The Basics of Computer and its Basic Operations is an important topic. Computer is Electronic Device that receives input from the user, calculates, processes the raw data into meaningful information and provides the desired results as output. Basically, it has the capability to transform Data.

The computer was invented by Charles Babbage. One should wonder how a machine can perform so many varieties of tasks so efficiently. Let us learn about the basics of a computer and its operation, features, parts, etc.

Important Features of a Computer

Some basic characteristics of a computer are:


Computers perform very fast calculations and processing of million instructions and tasks in a few seconds.


The computers are not only fast but also, the information processed is highly efficient and accurate.


Computers are highly reliable for long working hours and can do heavy amounts of work for long durations, unlike humans.


The variety of tasks that a computer can perform is highly versatile as the functions and tasks performed can be of a billion types ranging from simple calculations to highly complicated science researches.


The amount of data that a computer can store is very vast and also the management and accessing of data is very organized and efficient. It also avoids the loss of data.

Basic Operations of the Computer

Some of the basic operations done by the computer are:

Accept/Input Data

This refers to collecting the data and instructions being given by the user. It can also be termed as Data Capturing.

Data Storage

The data is required to be stored at various levels while processing, before processing, or even after processing to store desired results. This is data storage.

Data Processing

This refers to processing the given data according to the given instructions and producing the required output.

Displaying the Calculated Results

This refers to producing the output on the output devices once the result is calculated.

Parts of Computer

To understand the basics of computer er we need to learn about its various parts. A computer has several components. Let us learn about them one by one. A computer has basically five parts:

Input Unit

The input unit basically includes the input devices and its operation is to take the input from the user. The input data is not in machine language. Therefore, the input unit converts it into the language of the computer (binary code). Some important input devices are Keyboard, Mouse, Microphone, Scanner, Barcode Reader, Light Pen, Joystick, etc.

Output Unit

The output unit basically involves the output devices and its operation is to give the processed information as an output on the computer. The results of processing are always in binary code. Humans cannot understand this code. Therefore the output unit converts it into a form that we can understand. Some important output devices are Monitors (also called Visual Display Unit), Speakers, Printers, etc.

Central Processing Unit (CPU)

This is a really important part of a computer as it performs all the processing parts of the computer. The CPU carries out and performs different calculations and other operations on the data and instructions. It has two subparts:

  1. Arithmetic and Logical Unit: As the name suggests, this unit is responsible for performing arithmetic tasks like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and also making logical decisions like greater than less than, etc. Hence, its name is also the ‘brain’ of the computer.
  2. Control Unit: This unit is responsible for looking after all the processing being done. It organizes and manages the execution of tasks that the CPU performs.

Primary Memory

This can also be named as the main memory of the computer which is present internally. Here, the data and instructions are stored while the processing is taking place in the CPU. RAM (Random Access Memory) is a primary memory which is volatile (data is lost when the power is disconnected). Another primary memory is ROM(Read Only Memory).

Secondary Memory

As we know that the primary memory is volatile therefore, we need some devices to store the data permanently so we use some external storage devices for this purpose which we name as the secondary memory.

Basics of Computer: Software

Software is one of the important terms we should understand to get familiar with the basics of computers. It is the set of programs that perform various special tasks or functions on the computer. The software can be classified further into two categories:

System Software

The system software is responsible for handling all the internal workings of a computer. Some types of system software are: 

  1. Operating System: An operating system is basically software used for interaction between the user and the computer hardware. It controls all the parts of a computer system and manages them. Examples are Microsoft Windows, Linux, etc.
  2. Language Processors: converts the code given by the user (source code) to computer language (machine code).
  3. System Utilities: This software is responsible for the proper and smooth functioning of computers. And also, keeping the system safe. Examples are Antivirus Software, File Management Tools, etc.
  4. Device Drivers: This software basically has the instructions in order to run the hardware devices.
  5. Application Software: This software performs only a specific task. Examples are MS-Excel, PowerPoint, Google Chrome, etc.

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is a computer?

A1. A computer is an electronic device/machine which takes input, processes the data, and produces output. Charles Babbage invented the computer.

Q2. List the basic parts of a computer.

A2. The five basic parts of a computer are:

  1. Input Unit
  2. Output Unit
  3. Central Processing Unit(CPU)
  4. Arithmetic and Logical Unit (ALU)
  5. Control Unit

Q3. What is primary memory?

A3. Primary memory is the memory that is present in the computer internally. Moreover, it stores data and information while processing takes place. It is a volatile memory i.e. it loses data once the power is off. Examples are RAM and ROM.

Q4. What is secondary memory?

A4. Secondary devices store data permanently. Example: CD, DVD, etc.

Q5. List the features/advantages of a computer.

A5. A computer has the following features such as:

  1. Efficiency
  2. Speed
  3. Reliable
  4. Versatile
  5. Storage

Q6. What is software?

A6. The software can be defined as the set of programs written to perform various special tasks or functions on the computer. In addition, it can be classified further into two categories, which are System Software and Application Software.

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