In this modern computer age it is important to have at least some understanding of basic computer hardware and software. Granted it's not necessary to have a complete and total understanding of just what makes your computer tick it is perhaps wise to grasp some of the concepts. So let's take a look “under the hood” shall we?
First up on our journey is the hardware side of things. A computer consists of many different parts all of which need to be in working order for it to run properly. But here's the great thing about modern computers: you don't really need to know what all those little chips, resistors, etc. actually do. In fact, just a basic understanding of the computer hardware can allow you to fix a multitude of problems that might arise. Computers these days are divided into several major components – some of which can even be replaced without great difficulty.
First up is the most important part of your computer – the mother board. This is the “brain” of your computer. Also on the motherboard you can find your RAM (that stands for “Random Access Memory”). These are long “sticks” basically held in place by two plastic clips. If you're experiencing computer troubles you could try replacing these modules with new units to see if that fixes things. Or if you want that new PC game to run just a bit faster, adding more RAM to your computer might do the trick.
You might find a video card attached to your motherboard as well – this is the device that handles the complex mathematical calculations needed to create 3D environments in computer games. Usually though if you're not a gamer you don't need to worry about this one.
Another major hardware component is called the Hard Drive – this is what stores all your word documents, programs, etc. Upgrading this device by either replacing it or adding an additional one allows you to store more files.
We can now turn our attention to the software side of things. Some basic software you might want to consider installing is an office suite (MS Office for example or the free OpenOffice.org) which allows you to create professional word documents, power point presentations, and even keep track of financial information (your budget for example).
Of course another important software program is an Internet browser (allowing you to “surf” the web). If you have a Windows PC then you should have Internet Explorer (which comes pre-installed) or feel free to take a gander at FireFox – another free web browser (which works on the Mac too)
So there you have it – a short and sweet guide to basic computer hardware and software. This article should by no means be the end of your journey though! If you're still interested in the topics presented in this article a simple Google search (using your favorite Internet browser!) should answer just about any question you have.