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Computer Concepts: Hardware, Software And Operating Systems



Computer Hardware comprises the Electronic, Electrical and Mechanical components of the machine. The physical parts which can be seen touched and feel it. Personal Computer (PC) is a system, consisting of many components. The things you can actually see and touch and would likely break is hardware.

Computer Software

Software is something used or associated with and usually contrasted with hardware as the entire set of programs, procedures, and related documentation associated with a system and especially a computer system.

Two types of software found in every PC:
1. Operating System
2. Application Programs

Operating Systems (OS) provide the basic platform that brings the PC to a point where it can work with application programs and interface with users. Examples of operating systems are Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Application Programs (Application Software) are loaded and run on top of the OS. There are application programs that can find any location in the world via a street address, listening to music, watching videos or TV.

Operating System

An operating system (OS) is the program that, after being loaded into the computer by a boot program, manages all the other programs in a computer. The other programs are called applications or application programs. The application programs make use of the operating system by making requests for services through a defined Application Program Interface (API). Users can interact directly with the operating system through a user interface such as a command language or a Graphical User Interface (GUI), Job Management, Task Management, Data management, Device Management & Security.

User Interface

The user interface includes the windows, menus and method of interaction between you and the computer. Operating systems may support optional interfaces, both graphical and command-line.

Job Management

Job management controls the order and time in which programs are run and is more sophisticated in the mainframe environment where scheduling the daily work has always been routine. In a desktop environment, batch files can be written to perform a sequence of operations that can be scheduled to start at a given time.

Task Management

Multitasking, which is the ability to simultaneously execute multiple programs, is available in all operating systems today. Critical in the mainframe and server environment, applications can be prioritized to run faster or slower depending on their purpose. In the desktop world, multitasking is necessary for keeping several applications open at the same time so you can bounce back and forth among them.

Data Management

Data management keeps track of the data on disk, tape and optical storage devices. The application program deals with data by file name and a particular location within the file. The operating system’s file system knows where that data are physically stored and interaction between the application and operating system is through the programming interface.

Device Management

Device management controls peripheral devices by sending those commands in their own proprietary language. The software routine that knows how to deal with each device is called a “driver,” and the OS requires drivers for the peripherals attached to the computer.


Operating systems provide password protection to keep unauthorized users out of the system. Some operating systems also maintain activity logs and accounting of the user’s time for billing purposes. They also provide backup and recovery routines for starting over in the event of a system failure.

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