A computer is a set of tools that helps you perform information-processing tasks. You need to use all the tools in your computer to be productive. Your computer tools are either hardware or software.
Stated simply, everything in your computer falls into one of two categories- software or hardware.
Software is the set of instructions that your computer hardware executes to process information for you.
You can think of software as your intellectual interface to your computer. That is, software is the set of instructions if you didn’t use a computer. There are two major categories of software:
System software- is the software that your computer uses to run itself, regardless of what type of task you’re performing. So, when you turn on your computer, your system software takes over and performs a variety of tasks-checking to see what devices you have connected such as a printer and mouse, potentially verifying your connection to a network so you can use the Internet, and even asking for and verifying your password.
Application software- is the software you use to perform tasks specific to your needs. Such as managing inventory, paying accounts payable, writing a term paper, or creating slides for presentation.
The hardware consists of the physical devices that make up your computer system.
Although software may be the most important is your computer, you must also have hardware. Essential, hardware includes all of those devices that you can touch-your monitor, your keyboard, a CD disk and numerous pieces contained within your system box, just to name a few.
The five categories of computer hardware are:
Input Device: An input device captures information and translates it into a form that can be processed and used by other parts of your computer. Input device plays a vitally important role in a computer system by helping you enter information. Example of input device are keyboard, mouse, webcam, scanner, microphone.
Output Device: An output device takes information within your computer and presents it to you in a form that you can understand. The output devices are the complement to input devices. While the input device helps you enter information into a computer system, output devices help you to see, hear, or otherwise receive information stored within your computer system. Example of output devices are Monitor, printer, speaker .
System Unit: The system unit is a case that contains the electronic components of the computer that are used to process data. The circuitry of the system unit usually is part of or is connected to a circuit board called the motherboard.
The two main components on the motherboard are the processor and memory. The processor, also called a CPU (central processing unit), is the electronic component that interprets and carries out the basic instructions that operate the computer. Example: Pentium 4, AMD Athlon, Intel Celeron.
Memory consists of electronic components that store instructions waiting to be executed and data needed by those instructions. Although some forms of memory are permanent, most memory keeps data and instructions temporarily, which means its contents are erased when the computer is shut off.
Storage Device: Temporary information stored in RAM is not enough, of course, You need a means to more permanently store information so you can recall and use it at a later time. This is the role of storage device. A storage device stores information so you can recall and use that information at a later time. The computer in our ad comes with a variety of storage devices. Examples of storage media are USB flash drives, Hard disks, optical disc and memory cards.
Communication Device: A communications device is a hardware component that enables a computer to send and receive data, instructions, and information to and from one or more computer or mobile devices. A widely used communications device is a modem.
Communications occur over cables, telephone lines, cellular radio networks, satellites, and other transmission media. Some transmission media, such as satellites and cellular radio networks, are wireless, which means they have no physical lines or wires.