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PC Basics - Articles Index

The purpose of the following articles is to give you a general understanding of how your computer works.

Overview
Your computer is composed of hardware and software.
Hardware is the physical circuits and components that you can see and touch.
Software is code that runs on the hardware guiding it to do the specific tasks you've asked it to do.
To understand anything it helps to break it down into it's basic components and how each one works. Finally, you look at how all the components work together to achieve the desired end product or result.

Motherboard
It is the main circuit board inside the PC case. It holds the microprocessor, memory and other crucial circuits and components that enable the operation of the PC. Every device inside or connected to a PC finds it's way to this board.
The mother board takes the input you give it like mouse clicks, and produces output for you like displaying or printing a file. It can't do this without memory.

Memory
The PC operating system that makes the PC a working entity, ready to run useful programs is copied from storage to memory at power up.
The OS copy in memory then runs the PC.
Memory is volatile which means that when your PC is turned off the contents of memory are lost and must reloaded each time the PC is powered up.

Storage
Storage is non-volatile which means it retains information even when it is powered off.
It holds copies of the OS and main programs like Word, Excel and other application programs as well as the data they produce.

Input Devices
The keyboard and mouse are the main input devices you use to control your PC.

Output Devices
When you send inputs into the PC, it processes them and produces useful output for you. The primary output devices are the video display, printer and speakers.

Software
Some people want to use the power of their computer to create documents, works of art, Others may want to play games, surf the web, or buy and sell stocks.
Whatever you want to do with your computer, software is what directs teh PC to do it for you.

What happens when your PC is powered on?
With a simple push of a button, your computer comes to come to life and runs through a series of steps that make it ready to do what you need it to do.

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