Mass storage and peripherals

In this course, you will learn about how storage works and how computers store data and boot to these mass storage devices. What is the difference between hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SSDs)? How do you plug in and set up these media on your computer?


  • Introduction to mass storage Video — 00:12:01
    • Mass storage (disk drives and solid-state drives) store the operating system and applications. Despite the different technologies, systems talk to these many devices in similar ways.

  • Magnetic disk drives Video — 00:09:40
    • Hard disk drives (HDDs), which store data on rotating magnetic disks, have been the go-to mass storage media for decades. A good tech understands how this venerable media works and understands magnetic media’s unique needs.

  • Solid-state drives (SSDs) Video — 00:07:49
    • Solid-state drives (SSDs) are quickly replacing HDDs for mass storage needs on almost all computers. SSDs are faster and more robust than HDDs and come with their own maintenance needs.

  • SCSI Video — 00:03:15
    • The Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) has been around in one form or another for decades. Despite its age, SCSI drives still appear in niche systems. It’s important to recognize SCSI systems and where they’re used today.

  • Boot order Video — 00:06:46
    • Today’s computers often use multiple mass storage devices. It’s critical that the system boots from the right device. Boot order is handled via the system setup.

  • Understanding partitioning Video — 00:04:04
    • We organize physical storage into logical subdivisions called partitions. Partitions serve several critical functions beyond just storing our data. Specialized partitions support virtual memory, boot, and recovery functions.

  • MBR partitioning Video — 00:11:50
    • Master boot record (MBR) partitioning is the oldest way to partition mass storage. All operating systems still support MBR, so it’s important for techs to recognize its limitations.

  • GPT partitioning Video — 00:08:23
    • Globally unique identifier (GUID) partition table (GPT) partitioning is more modern and used by all operating systems today. It’s important for a tech to understand the benefits of GPT as well as how to use it.

  • Understanding file systems Video — 00:11:21
    • A file system organizes data stored on mass storage devices. A tech should have a good understanding of multiple file systems, why they are used and how to troubleshoot them.

  • Popular file systems Video — 00:06:24
    • There are many file systems available for different systems, purposes, and type of storage. It’s important to know the difference between files systems such as NTFS, ext3, FAT, and HFS+.

  • Formatting in action Video — 00:10:57
    • File systems are created through the processes called formatting. There’s a number of different ways to format mass storage and a good tech knows how to do this for the most common file systems.

  • Dynamic disks Video — 00:08:26
    • Dynamic disks are unique to the Windows operating system. Make sure you understand why Microsoft uses dynamic disks and how to configure spanning, striping, etc.

  • New installation – first drive Video — 00:05:12
    • A brand-new system doesn’t have a bootable drive with an installed operating system. In this video, you will go through the process of setting up an initial drive and installing an operating system using bootable media.

  • RAID Video — 00:10:49
    • The Random Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks (RAID) is a philosophy of using multiple drives working as a single drive – an array – for speed or redundancy. A good tech should understand the many RAID levels and the benefits they provide.

  • Hardware RAID Video — 00:06:52
    • Hardware RAID uses a purpose-built RAID controller to configure and maintain RAID arrays. It’s important to understand the benefits of hardware RAID and how to configure and maintain RAID arrays.

  • Software RAID in storage spaces Video — 00:09:27
    • Microsoft’s Storage Spaces feature provides a superb tool to configure many different RAID configurations on any Windows system. A good tech knows which types of RAID it supports and how to set them up.

  • Encrypting mass storage Video — 00:09:16
    • Securing mass storage is a critical aspect of system security. Make sure you know the many ways a system’s mass storage can be encrypted.

  • Maintaining storage disks Video — 00:05:48
    • Mass storage devices need ongoing maintenance to ensure optimal operation. Windows systems have automated tools to optimize performance and to check drives for bad areas.

  • Mass storage troubleshooting Video — 00:07:50
    • Mass storage devices sometimes fail, resulting in the potential loss of critical data. A good tech knows the tools and procedures to diagnose and repair many mass storage problems.

  • USB standards Video — 00:10:00
    • The Universal Serial Bus (USB) interface is the main peripheral interface these days. Make sure you’re aware of different USB standards as well as the different types of USB connectors.

  • Understanding USB Video — 00:10:38
    • Why are there USB Type-A and USB Type-B connectors? Why do modern systems still provide older USB connectors when the latest USB perfectly supports older devices? It takes a good understanding of the USB standards to see how and why.

  • Configuring USB Video — 00:07:10
    • Most USB devices work well fresh out-of-the-box. For those that don’t, it’s important to have a proper USB configuration process to make sure a USB device and all of its features work properly.

  • Thunder and lightning Video — 00:05:15
    • Thunderbolt and lightning connectors are high-speed alternatives to USB. A good tech recognizes when these technologies are used, their unique connectors, and the benefits/weaknesses they have compared to USB.

  • Optical media Video — 00:09:42
    • Shiny optical discs are an excellent media for transporting data and are still a very common tool for delivering drivers and configuration utilities for hardware. There’s several different optical standards and it’s critical to know that a certain optical

  • Readers and scanners Video — 00:06:53
    • A broad cross-section of peripherals scan and read data. From flatbed scanners to barcode readers and card readers, these devices make our users’ lives easier and more convenient.

  • Common peripherals Video — 00:05:00
    • Peripherals allow us to expand our system to support new features such as printing, sound, and external storage. They also enable a wide array of input devices like mice and keyboards. Knowing how to identify each quickly is key to your success in the fie

  • Webcams and videoconferencing Video — 00:03:17
    • Video conferencing software has changed the way we work, especially with more and more companies moving to remote and hybrid workplaces. This episode gives a quick demonstration of Microsoft Teams and its screensharing function.

  • Installing and troubleshooting expansion cards Video — 00:05:19
    • Even though we live in a world of built-to-exact-specification systems, you will eventually need to install and possibly troubleshoot expansion cards. Let’s look at the modern expansion card formats and then get hands-on and troubleshoot some common issue


Course description

Learn how to set up, partition, format, and wipe a drive as well as how to set up a RAID array to keep your data safe if (and when) one of your drives fails. Then learn all about the input-output devices, called peripherals, and how they interface with your computer.

Meet the author

Mike Meyers, affectionately called the “Alpha Geek,” is the industry’s leading authority on CompTIA certifications. He is the president and co-founder of Total Seminars, LLC, a provider of PC and network repair seminars, books, videos and courseware for thousands of organizations throughout the world. Mike has been involved in the computer and network repair industry since 1987 as a technician, instructor, author, consultant and speaker. He has sold over a million IT and certification books, including the best-selling CompTIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide and CompTIA Network+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide. He has personally taught thousands of students, including U.S. senators, U.S. Supreme Court Justices, members of the United Nation, every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, many branches of the Department of Justice, hundreds of corporate clients and academic students at every level.

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Caleb Yankus


This has been utilized to bridge the skills gap across our cyber team and to aid them as they prepare for their various certifications. It also has provided a nice learning foundation for our various cyber team members to utilize as we continue to find ways for cross-utilization with operations while minimizing the downtime needed to ensure everyone’s knowledge is the same.

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