Operating systems

In this course, you will learn about how operating systems (OS) work, their similarities and differences, how to keep operating systems up to date, and how to troubleshoot problems within an OS.


  • Windows 10 editions and features Video — 00:06:31
    • There are important differences between Windows 10 Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Enterprise. This video reviews the versions and feature differences.

  • Windows 11 editions and features Video — 00:04:45
    • There are important differences between Windows 11 Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Enterprise. This video reviews the versions and feature differences.

  • Boot from everything Video — 00:11:41
    • A PC can only boot from a bootable drive. A mass storage device with a working OS installed on it is one kind of bootable drive. But what if there’s no OS installed, or the installation is broken? No problem! Just pop in a bootable device such as the OS i

  • Installing and upgrading Windows 10 Video — 00:05:36
    • There’s more than one way to install Windows and a good tech understands all of them. Additionally, it’s important to perform a few pre-installation tasks to make sure your system will work with your desired version of Windows.

  • Post-installation tasks Video — 00:11:26
    • The job isn’t done the second the Windows installer finishes. There are several steps that must take place after the Windows operating system is installed to get the system up to speed and ready to work.

  • Installing and upgrading Linux Video — 00:03:24
    • Linux is a fantastic open-source and free operating system that anyone can download and use. Let’s discover how to install and update this wonderful OS.

  • Upgrading macOS Video — 00:02:15
    • Upgrading macOS is simple. Follow along with Mike Smyer in this episode to find out how to upgrade to the newest version of macOS.

  • The task manager Video — 00:05:58
    • The Task Manager has lots of information about services, processes, applications, and users. It gives information to help you monitor, manage, and control what’s running in order to maximize the performance of your machine.

  • The control panel Video — 00:10:11
    • The Control Panel is a large collection of applets that are used for updating system settings, dealing with hardware, and troubleshooting. This video explores the basics of the Control Panel in Windows.

  • Windows settings Video — 00:05:43
    • Windows Settings has a number of options to change, update, and customize the OS. You can find settings for System, Devices, Network and Internet, Accounts, Gaming, and more.

  • MMC and additional tools Video — 00:07:43
    • Windows is all about customization, and that flexibility extends to the administration of the machine as well. With the Microsoft Management Console (MMC), we are able to create specific templates that include only the needed administrative tools for the

  • What is the registry? Video — 00:10:28
    • The Registry is the primary repository for everything about your Windows system. The Registry is rarely accessed directly, but, when necessary, we use the Registry Editor utility to do so.

  • macOS core tools Video — 00:11:49
    • macOS has a number of tools you can use to configure, secure, and streamline your operating system. This video covers the most important tools you’ll need to know for any macOS device.

  • Introduction to users and groups Video — 00:06:16
    • The Microsoft NT File System (NTFS) enables fine control of multiple users accessing resources on a single computer. To do this, every person accessing a single computer must have their own user account. Windows also has groups which combine users with co

  • Managing users and groups Video — 00:12:04
    • Every version of Windows has some utility to create, maintain, and remove users and groups from a system. Local Users and Groups gives the most granular settings, but for quick setup you can always add and edit accounts in the User Accounts Control Panel

  • NTFS permissions Video — 00:08:06
    • NTFS permissions are powerful and a bit complicated to those unfamiliar with them. You can apply permissions for files or folders to user accounts (although it is considered better to apply them to groups and add user accounts to those groups).

  • Linux and macOS permissions Video — 00:04:50
    • While macOS and Linux lack NTFS’s fine control of resources, they do still have permissions, and a good tech should understand how they work. Additionally, there are specific tools used to control permissions.

  • File explorer Video — 00:13:26
    • Techs use File Explorer to access and manipulate files and folders on their local machines and on networks. By default, File Explorer works well, but a good tech should know about the many features of this tool.

  • Sharing resources Video — 00:10:25
    • The process of sharing resources using NTFS makes more sense with examples. Certain features (especially Allow/Deny and Inheritance) make more sense when you see the process in action.

  • Security policies Video — 00:07:43
    • NTFS permissions control files and folders, but there are plenty of other resources that need control. Security Policies control factors like logon attempts, printer access, and password length/complexity.

  • Maintaining Windows Video — 00:03:17
    • Software updates are crucial to maintaining a healthy system. An unpatched system can spell disaster to a network. Although Windows has made their update process relatively hands-free, there are still some things to take note of.

  • Maintaining macOS Video — 00:09:09
    • In this video, Steve enlists the help of Michael “Mac Maniac” Smyer, who walks us through how easy it is to maintain the macOS and its applications. Michael also discusses how to customize login items and the different types of application files.

  • Maintaining Linux Video — 00:03:06
    • While Windows is a one-size-fits-all product, Linux is quite different. The whole concept behind Linux is an almost total control over the environment. However, this control brings with it a massive amount of responsibility for patch and application manag

  • Working with applications Video — 00:09:02
    • It’s important to consider hardware requirements and impact to your device, network, and operation before installing any applications. This video covers these requirements, as well as some tips for using and troubleshooting applications.

  • Backing up your data in Windows Video — 00:08:39
    • Windows has provided many different tools over the years to enable techs (and users) to back up important files. A good tech knows these Windows tools to help their users recover data when things go wrong.

  • Backing up your data in Linux and macOS Video — 00:03:38
    • Backing up data in Linux and macOS follows the same best practices as Windows, with a few different tools.

  • Windows recovery environment Video — 00:05:10
    • The Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) provides technicians a powerful toolset for repairing and recovering Windows systems. While powerful, WinRE is also easy to use once a tech understands the function of all the tools it includes.

  • Advanced Windows startup options Video — 00:06:54
    • Advanced Startup Options was the go-to tool before WinRE, providing many features (such as Safe mode) that helped techs fix Windows systems. Advanced Startup Options live on in WinRE, so it’s important for techs to know how to access and use this tool.

  • Troubleshooting boot problems Video — 00:09:33
    • There are a thousand reasons for a Windows system to not boot properly. The trick is to separate the different reasons into distinct areas and then understand the right tools to diagnose the problems.

  • Troubleshooting at the GUI Video — 00:08:18
    • When a system boots there is a point where Windows begins to load. Any boot failure between the initial Windows boot and the Windows Desktop requires careful understanding and use of multiple tools to diagnose and repair.

  • Troubleshooting applications Video — 00:06:36
    • Applications cause trouble at two main times. The first is right after Windows finishes loading and then loads startup applications. After that, applications can cause trouble any time a user starts one to get their work done. Either way, applications req

  • Kernel panic Video — 00:05:00
    • A kernel panic is an unrecoverable error, generated by every operating system, to inform the user that a serious problem has taken place to the system. Kernel panics look scary, but to an informed tech they’re often very easy to fix if the tech knows wher


Course description

You’ll also learn security protocols for managing users within an OS and the relationship between hardware components of a computer and software components of an operating system.

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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