What is a computer?

It is a programmable machine.


What is Hardware?

Refers to objects that you can actually touch, like disks, disk drives, display screens, keyboards, printers, boards, and chips. In contrast, software is untouchable. Software exists as ideas, concepts, and symbols, but it has no substance.


What is Software?

Computer instructions or data. Anything that can be stored electronically is software.

Software is often divided into two categories:

Systems software : Includes the operating system and all the utilities that enable the computer to function.

Applications software : Includes programs that do real work for users. For example, word processors ( MS Word ), spreadsheets, database management systems, and anti-virus programs fall under the category of applications software.


What is a Driver?

Drivers are small programs that allow your operating system, such as Windows® 98, Windows® 2000, Windows XP, Windows NT or Windows® ME, to communicate with the hardware ( modem, sound card, printer, etc. ) in your computer. Think of drivers as translators. If your operating system speaks English and your video card speaks German, they might not correctly communicate with each other. A driver speaks both the language of your video card and the language of your operating system, so it can help them communicate.


What is an Operating System ( ex., Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98 )?

An operating system is the most important program that runs on a computer. Every general purpose computer must have an operating system to run other programs. Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

Operating systems provide a software platform on top of which other programs, called application programs ( Word, Excel, etc. ), can run. The application programs must be written to run on top of a particular operating system. As a user, you normally interact with the operating system through a set of commands. Graphical user interfaces ( ex., Windows ) allow you to enter commands by pointing and clicking at objects that appear on the screen.