PARTS OF A COMPUTER

(Class III, IV and V)

Read the content very carefully and analyze each word by actually
thinking of various programs/ parts you deal with and are familiar too.

You are pretty familiar with your TV, maybe too familiar! The TV is mostly an
output machine or device. This means that the stuff, be it information or junk,
flows from the TV out to you. It also has some input controls so that you can
give it some input. These are the volume control, the on and off switch and the
channel changer

So output is the flow of information to you and input is the flow from you
to the device.

Lets analyze a computer. Computers have:

• Parts to receive input
• Parts to give output
• Parts to do work
• Parts to remember things while the power is on (short term
memory- RAM- random access memory)
• Parts to remember things when the power is off (long term
memory- ROM- read only memory, )

1

So now.What is kind of surprising is how much effort is spent giving input and getting output. and how little is actually spent on doing work! By work I mean big arithmetic calculations or searching through long lists for a certain item. The Parts of a Computer Item Duty Monitor (screen) Output Printer Output Processor Work 2 . the parts of the computer.

Then. pen drive. Programs are instructions in a language that computers and programmers understand. 3 . when you want to run that program. and brings it into its short term storage. you type its name and the computer goes and gets the program off the hard drive. a hard disk or a CD-ROM. and runs the program. or wherever it is stored. or a team of programmers writes a program and saves it on a long term storage device like a floppy drive. Keyboard Input Mouse Input Modem Input and Output Memory (RAM) Short term storage Floppy Disks External storage Hard Disks Long term storage The computers main job is to run programs. A programmer. called RAM.

Each file has a name. will simply disappear. Files are stored in several places. they all have a name. Let’s go through it in some more detail. What Do Files Do? Files hold and store information that can be read by the computer. a location. a location. However. That is not as scary as it sounds because what you usually have in memory is only a temporary copy of the file. That's all they do. These lessons will spend a lot of time talking about files. 4 . What Kinds of Files Are There? All files are basically the same. the original stays on the hard drive or floppy or wherever it is usually kept. you are then on the downward side of the learning curve. a date and they all hold information. First lets take a quick overview of files and then we will make comparisons between files and things you already know. they can hold lots of different kinds of information. Pretty well the only time the original is in memory is when you are creating a new file and haven't saved it yet. and a length. and usually a date of when it was last changed. and a lot of the black magic involved in using a computer. and a lot of the fear. That is you are working on it. If you understand files. Actually it is just the type of information that is different. Any files that are in the memory of the computer are lost when the power is turned off. • on floppy disks • on hard drives • on CD's • pen drive • in the computers memory (RAM) • in the computers special read only memory (ROM) • on tapes of a tape back-up device. you’ll be able to figure out most things. What do we mean by Files? Files are clumps of computer data stored somewhere in your computer. The idea about files and directories is very important and actually if you can get a firm grasp of files. so we often think of this as different kinds of files for example they can store pictures like a Paint program file or text like a MS Word file.How computer organizes information: You are familiar with the concepts of files and folders.

Name What's inside What does it do? A list of It runs. information. What do you do with files? What you do with a file depends on the type of information that it holds. a it. a it. but some things can be done with all files.Here are some of the main types of files you will encounter. you execute it by typing anything. you can see the information picture. Usually small and quite easy program for you to make Text. you execute it by typing instructions for the name or double clicking on anything.com the name or double clicking on the computer. Some files you can easily look at the information inside and many others you can't.bat the computer.com's A list of It runs. you can see the text Textual in a pretty format. 5 . you execute it by typing instructions for anything. Just think of some common programs and associated file type/s that you have been making/ using in school eg doc files are MS Word files. Bigger and more common file) program that . When viewed using a browser program.htm information viewed using an ordinary editor. When viewed using a graphics Graphical anything. that is readme. a it program A list of It runs.exe instructions for the name or double clicking on (executable the computer.txt readable It is there for you to read. When lesson3.gif program. you can see the text and the codes that make it pretty. They often have certain letters at the end of their names so you can tell from their names what sort of information is inside. at least not without a program that is specifically designed to look inside that type of file.

where its' list of instructions are executed (run). The printer is another output device. the keyboard and the big box. the mouse. You also learned that when you click the left mouse button when the arrow is pointed to a particular area of the screen. if they hold audio information. 6 . When you run a program. is copied from the long term storage device into the RAM. Computer Hardware A good way to recognize computer hardware is to think of it as the things about a computer that you can get your hands on. The computer monitor is also called an output device. When you no longer need a particular file. you identified several parts of the computer that make up visible computer hardware: the screen. you can control what happens on the screen. Input and Output The computer mouse and the keyboard are both hardware devices that allow you to communicate with the computer. Can you think of some more input devices? The computer screen. the mouse. Delete them. It may appear as a still or flashing vertical or horizontal line or as a box. Copy them . What about speakers? More on Input: The Mouse Learning how to use the input device. information will be entered at the point of the cursor. By pointing and clicking the mouse you can also place on the screen a point known as the cursor. It is often safer to copy a file from one place to another and then delete the original. you are creating a new file. Create them. Listen to them.Run them . Look inside them. if they hold graphics information or text. you can zap it. what actually happens is that the file. You also copy files from a floppy to your hard drive or from one place on your hard drive to another. It is through these devices that the computer can learn what you want the computer to do.this is one of the main things you will do. You learned that when you move the mouse a white arrow/vertical black line on the screen moves in correspondence. or the monitor.if they hold a program. When you compose a document in a word processor or any other program such as an editor or spreadsheet. Move them . When you type. is the way that the computer communicates with you. These two devices are called input devices. with the program inside. The cursor is the point on your computer screen where your computer is ready for input. once you are sure the copy went well.This is like copying except that the original is NOT left behind. Usually saving goes hand in hand with creating. You may also see a printer and a modem. At the beginning of this lesson.

you do not have to hit the enter key at the end of a line. Many computer programs have a dictionary built into them. however. Knowing how to touch- type will enable you to work quickly when you use a computer. some special function computers you use will not have a mouse and will only allow you to communicate with the computer through its keyboard. The diagram below highlights important features of a computer keyboard: Sometimes computer keys work together to perform a pre-defined operation. Knowing some keyboard basics is essential when using a computer. Stretch those fingers! There will be times when you are using a computer when the only way the computer will register your message is if you hit the enter key after you have typed in some information. Remember to hit the space bar in between words.More on Input: The Keyboard The computer keyboard offers a range of special functions that are important to master in order to use a computer best as a tool for information literacy. In addition. when you are using your computer for word processing. This is true with database or searching programs such as an electronic library catalog or a search engine on the World Wide Web. It is important when using these combinations of keys that you press all of them at the same time. Unlike a typewriter. Word processors (MS Word) will automatically wrap the typing around to the next line. but the computer does not automatically know where words 7 .

Using print screen is a quick alternative to more elegant ways of printing your files from any Windows program. the shift key. your computer may have the answer to your question but you'll have to look at the screen to read it. Your computer will not know that you are sending the messages unless you have used the mouse or the keyboard. Before the Windows operating system became the major operating system for personal computers. The shift key allows you to capitalize letters when you are using your computer as a word processor. The print screen key may work alone or may work in combination with another key to allow you to print what is on the screen. or input and output points. The back arrow key located on the right side of the row of number keys allows you to move the cursor to a position where you were previously. Page Up and Page Down allow you to move through complete screen in a single step. The arrow keys also allow you to move through your screen of material. Some programs you use may instruct you to use these keys. The top row of the keyboard has keys called function keys. 8 . Moving backward with this arrow key may or may not erase the information that was previously typed there. Remember that when a file is brought onto a computer screen work or presentation area. long sheet of paper that is as long as the information it holds requires it to be. The numeric pad numbers are labeled for multiple Functions. The numeric pad on the right side of your keyboard allows you an alternative method of using the computer keyboard numbers for calculation purposes. the file appears as though it is on a single. These keys are labeled with the letter F and the numbers 1-12. The insert key allows you to type over material you have already typed. as well as the control and the alt key are keys that are often used in combination to perform special functions with your computer. many computer programs were written which assigned special capabilities to the computer keyboard function keys. In addition. The home key will take you to the beginning of a line on the screen and the end key will take you to the end of a line.break. or down or over to another fill-in area when you are working with a computerized form. The delete key allows you to erase. The tab key will allow you to jump ahead a few spaces when your computer is working as a word processor. Remember when you are using a computer these important communication.like MS Excel. This depends on what software you are using.

The hard drive. They are like your clothes closets and drawers. The CPU does the calculations. Computers store information in units called bytes. produces output and processes input. much of which is housed in the systems unit. if your computer has a modem. In addition to its visible hardware.Processing. Another important piece of hidden hardware is a hard drive. or the central processing unit. Any information you see on your computer screen is stored on RAM. that enable your computer to show video clips or offer sound. Your computer has another storage area in it called RAM. or a highly compacted electronic storage device. On the motherboard lives the CPU. this may be hidden in the computer. In the back it has plug holes where you can attach the other pieces of computer hardware with wires. along with the CPU.ROM and buttons to turn the computer on and off. the computer hardware storage device that stays in your computer all the time. 9 . The systems unit has slot holes in the front where you will be able to put information storage devices like floppy disks. In addition to the hard drive. or multiples of bytes such as kilobytes. Any information your computer is currently working on is stored in RAM. controls what the computer does. Computer storage is also called memory. The more bytes your computer has. a computer has hidden hardware. pen drives. Hidden hardware are the parts of the computer that you can get your hands on when you open up your systems unit. Other important pieces of hidden hardware that may be in your computer include electronic circuit boards. RAM is housed on your computer's motherboard. or random access memory. holding all your stuff for when you need it. CD. In addition. Your computer may also have a circuit board that allows it to be part of a network – in school we have the LAN network and each computer has a LAN card Computer Storage One distinguishing feature of personal computers as they have evolved during the past decade is their capacity to store large quantities of information in a small space. The CPU is a small component in the computer that is capable of some very big functions. your computer can store information on portable floppy disks (3 1/2" thin plastic squares) and on CD-ROMs similar to your music CD's. runs the programs. floppy disks and CD-ROMs are storage containers that hold the information you need whether or not your computer is on. the more storage area it has. smaller than the motherboard.Central Processing Unit The systems unit is the most important piece of computer hardware. megabytes and gigabytes. One of the two most important pieces of hidden hardware is the motherboard. RAM is only in use when your computer is on.

The information is available until the board is erased. When a computer is loaded with the software you want. a more permanent storage device. does not mean that the computer will retain this information for you after you turn off the computer. you might not have room to add a new piece of software. If your computer is already loaded with a lot of different pieces of software. Computer storage space decides how many different pieces of software can be kept in a single computer at one time. It all depends on what software is loaded into each computer. As you work with information on your computer. you probably will not want to change the computer software or you will lose your ability to do what you want with your computer. Software is what allows you to type a paper for school (word processing software). Take a look at a box of computer software one day and read the label that says "systems requirements. after the board is erased. the software lives on a piece of the computer hardware -- either on a floppy disk. will be put into one of the permanent storage mediums already described. Remember that RAM is a temporary sort of storage every time you are working at your computer. the information is gone. the notes your teacher writes on the board. a CD-ROM or on the hard drive when it is not in use. Because you can see what you want while your computer is turned on and the information in RAM is on the screen. because software is written to allow your computer to perform certain functions. that give a computer the capacity to perform different functions or applications. Computer Software Computer software is the instructions. Software can be moved or changed. However.RAM is like the chalkboard. A computer must be loaded with the software you want to use in order for your computer to be able to perform its specific functions. Two computers sitting side-by-side in a classroom or an office may not be able to do the exact same things. or programs." One of the requirements for running a new piece of software is how much storage space (in RAM and on your hard drive) is currently available on your computer. 10 . or in RAM when that piece of software is active. calculate a budget (spreadsheet software).your teacher writes on in front of the classroom. If you do not copy on to paper. you will get used to the idea of saving the work you have done so that information that first enters the computer through RAM. search an index for a collection of magazines (database software) and play electronic chess (game software) all at the same computer.

The Window • A window for a computer program provides both communication areas that will allow you to talk to your computer when you click on them with your mouse and a blank work area where you create something (a text document. You can click on Start again if you want to select another program as well. Windows provides a consistent.) or a presentation area where the computer will show you something (data. • In Windows. etc. with the names of some of the programs loaded on to your computer and a Start line at the bottom of the screen. The operating system your computer uses is called Microsoft Windows Windows is the framework you see on your computer screen.). 11 .Operating Systems . There are some useful things to keep in mind when running a program with the Windows operating system. a drawing. you will be able to use the same techniques to perform the same type of actions. a menu box appears. DOS (Disk operating System). When you select Programs. more than one window or program can be open at a time. The Start button also allows you to find at random anything that is loaded on your computer.Microsoft Windows The operating system is the software that allows people to communicate with the computer hardware. Any time you run a computer program using Windows. In addition. a complete list of the software programs loaded in your computer appears in a second menu box. When you click the left mouse button on the word Start. You can click to select any of the programs you want to use from the list of programs or you can click on the icon with the name of the program you want. Windows often gives you more than one way of performing the same action. and its preference for mouse-click able icons over typed-in commands. regardless of what operation your computer is about to perform. Two things that distinguish Windows from the operating system that proceeded it. run or install a new program and shut down your computer. offering you some options. The opening screen in Windows offers you pictures. mouse- dependent approach to running different types of applications software on your PC. The operating system of your computer acts as a master controller regardless of what specific function or functions your computer performs. The most important option is the choice Programs. are its ability to let you run more than one program or perform more than one computer function at a time (known as multi-tasking). etc. a web site. or icons. • The name of each program will appear on the top line of the window for that program.

righthand corner of each window. • Common command words include (from left to right) file. • When you click on one of these additional commands. and then lift your finger from the mouse button. • When a program window is shrunken in size.• When you click on the top line of a program window. you need to keep your finger on the mouse button to keep the menu in place). The drop-down menu offers you additional commands that you may select with a left mouse click. Some dialog boxes may look like a series of paper files as they appear in a filing cabinet. for example. To control the dialog box. a drop-down menu appears and stays in place. Click on the header for each file to explore all your options. clickable circles called radio buttons or check-boxes that allow you to make your choice. Windows may immediately perform the desired action or present you with further choices in dialog boxes. cancel and close at the bottom or on the right hand side of the dialog box. and help (remember the Menu Bar) . Some dialog boxes offer you multiple pull-down menus. (When using an Apple computer. When you click the left mouse button over a command word. ok. you can move it around the screen by pointing and clicking to the top line of the window and moving the mouse to reposition the window. • A file is the material you are working with using one of the computer programs offered on your PC (your term paper. The Command Line • Every program you run in Windows has a command line underneath the name bar. You can remove the program window from the screen temporarily by clicking the left button. The file commands allow you 12 . but these four are usually found in every program that runs in Windows. • Dialog Boxes offer you clickable options. • There are three buttons on the upper. edit. no matter how many windows you have open. is a file that you are working with when you are using your computer for word processing). that program becomes active. you will usually find buttons labeled apply. view. you can shrink the size of the window by clicking the middle button and you can close the window by clicking the x. Individual programs may have additional command words.

A toolbar. you can open or close a particular file or you can save or print an opened file using the file command. in addition to the work or presentation area. • The view command controls what parts of the program window will be shown to you. So a flow chart is an organized combination of shapes. you will see a row of small icons or pictures underneath the command line. You may want to cut out and eliminate or cut out or copy and paste a passage of text somewhere else in your document. The view drop-down menu allows you to check off what you would like to see. These icons work as a short cut to frequently used commands. You can also exit the program from this command. When you left click the mouse over something in your work area and drag the mouse along. If the drop-down menu for view shows toolbar checked off. Flowcharting: A Method of Problem Solving Flow-charting is used to diagram a process [steps to solve a problem] on paper to make it easier to visualize. You must you help option when ever you are in trouble and want a solution and this is the best way to learn different features in the given software. a banner explaining what they do will show under each. is a common feature in many Windows programs. Flowcharts can be useful in a variety of applications ranging from computer programming to solving mathematic problems. or. When you hold your mouse over these icons. for example. Simple computer logic problems can be written this way and then turned into the programming code. designated for further action. • The edit command allows you to manipulate portions of a file you are working with in the work area of your program window. Often. 13 . material in your work area will become highlighted. For example. • The help command will offer you topics about the particular program you are using. lines and text that graphically illustrates a process. you will use the edit options along with the mouse's ability to block off pieces of text. Each step in the process flow is represented by a different symbol and contains a short text description of the process step.to do things with this file as a unit.

etc. Oval) A rectangular flow chart shape indicating a Process normal process flow or action step. Indicates a question or branch in the process flow. No/No- Go. (I/O Shape) A small. end of the process.) A parallelogram that indicates data input or Data Shape output (I/O) for a process. (Inspection) Arrow Direction of flow of data/information 14 . Typically.The table shows some commonly used flowchart symbols Symbol Name/ Symbol (Alternate Symbol Description Shape Name) Terminator An oval flow chart shape indicating the start or (Terminal Point. a Decision flowchart shape is Decision used when there are 2 options (Yes/No. labeled. circular flow chart shape Connector used to indicate a jump in the process flow.

Let’s draw a simple flowchart to describing the sequence of steps needed to watch a VCR tape. Now try to draw a simple flowchart for cooking Maggie noodles or adding two given numbers. 15 .

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