CompTIA®A+ Core 2 Exam Notes : Troubleshoot PC operating system problems with appropriate tools

4. Software Troubleshooting

4.1 Troubleshoot PC operating system problems with appropriate tools

  • Windows RE (Short for Recovery) is new for Windows 7/8/10 and completely replaces the recovery console in Windows XP. You should be able to perform most tasks of recovery console from Windows RE.
  • Windows RE (Recovery Environment) is stored as winre. wim file on device hard drive or SSD in Windows 7, 8/8.1 and 10. Windows 7 normally keeps it on the same partition/volume with Windows, while Windows 8 and later usually keep it on the hidden System Reserved partition that also contains boot files and Boot Configuration Data (BCD).
  • Microsoft recommends that you regularly create Automated System Recovery (ASR) sets as part of an overall plan for system recovery so that you are prepared if the system fails. ASR should be a last resort for system recovery. Use ASR only after you have exhausted other options. For example, you should first try Safe Mode Boot and Last Known Good.
  • A hard disk should never be low level formatted at the customer premises. It is highly recommended that it is done at the manufacturer's or at any authorized center.
  • To get into the Windows 7 Safe Mode, as the computer is booting press and hold your "F8 Key" which should bring up the "Windows Advanced Options Menu". Use the arrow keys to move to "Safe Mode" and press Enter key.

Steps for starting Safe Mode from a blank screen:

  • Hold down the Windows logo key (normally between CTRL + ALT on your keyboard) at the same time as pressing Ctrl, Shift + B. If you're running Windows 10 on a tablet, you'll need to press the increase volume and decrease volume buttons together three times within a twosecond period.
  • You should see the screen dim or flutter and hear a beep, which means that Windows is trying to refresh.
  • Since Windows 7/8/10, Microsoft added a new security feature called User Account Control (UAC). It tries to prevent malicious apps from doing potentially harmful things on your PC. Before the administrator-level (elevated) action is allowed, UAC asks permission from the user to go ahead with it, or cancel the request.

Some of the troubleshooting tools

  • Log files: A log file (or simply log) is a file that records either the events which happen while an operating system or other software runs. The act of keeping a logfile is called logging. When a failure occurs in Windows Setup, review the entries in the Setuperr.log file, then the Setupact.log file, and then other log files as appropriate
  • Setuperr.log: It contains information about setup errors during the installation of Windows 7. Start with this log file when troubleshooting. A file size of 0 bytes indicates no errors during installation.
  • Setupact.log: It contains the events that occurred during the installation. There are several instances of the Setupact.log file, depending on what point in the installation process the failure occurs.
  • Unattend.xml: It is the answer file used by Windows 7 during unattended installations.
  • Setuplog.txt: It records events that occurred during the text portion installation of Windows XP. Windows 7 does not have a text portion during installation.

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