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The hardware in the desktop computer can be divided into three components Vital, Essential and Desirable

Vital Components
1. 2. 3. 4. SMPS (Switch Mode Power Supply) Motherboard Processor / CPU RAM

Essential Components
1. HDD 2. DVD / RW

Desirable Components
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Graphics Card Sound Card TV Tuner card Network Card Wired and Wireless Modem Bluetooth Cooling system And many more

This is the unit which receives AC power, converts it to DC and transfers power to the various parts of the computer. It is composed of a transformer, a cooling fan and other electronic circuitry. If the fan fails the unit heats up and the erratic power supply may cause the computer to hang. The power is supplied from the SMPS to the various parts of the computer depending upon their needs. Eg. The motherboard receives 1.5 to 1.8 volts and the processor receives between 2.5 to 3.3 volts. A Notebook computer does not have an SMPS and the adaptor converts the 220V to 18.5 volts which is received by the motherboard which further manages power distribution. (Notebooks have different types of motherboards compared to Desktops)

This is the heart of the computer also called the control unit. All components in the computer are attached to it. It is essentially a piece of hardware but the software which comes installed on it is of utmost importance. This software is called the BIOS basic input output system, and is the mother program of the computer. It contains information pertaining to time/ date, computer password setup, boot sequence and information and regulations pertaining to all hardware in the system. The BIOS is also called the ROM (read only memory) of the computer and is stored on the CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) which is powered by a battery. Types of ROM - Mask-Programmed ROM (MROM) programmed at the factory. - Programmable ROM (PROM) can be custom-programmed by the user (once) using special circuitry. - Erasable-Programmable ROM (EPROM) can also be programmed and erased by the user using ultraviolet light and special circuitry external to the computer. - Electrically Erasable PROM (EEPROM) can be erased and reprogrammed by special circuitry within the computer. Currently we use EEPROM. This means that we can upgrade the version of BIOS whenever we want and whenever it is available. This can be checked at the manufacturer site. The process of upgradation of ROM is called flashing the BIOS. Basically the BIOS contains all the information that's needed for your computer to POST (=Power on SelfTest). This includes how to control your keyboard, communicate with your processor, send/receive video signals to/from your monitor, and recognize your components (hard drives, optical drives, USB devices, serial ports and so on). If this makes sense then you understand that without the BIOS a computer would not boot at all (no POST); neither will it boot with a defective/corrupted BIOS.

Peripheral Component Interconnect is a computer bus for attaching hardware devices in a computer. Defragmentation is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation in file systems. It does this by physically organizing the contents of the mass storage device to store files in a contiguous region if possible, or in the smallest possible number of regions (fragments) if not. It also attempts to create larger regions of free space using compaction to impede the return of fragmentation. Some defragmenters also try to keep smaller files within a single directory together, as they are often accessed in sequence.

The motherboard design is shown on the next page:

Processor / CPU
The processor is the part of the computer which computes and hence is referred to as the ALU (Arithmetic and Logical Unit). It sits on the motherboard and is equipped with a heat sink unit (composed of fins and a fan). The processor operates in a temperature range of 50 55 degrees Celsius. The computer will trip if the temperature exceeds this range. This may be due to either the failure of the heat sink fan or the processor itself may itself be overheating.

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. This is a temporary storage device in a computer. It becomes active when the PC comes on and becomes inactive when a PC goes off. It helps the user to work within its temporary memory and save his work after certain work is complete. It is a vital component as the OS loads itself in the RAM. Like semiconductor ROM, semiconductor RAM has more than one type. As a matter of fact, it has two general categories: Static RAM (SRAM) Dynamic RAM (DRAM). Although they both perform the same function, the methods they use are completely different SRAM Static RAM (SRAM) stores binary bits in such a manner that the bits remain in RAM as long as power to the chip is not interrupted DRAM Dynamic RAM (DRAM), on the other hand, requires that stored data be refreshed, or rewritten, periodically to keep it from fading away. As a matter of fact, each bit in the DRAM must be refreshed at least once every 2 milliseconds or the data dissipates DRAM vs. SRAM Although the extra circuitry and inconvenience associated with refreshing may initially make DRAM memory seem the obvious second choice behind SRAM, this is not the case. The Economical Choice Due to the simplicity of DRAM's internal structure, the bit storage capacity of a DRAM chip is much greater than that of a similar SRAM chip. The DRAM chip also offers a much lower rate of power consumption. Both of these factors contribute to making DRAM memory the economical choice in certain RAM memory systems. Using SRAM or DRAM Generally, SRAM is used in smaller memory systems where the added cost of refresh circuitry would greatly add to the cost per bit of storage. DRAM is used in larger memory systems where the extra cost of refresh circuitry is distributed over a greater number of bits and is offset by the reduced operating cost associated with DRAM chips. Earlier DRAMs worked independently and it used to receive info and transfer. Nowadays we have SDRAM where S stands for synchronous. SDRAM is work in synchronization with the Processor and is interdependent in nature

Eg; SDRAM 2GB DDR2 Synchronous Dynamic RAM of 2 GB Capacity. DDR stands for Dual Data Rate. 2 means it has two interface slots. DDR1 is obsolete and DDR3 is expensive. Cache Memory Processors work at a very high speeds and the DRAM cannot match their speeds hence the optimum performance can never be delivered if not for cache memory. The processor come with a certain amount of internal cache memory which is called L1 cache and the external cache memory is called L2 cache. This sits in between the processor and the RAM through a controller. In order to reduce the cost of computers, engineers have designed controllers that load data and instructions from the hard drive when they may be needed into RAM. When they are not needed in RAM, something else is loaded. Then, as the computer runs, whatever is needed for that time is loaded into cache. When the controller does a pretty good job at predicting what is needed, the computer will operate at close to its full speed. When the controllers don't do a good job, things will slow down while the CPU waits for data to be loaded from the hard drive to RAM, and then into the cache before it can continue. SRAM is used as Cache memory.

The new HDD design is also called RAID. RAID stands for Redundant array of Inexpensive disks. This means that multiple disks are put together as one thus making the combination redundant and virtually failure proof. Hard disk drives are either IDE compliant or SATA compliant. Both IDE and SATA are cables. IDE is the older technology and this cable has limitations on the rate at which it can transfer data and hence the HDDs could not work faster than 3600 rpm. Anything faster would mean burnout. SATA (serial advanced technology attachment) is a cable which permits any HDDs to work at 5400 rpm or more without problems.

DVD drive
How does a DVD work? The blank disc has a pre-groove track onto which the data are written. The pregroove track, which also contains timing information, ensures that the recorder follows the same spiral path as a conventional CD /DVD. A WRITER writes data to the disc by pulsing its laser to heat areas of the organic dye layer. The writing process does not produce indentations (pits); instead, the heat permanently changes the optical properties of the dye, changing the reflectivity of those areas. Embedded in the plastic is a thin film of metal, on which the data is written like any other data - in basically ones and zeros. A laser beam shines onto the data tracks

and sees the light and dark areas and creates a very small electrical charge and lack of charge that is read by the CPU and interpreted by the firmware programmed into the chip, translated again by your software and then shown to you on the screen as text and images. The plastic protects the metal - which is why you can polish a scratched disk and it will work again. What is the speed of DVD writer? - The speed of DVD writer means the speed at which it can write the data. This is defined by the manufacturer and currently 22X is the maximum speed.

USB Universal Serial Bus

This port has many advantages: 1. 2. 3. 4. It is universal i.e., it can connect both input and output devices. Very compact and consumes little space. To single port if we attach a hub we can connect up to 127 devices. Data is transferred at a very high speed.

The older version was USB 1.0 and the newer version is USB 2.0. The latter is faster than the former. The newer devices are compatible to the version 2.0 but since there are many older devices which are compatible to USB 1.0 therefore most motherboards come with both version installed. On attaching a device if you computer tells you that this device can work faster. Then it means that you have inserted a USB 2.0 compatible device into the USB 1.0 port and hence changing the port would make your device work faster. If on attaching a device the computer does not read it then you have possibly installed a USB 2.0 compatible device in USB 1.0 port and hence it is not read.

What should be the Configuration of a Computer?

This depends upon the application. Sample configurations are given below: Normal office use Intel Dual Core Processor 1.6 GHz SDRAM 2 GB DDR2 160 GB Hard Disk Drive DVD / RW 15 LCD Monitor Keyboard and mouse Home Use Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.4 GHz SDRAM 4GB DDR2 320 GB Hard Disk Drive DVD / RW Video Card 256 MB

Additional Sound Card TV Tuner card 19 Widescreen LCD Monitor Cordless Keyboard and mouse Gaming Intel Core 2 Quad Processor 3.2 Ghz SDRAM 8GB DDR2 (DDR3 can also be used but is very expensive) 500 GB Hard Disk Drive DVD / RW Video Card 512 MB Additional Sound Card Cooling System 21 Widescreen LCD Monitor Cordless Keyboard and mouse

Difference between Windows XP and Windows Vista

Though there are many differences but some key differences are as following: 1. Superior Security 2. Superior Graphics ( the new Aero interface is very good) 3. Easy networking. 4. Self diagnostics and troubleshooting. 5. Improved search option.

What are device drivers?

Device driver is software, which comes along with hardware (like printer, mouse, speakers, drives etc). This software sets itself up on the hard disk and enables effective usage of the hardware with which it comes. Very important to have a device driver else no device would effectively run. When we install the device driver, the type of file which sets up is called a DLL file. DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library and is a linking file between the hardware and software. It remains dormant (inactive) in the system and becomes active only when called for by the kernel to carry out its function. After the job is done it goes back into dormancy. This helps in reducing the strain it may have on the RAM. There are certain devices where we do not have to install the device drivers externally and these devices are called plug and play devices. The drivers for these devices already exist in the operating system. Eg: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor etc.

The Windows Registry

The Windows Registry is a database which stores settings and options for Microsoft Windows operating systems. It contains information and settings for all the hardware, operating system software, most non-operating system software, and per-user settings. The registry also provides a window into the operation of the kernel, exposing runtime information such as performance counters and currently active hardware. The registry contains two basic elements: keys and values.

Common Threats
Virus is a harmful program which reproduces itself and infects your computer. Spyware is a hacking software which sends information back to the source.

Operation of the kernel

In computing, the kernel is the central component of most computer operating systems. Its responsibilities include managing the system's resources (the communication between hardware and software components).




Input/ output

As the diagram illustrates the Kernel is the layer between the hardware and the software and can be called a resource manager for the Operating system

What is Blue Screen Error?

A Blue Screen of Death (also known as a stop error, BSOD or bluescreen) is an error screen displayed by certain operating systems, most notably Microsoft Windows, after encountering a critical system error. Bluescreens can be caused by poorly written device drivers, faulty memory, a corrupt Registry, or incompatible DLLs. Steps to resolve the problem: 1. Turn power off and restart the computer. It may work if it does not then 2. Take out RAM and and reinstall it (it may be loose). It may work if it does not then 3. Change the RAM. It may work if it does not then 4. Reinstall windows.

What is Ping Command?

This is used to check connectivity between two computers on a network. By typing ping <ip address> in the command box if we get a reply then it means we are connected. If no reply comes then we are not connected.

What is WAP
Wireless Application Protocol (commonly referred to as WAP) is [1] an open international standard for application layer network communications in a wireless communication environment. Its main use is to enable access to the Internet (HTTP) from a mobile phone or PDA. A WAP browser provides all of the basic services of a computer based web browser but simplified to operate within the restrictions of a mobile phone, such as its smaller view screen. WAP sites are websites written in, or dynamically converted to, WML (Wireless Markup Language) and accessed via the WAP browser. Before the introduction of WAP, service providers had extremely limited opportunities to offer interactive data services. Interactive data applications are required to support now commonplace activities such as:

Email by mobile phone Tracking of stock market prices Sports results News headlines Music downloads

Computer Password Locked

Remove the CMOS battery

Windows Password lost

Reboot the computer and press F8. Choose safe mode. Entry through safe mode does not need to have a password. Change the user password and login again. This will only work if you have windows xp sp2 WPNS Wireless protocol network system

System restore: It is a utility given in the system tools of Windows using which
one can restore the windows settings to an earlier date. It is very useful if there is a system setting change (which may occur due to downloads, new software etc) which creates a problem. Restore feature only changes to system settings to an earlier date and does not affect data downloads. Start => Programs => Accessories => System Tools => System Restore

What is TFT and LCD? A liquid crystal display (commonly abbreviated LCD) is a thin, flat display device made up of any number of color or monochrome pixels arrayed in front of a light source or reflector. It is prized by engineers because it uses very small amounts of electric power, and is therefore suitable for use in battery-powered electronic devices. TFT-LCD (Thin Film Transistor-Liquid Crystal Display) is a variant of Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) which uses Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) technology to improve image quality. TFT LCD is one type of active matrix LCD, though it is usually synonymous with LCD. It is used in both flat panel displays and projectors. In computing, TFT monitors are rapidly displacing competing CRT technology, and are commonly available in sizes from 12 to 30 inches. As of 2006, they have also made inroads on the television market.