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Computer System, Hardware
The computer system is your assistant. It has its own:
• brain (processor [CPU] or central processing unit)
• workspace (working memory [RAM] or random access memory)
• built-in instructions (read-only memory chips [ROM])
• file cabinets (disk drives)
• storage medium (hard disk and floppy disks)
• audio card (to listen to sound)
• video card (tells the monitor what to display)

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2/04 2 .Close-Up View of a Computer’s Internal Hardware Other hardware that is becoming common with today's computer systems includes: • network interface card (to connect to other computers) • scanner (to digitize information so the computer can understand it) Rev.

) Your computer comes with a: • monitor (to show you what is going on) • printer (to make hard copies of documents) • keyboard (to enter commands and data) • mouse (to control the pointer on the screen) • speakers (to play music and sounds) • modem or fax/modem (to e-mail.Computer System. 2/04 3 . chat. fax. Hardware (cont. and use the Internet) Monitor Printer Keyboard Mouse Speakers Rev.

however.Computer System. Software is a set of instructions that tells the computer what to do. is missing something. The hard drive on all computers is initially empty. Software Your assistant. The operating system looks after the different parts of your computer system. Application software (programs) is copied from CD-ROMs and floppy disks onto the hard disk for convenience and speed. linking them to each other and to you. but most computers come from the factory with an operating system (usually Windows) and other programs pre-installed on the hard drive. If you prefer. you can wipe the hard drive clean (format it) and install a different operating system and/or new programs. 2/04 4 . its memory is empty. CD-ROM Floppy Disk Rev. The computer can do nothing until it is given instructions-software. however. All software originates on CD-ROMs and floppy disks (except for firmware which is built into your computer). You then put the original software away for safe keeping-in case your hard drive crashes and you need to reinstall the software later. There are two main kinds of software: • system software (firmware and an operating system) • application software (programs) Software is an essential part of your computer system. and the operating system is required to make your computer work.

or other files you want to access quickly. Recycle Bin is a temporary storage place for deleted files. My Documents is a desktop folder that provides you with a convenient place to store documents. you must empty the Recycle Bin periodically. command or icon). as well as log off and shut down your computer. it is represented by a folder with a sheet of paper in it. Network Neighborhood performs the same function as the My Computer icon except that it accesses all files and programs located on the Local Area Network. Mouse Pointer is the arrow on the screen that moves as you move the mouse. it and the taskbar are always visible when Windows is running. get Help. Use the right mouse button to display a shortcut menu for selecting commands. move the pointer to the desired feature and press (click) the left mouse button. My Briefcase is a place to save your documents that is useful if you use two different computers. certain icons will appear on your desktop when you start Windows. When you save a file in a program such as WordPad or Paint. and also any network resources you are connected with such as printers and network drives. such as a laptop and a main computer. the Desktop will appear. change system settings. graphics. It is an integral part of the multi- tasking feature of Windows. Depending on how your computer is set up. Internet Explorer is used to browse the web from anywhere on your computer. These deleted files are not actually removed from your hard disk until you empty the Recycle Bin. Start is located at the bottom left of your screen after Windows loads. By default. The Start button is used to start programs. CD-ROM drives. When you want to activate a feature (a menu. When you double-click on the My Computer icon it displays various resources available to your computer. find items on your computer. 2/04 5 .Looking at the Screen (Desktop) Once Windows starts. Taskbar. The various parts of the Windows Desktop are as follows: My Computer is a desktop icon that can be used to access the files and programs on the computer. Rev. located across the bottom of your screen. To free up disk space. displays the icons and titles of all programs or folders currently active on the screen. open documents. You can use it to retrieve files deleted in error. On your desktop. the file is automatically saved in My Documents unless you choose a different location. Use My Briefcase to keep your files updated and synchronized. These include floppy disk drives. hard disk drives.

2/04 6 . The Desktop My Computer Internet Explorer Gates Tutorials Recycle Bin Microsoft Applications Reference Databases Start Button Rev.

It is essential to hold the mouse firmly while you click so that it does not slide out of position. (There are usually several different ways to issue commands. hand-held device that is used to control the pointer on the screen. 2/04 7 . Point Move the mouse until the tip of the mouse pointer is over the item you want. This must be done in rapid succession. 5. Right-click Quickly press and release the right mouse button. Important: When instructed to click or double-click. slide the pointer to a new location. The pointer shape changes depending on the job it is doing (or can do) at the current time. Double-click Quickly press and release the left mouse button twice. Drag Point to an item. 3. always use the left mouse button unless otherwise instructed. Click Quickly press and release the left mouse button. The Windows graphics environment is designed to take advantage of the mouse as a method of issuing commands. which are instructions that cause an action to be carried out. it offers enough flexibility to meet the requirements of many different Windows users. The Mouse The mouse is a small. though commands can often be issued from the keyboard also. Press and hold down the left mouse button. The pointer (or mouse pointer) is the arrow on the screen that moves with the mouse as you slide it over a flat surface. 4. There are five main mouse actions: 1. 2. A mouse usually has at least two buttons: the primary mouse button (usually the left button) and the secondary mouse button (usually the right button). Rev.) While the large variety of command choices can lead to confusion for beginners. and release the mouse button.Controlling Windows You can control Windows using commands.

or right. down. Ctrl. Control keys . Delete .The Escape key cancels a current selection.Key combinations that can be used to activate certain commands as an alternative to using the mouse. Caps Lock . Shift .Executes a typed command. (Remember the Carriage Return?) Backspace . Rev. marks the end of a line. it also selects the uppercase letters for the alphabetic keys and produces the symbols that share the number keys.Used to insert a blank space between words or sentences.Shift.Used to move the cursor (or pointer) up. Arrow keys . These are also called Booster keys. similar to a typewriter. usually to correct spelling mistakes.Deletes one character to the left of the flashing cursor each time you press it. Enter . Alphanumeric . and Alt are used in combination with other keys to issue commands. which allows you to send information to the computer. performs a selected option from a menu. left. press and hold the Control (or Booster) key down. A menu command that has a keyboard shortcut available will display its key combination to the right of its command name. ensure that you use the <1> key rather than the letter <L> key. Tab . Function keys . Keyboard shortcuts . Esc .In addition to <Shift> being used as a Control key.Advances the cursor to the right a specified number of spaces in a word processing program or the next cell in a spreadsheet program or a table. When two keys are used together to issue a command. or creates a blank line. When entering numerical data.The Keyboard The keyboard is an input device. 2/04 8 . Spacebar . and the <0> (zero) key rather than the letter <0> key.A "toggle" key that locks only the alphabetic keys to produce the uppercase versions of each letter. and tap the second key.These keys are used for entering text or commands into the computer.Deletes the character to the right of the flashing cursor each time it is pressed.The twelve keys located across the top of the keyboard that are labeled F1 through F12 are called function keys. They are used to issue commands.

2/04 9 . Print Screen.Keys used mostly in DOS applications to manipulate screen display. The Keyboard Rev.Opens the Start menu on the taskbar. Scroll Lock and Pause/Break .Used when scrolling through documents or screens to move up or down one screen or page at a time.Insert . similar to a calculator pad.Used to enter numeric information.Functions in some applications to produce a shortcut menu.A "toggle" key that switches the data input from insert mode to "typeover" mode.A "toggle" key that changes the mode of the Cursor and Numeric Keypad. Application key .Moves the cursor to the beginning of the line of data. Num Lock . Number keys . Windows key . Home . Page Up and Page Down . End .Moves the cursor to the end of the line of data.

Maximize and Close. Maximize Button . Status Bar . Close Button . Dragging a window by the title bar will move it to a different location on your screen.Click anywhere on the bar (light gray area) to move up or down one screen at a time. Toolbar .Displays information about the window. The Control menu contains choices that let you manipulate the window: Restore. When you restore a window. Horizontal/Vertical Scroll Box – Drag the scroll box to move more quickly through a window or document. Size.Provides the name of the open window. Menu Bar . Restore Button . 2/04 10 . Clicking on the arrow boxes that point up.Window Elements by Definition Address Bar .A row of icons (buttons) that provides quick access to frequently used commands. this button is replaced by the Restore button. Rev. program. Minimize.Lets you access a Web page or a location on your computer. Horizontal/Vertical Scroll Bar .Reduces a window to a button on the taskbar. down. Title Bar . folder or document. folder or document. Workspace . Move.Enlarges a window to its greatest possible size. Sizing Handle . left or right will move correspondingly in smaller increments. When you maximize a window. program. this button is replaced by the Maximize button.Click this button to open the Control menu.Click this button to close a window. Point your mouse arrow on a button to see a "pop-up" tool tip (the name of the button). Minimize Button .The inner part of the window where the work in a program or document is carried out. Control Icon .Drag this corner diagonally to resize a window.Returns a maximized window to its previous size.List of available menu items for the open window or document.

2/04 11 .Window Elements Title Bar Close Button Menu Bar Standard Toolbar Address Maximize/Restore Button Bar Minimize Button Status Bar Vertical Scroll Bar Rev.

a serious software defect.44 megabytes of information. It has two components . cables.hardware and software. Disk drives are described by the size of the disks that they hold. keyboard. Disk Drive A devices that reads data from and writes data onto a disk. monitor. Desktop The computer screen or background that contains components such as the Taskbar. mouse. 2/04 12 . A crash may result from a hardware malfunction. the part of the computer that executes instructions. Hard Disk The large spinning plate that is usually sealed inside the computer and holds a large amount of information. Recycle Bin icons. for quick access. It is used in the computer’s CD-ROM drive and typically holds 640 megabytes of information. and process data. commonly 3 -1/2 inches in size. electronic device that can store. modem. Crash A serious computer failure. The computer stops working or a program quits unexpectedly. etc. typically in the gigabyte range. Floppy Disk A portable memory device. Typically holds 1. The hard drive and the hard disk are often referred to as the “hard drive. retrieve. disks. My Computer. Database A collection of information organized in such a way that a computer can quickly select and/or sort desired pieces of data. CPU (central processing unit) The brain of the computer.Additional Computer-Related Terms CD-ROM (compact disc-read only memory) A portable memory device. touchable parts of a computer (CPU.” Hardware The physical. any other shortcut icons. and any Windows and Dialog Boxes that have been opened. Computer A programmable. or a virus.) Rev. Hard Drive The disk drive that houses the hard disk.

The Windows Operating System has a graphical user interface and allows for multiple viewing areas. runs programs. These disks come in 100 megabyte or 250 megabyte capacities. manages files and documents.Icon A small picture that represents a file or a program. Password A secret combination of letters and other symbols used to log in to a computer system. Rev. Software tells the hardware what to do. Username A name used to gain access to a computer system. internal or external to a computer. PIN (personal identification number) A password that one uses to access portions of the Library’s Catalog. Clicking or double clicking on the icon will activate it. computer file. ZIP Disk A portable memory device that is used in a Zip Drive. that cause an unexpected and undesirable event. typically used in conjunction with a username. or e-mail account. Software Programs used to operate computers and related devices. Reboot To “reset” or restart a computer. or e-mail account. Operating System The master software program of a computer that controls the hardware of that computer. Window A viewing area on a computer display screen. Virus Programming codes. Examples are Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. usually disguised as something else. computer file. Modem A device. It serves as an additional layer of security beyond one’s library card number. that enables one computer to talk to another computer using telephone or cable lines. Web Browser A program used to access documents or pages on the Internet. 2/04 13 .