CompTIA A+

CompTIA A+ domain 6: Operating systems — What you need to know for the exam

Howard Poston
June 23, 2022 by
Howard Poston

The CompTIA A+ certification is an introductory certification for IT with a focus on IT technicians. It is also the second certification in CompTIA’s Core certification path after the CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification. After earning an A+ credential, you can pursue the Network+ and Security+ certifications.

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An understanding of operating systems is essential to the role of an IT technician. In IT, you are expected to work with a variety of different devices that are deployed within the corporate network. Understanding how to use these various systems and their peculiarities is essential to configuring them in accordance with corporate policy and identifying and correcting any issues.

Operating Systems

The CompTIA A+ certification is unusual in that it is composed of two different exams. A candidate must complete both the Core 1 and Core 2 exams to earn the certification.

The CompTIA A+ Core 1 exam tests candidates’ knowledge of the following domains:

1. Mobile Devices

2. Networking

3. Hardware

4. Virtualization and Cloud Computing

5. Hardware and Network Troubleshooting

Operating systems are covered by the CompTIA A+ Core 2 exam, which includes the following domains:

6. Operating Systems

7. Security

8. Software Troubleshooting

9. Operational Procedures

The update from 220-1002 to 220-1102 brought an increased focus on operating systems. They previously made up 27% of the exam questions; they now account for 31%. In addition, the number of subdomains within the operating systems domain expanded from nine to 11.

What's new in CompTIA A+ domain 6?

The transition from the previous version (220-1002) to the new version (220-1102) of the exam emphasized the importance of operating systems for an IT technician. With the growth in questions and subdomains, the exam better tests candidates’ knowledge and skills in these areas.

The update to the exam’s subdomains included a few significant changes, including:

  1. A new section focusing on the use of various settings in Windows.
  2. Changing from summarizing concepts to performing actions related to application and OS installation.
  3. The transition from “using” to “identifying” various tools and settings in different operating systems.
  4. Separating content on macOS and Linux into different subdomains.

Operating systems exam outline

The new version of the CompTIA A+ Core 2 exam incorporates 11 subdomains under the operating systems domain. The CompTIA A+ Certification Exam Core 2 Objectives offers a complete exam outline. The 11 core concepts that this domain covers include:

1.1. Identify basic features of Microsoft Windows editions.  This subdomain describes the various Windows 10 editions, their different features, and upgrade paths.

1.2. Given a scenario, use the appropriate Microsoft command-line tool. This subdomain explores the various tools available in the Windows command prompt, divided into navigation and command-line tools.

1.3. Given a scenario, use features and tools of the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system (OS). This subdomain explores the use of Task Manager, the Microsoft management console (MMC) snap-in, and additional tools in the Windows 10 OS.

1.4. Given a scenario, use the appropriate Microsoft Windows 10 control panel utility. This subdomain explores the 15 utilities within the Windows control panel.

1.5. Given a scenario, use the appropriate Windows settings. This subdomain tests knowledge of 10 different Windows settings ranging from time and language to user accounts.

1.6. Given a scenario, configure Microsoft Windows networking features on a client/desktop. This subdomain covers workgroup vs. domain setup, local OS firewall settings, establishing network connections and other Windows networking features and settings.

1.7 Given a scenario, apply application installation and configuration concepts. This subdomain tests knowledge of system and OS requirements, distribution methods, and other considerations for Windows applications.

1.8. Explain common OS types and their purposes. This subdomain discusses workstation vs. mobile OSs, filesystem types, vendor life-cycle limitations, and OS compatibility concerns.

1.9. Given a scenario, perform OS installations and upgrades in a diverse OS 

environment. This subdomain covers the various considerations for OS installation and upgrades, such as boot methods, partitioning, and drive formats.

1.10. Identify common features and tools of the macOS/desktop OS. This subdomain tests knowledge of macOS, including application management, system preferences, and other topics.

1.11. Identify common features and tools of the Linux client/desktop OS. This subdomain tests familiarity with Linux commands, best practices, and common tools.

Preparing for CompTIA A+ Domain 6

An understanding of operating systems is essential for a role as an IT technician. It will also provide valuable background for later CompTIA certifications, such as a Security credential.  Earning a CompTIA A+ credential demonstrates that you have the necessary knowledge and experience to enter the IT field.

To prepare for the A+ exam in general and this domain in particular, you should thoroughly review the topics covered by the exam. For more information on what you need to know, check out Infosec’s CompTIA A+ certification hub.


Howard Poston
Howard Poston

Howard Poston is a copywriter, author, and course developer with experience in cybersecurity and blockchain security, cryptography, and malware analysis. He has an MS in Cyber Operations, a decade of experience in cybersecurity, and over five years of experience as a freelance consultant providing training and content creation for cyber and blockchain security. He is also the creator of over a dozen cybersecurity courses, has authored two books, and has spoken at numerous cybersecurity conferences. He can be reached by email at or via his website at