CIS 1110A - Computer Operating Systems and Maintenance

Module 12

This lesson discusses chapters 12 and 13. Objectives important to this lesson:

  1. Windows installations
  2. Configuring Windows
  3. Installing Windows in an enterprise
  4. Regular maintenance in Windows
  5. Making backups
  6. Managing hard drives and file systems
  7. Sharing screens and files remotely
  8. Current assignments


Chapter 12 begins with a discussion about determining whether your computer can run a specific version of Windows. The author spends some time talking about installing Windows 7 and Windows 8, although neither of them is a real choice due to Microsoft having ended support on both of those versions. This situation will always exist, as long as Windows is a product: there will be versions that are no longer supported or available, and the current version is the only available choice.

Even so, there will be instances in which you will be called on to determine if a currently used device can continue to be used by installing an updated operating system. The author describes the decisions to be made beginning on page 628.

  • The OEM version of Windows is available with new machines from the Original Equipment Manufacturer. This version is sold with a device, so it is not useful for any other device. (At least, not legally useful.) It is useful, if you have installation media, to reinstall on the same machine. This version can be patched and updated, and the cost is typically included with the cost of a new computer. The price may be listed an an option, and it should be less than a retail copy of the OS.
  • A retail/over-the-counter copy of Windows can be purchased from many sources, not just from Microsoft directly. It may be a full install, or it may be an upgrade that will replace a previous version.
  • There were free copies of Windows 10 available for current Windows users for some time, but that upgrade path has dried up.

Once you determine which option fits your situation, you can begin to look at the hardware in question:

  • Are there drivers available for the components in your computer? If not, you either can't use the OS you are considering, or you need to replace the components with some that have Windows 10 drivers available.
  • Page 629 lists the minimum RAM you must have to run several versions of Windows. The number for the 64-bit version is 2 GB. Not really, though. That would not be enough RAM to do anything more than run Windows, badly. You do want to run applications, don't you? More is better, as our friend Linus explains.

  • How about available hard drive space? The text tells us we will need 20 GB of space free. That is just for the installation. Your hard drive had better be a LOT larger than 20 GB. Here is an old truism: Windows is only happy if about half of your hard drive is empty. As a hard drive gets full, the computer will run slower and slower, and the user experience will be less and less pleasing.
  • Do you have actual install media, or do you need to download it, then configure a setup disc or boot USB device? You need to do this before you remove the working operating system that is on your only computer. Regardless of your answer about the media, where is your license key? You will need to enter that during the installation.

Dr. Andrews discusses several paths to doing an installation. The video below quickly walks you through a fresh installation of Windows 10. Note that the demonstrator is doing a clean install, meaning that he is wiping away whatever was on the hard drive before. This is always more likely to work than an upgrade, but an upgrade is the only option that allows you to keep your data files from an old installation. (Unless you actually made a backup...) On the other hand, you cannot do an upgrade if you are changing from a 32-bit OS to a 64-bit OS. That kind of change requires a clean/full install.

Another element of doing an installation of Windows that is relatively new is that you should register your copy of Windows with Microsoft, using a Microsoft account. This links your copy of windows to your ID and password that you establish (or have already established) with Microsoft. Why would you want to do that? One reason is that it will allow you to move your copy of Windows to a new machine, if your device craps out/goes south/dies/succumbs to entropy. Another reason is that you need to have your license on file in case you replace your motherboard, which would cause your machine to no longer be recognized as licensed. This saves having to buy another license. The short video below demonstrates setting up an account with Microsoft, using your preferred email address.

After several discussions about installations, Dr. Andrews discusses making a dual-boot system. This means you will have two operating systems on the hard drive, each in its own partition, which would make more sense if you did not know anything about using virtual machines. It is possible to do this, but unlikely to be necessary. This raises a question: what is a partition? A partition is a portion of a hard drive that is treated as a separate device. As Windows has evolved, so have hard drives. Sometimes you will have a hard drive with more space on it than the file system of your version of Windows can handle. In that situation, you need to create two or more partitions on the hard drive so that it is seen by the OS as being two different drives with different labels, probably C: and D:. Linus gives us more details and some different reasons for partitioning.

After installing any version of Windows, you need to deal with the fact that what you just installed is not and cannot be current. You need to install updates and patches that became available after the install file you just used was created. This will include drivers and security patches, both of which you may need.

Most of the rest of the chapter is rather dull, but you should browse through it to answer the questions at the end of it. (Yes, you get to do both sets this week.)

Chapter 13 is titled Maintaining Windows. It begins with preventative maintenance, trying to keep things from going wrong. Dr. Andrews presents a list of problem areas on page 692 that have often been ignored or misconfigured by users:

  • Windows updates - prior to Windows 10, updates either had to be done manually or by setting an update schedule on the computer. Windows 10 conveniently does this on its own and never bothers you with information about it until it has already done it and your computer needs to be rebooted. That behavior actually has a benefit, but it requires you to trust Microsoft.
  • Antivirus and anti-malware protection - Remember that a private user can often use a free version of a product in either category, but a corporate user must use a licensed copy or they are breaking a law. Also, licensed software may be the only version that updates itself and runs continuous or scheduled checks. It is much better to have those features.
  • Network security - Be aware that the choices in Windows 10 and 8 are public or private, The settings in Windows 7 were public, work, or home. It is a matter of how much you trust the other devices and users on your LAN. Security discussions are deferred to chapter 16.
  • Backups - Regular backups are important. Most home users just trust to luck.
  • Uninstall software you don't need - This is harder than it sounds on some devices. Smartphones, for example, often come with software you can't delete. However, if you have updated your computer to use a program that replaces an old one, uninstall the old one to keep from loading components of it at boot.
  • Clean up the hard drive - This includes SSDs. Remove data, files, and programs that are no longer needed, such as cached data from browsers.

We often have chapters or entire classes about disaster recovery. The text presents two pages on it as an introduction to the subject. In most cases, Incident Response (IR) is what we do when something happens. Business Continuity (BC) is what we do to keep the business operating while can't operate the way we normally do. Disaster Recovery (DR) is what we do to return to normal operations. Dr. Andrews uses the term disaster recovery as an category for all of these activities.

In some models, there are three levels of priority for data backups and storage: low, moderate, and high. Each higher level represents data that is more important to the organization, whose loss would be more damaging, and whose replacement is needed sooner than data on lower levels.

Low. We might need it eventually.
Tape backup, and put it where we can find it when we have time, at a cold site.
Moderate. We need it, but we can bring it back in a little while.
Optical disc, copied over a WAN, stored in a warm site if the boss cares, a cold one if not.
High. We need this right away.
Live copy (mirror) system, advanced RAID, kept at a hot site.

In case you are not aware, a cold site may just be office space with a potential for computers and data. A warm site has computers that need to be brought up and loaded from recent backups. A hot site has computers that are running, with our data already available on them. This is more possible when your enterprise has more, well equipped, geographically separate locations. Using cloud backups, a warm site may be a good compromise.

A lot of users are unaware of the features discussed on pages 696 through 702. Windows 8 and 10 do have the ability to make backups of files using File History, but the feature must be turned on, and it only works on specific folders. It also requires a backup medium that it can write to. Dr. Andrews identifies the specific folders as Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop. She does not mention that these folders exist under each user profile, which means you would have to make separate backups for each user of a shared device, assuming they used those folders. Windows 7 and 10 have a Backup and Restore feature that allows backup and restore of any folder, which is a more flexible option. The text illustrates the procedures of both features.

We have already talked about partitions, but not about the history of file systems. The author suggests you only need to know about two. Here is a little more.

On computers that run Windows, a hard drive keeps track of the location of data with a directory listing and a FAT table, just like floppy disks used to but more complicated. FAT, by the way stands for File Allocation Table. "FAT table" is redundant, but that's what they were called.

  • Floppy disks used 12 bit FAT tables (FAT12)
  • DOS and every version of Windows since 3.1 can use 16 bit FAT tables (FAT16)
  • Windows 95, version 2, and later can use 32 bit FAT tables (FAT32), which are larger and can use larger addresses. Windows 2000 and XP can use FAT32, but only if the drive is no larger than 32 GB. (The poor thing.)
  • Windows NT can use any of these, or NT File System (NTFS) tables which are larger still, using even more addresses. Windows 2000, XP, and later versions also prefer NTFS.

  • FAT 16 is usable for hard drives up to 2 or 4 GB (see below) in size, but there is a penalty for large drives. The larger the drive, the larger the cluster size for any FAT table. A cluster is the logical smallest area that can be written to by an OS. Larger clusters means more waste for small files.
  • FAT 32 is better organized, and is practical for drives up to 8 GB, where its cluster size is about 4 KB. From 8 GB to 16 GB, the cluster size goes up to about 8 KB per cluster.
  • NTFS allows the use of much larger hard drives, up to 256 TB (terabytes) per volume on older systems, and up to 8 PB (petabytes) on newer ones.
  • ReFS - Resilient File System is a new file system for servers. It is good for up to 35 PB per volume.
  • NFS - Network File System allows files to be shared by devices using different file systems, such as Linux and NTFS
  • CDFS - Compact Disc File System is used on older optical discs, being replaced by UDF, Universal Disk Format

FS Type Logical Drive Size Limit
FAT12 15 MB
FAT16 2 GB (limit for DOS and Windows 9x)

4 GB (limit for NT, 2000, or XP)
FAT32 32 GB
(this has been replaced
by exFAT for external
storage devices)

NTFS 256 TB on older systems, 8 PB on newer ones
35 PB

The text discusses using Disk Management, a Windows utility, to manage hard drives. Note that partitions can be created, deleted, and resized. This tool can also be used to implement Dynamic Disks, a Windows method of using RAID. It allows usage of RAID 0 (striping) and RAID 1 (mirroring) on pairs of drives. This is software RAID. If it is set up with BIOS/UEFI to let the motherboard control it, that is hardware RAID. Windows 8 and 10 also include Storage Spaces, another way to implement RAID. This seems to make it more complicated instead of less, making it less likely that customers will choose to use those solutions.

The author takes us back to the command line interface on page 720, telling us that we should run our command prompt as an administrator when we need to make major changes on drives. She gives us one method on that page. Another way in Windows 10 is to use the start menu. See below.

Command Prompt as Admin

Either way you get to it, you are probably wondering what you would do on a command line. The author spends the next seven pages teaching you several commands that have been around since the DOS (Disk Operating System) days. They are similar to Linux commands, and should be, since Mr. Gates has been accused of lifting features of the UNIX operating system for use in DOS. Regardless, take a look at the information in this section to get an idea about a few things that are actually easier on a command line.

To add to the confusion you may feel, note that the text discusses two other varieties of command prompt. PowerShell is the first one. It is a Windows utility different from, but similar to, the standard command line. To access it in Windows 10 press Win-X, and select PowerShell or PowerShell (Admin). The text has an exercise starting on page 728 to demonstrate some uses of PowerShell.

The second command line substitute is Ubuntu Bash. Ubuntu is a version of Linux. Bash stands for Born Again Shell, which means it is a revised version of an earlier shell. A shell, by the way, is a command line interface. So what is that doing in Windows? The text explains that it is an actual Linux shell built into Windows 10, to provide a Linux interface to the Windows 10 file system. At the time the textbook was written, this feature was still in Beta version, meaning you should expect errors when using it. The actual feature is called Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), and it is now on version 2. Unless you already know Linux, it's hard to understand why anyone would want to use this feature. Let's leave that as a question for later, after you have taken a Linux class or two.

The next topic is Remote Desktop Connection (RDC), which allows connection to a Windows server across your LAN or the Internet. This is a little confusing, but RDC is a server application even though it can run on some desktops. This feature is not available on all versions of Windows. My personal computer is running Windows 10 Home, which does not contain RDC. The service runs on port 3389, which you must configure your router firewall to forward to make this work outside your network.

A variation on this service is Remote Assistance, which is discussed on pages 741 through 744. This version allows connection to the workstation of a user who wants help. A difference is that the user hosting the connection shares the desktop. Their desktop is still visible to them, unlike RDC, and that user can still control what happens on the desktop. This is similar to other products like GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, Timbuktu, and Chrome Desktop.

In the video below, apparently from a kindly, hooded, German monk, we are shown that one can use RDC to connect two Windows 10 devices across the Internet.


  1. Read the chapters for next week.
  2. Complete the assignments and class discussion made in this module, which are due by 6pm next week.