A typical desktop computer includes the following components:


  • Monitor
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Removable storage ( CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Zip disk, floppy disk)
  • Internet connection (modem, local area network card )
  • Ports ( parallel, serial, Universal Serial Bus (USB), Firewire)


  • Central processing unit (CPU) or brain of the computer
  • Motherboard or main circuit board
  • Memory (RAM, ROM, basic input/ output system, caching, virtual memory)
  • Hard disk
  • Power supply
  • Operating system
  • Other electronic control system ports and interfaces (graphics port, sound card, SCSI interface, bus connections)


The way the electricity is transferred to the computer is usually through an electrical socket or a high powered battery. The electricity runs through the wires and into the computer. When you press the "on" button on the computer, the electricity gives energy to the different components in the computer, and they begin to work.

 Desktop computer system  View of internal computer components and monitor.
 Extended computer keyboard  Ports in use (left to right) firewire, 2 USB ports, and local area network.
 Optical mouse (left) and manual mouse with movable parts (right).  Computer speaker
 Floppy disk and drive (left) and Zip disk and drive (right)  CD-ROM drive


The bootstrap loader loads the operating system into the memory and allows it to begin operation. A software program is opened to create a document. Input is stored temporarily in the RAM (Random Access Memory). Instructions from the software are sent to the CPU (Central Processing Unit). The operating system is steadily providing display information to the graphics card, directing what will be displayed on the monitor.


To print, the computer user clicks on print. The software program sends a request to the operating system, which transfers the data from RAM to the appropriate port for the printer.


To turn off the computer, in the software the user may select to turn off the control of the power. The operating system will completely turn off the power when it finishes its own shut-down cycle. The computer may also be turned off manually.




 Computers are also found in the year 2001 in many non-desktop uses including laptop computers, PDA's (Personal digital assistants), and wearable computers.