Basic organization of a computer

Having understood the definition of a computer and learning how to classify different machines around us as computers based on their working let’s move ahead and understand the basic organization of a computer. The knowledge you will gain from this tutorial can be applied to any machine or device around you which falls in the category of a computer.

Logical structure of a computer

Logically you can divide a computer into two major parts

  1. Hardware
  2. Software

Hardware is the physical and visible part of the computer which you can see, touch and feel. Software is the invisible part of the computer, which you cannot touch and feel but it is the soul of the computer. Without the software your computer will be like a dead body.

The computer hardware can be divided into 3 main categories

  1. Input and output devices
  2. Processing devices
  3. Storage devices

Any computer you see around you will have these hardware components for sure. There will be a processor to perform logical operations on the data, input and output devices to help you interact with the computer, storage devices to remember the data for future use.


The computer software can be divided into two main categories

  1. Operating system
  2. Application software

Operating system is the main software which is present in each and every computer. Some computers might have extremely advanced operating systems like your laptop and your mobile phones but some computers might have special purpose operating systems which only perform few tasks which are important to make that machine function. Some common operating systems you might have heard about are Microsoft Windows, Linux, Android, iOS etc.

Application software is the one which runs on top of the operating system and help you perform specific tasks. For example, you have a clock in your mobile phone which shows you the current time of the day and also there is a calendar which helps you keep a track of your meetings on a day to day basis. Both these are examples of application software. They help you perform a specific task.


Every computer has the same basic structure

No matter how powerful or how small a computer is, every computer will have the same basic structure as discussed above. Whenever you see a machine which you feel can be put in the category of a computer it will definitely have some hardware and an operating system. With this structure in mind you can proceed to understand different hardware components that make up a computer and the role each hardware component plays in the functioning of a computer.

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