PC Technology

SF State Information Technology Program -- Instructor: Lenny Bailes


Day 3 Agenda

    1.     Finish Lab 4: Exploring the PC BIOS [45 min]

        See also: PC Mech Bios Reference  http://www.pcmech.com/bios.htm
                       Lycos BIOS troubleshooter    http://howto.lycos.com/lycos/step/1,,139+24491+6247,00.html

    2.    Install and format new hard disk [45 min]
           See http://www.pcguide.com/proc/setup/hdd-c.html

    3. Review of PC vocabulary
        see http://www.karbosguide.com/hardware/module5a1a.htm ,
              http://www.karbosguide.com/hardware/module6a1.htm  (15 minutes)

    4.  Discuss/review hexadecimal notation for Lab 3 exercise [30 to 45 minutes]

    Explanation for why we learn binary and hex code

    Each byte in memory (or on a disk) is the equivalent of one alphanumeric character (ABCabc1234$^&, etc.).
    A byte has eight binary bits examples: 00000001 (decimal value 1) or 00001111 (decimal value 15).
    There are 256 possible ways (2 to the 8th power) that you can arrange a string of eight "ones" and "zeros"
    to form a byte of information. If you go to a website with a PC character map chart, for instance,
    you'll see that each binary/decimal value between 0 and 127 has a different command or alphanumeric character
    associated with it. (For instance, a capital letter "A" has a value of 65 (or 01000001). The values between 128 and 255
    are reserved for special language alphabet characters and drawing boxes, as you can see in the Extended
    Character chart at


    So knowing a little bit about the relation between decimal numbering and binary numbering can make it easier
    to understand how the computer turns strings of ones and zeros into executable commands and text that
    you see on the screen.

    5. Discussion of PC boot process (15 minutes)
        see main handout, page 14

    7. Video hardware (45 min)
         See http://www.karbosguide.com/hardware/module7a1.htm
                Change display settings in Windows 9.x/2000

    8. PC Troubleshooting (60 min)
        See http://www.pcguide.com/ts/gen/mental.htm
               Third-party diagnostic tools, see
               Device Manager IRQs

    9. Final Quiz    (75 minutes)