How Computers Work

Understand Computer Basics

Do you know how computers work? We have started to depend on computers for most of our activities. Whether you have to book a plane ticket or order an Uber, book an appointment to the doctor or watch your favorite movie, everything is done with the help of computers these days.

It is very important that we learn and understand the basics of computer. Most of us use a computer every day. But, we do not know how a computer works. Therefore, in this article, I’ll cover some of the basics of a computer. Continue reading.

Hardware

Any part of a computer that is physical and you can touch and feel it is known as hardware. When we talk about a computer e.g. I’ll buy a computer, we usually talk about hardware.
There are several categories of hardware. These categories are:

  • Processor
  • Input
  • Output
  • Storage

Processor

We can say that the processor is a brain of a computer. It is also known as CPU or Central Processing Unit. A CPU is the main part of a computer that performs all the tasks related to computing.

Some computers have a single processing unit. Whereas some computers have two or more than two processing units. They are known as dual core computers or multi core computers.

If you want to learn how does a CPU work, you’ll have to understand computing first. It processes simple information at very high speed. A computer does not have the ability to think or understand. It just follows instructions that are given to it.

Individual instructions do not make any sense. For examples:

  • Copy this digit from one area to another area
  • Add these digits and write their result separately

Now, do you think these instructions will make sense to a computer? The answer is no. Therefore, there is a specific way to write instructions for a computer.

The interesting thing about these instructions is that this process happens so quickly that thousands and millions of instructions are combined and users can get a result quickly and easily.

Input

The instructions that are given to a computer are known as input. Basically, the input is anything that we provide to a computer. There are specific input devices such as:

  • mouse
  • scanner
  • gyroscope
  • GPS chips
  • game controller
  • touch screen
  • microphone
  • camera
  • other computers that are present on a network

Output

An output is a result that we get from a computer. There are several output devices including:

  • screen or monitor
  • haptic feedback
  • other computers on a network
  • printer
  • speakers/headphones

Storage and Memory

Any data, information or any type of instruction that can be saved and retrieved on a later period is known as storage. Storage can be both; input and output. But it can also be different from normal input and output because it can be stored and retrieved.

There are different storage devices available such as SSDs, SD cards etc. There is also another storage system in the CPU. It is known as RAM or Random Access Memory. Ram is just like an external memory. When someone says that they want to increase the memory of a computer, they are generally referring to RAM.

When the RAM of a computer is increased, the computer starts working faster.

The Connecting Bits

Now that you know about some of the major components of a computer including input, output, storage, and processing unit, you might think that you know a lot about computer basics. But let me tell you, this is not it. There are still many things that you need to learn if you want to understand computer basics.

You might be wondering that how do different components of a computer communicate with each other? The answer is a motherboard. A motherboard is basically a circuit board that is located inside the central processing unit. The motherboard is the hub of all other components of a computer.

The motherboard has slots for RAM and there are built in connectors for all other connecting devices.

Software

The software is a program that gives instructions to the computer. It is basically a code that can be stored in a computer in the form of data. When we generally talk about software, we usually talk about different apps and programs that are installed in a computer.

Firmware

Firmware is also a type of software but we can say that it is on the lowest level. People hardly notice or talk about this type of software. There are many different types of central processing units of CPUs. But the basic ideas based on which a CPU is built are same in all units.

The way in which a computer performs its functions also varies from one computer to another. Firmware acts as the basic interface between the hardware of your computer and its operating system.

Operating System

The operating system is the system and environment that runs your computer. It provides your computer with a computing environment. Examples of an operating system include Windows, Mac, Linux etc. An operating system not only works with a computer but it is also useful for smartphones.

An operating system performs all the management tasks of your computer. It helps different programs to communicate with each other, it manages your computer’s file system, it is responsible for handling user permissions etc. There are many tasks that are performed by an operating system.

Drivers

Drivers are responsible for controlling devices that are attached to your computer such as a printer, speaker, scanner etc. They are basically small programming codes that act as an interface between your computer and other devices. With the help of drivers, your computer can access or transmit information to and from connecting devices.

Utilities

Utilities are also programs. They are responsible for handling simpler and routine tasks. An example of a routine task is checking for available updates.

Libraries

There are also libraries that play an active role in the operation of your computer. Don’t worry, these are not physical libraries. In fact, they are simple programs that are present on your computer.

There might be a few hundred libraries in a single computer. They make the tasks simpler and easier. For example, a math library can help the calculator app.

Applications (Apps)

Apps are also programs. There are hundreds and thousands of apps available and you can choose whatever you want. For example, a new web browser or a new app.

Networking

Networks are very important these days. When different computers are linked with each other, it is said that they have formed a network. The process of creating a network is called networking.

Millions of people are connected to each other with the help of networking. If you use Wi-Fi in your home and your Wi-Fi is connected to many devices, it means that you have also formed a network. Even if you only use it on a single device, it will still be called a network.

All the computers that are connected to each other with the help of a network can easily communicate with each other. They can send and receive files, work together on a single project and perform many other tasks.

Now that you know about networks, it is time for you to learn about the internet. Basically, the internet is also a type of network. The essence of the internet is also communication. Here is how the internet is formed:

A few computers are connected to each other with the help of a network. This setting is known as a cluster. These clusters are connected to each other with the help of local networks. Then these local networks are connected to each other with the help of regional networks. And this how the whole world is connected to each other with the help of internet.

There are also several different systems that make this whole system work. These are as follows:

  • DNS: A domain name system that is also known as DNS is just like an address book. It gives your computer an address so that it can be identified o internet.
  • URL: URL is basically an address that can be read by a human.
  • Communication protocols: Communication protocols allow us to transmit information via the internet. Examples of communication protocols are HTTP and SMTP.
  • Encryption protocols: They allow us to secure information on the internet while transmission.
  • Routing algorithms: They help the data travel from one place to another.

Computers Are Everywhere

When we think about computers, we usually think about CPU, mouse, keyboard etc. But now, with the advancement of technology, computers are everywhere. Now a day, tablets and our smartphones have almost all the functions that are present in a computer.

In fact, different devices that we use on a regular basis are all computers. There is nothing that you can’t do with the help of your smartphone these days. Whether you want to go on a vacation and you need a place to stay, or you want to find a perfect recipe for chocolate cake, anything can be done with a few clicks. And it doesn’t matter whether these clicks are from your phone, tablet or a computer.

Every device is a computer in itself these days. Suppose you connect a scanner to your computer. Think of it as a separate computer because it has its own software and system. Input is he instruction that you will give to your scanner and the output will be the result.

Even your internet is also a computer. Your car can also be considered as a computer because it
also has its own system installed in it. Therefore, we can say that this age is an age of computers and technology. They are everywhere and they have made our lives much easier. We are lucky that we born in this era.

The best thing about technology is that it does not stop. It is continuously being innovated. Though there are many cool devices and programs still this is just the tip of an iceberg. This is a continuous process of innovation, development, and creativity.

We should expect that in the future, the technology will be much more developed than it is now. It is not something that will stop. It is moving forward with full speed. The technology is turning more and more devices into computers. Whether it is your ATM or TV, everything is being turned into a computer to make our lives easier.

Knowledge is the Key

Now that you understand all the basic concepts behind a computer. It is important that you also know the purpose behind all this. Technology is developing with rapid speed. More and more devices are being turned into computers.

If a person wants to make his life easier and get benefits from technology and computers, it is important that he should learn what a computer is and how does it work. This really helps to survive in this era. Check out some of our other blog posts to learn more about WordPress, Web Hosting, and fast WordPress hosting.