Showing posts from July, 2012

A+: How to Treat Customers' Property

The old Aretha Franklin song said it best: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” Whether it’s the device you’re servicing (laptop or desktop PC, PDA, printer, monitor, or other peripheral), or the telephone, respect it. Here’s how: • Don’t use customer equipment for personal tasks. Make personal phone calls with your own phone (you do have a cell phone, don’t you?). • Don’t go poking around their hard disk or PDA folders unless it’s necessary to solve the problem. • Don’t “test” the printer by printing personal information. Use your own printer to print your resume or a pinup of your favorite movie star, sports figure, or car. • If you need to reset the resolution on the display for testing, change it back when you’re done. Ditto with any other changes necessary for troubleshooting. • Don’t make the customers sorry they called you or your company for help. Customers who become ex-customers have a way of helping potential customers call somebody else for help.

A+: Professional Behavior

Passing the A+ Certification exams isn’t an end in itself—it is designed to help start (or advance) your Information Technology (IT) career. In most IT careers, how you deal with customers, whether they’re people you see day after day in your company or clients you might see only once or twice, can have as much of an impact on your career progress as your knowledge of hardware, software, firmware, and operating systems. The following sections will help you master the “soft skills” you need to move up in the computing world. How to Talk to Customers According to pop-culture references like the Dilbert comic strip and innumerable others, computer techs are incapable of relating to “normal” people in either social or professional situations. Unfortunately, these comic stereotypes are based on a lot of real-world data. Here’s how to reverse the stereotype, one customer interaction at a time: • No matter how difficult the problem, maintain a positive attitude and tone of voice—…

A+: Vacuum Cleaners compatible with computers

Vacuum cleaners are great for cleaning homes and offices, but typical models use plastic parts that can build up harmful static electricity. So, instead of using an ordinary office or home vacuum cleaner to clean a computer, purchase a model especially suited for computer use. Computer-compatible vacuum cleaners have features such as • Small-sized tips and brushes perfect for cleaning keyboards and working around motherboards and add-on cards • Antistatic construction • Hand-held with an adjustable neck for easy use inside a system
Tip Use a vacuum cleaner as an alternative to compressed air whenever possible, especially when working at the client’s site because it’s neater—there’s no flying gunk that can land in awkward places.

A+: Cleaning and Maintenance Tools *

Some of these items clean computers and peripherals to help prevent failures and keep systems in top condition. Other items can be used as spares for replacement testing or to replace missing components.

• Compressed air— Cleans gunk out of cases, fans, and power supplies • Keyboard key puller— Safely removes keys to allow effective keyboard cleaning • Computer-rated mini-vacuum cleaner— Cleans gunk out of cases, fans, power supplies, and keyboards and dust off motherboards and add-on cards • Wire cutter and stripper— Used to build network cable • Extra case, card, and drive screws (salvage or new)— Used as spares to replace missing or defective screws • Extra card slot covers (salvage or new)— Used to replace missing covers to maintain proper system cooling • Extra hard disk and motherboard/card jumper blocks (salvage or new)— Used to replace missing or defective jumper blocks when needed to configure devices • Antistatic cleaning wipes • Replacement ATA/IDE (40-wire and 80-wire), flo…

A+: Useful Hardware and Software Tools

Troubleshooting best methods expect you to know the use of basic diagnostic devices, so a review of this section will be useful before your A+ exam. The following list of items also provides you with a handy reference for what you should bring on service calls.
Hardware Diagnostics Hardware diagnostics tools can help you determine what components inside of a bootable system are not working correctly. Testing software used as part of the diagnostic process can also be used to perform burn-in tests on new hardware to help find problems before systems are put into service.Some typical products include a blank CD-R and DVD-R, bootable antivirus disc, blank floppy, POST card for PCI slots, and diagnostic/testing software such as QuickTech Pro and its loopback plug set which link transmit to receive lines for diagnostics..  Also, acquire testing software such as Burnin Test Professional (, CheckIt Professional Edition (, AMIDiag Suite (www.amidiag.c…