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Understanding How Your Computer Works

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Michael Miller walks you through the basic components and common peripherals of your computer system.
This chapter is from the book

Chances are you’re reading this book because you have a new computer. At this point, you might not be totally sure what it is you’ve gotten yourself into. Just what is this mess of boxes and cables—how does it all go together, and how does it work?

We’ll start by looking at the physical components of your system—the stuff we call computer hardware. A lot of different pieces and parts make up a typical computer system. You should note, however, that no two computer systems are identical because you can always add new components to your system—or disconnect other pieces you don’t have any use for. And notebook computers are a bit different from desktop models, even though they do the same thing; the parts are just assembled a little differently.

The Parts of Your Computer System

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