Configuring Common Devices | CompTIA A+ 220-1001 | 3.9

In this video you will learn about basic installation & configuration of common devices.


A desktop computer is a personal computer designed for regular use at a single location on or near a desk or table due to its size and power requirements. Within the client/server topology as it directly relates to desktop computers, there are two primary categories for desktop computers: thick client & thin client. Depending upon how much processing a computer does independent of the server will place it in its respective category.

Thick Client

In computer networking, a thick client is a computer that typically provides rich functionality independent of the central server. Thick clients still require a periodic connection to a network or central server, although it is often characterized by the ability to perform many functions without a connection. Thick clients are often found in the business environment, where servers provide some data and application support, but the thick client (office computer) is largely independent. Also, pretty much any computer you buy from a retail store could be qualified as a thick client as well. Thick clients have an operating system and software applications and can be used offline.

A few features and benefits of thick client computers:

  • Desktop Applications
    • Benefits:  Perform a broad range of office procedures (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, database, email, and calendaring).
  • Meets Recommended Requirements for Selected OS
    • Benefits:  Good performance with basic office tasks.
  • Account Settings
    • Benefits:  Local access or domain account access

Thin Client

 In computer networking, a thin client is a simple (low-performance) computer that has been optimized for establishing a remote connection with a server-based computing environment. The server does most of the work, which can include launching software programs, performing calculations, and storing data. This contrasts with a fat client or a conventional personal computer. The main benefit of a thin client setup is, there are improved maintenance and security due to central administration of the hardware and software in the datacenter.

Thin client features:

  • Basic Applications
    • Benefits:  Perform basic office procedures (web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets).
  • Meets Minimum Requirements for Using Selected OS
    • Benefits:  Runs OS at basic performance levels.
  • Network Connectivity
    • Benefits:  Fast network connection because server handles most computational tasks.
  • Account Settings
    • Benefits:  Secure authentication.

Laptop/Common Mobile Devices

Optimizing features on a laptop makes it possible for a user to have an enhanced and often customized experience.  While the default settings on the following features will work, customization may provide a better computing experience.

Touchpad Configuration

Customizing the settings on a touchpad in Windows 10:

  • Open Windows Settings & click on Devices to open Bluetooth & Other Devices window
  • Select Touchpad from left column

On the right are a sensitivity adjustment and a video demonstration for using the touchpad to select items, scroll, zoom, and other options.

Touchpad Settings in Windows 10

Customizing touchpad settings on a Mac:

  • Click Apple icon in upper-left corner of screen
  • Select System Preferences
  • Select Trackpad

The Apple trackpad presents different settings and customization options for pointing and clicking, scroll and zoom options, and other gestures.

Apple Trackpad Settings

Touchscreen Configuration

Touchscreen calibrations are often run during device setup.  This allows for the user to learn how to interact with the device in addition to learning how sensitive the touchscreen is to his/her touch.

To calibrate or calibrate a touchscreen, follow these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel & select Tablet PC Settings (if not present, check to see if drivers are present).
  2. Click Calibrate & then choose an option for calibrating the screen for pen or touch input.
  3. Follow instructions presented to begin calibration.
  4. If satisfied with settings, click Yes to save the settings.

Application Installations/Configurations

When installing & configuring applications, a few basic steps apply to all applications:

  1. Determine if the PC has enough resources to run the app.  If so, download the installation file from a reliable source.
  2. Find the .exe file for the download application (usually in the Downloads folder). If installing from a USB drive or an optical drive, locate the .exe file on the drive and follow the preceding steps.
  3. Double-click the .exe file to run the Setup program & see a dialog box asking for storage & shortcut preferences.  You’ll then be presented an option to choose between an automatic install or a custom install.  Auto installs are typically fine in most cases unless there are certain settings that need to be altered.
  4. Follow the instructions to complete the install & then reboot the PC if necessary.