Basic parts and functionality of the computer

Remember what the reading instructions for this material told you: you don’t have to read everything from start to finish! If you are familiar with a particular subject, just skim through it and skip any content which you already know thoroughly.

All IT equipment, whether a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet or a desktop computer, consists of certain basic elements:

  • The motherboard is the part of the computer where such things as the processor and memory modules are attached. It also has connectors for external devices, and it controls the operation of all other components of the computer.
  • The processor retrieves instructions and the necessary data from the main memory, executes the functions specified in the instructions, and transfers the processed data back to the main memory.
  • The Random Access Memory (RAM) is where the operating system is loaded at start-up. Your files being processed are also loaded there.
  • The hard drive is the permanent memory of the computer where saved files remain even when the computer is turned off. This is why all files are saved to the hard drive.
  • Regardless of the type of display, all computers and mobile devices have a display adapter that controls the display image.
  • In addition, laptop and desktop computers have a physical keyboard.

For more information on the basic parts of the computer and hotkeys and key combinations, see the additional reading material.