A Beginner's Guide To Computers: Parts Of A Computer & How Computers Work

Parts of a Computer

A computer is made up of four essential parts: the system unit, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. It would be very hard, if not impossible, to operate the computer if one of these were missing. You could, of course, still use the computer without a mouse if you memorized all the keyboard shortcuts, but the graphical nature of most programs nowadays has made the mouse an indispensable part of the computer.

The system unit is the main part of the computer where all the action takes place. It houses all the components that make your computer run. Many people mistakenly refer to it as the CPU when in reality the CPU is just a small chip inside the system unit.

Understanding The Parts Of Your Computer (For Kids)

What's Inside Your Computer?

The term "computer" has also been loosely used to refer to the system unit. The system unit is composed of the following main components:

The most well-known processors are probably the Intel Celeron family, Intel Pentium family, and now the Intel Core family. To put it simply, the Celeron series is for those who use their computers mainly for word processing, using programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel; the Pentium series is for those who are into multimedia such as music and video; and the Core series is for computer users who do a lot of multitasking.

Memory cards can be 128MB (rare nowadays), 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, or 2GB. A lot of older computers can hold up to 1GB of RAM only. Newer ones however, can have as much as 2GB and even 4GB (by using two 2GB memory cards). The more memory your computer has, the faster it will respond. But not all motherboards are equipped to hold large memory cards so read the manual first and check the maximum RAM your motherboard can support.

The more common hard disk storage capacities are 40GB, 80GB, 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, 400GB, and 500GB. It's always a good idea to choose a hard disk with a large capacity especially if you want to download and store movies - an average high quality DVD movie can take up more than 4GB of hard disk space!

Motherboards usually have a LAN port for networking and internet, an internal modem for internet connectivity, and built-in USB ports for your USB devices such as printers and flash drives. Newer motherboards also have 4-6 SATA ports for your SATA devices such as hard drives and one IDE port for your CD/DVD drive.

Looking Inside A Computer

Take a tour inside the computer and see the main parts of the system unit.

Now that you know the parts that are inside your computer, it's time to learn how these parts interact with each other when you turn on your computer.

How Does Your Computer Work?

This video illustrates and explains in layman's terms what goes on inside your computer.

More by this Author


Comments 68 comments

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Thanks, Susan. I've used computers for a long time, but only for word processing. Since I joined HubPages I've been trying to learn the basics, but it's going very slowly. This basic information helps.


Earl S. Wynn profile image

Earl S. Wynn 8 years ago from California

Very very nice. A beautiful comprehensive overview of modern computer technology, put together so seamlessly and with such skill that I can only marvel at it's artifice. Excellent work!


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

You're welcome, William. Glad I could help. :)


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, Earl. :)


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

Susan you are awesome. And your hub is great too! This is a great beginner's guide to a computer.


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

I'm so happy you think so, Pete. :) I was worried it would be too simple for grown ups. I'm actually in the process of making our school's computer handbook and it's going to be used by kindergarteners, so I tend to oversimplify things a bit. :P

Thank you, thank you. :)


pjdscott profile image

pjdscott 8 years ago from Durham, UK

This is a very precise and useful hub. Sometimes people get scared by the technology and jargon, but you have explained it beautifully. Great stuff.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

On behalf of all computer dummies, I just want to assure you, Susan, that there's no such thing as "too simple." Please keep writing for us kindergarteners.


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Haha! Welcome to my kindergarten class, William. :D


karl 8 years ago

thanks for helping


liliam 7 years ago

susan I need information pictures of the parts of the computers but it has to be very modern with the web cam


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi, liliam. Have you tried doing a search on Google Images? :-)


jhiivan ngaosi 7 years ago

ur so awsome and ur hub is nice too,,,,good job


Computer_Nerd profile image

Computer_Nerd 7 years ago

This is a very good hub! Perfect for anyone who wants to know more about computers without reading a novel about the PC.


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, jhiivan and Computer_Nerd. :-)


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 7 years ago from Central United States of America

Thanks for this hub, Susan Ng. I have bookmarked it for future use. Like you said you're a wonderful 'geek'. Wish I was....:-) And thanks for your nice words on my hub too!


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, frogyfish. I'm glad my geeky-ness could be of service. Hehe. :D


sepiroth profile image

sepiroth 7 years ago from Bohol

Nice hubs, Teacher Susan, I have also hubs about cmoputer troubleshooting hope you liked it too....


badcompany99 7 years ago

You said I was good at humour but you young lady have a skill of taking a topic, making it short, interesting and full of all the facts, so you have a talent my friend ; )


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, BadCo. You just made my day. :D


jonty 7 years ago

wow .... this is awesome hub .... very nicely explained ... very informative ..... well written ..... keep up the good work ..... god bless u ......


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, Jonty. :)


klenn 7 years ago

wow! its so nice,,, this is my first time in this web sites but i am very appreciates,,,because the explanation is very clear,,,


md 7 years ago

how can i build a pc very suitable for making architectural design like those used by engineering student????


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Hi, md. I'm guessing you would need a computer with high specs to run certain programs? :O I use a few resource-heavy programs such as Adobe Premiere CS3 and my Intel DG31PR motherboard, Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 2.33GHz processor, 3GB RAM with 1TB hard disk does just fine. :)

Thanks, klenn. Keep coming back. :)


BOITUMELO RASEEPE 7 years ago

THANK YOU FOR BEING HELPFUL


jade 7 years ago

thankyou for makin the facebook


GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 7 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

I guess laptops and notebooks are more convenient and practical to use rather than desktops that are bulky and have lots of wires and connections LOL... I would rather buy a laptop or notebook as replacement for my laptop than buying desktop computers which depreciates sharply as time goes by...


BETH 7 years ago

..,elow! Its been so niCe! goOd job susAn1


Elizabeth_Reynera 7 years ago

..,hi susAn!just want to say that hubpage contains valuable informations! ..,ahm'keep up the good work..!


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, Elizabeth. Glad you found it helpful. :)


Rajkumar 6 years ago

Nice ya,

Plz check out there is little confusion in RAM

2GB and 4MB u mentioned Its 4GB


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, Rajkumar. It has been fixed. :)


Network management tools 6 years ago

Thanks this is like step by step of learning, Though we all use computer but most of us do not know about its components and how they work.

Your guided tour is surly gonna help people like me.


abigail 6 years ago

computer of parts


sisters oregon 6 years ago

Great Hub very informational!


gramsmith profile image

gramsmith 6 years ago

You have posted very helpful information for beginners.Now they can easily handle their computer's............


mike 6 years ago

helped a lot thanks :)


TANMAY 6 years ago

THAT COMPUTER IS THE GREAT INVENSION IN THE WORLD BECAUSE


juan 6 years ago

so helpful, thanks!


mr weed 6 years ago

this websit helped a lot on my question


Martin K 6 years ago

Hey Susan Great Post, I'm a techie myself, I stumbled upon your site and it caught my attention. I really respect your approach to your client's , it's rare to find this kind of service on the net. (I use the same ethics on my site) You mentioned (Negatively) that sometimes you oversimplify, I say "Oversimplifying is underated" Trust me, Keep doing what your doing, there's nothing wrong with simplifying. I love the Vids, Nice, simple, Easy to understand, This is truly and Excellent Post for the newbie learning computer basics. Good Work.


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks for the encouraging words, Martin K. Glad you stumbled upon my article. :)


Julie Rhea Juaner  6 years ago

I'm overwhelmed!


lindsays5624 profile image

lindsays5624 6 years ago

You have some very well put practical points made here. As you may see from my Hub I am interested in computers and one of the biggest barriers to getting people to use computers is the jargon and the complexity and this really helps.


ecinev_11 6 years ago

thanks ..


okmom23 profile image

okmom23 5 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

Thank you for a great hub!


nakachwe 5 years ago

you people have helped people


MDF Recovery 5 years ago

You have done a fantastic job here for the beginner.... Keep Writing....


Emima 5 years ago

itz very useful for me to know the detailed xplanation abt the computer


seanokeng 5 years ago

thanx 4 help


wizdom 5 years ago

its important 4 me to know d relevance of csc to human society


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks, everyone. :) And wizdom, what do you mean?


michelle nillama 5 years ago

thanks verry much ..................... i would like to learn more about the computer............


sheena mae abo 5 years ago

i love you


terence 5 years ago

You have some very well put practical points made here. As you may see from my Hub I am interested in computers and one of the biggest barriers to getting people to use computers is the jargon and the complexity and this really helps.


Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines Author

Thanks. I'm used to teaching kindergarteners hence the simple language. :)


kadex018 4 years ago

nice hub! i wish that i met you someday.. i love you so much


chris 4 years ago

thanks a lot


fakrudin 4 years ago

good job


treevas1 profile image

treevas1 4 years ago

computer is computing our mind ... :)


jewel 3 years ago

this helped me a lot !! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


AccountPending 3 years ago

Thank you very much, I'm doing a report for school so this helped a lot! I'm definitely going to dirict my friends over here to learn about your hub! Rating 10 out of 5 stars!


Emmanuel Marosi profile image

Emmanuel Marosi 3 years ago from Madang, Papua New Guinea

Incredible!


varun haridas profile image

varun haridas 3 years ago

the computer new generation


Damas 2 years ago

I appreciate ur work Susan,it is my first time in this site bt am addicted to it.U have really broaden my mind concerning computer basics,keep it up baby.


jen 2 years ago

I learn more about you how to handle and care the computer


grace matthew 10 months ago

i love this page so much

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working