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  • Instructor Tip When gaining attention and establishing common ground, ask questions of the class such as, “How many here have a laptop computer?” or “How many of you have worked on a laptop?” For a positive statement, tell the class, “In this lesson, we are going to learn about the various types of portables and how to install RAM and hard drives in them.”
  • Ultralights Ultralight portables are computers that normally weigh less than three pounds and are less than an inch thick. These machines usually have smaller displays, lower-capacity hard drives, and CPUs that operate at lower speeds than their more full-sized brethren. This class of portable computers is designed for the busy traveler who wants a nearly full-featured laptop in a small, easily transported package. Often, these laptops are much more expensive than larger, faster machines —think of it as paying more to get less! You’ll hear the term subnotebooks used to describe ultralight portables; the terms aren’t quite synonymous, but the marketing waters for all portable computing devices are pretty muddy.
  • Tablet PCs Looking and feeling like a cross between a traditional laptop PC and a PDA, Tablet PCs have been marked as the next great thing in portables for a while now. They feature ~1 GHz processors, a good amount of RAM, 20 – 40 GB hard drives, and integrated wireless networking. They run a version of Windows called Windows XP Tablet Edition and use a pen-based interface for the most part, although some models also include a keyboard. Tablet PCs have currently caught on in certain industries, such as medicine, but have not captured the fancy of the general public. Everything you learn about portable computing devices in this chapter also applies to Tablet PCs.
  • Tech Tip Memory Cards Memory cards of all stripes made the leap in 2003 from the exclusive realm of tiny devices such as PDAs and digital photographic cameras to fully featured portable PCs and even desktop models. Some Panasonic PCs sport SD card slots, for example, and you can expect nearly every Sony PC—portable or otherwise—made in 2003 and later to offer a Memory Stick port. Hot-Pluggable Many manufacturers use the term hot-pluggable rather than hot-swappable to describe the ability to plug in and replace PC Cards on the fly. Look for either term on the exams.
  • Although many laptops use the Function key method to cycle the monitor selections, that’s not always the case. You might have to pop into the Display applet in the Control Panel to click a check box. Be assured, however, that if the laptop has a VGA or DVI port, you can cycle through monitor choices!
  • How Much RAM Is Enough? The amount of RAM needed to run a PC—portable or otherwise—smoothly and stably depends on both the type of applications that it will run and the needs of the OS. When making a recommendation to a client about upgrading a laptop’s memory, you should ask the basic questions, such as what he or she plans to do on the laptop. If the laptop will be used for e-mail, word processing, and web surfing, a medium level of RAM, such as 32 – 64 MB, should do fine. If the user travels, uses a high-end digital camera, and wants to use Photoshop to edit huge images, you’ll need to augment the RAM accordingly. Then you need to account for the needs of the OS to give an accurate recommendation.
  • Tech Tip Going Inside To reach most modular components on a laptop, you need to do more than remove an exterior panel. You need to go inside to get access to devices directly connected to the motherboard. Many laptops have an easily removable keyboard that, once removed, gives you access to a metal heat spreader (just a plate that sits over the motherboard) and a half-dozen or more tiny screws. You’ll need a special screwdriver to avoid stripping the screws— check a watch or eyeglass shop if your local hardware store doesn’t carry anything appropriate. You need to take major precautions when you remove the keyboard and heat spreader. The keyboard will be attached to a small cable that can easily disconnect if you pull hard. Don’t forget to check this connection before you reinsert the keyboard at the end of the procedure! Avoid ESD, as you would with any other PC, and definitely unplug the laptop from the wall and remove the battery before you do any inside work!
  • Nickel-Cadmium batteries are not used in portable PCs today but may be found in cell phones and cordless phones. Good for, at most, about 1000 charges You must use disposal companies or battery recycling services to dispose of the highly toxic Ni-Cd batteries.
  • Don’t limit your perception of APM, ACPI, and Energy Star simply to laptops! Virtually all desktop systems also use the power management functions.


  • 1. Portable Computing Chapter 19
  • 2. Overview
    • In this chapter, you will learn to
      • Describe the many types of portable computing devices available
      • Enhance and upgrade portable computers
      • Manage and maintain portable computers
      • Troubleshoot portable computers
  • 3. Getting the Right Sound Card CompTIA A+ Essentials Essentials Portable Computing Devices
  • 4. LCD Screens
    • Major contributor to cost
      • Most range from 12 inch to 17 inch
      • Aspect ratio changing from 4:3 standard
      • For comparison, 16:9 is standard for widescreen
      • 16:10 is the standard for 17-inch LCD screen
    Mode Name Resolution XGA eXtended Graphics Array 1024 x 768 SXGA Super eXtended Graphics Array 1280 x 1024 SXGA+ Super eXtended Graphics Array Plus 1400 x 1050 WSXGA+ Widescreen SXGA Plus 1680 x 1050 UXGA Ultra eXtended Graphics Array 1600 x 1200 WUXGA Widescreen UXGA 1920 x 1200
  • 5. LCD Screens
    • Two types of finishes
    • Matte
      • Traditional standard
      • Reduces glare
      • Washes out a lot in bright light
      • Hopeless in bright daylight
    • High Gloss
      • Relatively new
      • Offers sharper contrast, richer colors and wider viewing angles
  • 6.
    • Typical laptops can function as a fully standalone PC
      • Can be used as a desktop replacement
      • Input devices
        • Trackballs on early laptops
        • IBM’s TrackPoint—pencil eraser–sized joystick in the middle of the keyboard
        • Touchpads
    Desktop Replacements
  • 7. Desktop Extenders
    • Desktop extenders are portable devices
      • Not intended to take the place of a desktop
      • Think of them as a smaller, lighter, less-powerful laptop for less intensive use
  • 8. PDAs
    • Personal digital assistants ( PDA s)
      • Tiny, handheld portable computing devices
      • Address book, personal notes, appointments, word processors, image viewers
      • Often use handwriting recognition with a pen-style stylus for pen-based computing
      • Use specialized OS such as Windows CE, PocketPC, PalmOS, and Linux
      • Made by Palm, Sony, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and other companies
  • 9. PDA Features
    • HotSync
      • Can synchronize data between PDA and office PC
      • PalmOS calls it HotSync
    • Beaming
      • PDAs typically have IR ports
      • Can transfer data (beam) between PDAs
    • PDA Memory
      • Internal flash ROM of 1 MB or more
      • CompactFlash cards that are removable and upgradeable for removable storage needs
  • 10. Tablet PCs
    • Combines handwriting benefits of PDAs with power of traditional laptops
    • Use a stylus to write
    • Applications can use digital ink to capture pen strokes
  • 11. Portable Computer Device Types Screen Size Weight Uses Desktop replacements 14 – 20 inches 8–12 lbs Mobile anything Desktop extenders 10–14 inches 4 lbs Presentations, note taking Ultralights 6–12 inches 2–3 lbs Long-term traveling Tablet PCs 10–12 inches 4 lbs Niche market Ultra-mobile PCs 4–7 inches 1–2 lbs Niche market PDAs 3–4 inches 1 lb Organization PDA phones 2 niches < 1 lb Eliminates cell phone
  • 12. IT Technician CompTIA A+ Technician Enhance and Upgrade the Portable PC
  • 13. PC Cards
    • PC Cards are commonly known as the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association ( PCMCIA )
      • Hot-swappable devices
      • Easy to use, inexpensive, and convenient
  • 14. PC Cards
    • Parallel PC Cards
      • 16-bit or CardBus (32-bit 3.3V cards)
      • Three sizes: Type I (thinnest), II, and III (thickest)
      • Cards can have one or many functions
    • ExpressCard
      • High-performance serial version
      • Can connect to USB 2.0 slot (480 Mbps) or PCIe (2.5 Gbps)
  • 15. Card Types Type Length Width Thickness Typical Use Type I 85.6 mm 54 mm 3.3 mm Flash memory Type II 85.6 mm 54 mm 5.0 mm I/O (modem, NIC, etc.) Type III 85.6 mm 54 mm 10.5 mm Hard drives
  • 16. PC Cards
    • Two levels of software drivers
      • Socket services
        • Device drivers that enable the system to detect when a PC Card is inserted or removed
        • Provide necessary I/O to the device
        • Standardized and handled by the system BIOS
      • Card services
        • Recognize the function of a particular PC Card and provide the specialized drivers required to make the card work
        • Handled by Windows
        • Accessed via PCMCIA option in Control Panel
  • 17. Limited-Function Ports
    • All portable PCs and many PDAs come with a variety of ports
      • VGA connection for hooking up an external monitor
      • PS/2 port for an external keyboard or mouse
      • Built-in NICs and modems for network support
        • All of these work the same as in desktop PCs
      • Video ports
        • External monitor, projector, or a combination of both
      • Speaker ports
      • Extra function key
  • 18. General-Purpose Ports
    • Legacy ports
      • PS/2, RS-232
    • USB and FireWire
      • Work same as in PC
    • Port replicators
      • Plug into a single port
      • Offer common PC ports such as serial, parallel, network, and PS/2
  • 19. Docking Stations
    • Gives laptops access to PC resources
      • Large monitors, regular mice, network connections, and full-size keyboards
    • Provides an easy way to take your laptop in and out of the office
    • Basically a port replicator with extra features such as a DVD drive or PC Card slots
  • 20. Replacing RAM
    • No standard method
      • You usually have to unscrew or pop open a panel on the underside of the portable
  • 21. Shared Memory
    • Reduces cost of video cards
      • Reduces amount of memory on the video card
    • Shared memory technologies
      • TurboCache (NVIDIA)
      • HyperMemory (ATI)
    • System RAM will report less RAM available
      • Not shared as much as taken from OS
      • Once taken, OS no longer has access to the RAM
  • 22. The Modular Laptop
    • Common components that can be replaced or upgraded in a portable PC
      • Hard drives
        • 2.5-inch ATA drives most common
        • Cable select often required
        • Otherwise the same as regular 3.5-inch drives
      • Modular CPUs
        • Just replace with a newer module from Intel or AMD
      • Video cards
        • Least standardized
  • 23. The Modular Laptop
    • Common components that can be replaced or upgraded in a portable PC
      • Modular Drives
        • CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-R/W, hard drives
      • Mobile NICs and Mini PCI
        • Most laptops have dial-up modems and Ethernet
        • Many also come with integrated wireless networking support
        • Many devices can be toggled on and off with key combinations such as FN-F2
  • 24. Managing and Maintaining Portable Computers
  • 25. Maintenance
    • Everything you normally do to maintain a PC applies to portable PCs
      • Windows patches and Service Packs
      • Upgrading drivers
      • CHKDSK
      • ScanDisk
      • Defragment
      • Disk Cleanup
  • 26. Batteries
    • Three types of commonly used batteries
      • Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd)
      • Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)
      • Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
  • 27. Nickel-Cadmium Batteries
    • Nickel-Cadmium ( Ni-Cd ) batteries
      • First batteries commonly used in mobile PCs
      • Battery memory is the tendency of a Ni-Cd battery to lose a significant amount of its recharge ability
      • Conditioning charge could sometimes resolve battery memory problem
      • At best, can only be recharged about 1000 times
      • Toxic—dispose of at recycling centers
  • 28. Nickel Metal Hydride
    • Nickel Metal Hydride ( Ni-MH ) batteries
      • Next generation of mobile PC batteries
      • Less susceptible to memory problems and last longer between recharges
      • Still susceptible to heat
      • Popular replacement for Ni-Cd systems
  • 29. Lithium Ion
    • Lithium Ion batteries
      • Most common type of battery used today
      • Powerful
      • Completely immune to memory problems
      • Built-in circuitry to prevent accidental overcharging
  • 30. Other Portable Power Sources
    • Smart batteries
      • Tell the computer when they need to be charged, conditioned, or replaced
    • Fuel cells
      • Promising new technology that could power a laptop for up to 40 hours before refilling
      • Hasn’t yet reached the consumer market
  • 31. Battery Maintenance
    • Batteries should be stored in a cool place
    • Ni-Cd and Ni-MH batteries should be conditioned by using a special charger
    • Battery contacts should be kept clean using a little alcohol or dry cloth
    • Used or old batteries should be recycled
  • 32. Power Management
  • 33. Power Management
    • Power management goals
      • Shut down unused devices selectively
      • Define a maximum period of inactivity
      • Shut down the entire system during longer periods of inactivity
      • Ready to restart if triggered by a wake-up event
      • Sensitive to potential hazards like shutting down the hard drive in the middle of a write operation
      • Keep the system cost about the same
  • 34. System Management Mode
    • System Management Mode ( SMM )
      • Set of features that enables the CPU to slow down or stop its clock without deleting information
      • Stops the CPU and all of the peripherals
      • Requires a specialized BIOS and OS
      • To further power management capabilities, Intel introduced
        • Advanced Power Management ( APM ) in 1992
        • Advanced Configuration and Power Interface ( ACPI ) in 1996
  • 35. Requirements for APM/ACPI
    • APM and ACPI require the following in order to function properly
      • An SMM-capable CPU
      • APM-compliant BIOS
      • Devices that will accept being shut off (“Energy Star”)
      • A system OS that knows how to request the shutdown of a particular device
  • 36. APM/ACPI Levels
    • Full On
      • No power management—everything running
    • APM Enabled
      • CPU and RAM running at full power
      • Unused devices may or may not be shut down
    • APM Standby
      • CPU is stopped (can easily be restarted)
      • RAM still stores all the programs
      • All peripherals are shut down
    • APM Suspend
      • Everything is shut down or at its lowest power-consumption
      • Hibernation (stores everything in RAM on the hard drive before powering down)
  • 37. APM/ACPI Configuration
    • CMOS settings
    • Windows
      • Overrides CMOS settings
      • Display applet in Control Panel
        • Settings  Advanced  Monitor tab
      • Power Management applet in Control Panel
  • 38. Configuration of APM/ACPI — Windows
  • 39. Cleaning & Heat
    • Cleaning
      • Use a screen cleaner to clean the LCD screen ( not a glass cleaner)
      • Use compressed air to clean out the keyboard and PC Card sockets
    • Heat
      • Use power management
      • Keep air space between the bottom of the laptop and the surface it sits on
      • Don’t use a keyboard protector
      • Listen for fan running a lot or stopping
  • 40. Protect the Machine
    • Protect your investment with best practices
      • Tripping Watch the power cord
      • Storage Protect from damage and dirt
      • Travel Remember foreign power is 230 V
      • Shipping Protect from damage and theft
      • Security Protect from theft
  • 41. Troubleshooting
    • Laptop won’t power on
      • Verify the outlet is good
      • Verify the adapter is good
      • Remove all peripherals
    • Screen doesn’t come on properly
      • Make sure the display is on
      • Press FN key combination to activate the screen
    • Wireless networking doesn’t work
      • Check for physical or software switch to turn it on
      • Ensure you’re in range
  • 42. Troubleshooting
    • Handwriting is not recognized
      • May need to retrain the digitizer
    • Keypad doesn’t work
      • Probably unseated keypad connector
      • Check manufacturer’s disassembly procedures
    • Touchpad doesn’t work
      • Clean with compressed air
      • May need to reconfigure touchpad driver
  • 43. Beyond A+
    • Intel’s Centrino Technology
      • Extremely low power
      • Fast CPUs
      • Integrated wireless networking
    • Origami—Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPC)
      • Small form factor tablet PC
      • Runs full-fledged OS such as Windows XP or Vista
  • 44.