A computer is a general purpose machine capable of making complex calculations at extremely high speeds. Nowadays it seems that almost every device has a computer in it.
A computer is a combination of hardware and software. It has several components and they include the monitor, the CPU chassis, the mouse and the keyboard.
Components of a computer
The monitor is a device used by the computer to display texts and images. A few years ago almost every computer monitor used a Cathode Ray Tube. But these days, flat panel systems are getting more and more popular.
Keyboard is an input device used to input data into the computer. There are many different keyboard designs.
The mouse is another input device used to ‘point and click’. In the days of the DOS operating system, it was possible to operate a computer without mouse. But the advent of Graphical User Interface has made mouse a very important input device.
The CPU Chassis
The CPU chassis or the CPU case houses the hard disk and other hardware components like disk drives, motherboard etc.
A computer’s hardware components are the parts you can see and touch. The smallest hardware component in a computer is a chip. A computer chip is composed of layers of wires and semi-conductors. The semi-conductors in a chip are configured to represent either a 0 or a 1 when electricity passes through them. The hardware components of a computer include Motherboard, Basic Input Output System (BIOS), Central Processing Unit (CPU), Memory (RAM), Disk Drives, Sound Processor, Video Processor, Floppy Disks, Hard Drives, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs and Adapter Cards.
Software is a set of instructions telling the computer how to process, store and retrieve data. Software is basically of two kinds: Operating Systems and Applications.
An Operating System is a kind of software used to run the computer. It provides us with an interface with which we can issue commands to the computer system. There are several different kinds of operating systems. Examples are: Windows, Linux, Unix and DOS. The Windows operating system built by Microsoft is the most popular Operating System used today. The MacIntosh computers use the MacOS and OS X operating systems built by Apple Computers.
An application is a set of software that is first installed on the computer and then executed by the computer’s processor. Applications allow users to interact with the computer so that they can create or process data or perform a specific task. Examples of applications are text editors, word processors, spread sheets, web browsers and email clients.
A text editor is an application that allows the user to create text files. A word processor is an advanced text editor. Spreadsheets allow users to create tables and columns of numbers and figures. With a spreadsheet you can perform calculations on numbers. An e-mail client is an application that can connect to an e-mail server to receive or send mail. Most e-mail clients available today are very sophisticated applications containing features like spelling checkers. A web browser is an application that allows you to access information available on the internet. Examples are: Mozilla Fire fox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera.