Portable computers use the Function key (Fn) to activate alternative features of the function keys (F1 to F12) for laptop features. These include screen sharing, power settings, audio options, and more. The Settings app in Windows enables you to adjust a host of laptop settings (which mirror desktop settings as well).
- Boy, does the A+ exam love to talk about laptops. So, in this episode, we're going to be going through a couple of my laptops and just talking about some of the features that are unique to laptops and stuff that you'll see on the exam. But before I do that, I really need to put a warning out here. You're going to see lots of complicated questions on the A+ that are going to be saying things like, "Janet is doing XYZ on her laptop, and blah, blah, blah," and the fact that she's on a laptop has nothing to do with the problem at hand. Now, there will be questions that where it is being on a laptop might be important, but I want you to keep that in mind when you're going through the exam. Laptops run the same operating systems as their desktop equivalents. If you've got a little laptop like my Microsoft Surface here, you're running Windows, just like you would on a desktop. So, first and foremost, 99% of the issues that take place on a desktop also take place on a laptop, and keep that in mind when you're going through the exam. Let's go ahead and take a quick tour. I want to start... Let me get this Surface out of the way. And I want to start with this beastie right here. The most important part about any laptop are the function keys. We can do so many important things with these function keys. So, I'm just going to go across the top here, like, for example, if I want to extend the display, I hold down the function key, and I get my little extend the display feature right there. Right next to it is turning off the touchpad. I am notorious for banging my fingers on touchpads. I'm a mouse guy, but if I want to turn it off, I can just turn off my touchpad right here. I can go into economy mode so that I don't burn as much juice. I can even turn off my camera if I need to simply by hitting function + F6 on this particular system. Probably the most important one is way over here. See the airplane? That's airplane mode. On this particular system, I've got Bluetooth, and I've got 802.11, and I can turn them both off in one shot simply by going in and taking care of that. Now, there's more to take a look at. Now, take a look way over here. I've got toggle keys that I can use to adjust the volume, so that's very handy. And I also have toggle keys right here. This adjusts the brightness of the screen, but then if you look way over here, now it's kind of hard to see in this light, but these keys actually turn and up and down the keyboard backlight. I like to work in the dark a lot, so it's also very, very handy for me. The only other one I want to talk about, and because this is a gaming system you tend to see this stuff, this is what we call a gaming mode, and we'll see if you can hear this. (fan motor running) Basically, it's cooling the system. All the fans are running full speed. It's getting ready for me to be playing some heavy gaming. Now, there's even more settings on here, but to get to these, I'm actually going to have to just fire the system up, and I'm going to show them to you individually. So, let's poke around on my system and see some pretty important settings. So the first place I want to go to is over here into my settings, and let's head over to Devices. Now here in Devices, we've got a bunch of settings to deal with. The big ones I want to deal with, first of all, are Bluetooth, so if I need to turn the Bluetooth, adjust the Bluetooth off, this is where I'm going to have to go on this particular system to do it. And then, if there's any individual device I need to deal with, I can take care of it right here. Now, the touchpad's actually pretty interesting, too. So, this is a very generic touchpad, so it... For example, like I can't pinch or anything like that. And this is basically nothing more than a mouse, and these are my touchpad settings. The one thing I do deal with is the sensitivity because I just bang these so much, I put them to medium to low sensitivity. Now, when we're talking about keys on keyboards, one of the things you really need to watch out for is, especially networking questions on laptops where suddenly Dave can't get out to the network, in particular, what they're talking about is that you've got airplane mode on. However, the A+ is a little bit dated, and there was a time not that long ago where you could turn off your wireless with a physical button on your laptop. I'm sure there's a laptop out there that still does it. In my opinion, though, that's pretty much disappeared, and it's usually some type of function key, and it turns off all your stuff via airplane mode. But there will be questions that'll say things like, "Dave's having trouble," and the answer is he needs to turn his WiFi on with a button or a Bluetooth with a button, so watch out for that type of stuff. Okay, so the only step left is I want to go in and talk about some of the configuration settings that are actually done via the operating system. Let's take a look at those. In particular I want you to take a look at Location. This does have a GPS built into it. So, if I want to turn on my location services, I can just turn it on here, or I can turn it off. Me? I love location services. On all of my smart devices, I use it because, well, I've lost a few of them over the years, and they're a little expensive these days, and it's a great way to track your stuff back. The next thing I want to talk about is this little beastie right here. Let me show you what I mean. So, this is a cable lock for laptops. If you look real close, you can see this thing comes in and locks into a laptop, and then it just uses a combination lock. I haven't set a combination, yet. So, in order to use this... Well, first of all, you actually have to have a laptop that has a special lock on it, so I'm going to put this off to the side. This is an MSI SteelSeries gaming laptop, and it... There it is right there. You take a look right there. That is a locking port for this lock. So, to make it work, I close the lock, I put it in there, and then I take this end and buckle this to something really tight on my desk. The last thing I want to show you is something you don't see very much, and I had to bring an older laptop to show this to you. Look right here. What this is is a docking station port. A lot of people who are road warrior types, they use their laptop, and then they come back in their office, and they want all their fun stuff. And that's where docking stations come into play. A docking station is a proprietary connector that you drop this laptop into, and it's already pre-connected to a big monitor or nice keyboard, whatever you need, and it's all plugged in, you snap your laptop in. It's still your desktop but with just better peripherals, and they're really popular. Dell, in particular, is famous for using docking stations. Now, there is an alternative to a docking station called a port replicator. A port replicator is a simpler device. It's basically a big USB hub, so you can plug a USB keyboard, a USB mouse, a USB to Ethernet, you get the idea, as long as it's USB. And then, you just take this one device, and you plug it into a USB port on your laptop, and then you get all these extra USB devices without having to plug them in 18 ways and burn all of the ports on your laptop. So make sure you're comfortable with the differences. This was a big tour, and the only thing I can tell you is when it comes to the exam, make sure you're not tricked by questions where the word laptop means nothing and also make sure you're not tricked by questions where something on the laptop, like airplane mode or turning the brightness down on a monitor using a function key might be the key to getting a question right. (jazz music)
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