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COMPUTER BASICS

What is a Computer?

An electronic device that stores, retrieves, and processes data, and can be programmed with instructions. A computer is composed of hardware and software, and canexist in a variety of sizes and configurations.

Hardware & Software
The term hardware refers to the physical components of your computer such as the system unit, mouse, keyboard, monitor etc. The software is the instructions that makes the computer work. Software is held either on your computers hard disk, CD-ROM, DVD or on a disket t (floppy disk) and is e loaded (i.e. copied) from the disk into the computers RAM (Random Ac ces s Memory), as and when required.

Types of Computers
Mini and Mainframe Computers Very powerful, used by large organisations such an banksto control the entire business operation. Very expensive! Personal Computers Cheap and easy to use. Often used as stand-alone computers or in a network. May be connected to large mainframe computers within big companies.

Other devices include joysticks and game pads used primari y for games."How to tell it what to do“ . A printer is also an output device."How it shows you what it is doing" .Hardware Components Input Devices -. l Output Devices -.The monitor (the screen) is how the computer sends information back to you. .A keyboard and mouse are the standard way to interact with the computer.

Hardware Components INPUT DEVICES ò ò ò The Mouse ò Used to ‘drive’ Microsoft Windows The Keyboard ò The keyboard is sti l the commonest l way of entering information into a computer Tracker Bal l s ò an alternative to the traditional mouse and often used by graphic designers .

Hardware Components INPUT DEVICES ò Scanners ò A scanner al ows you to scan printed material l and convert it into a fi e format that may be l used within the PC ò Touch Pads ò A device that lays on the desktop and responds to pressure ò Light Pens ò Used to al ow users to point to areas on a l screen ò Joysticks ò Many games require a joystick for the proper playing of the game .

. ò In large organizations laser printers are most commonly used due to the fact that they can print very fast and give a very high quality output.Hardware Components OU TPUT DEVICES ò VDU ò The computer screen is used for outputting information in an understandable format ò Printers ò There are many different types of printers.

Hardware Components OU TPUT DEVICES ò Plot ters ò A plotter is an output device simi ar to a l printer. but normal y al ows you to print l l larger images. ò Speakers ò Enhances the value of educational and presentation products. ò Speech synthesisers ò Gives you the abil ty to not only to display i text on a monitor but also to read the text to you .

higher capacity drive which also stores the operating system which runs when you power on the computer. .Hardware Components Storage Devices -.Hard disk drives are an internal."Floppy" disk drives al ow you to save l work on smal ldisks and take the data with you."How it saves data and programs“ . .

. The l smal er this number the faster the disk. measured in mi liseconds. Cost: ò Hard disks costs are fal l i rapidly and normal y ng l represent the cheapest way of storing data.Hardware Components Hard Disks ò ò ò Speed: ò Very fast ! ò The speed of a hard disk is often quoted as "average ac cess time" speed. l Capacity: ò Enormous! Often 40/80 Gigabytes. A Gigabyte is equivalent to 1024 Megabytes.

l Cost: ò Very cheap. .44 Mbytes.Hardware Components Disket tes (Floppy Disks) ò ò ò Speed: ò Very slow! Capacity: ò Normal y 1.

Hardware Components CD-RO Disks M ò ò Speed: ò Much slower than hard disks. Capacity: ò Around 650 Mbytes and more . faster CD-ROMs are quoted as a multiple of this value. The original CD-ROM speciation is given a value of 1x speed. and later.

Hardware Components DVD Drives ò ò ò Speed: ò Much faster than CD-ROM drives but not as fast as hard disks. Cost: ò Sl ghtly higher than CD-ROM drives. i . Capacity: ò Up to 17 Gbytes.

ò When the operating system loads from disk when you first switch on the computer.Main Parts of Computer Memory -.Random Access Memory ò The main 'working' memory used by the computer. Data and programs stored in RAM are volati e (i. the information l is lost when you switch off the computer). a Microsoft Windows based computer wil l operate faster if you install more RAM.e. ò . it is copied into RAM."How the proces sor stores and uses imm ediate data“ ò RAM . As a rough rule.

which contains readonly software. ò .Hardware Components Memory ò ROM – Read Only Memory ò Read Only Memory (ROM) as the name suggests is a special type of memory chip that holds software that can be read but not writ t n to. e ò A good example is the ROM-BIOS chip. Often network cards and video cards also contain ROM chips.

they process data in one's or zero's. i.e. This 1 or 0 level of storage is cal ed a bit.Hardware Components How Computer Memory Is Measured ò Bit All computers work on a binary numbering system. l Megabyte ò A megabyte (MB) consists of 1024 ki obytes. Ki l byte o ò A ki obyte (KB) consists of 1024 bytes. l Gigabyte ò ò ò ò ò ò A gigabyte (GB) consists of 1024 megabytes. . l Byte ò A byte consists of eight bits.

ò It determines how fast your computer wil l run and is measured by its MHz speed. ò It is the CPU that performs all the calculations within the computer.PCs primari y use microproces sors (sometimes cal ed the chip). ò Thus a 600 MHz Pentium is much faster than say a 400 MHz Pentium CPU. i The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is normal yan Intel l Pentium (or equivalent) and it is one of the most important components within your computer.Hardware Components Microprocessors -. 486 and now the Pentium l ne. . l l The older Intel versions include the 386."The brain of the computer“ .

Hardware Components Some of the Factors That Impact on a Computer's Performance ò ò ò CPU speed RAM size Hard disk speed and capacity .

Software Component Operating systems software The operating system is a special type of program that loads automatical y when you start your computer. l The operating system al ows you to use the advanced features of l a modern computer without having to learn all the detai s of how l the hardware works The l nk between the hardware and you. the user i Makes the computer easy to use without having to understand bits and bytes! .

Examples include word-proces sing spreadsheets and databases programs.Software Component Appl i ations software c An application program is the type of program that you use once the operating system has been loaded. .

Software Component Appl i ation Software c ò Word processing appl i ations c ò Microsoft Word ò Lotus Word Pro ò WordPerfect ò ò Spreadsheets ò Microsoft Excel ò Lotus 123 Database ò Microsoft Acces s ò Lotus Approach .

Software Component Appl i ation Software c ò Payrol l ò Sage software ò Presentation tools ò Microsoft PowerPoint ò Lotus Freelance ò Desktop publ i hing s ò Abode Photoshop ò Multimedia appl i ations c ò Microsoft's Encarta CD-ROM based encyclopaedias .

e. ò .Information Network ò LAN ò A LAN (Local Area Network) is a system whereby individual PCs are connected together within a company or organization WAN ò A WAN (Wide Area Network) as the name impl es i al ows you to connect to other computers over a l wider area (i. the whole world).

. • In a simi ar way other devices such as modems or l scanners can be shared.Information Network Uses of Network If ten people are working together within an office it makes sense for them al lto be connected. • In this way the office can have a single printer and all ten people can print to it. • Even more useful is the abi ity to share l information when connected to a network.

Computer Accessories ò Modem ò Short for “MODulate/DEModulate”. . The modem sends information from your computer across the telephone system. i converts the signal back into a format that can be used by the receiving computer. ò The modem at the other end of the phone l ne.

Uses of Computer PC at Home Common uses for the computer within the home ò ò ò ò Computer games Working from Home Banking from Home Connecting to the Web .

graphics and sound. .Uses of Computer Computers in Education ò CBT (Computer Based Training) ò Computer Based Training (CBT) offers a low cost solution to training needs where you need to train a large amount of people on a single subject. ò These programs are normal y suppl ed on CD-ROM l i and combine text. ò Packages range from general encyclopaedias right through to learning a foreign language.

Design Systems ò Many products are designed using CAD (Computer Aided Design) programs to produce exact specificationsand detai ed drawings on the computer before producing models l of new products.Uses of Computer Office Appl i ations c ò Automated Production Systems ò Many car factories are almost completely automated and the cars are as sembled by computer-control ed robots. ò . l ò This automation is becoming increasingly common throughout industry.

ò The stock control system keeps track of the number of items in stock and can automatical y order replacement items l when required. ò Due to the repetitive nature of ac counts a computer system is ideal y suited to this task and ac curacy is guaranteed. l .Uses of Computer Office Appl i ations c ò ò Stock Control ò Stock control is ideal for automation and in many companies it is now completely computerized. Ac counts / Payroll ò In most large organizations the ac counts are maintained by a computerized system.

Uses of Computer Computers in Dai l Life y ò ò ò ò ò ò ò ò Ac counts Games Educational On-line banking Smart ID cards Supermarkets Working from home (Tele-working) Internet .

Create a Good Working Environment ò ò Frequent breaks away from the computer Appropriate positioning of screens. chairs and keyboards Provision of adequate l i hting and venti l tion. g a ò .

Health & Safety Precautions ò ò ò Make sure that cables are safely secured Make sure that power points are not overloaded Also be aware of: ò Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) ò Glare from screens ò Bad posture .

If the hard disk stops working one day you could lose all those years of work. Often the contents of a hard disk can represent years of work.Value of Backup ò The most important thing that you store on your computer is information. For this reason it is VITAL that you take regular backups of the information that is stored on the computer. ò ò ò .

Value of Backup ò Organize your computer for more ef f icient backups Complete vs. incremental backups Use 'of f -site' storage ò ò .

Value of Backup Use passwords Understand the Importance of shutting down your computer properly Use a UPS (Un-inter ruptible Power Supply) ò ò ò .

Cold or Moisture ò Don’t place objects on top of monitors. vibration free surface Things computer don’t l i e: k ò Dust ò Drinking and eating over the keyboard ò Heat. ò Don’t place floppy disks near monitors. .Likes & Dislikes of Computer ò ò Things computer like: ò Good ventilation ò Clean environment ò Stable.

Computer Virus ò What are computer viruses? ò Viruses are smal l programs that hide themselves on your disks (both disket t s e and your hard disk). ò Unless you use virus detection software the first time that you know that you have a virus is when it activates. ò Different viruses are activated in dif f rent ways. e .

either via use of infected floppy disk. The worst thing about a computer virus is that they can spread from one computer to another. including the Internet. ò . or over a computer network.Computer Virus ò How do viruses infect PCs? ò Viruses hide on a disk and when you ac cess the disk (either a disket t or another hard disk e over a network) the virus program wi ll start and infect your computer.

but of course you do have to pay for them! The main thing about your virus checker is that it should be kept up to date. l .Computer Virus ò How to prevent virus damage ò ò ò ò There are a number of third party antivirus products avai able. on-l ne i bul etin board. l Most of these are bet t r than the e rather rudimentary products avai able within DOS and l Windows. Many companies supply updated disks on a regular basis or al ow you to receive l updates through an electronic.

Software Copyright ò ò ò ò ò Be aware on software copyright is sues Freeware Shareware What about software that you find on the Internet? Software site l censes i .

In a free society you have a right to ensure that information held about you is not abused. In many countries this right is enshrined under data protection laws .Software Copyright ò ò ò If your computer system holds information about individuals then you have a moral and legal duty to treat that information with respect.

Now Let us start our Computers and get going .