Basic Computer skills


Workstation Computer

A computer is an electronic device, operating under the control of instructions stored in its own memory that can accept data (input), process the data according to specified rules, produce information (output), and store the information for future use. The computer has functions and any digital carries out five functions and these functions are;

Information processing cycle is a sequence of events consisting of input, processing, storage & output. For a computer to perform useful work, the computer has to receive instructions and data from the outside world. The computer receives data and instructions during the INPUT stage of the information processing cycle. Useful information results when appropriate instructions are applied to data. Applying instructions to data takes place during the PROCESSING stage of the information processing cycle. To avoid having to re-enter data and instructions or reprocess information, computers can save information. Saving information on a computer occurs during the STORAGE phase of the information processing cycle. Saving information on a computer occurs during the Storage phase of the information processing cycle. This is followed by the result in the OUTPUT stage. Computer Processing Cycle is a similar process with similar steps by which data is fed to a computer.

Processing – Performing operations on the data

Once the input is provided the raw data is processed by a suitable or selected processing method. This is the most crucial step as it allows for the processed data in the form of output which will be used further.

Processing is usually done by CPU (Central Processing Unit) in a computer. CPU is the crucial component for getting the operations done

Data processing is an essential part of information processing. Making use of processed information in various decision-making process remains the main purpose of information processing. Processing of complex data obtained from various data sources requires sorting and filtering of data. It might also be merged with existing sources of data so as go to receive a new data set. Further analysis of these data sets helps in decision making and subsequent decisions pertaining to other aspects in a decision-making process. The information being used may form a part of short-term memory or long-term memory of overall process.

All the computers that are developed are not alike rather they have different designs and features. Some computers have very high capacity as well as working speed; however, some are slow. Depending upon the requirements, computers are being developed.


Computers are classified depending upon the internal structure and subsequent features and applicability, computer system is categorized as follows ;

Mainframe Computer

It is high capacity and costly computer. It is largely used by big organizations where many people can use it simultaneously.

Super Computer

This category of computer is the fastest and also very expensive. A typical supercomputer can solve up to ten trillion individual calculations per second.

Workstation Computer

The computer of this category is a high-end and expensive one. It is exclusively made for complex work purpose.

Workstation Computer

Personal Computer (PC)

It is a low capacity computer developed for single users.

Apple Macintosh (Mac)

It is a sort of personal computer manufactured by Apple company.

Laptop computer (notebook)

It is a handy computer that can be easily carried anywhere.


Tablet and Smartphone

Modern technology has advanced further. It has helped develop computers that are pocket-friendly. Tablets and smartphones are the best examples of such computer.

Special NOTES;


Server usually refers to a computer that is dedicated to providing one or more services. A server is expected to be reliable (e.g. error-correction of RAM; redundant cooling; self-monitoring, RAID), fit for running for several years, and giving useful diagnosis in case of an error. For even increased security, the server may be mirrored. Many smaller servers are actually personal computers that have been dedicated to provide services for other computers.

Computer Hardware

What are external hardware components?

External hardware components, also called peripheral components, are those items that are often externally connected to the computer to control either input or output functions. These hardware devices are designed to either provide instructions to the software (input) or render results from its execution (output).

Common input hardware components include the following:

Mouse. A mouse is a hand-held pointing device that moves a cursor around a computer screen and enables interaction with objects on the screen. It may be wired or wireless.

Keyboard. A keyboard is an input device featuring a standard QWERTY keyset that enables users to input text, numbers or special characters.

Microphone. A microphone is a device that translates sound waves into electrical signals and supports computer-based audio communications.

Camera. A camera captures visual images and streams them to the computer or through a computer to a network device.

Touchpad. A touchpad is an input device, external or built into a laptop, used to control the pointer on a display screen. It is typically an alternative to an external mouse.

USB flash drive. A USB flash drive is an external, removable storage device that uses flash memory and interfaces with a computer through a USB port.

Memory card. A memory card is a type of portable external storage media, such as a CompactFlash card, used to store media or data files.

What is hardware as a service?

While it's common for individuals or businesses to purchase computer hardware and then periodically replace or upgrade it, they can also lease physical and virtual hardware from a service provider. The provider then becomes responsible for keeping hardware up to date, including its various physical components and the software running on it.

Types of Hardware Function and examples Input devices

Processing and
Internal memory devices

Output devices

Storage devices


Objective Questions

1. An electronic tool that allows information to be input, processed, and output is called _______________.

  1. Operating system
  2. Motherboard
  3. Computer
  4. CPU

2._____________ is a worldwide network of computers.


  1. Internet
  2. RAM
  3. Network

3. Name the brain of the computer that does the calculation, moving, and processing of information.

  1. CPU
  2. RAM
  3. Motherboard
  4. Hard Drive

Subjective Questions

   1) Explain the main purpose of an operating system?

    2)What are the different types of CPU registers in a typical operating system design?

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