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. You also need a keyboard and a mouse so you can enter text and commands, and control the computer. Other hardware is needed to accomplish additional tasks. In this video, we define our terms and discuss exactly what configuration of equipment is considered a “computer.”
- [Voiceover] 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. So 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. 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 is also called the display and it's 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 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 system. We'll talk more about operating systems a little bit later. And to use a computer you'll also need applications, which are the programs that run on your computer like word processsing, 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 a printer, in order to have paper copies of your documents. Or a scanner to create electronic versions of your paper documents. These days, your printer and scanner, may, in fact, be the same device though. And if you want to get online, you'll also 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 unit itself, a monitor, an operating system and the keyboard and mouse to have a computer system. But all of these things and more 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.
Interested in Mac computers? Check out Garrick's companion course, Computer Literacy for Mac.
- What is a computer?
- Purchasing a laptop vs. desktop
- Understanding files and folders
- Opening and saving files
- Working with software
- Setting up printers and Bluetooth devices
- Connecting to networks to go online
- Setting up email
- Receiving and sending email
- Searching the web