.4 Describe the physical components of a network 
  • 8.4.1 Identify names, purposes, and characteristics of network devices 
  • 8.4.2 Identify names, purposes, and characteristics of common network cables
  • 8.5 Describe LAN topologies and architectures 
  • 8.5.1 Describe topologies 
  • 8.5.2 Describe LAN architectures
  • 8.6 Identify standards organizations
  • 8.7 Identify Ethernet standards 
  • 8.7.1 Explain cabled Ethernet standards 
  • 8.7.2 Explain wireless Ethernet standards
  • 8.8 Explain OSI and TCP/IP Data Models 
  • 8.8.1 Define the TCP/IP model 
  • 8.8.2 Define the OSI model 
  • 8.8.3 Compare OSI and TCP/IP
  • 8.9 Describe how to configure a NIC and a modem 
  • 8.9.1 Install or update a NIC driver 
  • 8.9.2 Attach a computer to existing network 
  • 8.9.3 Describe the installation of a modem
  • 8.10 Identify names, purposes, and characteristics of other technologies used to establish connectivity
  • 8.10.1 Describe telephone technologies 
  • 8.10.2 Define power line communication 
  • 8.10.3 Define broadband 
  • 8.10.4 Define VoIP 
  • 8.10.5 Define VPN
  • 8.11 Identify and apply common preventive maintenance techniques used for networks
  • 8.12 Troubleshoot a network 
  • 8.12.1 Review the troubleshooting process 
  • 8.12.2 Identify common network problems and solutions
  • 8.13 Chapter summary

Chapter 9. Fundamental Security

  • 9.1 Explain why security is important
  • 9.2 Describe security threats 
  • 9.2.1 Define viruses, worms, and Trojans 
  • 9.2.2 Explain web security 
  • 9.2.3 Define adware, spyware, and grayware 
  • 9.2.4 Explain Denial of Service 
  • 9.2.5 Describe spam and popup windows 
  • 9.2.6 Explain social engineering 
  • 9.2.7 Explain TCP/IP attacks 
  • 9.2.8 Explain data wiping, hard drive destruction and recycling
  • 9.3 Identify security procedures 
  • 9.3.1 Explain what is required in a basic local security policy 
  • 9.3.2 Explain the tasks required to protect physical equipment 
  • 9.3.3 Describe ways to protect data 
  • 9.3.4 Describe wireless security techniques
  • 9.4 Identify common preventive maintenance techniques for security 
  • 9.4.1 Explain how to update signature files for anti-virus and anti-spyware software 
  • 9.4.2 Explain how to install operating systems service packs and security patches
  • 9.5 Troubleshoot security 
  • 9.5.1 Review the troubleshooting process 
  • 9.5.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 9.6 Chapter summary

Chapter 10. Communication Skills

  • 10.1 Explain the relationship between communication and troubleshooting
  • 10.2 Describe good communication skills and professional behaviour 
  • 10.2.1 Determine the computer problem of the customer 
  • 10.2.2 Display professional behaviour with the customer 
  • 10.2.3 Focus the customer on the problem during the call 
  • 10.2.4 Use proper netiquette 
  • 10.2.5 Implement time and stress management techniques 
  • 10.2.6 Observe Service Level Agreements 
  • 10.2.7 Follow business policies
  • 10.3 Explain ethics and legal aspects of working with computer technology
  • 10.4 Describe call centre environment and technician responsibilities 
  • 10.4.1 Describe the call centre environment 
  • 10.4.2 Describe level-one technician responsibilities 
  • 10.4.3 Describe level-two technician responsibilities
  • 10.5 Chapter summary

Chapter 11. Advanced Personal Computers

  • 11.1 Give an overview of field, remote, and bench technician jobs
  • 11.2 Explain safe lab procedure and tool use 
  • 11.2.1 Review safe working environment and procedures 
  • 11.2.2 Review names, purposes, characteristics, and safe and appropriate use of tools components
  • 11.3.1 Select a case and power supply
  • 11.3.2 Select a motherboard
  • 11.3.3 Select the CPU and heat sink/fan assembly
  • 11.3.4 Select RAM
  • 11.3.5 Select adapter cards
  • 11.3.6 Select storage devices and hard drives
  • 11.3.7 Select input and output devices
  • 11.4 Upgrade and configure personal computer components and peripherals
  • 11.4.1 Upgrade and configure a motherboard
  • 11.4.2 Upgrade and configure a CPU and a heat sink/fan assembly
  • 11.4.3 Upgrade and configure RAM
  • 11.4.4 Upgrade and configure BIOS
  • 11.4.5 Upgrade and configure storage devices and hard drives
  • 11.4.6 Upgrade and configure input and output devices
  • 11.5 Identify and apply common preventive maintenance techniques for personal computer components
  • 11.5.1 Clean internal components
  • 11.5.2 Clean the case
  • 11.5.3 Inspect computer components
  • 11.6 Troubleshoot computer components and peripherals
  • 11.6.1 Review the troubleshooting process
  • 11.6.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 11.6.3 Apply troubleshooting skills
  • 11.7 Chapter Summary

Chapter 12. Advanced Operating Systems

  • 12.1 Select the appropriate operating system based on customer needs
  • 12.1.1 Describe operating systems
  • 12.1.2 Describe network operating systems
  • 12.1.3 Windows OS directory structures
  • 12.2 Install, configure, and optimize an operating system
  • 12.2.1 Compare and contrast a default installation and a custom installation
  • 12.2.2 Install Windows XP using a custom installation
  • 12.2.3 Create, view, and manage disks, directories, and files
  • 12.2.4 Identify procedures and utilities used to optimize the performance of operating systems
  • 12.2.5 Identify procedures and utilities used to optimize the performance of browsers
  • 12.2.6 Describe installation, use, and configuration of e-mail software
  • 12.2.7 Set screen resolution and update video driver
  • 12.2.8 Describe installation of a second operating system
  • 12.2.9 Windows CLI commands
  • 12.3 Describe how to upgrade operating systems
  • 12.4 Describe preventive maintenance procedures for operating systems
  • 12.4.1 Schedule automatic tasks and updates
  • 12.4.2 Set restore points
  • 12.5 Troubleshoot operating systems
  • 12.5.1 Review the troubleshooting process
  • 12.5.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 12.5.3 Apply troubleshooting skills
  • 12.6 Chapter summary

Chapter 13. Advanced Laptops and Portable Devices

  • 13.1 Describe wireless communication methods for laptops and portable devices
  • 13.1.1 Describe Bluetooth technology
  • 13.1.2 Describe infrared technology
  • 13.1.3 Describe cellular WAN technology
  • 13.1.4 Describe Wi-Fi technology
  • 13.1.5 Describe satellite technology
  • 13.2 Describe repairs for laptops and portable devices
  • 13.3 Select laptop components
  • 13.3.1 Select batteries
  • 13.3.2 Select a docking station or port replicator
  • 13.3.3 Select storage devices
  • 13.3.4 Select additional RAM
  • 13.4 Describe preventive maintenance procedures for laptops
  • 13.4.1 Describe how to schedule and perform maintenance for laptops
  • 13.4.2 Explain how to manage data version control between laptops and desktops
  • 13.5 Describe how to troubleshoot a laptop
  • 13.5.1 Review the troubleshooting process
  • 13.5.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 13.5.3 Apply troubleshooting skills
  • 13.6 Chapter summary

Chapter 14. Advanced Printers and Scanners

  • 14.1 Describe potential safety hazards and safety procedures associated with printers and scanners
  • 14.2 Install and configure a local printer and scanner
  • 14.2.1 Connect the device to a local port
  • 14.2.2 Install and configure the driver and software
  • 14.2.3 Configure options and default settings
  • 14.2.4 Verify functionality
  • 14.3 Describe how to share a printer and a scanner on a network
  • 14.3.1 Describe types of printer servers
  • 14.3.2 Describe how to install network printer software and drivers on a computer
  • 14.4 Upgrade and configure printers and scanners
  • 14.4.1 Describe printer upgrades
  • 14.4.2 Describe scanner optimization
  • 14.5 Describe printer and scanner preventive maintenance techniques
  • 14.5.1 Determine scheduled maintenance according to vendor guidelines
  • 14.5.2 Describe a suitable environment for printers and scanners
  • 14.5.3 Describe cleaning methods
  • 14.5.4 Describe checking capacity of ink cartridges and toners
  • 14.6 Troubleshoot printers and scanners
  • 14.6.1 Review the troubleshooting process
  • 14.6.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 14.6.3 Apply troubleshooting skills
  • 14.7 Chapter summary

Chapter 15. Advanced Networks

  • 15.1 Identify potential safety hazards and implement proper safety procedures related to networks
  • 15.1.1 Explain fiber-optic safety
  • 15.1.2 Explain cable, cable cutters, and cable cutting safety hazards
  • 15.2 Design a network based on the customer’s needs
  • 15.2.1 Determine a topology
  • 15.2.2 Determine protocols and network applications
  • 15.3 Determine the components for your customer’s network 
  • 15.3.1 Select cable types 
  • 15.3.2 Select an ISP connection type 
  • 15.3.3 Select network cards
  • 15.3.4 Select the network device
  • 15.4 Implement the customer’s network
  • 15.4.1 Install and test the customer’s network
  • 15.4.2 Configure the customer’s Internet and network resources
  • 15.5 Upgrade the customer’s network
  • 15.5.1 Install and configure a wireless NIC
  • 15.5.2 Install and configure a wireless router
  • 15.5.3 Test a connection
  • 15.6 Describe installation, configuration, and management of a simple mail server
  • 15.7 Describe preventive maintenance procedures for networks 15.8 Troubleshoot the network
  • 15.8.1 Review the troubleshooting process
  • 15.8.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 15.8.3 Apply troubleshooting skills
  • 15.9 Chapter summary

Chapter 16. Advanced Security

  • 16.1 Outline security requirements based on customer needs 
  • 16.1.1 Outline a local security policy 
  • 16.1.2 Explain when and how to use security hardware 
  • 16.1.3 Explain when and how to use security application software
  • 16.2 Select security components based on customer needs 
  • 16.2.1 Describe and compare security techniques 
  • 16.2.2 Describe and compare access control devices 
  • 16.2.3 Describe and compare firewall types
  • 16.3 Implement customer’s security policy
  • 16.3.1 Configure security settings
  • 16.3.2 Describe configuring firewall types
  • 16.3.3 Describe protection against malicious software
  • 16.4 Perform preventive maintenance on security
  • 16.4.1 Describe the configuration of operating system updates
  • 16.4.2 Maintain accounts
  • 16.4.3 Explain data backup procedures, access to backups, and secure physical backup material
  • 16.5 Troubleshoot security
  • 16.5.1 Review the troubleshooting process
  • 16.5.2 Identify common problems and solutions
  • 16.5.3 Apply troubleshooting skills
  • 16.6 Chapter summary

You should have some experience using Windows−based computers.

Online course materials via the Cisco Networking Academy and Student Lab Manuals are provided. The Packet Tracer network simulator is also available exclusively to students of the Cisco Networking Academy.

Click here to watch the introductory video

The primary objective of this course is to help you prepare for entry-level positions in the ICT field. Job titles include enterprise technician, IT administrator, field service technician, call centre technician, help desk technician, and PC or support technician. In addition, the curriculum helps you gain confidence with the components of desktop and laptop computers by teaching the proper procedures for hardware and software installations, upgrades, and troubleshooting.

After completing the IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software course, you will be able to complete the following tasks:

  • Define information technology (IT) and describe the components of a personal computer 
  • Describe how to protect self, equipment, and the environment from accidents, damage, and contamination 
  • Perform a step-by-step assembly of a desktop computer and install and navigate an operating system
  • Explain and perform preventive maintenance
  • Explain the steps of the troubleshooting process and perform basic troubleshooting
  • Upgrade or replace components of a laptop, printer, or scanner based on customer needs
  • Configure computers to attach to an existing network
  • Implement basic physical and software security principles
  • Apply good communications skills and professional behaviour while working with customers
  • Assess customer needs, analyse possible configurations, and provide solutions or recommendations for hardware, operating systems, networking, and security.

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Last updated: December 18, 2018 03:36pm