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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
To understand anything it helps to break it down into it's basic components. Then you need to know how each component 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 control the operation of the PC. Every device inside or connected to a PC finds it's way to this board.

Memory
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. The PC operating system used by the PC 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. It is completely blank 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 stores programs which run the PC as well as data, which is a digital form of everything you use like documents, music, pictures, etc.

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 works of art, others want to create music, or play games, surf the web, or play the stock market. Whatever you want to do with your computer, software is the key to doing it.

What happens when your PC is powered on?
With a simple push of a button, your computer comes to come to life. Here are the steps it goes through before you can do anything with it.

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