Computer Basics/Hardware/Hardware and software

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Hardware and software

Computers are made up of two basic parts: hardware and software.

  • Hardware is the physical parts of a computer such as the computer monitor, keyboard and all the inner machinery or electronics.
  • Software is the programs and instructions that tells the computer what to do and how to do it. Hardware and software work together for the computer to work.

Computers come in many shapes and sizes. A personal computer (or PC), is any general-purpose computer designed for use by individuals. Desktops, laptops and tablet computers are examples of personal computers that are found in many homes and workplaces. The two main types of personal computers are the PC compatible computers, traditonally known as a PC before the name became commonly used for any personal computer, and Apple Macintosh computers, commonly called a Mac.

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Please note: the following tutorial will open in a new window/tab. When you have finished the tutorial, simply close the window/tab and you'll return to this page.

  • Complete this online tutorial on Getting to know Computers Be sure to watch the short video to learn about different types of computers.

As you work through this tutorial, focus on the main differences between each of the following:
- hardware and software;
- desktop, laptop, and tablet computer