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The Computer - What is is? How Does it Work?

The computer basically has two essential components. The Hardware and the Software. They do different jobs, but one without the other is no use whatever. For you to sit down at your computer and actually do something interesting or important, it has to have a/ the hardware and b/ the software.

The 'computer' as we now know it is changing shape and form by the month. Nowadays, a computer can fit into a large pocket, and be a single piece of hardware - hinged or not. I am talking of course about the Tablet!

The Hardware.

The hardware part of the computer, is basically everything you can see or touch - even if you have to take the computer apart (PLEASE don't!) to see it. If you can see it, it is part of the Hardware.

Typically the Hardware of the PC computer consists of a tower or other unit, that encloses all the parts that we do not want you to touch.  The parts that your computer that you can see will also include ;...........................

There are other bits and pieces that you can add on to your computer - easy - that are also bits of hardware. They are hardware even if they feel soft, because you can see and touch them!

The Software.

 Without software, your computer will be more or less useless. In fact, without software your computer will be completely useless. It might be new, it might look nice, but it will server no useful function unless it has software installed. So, what is this software? Just consider it to be a brain. In fact lots of different brains - all doing different things for you.

 Software is basically a 'programme' that is installed in your computer. Even if you open your computer, you will not/cannot see the software programmes. All computers need top start life with an OS - Operating System. This is the real brain of the computer that allows all the other programmes that you have, to work properly. 'Windows' is an Operation System. There are others.

You can get software (programmes) to write text, alter text and generally mess about with text - Get the idea?Hopefully, you will grow out of that quite soon and start to lead a normal life. Programmes that will allow you to write and design web pages, and then 'post' them to the Web for everyone to see. Imaging programmes are great for making your friends look silly - maybe you would like to give them a big nose or wide mouth. the possibilities are really endless.

You can also use an imaging programme normally and enhance your images that you take with a digital camera. (The camera will also have software in it, that will connect with your computer, and then send it to your computer.) The resulting photographs are still SOFTWARE, even though you can see them. However, if you print them out, they become what is known as a hard copy - even though the paper is soft. Confused yet - read on!

So basically, software is anything that is sold on a CD to be installed on your computer, and is then turned into a programme - sometimes called an application! After the programme is installed on your computer, then there is no further need for the CD - unless it has important DATA files on it - of which more on another page.

Software can go wrong. It can get bugs or become corrupted. No problem, for with most programmes, the software can be re-installed from the original CD. (You didn't throw it away did you?)

Other programmes can help you write music, keep a diary, keep a lot of information on a database, let you play games, and let you design a leaflet - or even a book. The list is more or less endless.

Summary.

Computer Hardware is something that will make a noise if you drop it on the floor. You cannot drop software programmes - unless you drop your computer. They are safely hidden away inside your computer, where you cannot tamper with them - but you can of course still use them. 



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