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Basic Components   Harddisk   RAM   Files and Folders   File Types   Save SaveAs  
Copy Paste  

Basic Computer Parts:

Usually called a desktop; the brains that has all other components connected to it. It could be vertical or horizontal. With laptops the mouse and keyboards are internal and all comes together.

Output device connected to the tower to view what is going on.

Input device used in conjunction with the keyboard and monitor to input decisions. Usually has a left and right button to help make the decisions.

Input device to give commands to the computer. Remember when you type up a letter on a computer with a keyboard it is just a collection of commands sent through the connection to the tower, the tower then sends this to the monitor.

Output device used to print materials. These prints are sent by the tower to the printer after some command has been generated.

There are multiple new technologies now e.g. mp3, memory card readers, external harddrives etc; these are just peripherals like the mouse and keyboard that connect to the tower to do whatever its is they do.

What is the Hard Disk?

A Similar concept to the ordinary CD that you use in your car or home stereo, the hard disk is an internal type of disk with the job of storing large amounts of data. Data can be added and subtracted (deleted) from your hard disk; this could be done automatically by your computer or could be done by the user of the computer.

The hard disk is not the brain but a form of solid memory to be accessed by the computer components. RAM is also memory but it is not solid in the sense that when your computer is turned off the RAM memory is lost but hard disk memory stays. See also RAM. Hard disks are usually measured in Gigabytes and are encased in dust free housing for its protection.

What is RAM?

When buying a computer you're told how much memory will be in your machine and how big the hard-disk will be etc. RAM stands for Random Access Memory and is essential for your computer to run fast. One of main differences between RAM and your hard-disk is that RAM memory is accessed electronically and is not used for storage, whereas hard-disk memory is accessed mechanically and is used for storage.

The reason your computer will run faster with more RAM is that it can hold more data sent to it from the hard-disk. Take for example; if you are using Microsoft Word, if your RAM can fit the whole program from your hard-disk, then the program is running electronically and you can access the different functionality electronically. If your computer were to run it directly from your hard-disk, then the disk would have to trash back and forth to keep giving you the functionally you need, which would be much slower. But remember the hard-disk still has to load the programs needed into RAM in the first place.

Technology is moving in the direction of using the storage of your computer electronically. Solid State Drives are going to replace hard-disks, because they have no moving mechanical parts, so access of the data will also be electronic like the RAM. Similar to the USB stick; there will be something like it used inside your computer to store the data and this will possibly make the hard-disk obsolete.

Files and Folders:

When starting out in computers the main stumbling block with files and folders is that people cant distinguish between them. If you look at a file in real life, its some typed page or pages. If you look at a folder in real life its some kind of hardback paper device to store files in.

So when you are completely lost on your computer remember files go into folders but folders can not go into files. What does confuse beginners is that folders can go into folders; beginners often do this by mistake and think they have lost a folder or file.

Here is a scenario:
You have 3 separate files for different types of dogs and you have 4 separate files for different types of horses. You want to be able to keep your computer tidy and know where certain files are what do you do?

Simple you create a folder called dogs and you create a folder called horses. You put the appropriate files into their folders. Now if your computer really starts to have too many folders then you can create a folder called animals and put the folders dogs and horses into it. Keep everything nice and organised.

Different File Types:

Beginners also have a hard time trying to understand different types of files. Think for example of images, videos, music or documents. These are all fundamentally different things. So your computer has to be able to distinguish between them. Say for instance you have a music file called rocks and you have a document about rocks called rocks, then how will your computer know the difference.

The computer will generate an extension at the end of each file to determine its file type. So for the music file it will for example look like rocks.mp3 and the document will look like rocks.doc
There are many file types that the computer uses so dont panic.

Save and SaveAs:

This concept can be difficult to grasp as a beginner in computers. But lets take the example of creating your own CV and you Save it with the name mycv.doc on your computer.

In the future you want to update that CV, so you open your original mycv.doc to work on. When you are happy with the work you have done you can now use SaveAs and this time call it mycv2.doc By doing this you keep your original mycv.doc in its original form without any changes and you now have mycv2.doc with all the changes made.

This is also a safe option in case any serious mistakes are made etc, you can always go back to an original. SaveAs is used mainly when people want to reuse a document as a template to update for different reasons. They always keep the original or they can update the original so as to reuse again.

Copy and Paste:    Copy and Paste in Word

Generally its copying something from one part of the computer to another or to a memory stick etc. You have 3 functions Cut, Copy and Paste.

To Copy something before deleting the original, for another location.
To Copy for another location, leaving the original in place.
After Cut or Copy you then Paste something to another location.

You can Cut, Copy and Paste a wide range of things on a computer. From a File, Folder or contents of a file and Paste them to another position on the computer.

To Cut or Copy something you can click on it once to highlight it, then right click that highlighted object etc. and choose Cut or Copy from the menu.

If you highlight something e.g. a file or folder or even some chosen area within a file, once its highlighted you can use the edit menu usually on the top of that page. When you click the edit menu you will be given the choice of what you want to do.

Also in windows systems and some other operating systems, you can use keyboard commands to Cut, Copy and Paste. Press both keys together. Obviously you must choose something first.

Cut = Ctrl and x
Copy = Ctrl and c
Paste = Ctrl and v