Inner workings of modern computers from a user's point of view.
Understanding the hardware, network, and system software. Topics
include CPUs, memory, video, input/output, networks, security,
installation of operating systems and hands-on trouble shooting.
Lectures, 2 hours per week, lab, 3 hours per
Restriction: not open to COSC (single or
combined), BCB, CAST and CNET
Prerequisite: APCO 1P01 (minimum 60 percent) or
permission of the instructor
The Objective of this course is to promote the
understanding of Personal Computers at a hardware and operating
The lecture component will focus on the architecture of Intel
based computers. Emphasis will be directed toward understanding
the mechanical and electrical composition of personal computers.
The understanding of hardware and software requirements to allow
component communications between the operating system and the
hardware. Topics which will be covered: CPUs and CPU
architecture, motherboards, daughter boards, chip sets, software
drivers, bus technologies (IDE,PCI, ISA, USB,Serial ATA,Parallel
& Serial), Storage Devices, Local Area Networks (Home and
Office) and protocols (TCP/IP,NetBEUI).
Labs will be used to allow students hands on practise. Students
will be required to disassemble/reassemble computing hardware,
install hardware and software. Lab topics: Investigation of
system resources, CPU & Motherboard replacement, Motherboard
configuration, Memory, BIOS updates, Power Supply
replacements, Installation of Legacy hardware, Cabling (includes
creating network and ribbon cables), Disk Drives
(Partitioning), OS-installations, Networks and Network
configuration. In all labs a emphasis will be placed on Trouble
Shooting and Diagnosis.
How Motherboards Work: http://www.howstuffworks.com/motherboard.htm
The PCI bus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conventional_PCI
Information about CMOS: http://www.computerhope.com/help/cmos.htm
Replacing a Motherboard: http://www.fonerbooks.com/r_mother.htm
Troubleshooting a Motherboard: http://www.pcbuyerbeware.co.uk/MotherboardProblems.htm
6. Unified Extensible Firmware Interface http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UEFI
7. Trusted Platform Module (TPM) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_Platform_Module
8. Visualization: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtualization
More Information on RAM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Random_access_memory
How ROM works: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/rom.htm
Parity Checking: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/P/parity_checking.html
Upgrading Memory: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2957195/components/how-to-install-new-memory-in-your-pc.html
Troubleshooting RAM Installations:
6. How Flash
Memory works http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/flash-memory.htm
- Explaining Hard Disk Limitations: http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/J.Steunebrink/bioslim.htm
How Floppy Drives Work: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/floppy-disk-drive.htm
Hard Drive Components: http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Hardware_Software/2002/InsideHardDrive.asp
- More Information on ATA interfaces http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT_Attachment
- Installing a Hard Drive: https://www.techjunkie.com/installing-a-hard-drive-step-by-step/
- Troubleshooting a Hard Drive: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/troubleshoot-hard-drive-failures-in-seven-easy-steps/
Types of Keyboards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_technology
1. VPN. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_private_network
How a Computer Mouse Works:http://www.howstuffworks.com/mouse.htm
More Information on the
CRT Monitor: https://computer.howstuffworks.com/monitor7.htm
More Information on LCD
USB Technology: http://www.computerhope.com/help/usb.htm
FireWire (1394x). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FireWire
2. VPN. http://computer.howstuffworks.com/vpn1.htm
Students will be expected to work individually or in pairs. This
will depend on the composition of the labs, the available lab
equipment and the individuals. Each individual or group will be
provided a Dell 960. This machine will be
used by those who it is assigned to for the duration of the course.
What the lab provides:
The expected lab work will be available several days prior to the
actual lab. There will be some labs in which students will be
required to do preliminary work (research).
- A machine to be used during the labs.
- Basic tools for disassembly and assembly.
- Basic diagnostic equipment.
- Some consumables.
As part of the lab, you will be using diagnostic software provided
by a lab CD as well as third party software. The lab CD is based
upon the Ultimate Boot
Disk project using the Beta 5.3.1 release. Copies of this CD
will be available during lab. Alternately, the ISO image of
the resource CD is available below or from the above home website.
Please note, that the lab will be using version 5.3.1 due to
hardware incompatibilities with new version.
The course will make extensive use of third party software. A
collection of resources has been made available as a folder on your
- UBD_CD 5.3.1 (This is an iso image
file, you must burn it before you can use it)
Occasionally, additional software will be required as the course
progresses. This software will be placed in the folder below.
To burn the ISO you will need Nero, MagicISO, ImageBurn or any
burning software which is capable of burning an ISO to a CD. These
burning resources will not be provided here, nor will any further
Booting from the CD (UBD) will provide you with diagnostic software
which will be used during lab. Warning, some hard disk software is
destructive to the data, handle with care, you have been warned.
You will need the Dell service manual or technical guidebook for certain labs. The service
manual contains the error codes for troubleshooting POST failures.
Here is the schedule for the lab test Lab Test Schedule
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