A computer disk is a plate on which data is encoded. There are two ways to encode data: magnetically and optically. Magnetic disks store information through magnetized needles. These needles flip tiny magnetized switches on the disk into patterns that a computer recognizes.
Memory is the virtual storage closet in your computer that holds data so that the microprocessor can retrieve it promptly. There is a distinction between memory and storage, however. Memory, also called physical memory, refers to the information stored on RAM, or Random Access Memory, chips, whereas storage describes only data stored either on floppy or hard disks.
The operating system is a piece of software that allows you to access and manipulate all the various programs stored on your computer. It is the platform from which other application programs are launched. On most computers, such rudimentary tasks as receiving input from the keyboard, organizing files, and operating the printer and the disk drive, are booted up by the operating system first, before other tasks can be executed.
|Parts of a Computer
Computer parts are divided into two categories: hardware and software. The physical components are known as computer hardware, while programs, data, and other intangible instructions are known as software. Basic computers have at least the following five pieces of hardware: a CPU or Central Processing Unit, a hard disk, input devices, memory, and output devices.
|Serial and Parallel Ports
Serial and parallel ports connect the various parts and devices in your computer together so that they can all function quickly and properly. These ports attach programs to other programs, devices to programs, and devices to other devices. Serial ports are used to connect the computer's processor to a device, such as your mouse.