Although it may look like a cross between an electric typewriter and a television, the computer can do much more than either of those two more familiar devices. In fact,
today’s computers have more computing power than the
mainframe computers of the early 1960s, which were so
large they filled entire rooms.
This study unit will provide you with a basic knowledge of
computers and computer terminology. Soon you’ll be as at
ease with a computer as you are with a telephone or radio!
When you complete this study unit, you’ll be able to
Identify the major components of a computer
Navigate in the Windows environment
Identify methods of interfacing with productivity
Describe three main types of productivity software
Discuss basic features and functions of word processing
Discuss basic features and functions of spreadsheet
Discuss basic features and functions of database
Explain what the Internet is
Describe basic aspects of the World Wide Web
Describe basic features and functions of electronic mail
P r ev i ew
P r ev i ew
It’s hard to imagine a world without computers. They’ve
come to be part of just about everything—from cars to space shuttles, from schoolrooms to boardrooms, from department
store gift registries to the bank’s cash machine. Computer chips are part of just about everything electronic.
Parts of the Computer
Windows and Operating Systems
Using a Mouse
What Word Processing Software Does
Features of Word Processing Software
THE INTERNET AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB
What Is the Internet?
The World Wide Web
Introduction to Computers
Parts of the Computer
While a computer is a complex machine, its purpose is
straightforward: it’s simply a tool for handling information. You’ll use the computer, for example, to store and organize information. You’ll also use it to communicate information. Different parts of the computer perform these and other
functions. Figure 1 shows the basic parts of a typical computer system. The computer’s monitor is used to display information. The system unit stores this information on
disks. At least one disk—called a hard disk, or hard drive—is mounted inside the system unit’s cabinet. Other disks—flash drives, digital video discs (DVDs) and compact discs (CDs)— are separate from the computer. Such disks are designed to
be inserted into the computer’s USB ports or disk drives
whenever you want to access the information that the disks
contain. These storage devices can then be removed from the
drive and stored away from the computer. The keyboard and
mouse are the most commonly used devices for loading
information into a computer.
Just as all cars have an engine, a chassis, and so forth, all computer systems have certain parts in common. But, just
as with different makes and models of cars, there are differences from one model of computer to another. In cars, for instance, the brake and accelerator are always in the same
place, but the control for the windshield wipers may be a
lever on the steering column in one car and a knob on the
dashboard in another. With one type of car, the driver may
be able to lock all the doors and control all the windows
from the driver’s seat. Another model may not have driver
controls for power doors and windows. A similar situation
exists in different brands and models of computers.
FIGURE 1—The main parts
of a typical computer system are shown here.
The basic parts of a computer system are the same in all
cases, but different models can have different features....
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