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Computer Basics for Beginners

A computer is a machine which acts on the pre-recorded set of instructions. Those pre-recorded set of instructions are called programs. Computers take numerous physical forms. The term “Computer” used throughout the tutorials actually refers to personal computer.

Objects such as disk drives, monitor, keyboard, printers are called hardware. Computer instructions, data or anything which can be stores electronically are software.

Fundamental components of a Computer

1. Input Device: This is a device used for sending instructions to the computer. Keyboard and mouse are the typical example of input device.

2. Output Devices: This device display what computer has accomplished. Monitor and printer are typical example of output device.

3. Memory: Memory stores data and programs temporarily while computer is performing computational task. RAM and ROM are the typical example of memory. It is also called main memory.

4. Storage device: This is a permanent storage device. Hard disk is a typical example of storage device.

5. CPU: This is the brain of computer which actually executes the pre-recorded instruction. It is called central processing unit.

6. Operating System: This is a most important program that runs on a computer. Every computer must have an operating system to run other programs. Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Linux, UNIX are the example of operating system.

7. Application Software: This is a program that does real work for computer users. Ms Word, Excel is the typical example of application software.

Types of Computers

1. Personal computer: This is a small and relatively inexpensive computer designed for an individual user.

2. Workstation: A workstation is like a personal computer, but it has a more powerful CPU and a higher-quality monitor. It is typically used for CAD/CAM, desktop publishing, software development etc.

3. Mini-computer: This is a mid-sized computer which lies between workstations and mainframes. In general, it is a multi-user computer capable of supporting from 10 to about 200 users simultaneously.

4. Mainframe: This is a very large, powerful and expensive multi-user computer capable of supporting many hundreds or thousands of users simultaneously.

5. Supercomputer: This is an extremely fast and expensive computer. They are employed for specialized applications like weather forecasting, nuclear energy research, and petroleum exploration etc.