Computer Concepts

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A computer is a machine that processes data and performs tasks according to a set of instructions. To do anything, computer must be give specific directions to follow. They get these directions from software. Software, such as that used for word processing, is a set of step-by-step instruction for the computer, written by computer programmers in a programming language like BASIC, Pascal, or C.

Computers also get instructions from you, the user. When you use the mouse (more in a moment about this tool) or the keyboard, you are giving instructions, or input, to your computer. That is why the mouse and keyboard are sometimes referred to as input devices.

Hardware is computer equipment. It carries out the software instructions. Hardware includes the central processing unit (CPU) as well as the monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, and other peripherals. Peripheral is the name used for a piece of hardware that works with the CPU.


Follow these guidelines to use your computer safely:

1. Keep air vents unobstructed to prevent the computer from overheating. 2. Keep food and liquids away from your computer. If something does spill, unplug the computer and notify your instructor immediately. 3. Do not expose disks to excessive heat, cold, or moisture or to magnets, x-ray devices, or direct sunlight. 4. Use a felt-tip marker, not a ballpoint pen or pencil, to write on disk labels. 5. Do not remove a disk form the drive when the in-use light is on.


Follow these steps to start your computer:

1. Remove any disks from the disk drives.
2. Turn on the power. You may need to flip a switch or press a button on the CPU or press a button or key on the keyboard. You may also have to turn on the monitor separately.

Your computer may take a few moments to power up. The computer will execute a series of automatic steps that will load the operating system. The...
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