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When using the word computer, in the context of this training course, I'm referring to the entire package of everything you need to actually accomplish tasks. Some people refer to a computer as just the actual unit housing the main components of the hard drive, processor, memory, and so on. But to use a computer, you also need a monitor so you can see what you're doing. Now some computers like notebook computers or all-in-one computers have built-in monitors, but it's important to not confuse the monitor with the computer itself. The monitor, also called the display, doesn't do any of the work or processing.
It simply displays the computer's interface, which is still an essential component of the entire system. You also need a keyboard and a mouse, so you can enter text and commands and control the computer. You'll often need speakers or headphones, so you can hear the sounds your computer makes. Some computers have built-in speakers, while others don't. Computers also need to have an operating system, which is the software that manages the operation of the entire computer system. We'll talk more about operating systems later. To use a computer, you also need applications, which are the programs that you run on your computer, like word processing, spreadsheet, or photo editing applications.
Many computers come with built-in software and you can purchase and install thousands of other software applications you might want or need. You may also need additional hardware to have your computer perform other tasks. For example, you'll need to have a printer in order to have paper copies of your documents or scanner to create electronic versions of paper documents. In fact, these days your printer and scanner might be the same device. If you want to get online, you'll need web browsing software, a modem and to subscribe to an Internet service, if you want to get on the web with your computer. So at the very least, you need the computer itself, a monitor, an operating system, and the keyboard or mouse to have a computer system.
But all of these things and more can make up your computer system and generally, when we talk about computers we're talking about any configuration that involves these basic and essential components.
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