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rticle View print view Computer III HOW COMPUTERS WORK The physical computer and its components are known as hardware Computer hardware includes the memory that stores data and instructions the central processing unit CPU that carries out instructions the bus that connects the various computer components the input devices such as a keyboard or mouse that allow the user to communicate with the computer and the output devices such as printers and video display monitors that enable the computer to present information to the user The programs that run the computer are called software Software generally is designed to perform a particular type of taskfor example to control the arm of a robot to weld a cars body to write a letter to draw a graph or to direct the general operation of the computer A The Operating System When a computer is turned on it searches for instructions in its memory Usually the first set of these instructions is a special program called the operating system which is the software that makes the computer work It prompts the user or other machines for input and commands reports the results of these commands and other operations stores and manages data and controls the sequence of the software and hardware actions When the user requests that a program run the operating system loads the program in the computers memory and runs the program Popular operating systems such as Windows 95 and the Macintosh operating system have a graphical user interface GUIthat is a display that uses tiny pictures or icons to represent various commands To execute these commands the user clicks the mouse on the icon or presses a combination of keys on the keyboard B Computer Memory To process information electronically data are stored in a computer in the form of binary digits or bits each having two possible representations 0 or 1 If a second bit is added to a
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