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Old 02-16-2012, 04:25 PM
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Location: Ohio
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IMO, the simplest non-destructive option for A+ practice would be to pull out the computer's existing hard drive and install a brand new hard drive, onto which you install Windows and tweak and wipe this install as needed.

Once you're done practicing, reinstall the old hard drive and your data and applicatopms will be exactly as they were before. Then either install the practice drive as a second hard drive (in your desktop computer), or put the drive into an enclosure and use it as an external drive.
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Old 02-16-2012, 06:01 PM
 
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Also FYI you could just install vmware or ESXi and install it on there
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:24 PM
 
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I don't wanna just study the text. I wanna know what I'm doing. God forbid I study, pass, and get a job and all I can do is quote the text. Even if I know what to do, I want to be familiar with how to do it.

Get experience on my own time.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:25 PM
 
809 posts, read 1,515,506 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo View Post
IMO, the simplest non-destructive option for A+ practice would be to pull out the computer's existing hard drive and install a brand new hard drive, onto which you install Windows and tweak and wipe this install as needed.

Once you're done practicing, reinstall the old hard drive and your data and applicatopms will be exactly as they were before. Then either install the practice drive as a second hard drive (in your desktop computer), or put the drive into an enclosure and use it as an external drive.
This would require me to purchase a copy of Windows 7 along with the new hard drive right? Should I use a particular hard drive for Dells?
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:33 PM
 
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Is there anyway I can just learn how to like, wipe a hard drive? Like lets say I had a really nasty virus and all I could do was wipe the hard drive. That's what I'm wanna do.
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Old 02-17-2012, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnownUnknown View Post
This would require me to purchase a copy of Windows 7 along with the new hard drive right?
To just practice? No. To use it? yes, you need a license.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:35 AM
 
Location: HoCo, MD
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Originally Posted by KnownUnknown View Post
Or is there a way to save it?

I wanna learn some at least Basic IT stuff, but I don't wanna buy all the part individually because that would indeed cost more than buying the cheapest option Dell has.

But I want to install all the software myself. But if I wipe the hard drive, and I gotta figure out how to do that, lots of tutorials on what it is to format, but not how to go about it, would I lose Windows?

Is there anyway I can like, save it to something?
First to answer your questions. When you buy a legitimate (retail) copy of Windows OS, it's basically a perpetual license to use it. You can reinstall it, transfer it to another computer etc. That said - to do these things you will still need to have the installation files (the CD or DVD). As others have said, some manufactures no longer provide the installation media. Instead, they provide a restore partition. This won't help in your case since the restore partition is basically a backup of the original PC state and you won't be able to use it for learning purposes.

And yes - if you wipe the drive, you will operationally lose the contents. And backing it up isn't the same as having the installation CD.

IMO - find a cheap (but adequate for your needs) PC on craigslist - and make sure they have the windows CD. Or find a local distributor and find an OEM copy of windows. Or, if you simply want to go through the install and have no plans on actually using it, I think you can just download a trial version on the Microsoft website. You have like 10 day to register it or something.... but if you plan on just reinstalling for the sake of A+, it won't matter.

Finally - I agree with Kazyn about VMware (or any other hypervisor product - ESX is enterprise, and requires specific hardware...so probably not the best option). Its a lot easier to work with and you can have more than one "computer" up at a time (assuming the hardware supports it). VMWare workstation and Virtualbox is free (at least for Linux)... so maybe install Ubuntu on your system, and then you can stand up windows (or other OSs) in a virtual environment. This will also give you the opportunity to understand how VM's work...something you're going to need to know if you do decided to stay in this career path.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:03 AM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
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Most computers come with software installed to be used to make yourself a set of recovery disks. That disk, along with the Product Key on the side your PC, should allow you to install Windows. It will (probably) not be quite the same as using a retail copy of Windows.

Do you already feel comfortable working on computers? For most of the technicians I know, taking the A+ certification test was a no-brainer, after they hit the books long enough to learn how laser printers work.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:27 AM
 
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Is there anyway I can just learn how to like, wipe a hard drive? Like lets say I had a really nasty virus and all I could do was wipe the hard drive. That's what I'm wanna do.
Yes, here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by kazyn View Post
Basic procedure is this:

Insert Windows CD/DVD.
Restart PC
Boot from CD/DVD
Go through the process, as it is displayed.
Insert product key when asked for it.

That's pretty much it. It's very, very simple.
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Old 02-21-2012, 01:26 PM
 
Location: US
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Originally Posted by KnownUnknown View Post
Is there anyway I can just learn how to like, wipe a hard drive? Like lets say I had a really nasty virus and all I could do was wipe the hard drive. That's what I'm wanna do.
Well just a common wipe usually leaves the partition alone or doesn't do enough overwriting.
Sooooooo....
yeh...study.

A virus can also be in the BIOS and not just the system. Depending on what you "wipe" with the partition may or may not be left alone.

So you may have to fix your BIOS too. And depending on your motherboard will depend on the hot key that gets you to your BIOS screen. Also depending on the virus you may just have to replace the BIOS chip all together.

More on that partition crap too:
http://ask-leo.com/can_a_recovery_pa..._infected.html

(the models that come with the boot util on the system instead of a disc)

Last edited by Opsimathia; 02-21-2012 at 02:12 PM..
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