Parts of a Computer Desktop


The parts of a computer desktop can be broken down in two groups. It is important to point out that the word computer defines a single device; however, a computer isn’t made up of a single part but of a group of many working together as one.

The first group consists of the basic parts that you first notice when you see a computer. The monitor, keyboard, mouse, and computer tower.

The second group would be the parts you don’t see, the ones inside the tower that make the computer work together. We’ll study these second group in the next section. First, let’s study all the parts or a computer in group one.

Visible parts of a computer – group one:

The Monitor

One of the main parts of a computer in group one is the monitor. This is your display screen and It works by connecting it to the video port in the back of the computer casing. There are two main types of computer monitors, cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors.

  • CRT monitors

    The CRT monitors are big, just like the old tube televisions, and they take up a lot of counter space. This old technology is no longer sold with computers today, however you can still find them and buy them if you look for one separately. They are also very inexpensive monitors since they are now a technology of the past.

  • LCD monitors

    The LCD monitors are thin and flat. They save energy and desk space and because they are the standard technology used today, their prices are relatively low depending on size and features.

    Like all electronic devices, your monitor has an “on and off” button, control buttons to change the display, and some monitors come with built in speakers.

The keyboard

The keyboard is the piece of hardware that looks like the old typewriter keyboard. It allows you to type words on the screen or navigate through operating system to accomplish different tasks. There are many different types of keyboards in terms of shapes, sizes, and features, but the keys themselves are organized the same standard way as the typewriter was.

There are three types of keyboards, PS/2 keyboard, USB keyboard, and wireless keyboard. Each of these refers to the type of connection they use to communicate with the computer, so each type simply means how they connect to the computer for the keyboard to work.

  • PS/2 keyboard

    This type of keyboard connection is the oldest of the three. It connects to the back of the computer in a specific plug that most computers have in the back of them and it is usually color coded in green. This connection is not “plug and play” which means that to establish communication between keyboard and computer, the keyboard has to be connected to the back of the computer before you turn it on to make it work.

  • USB keyboard

    This keyboard connection utilizes a different type of plug. USB ports can be found in different places of the computer such as the front, the back, or even on top of the computer tower. Some LCD monitors also come with USB ports which mean you could plug your keyboard to the monitor instead of the computer.

    USB keyboards are plug-and-play. This is an advantage over the PS/2 keyboards because you can connect the keyboard at any time to your computer or monitor and it would establish communication right away.

  • Wireless Keyboard

    The wireless keyboards consist of two parts, the receiver and the keyboard itself. The receiver is what actually connects to the computer and this one has a USB type of connection which means that it is also plug-and-play and that it can also connect to any USB port available. Once the receiver is connected to a USB port (whether to the computer, or the monitor, or any other device), this one will establish communication to the keyboard in order for it to work. Wireless keyboards require batteries to power them up.

The mouse

The mouse is an electronic device ergonomically shaped to fit well in the palm of your hand. It is known as a pointing device because it allows you to point to objects on the screen and execute a task thanks to its graphic interface.

When you look at all the parts of a computer, the mouse will probably strike you as the oddest looking device and yet it plays such an important role when you use it because it saves you time browsing through the operating system. It works in conjunction with the keyboard allowing you to navigate much faster and more efficiently.

With the click of a button you can send and request information to the computer, you can turn on and off any program in your computer, and you can also shut down your computer with it. The standard mouse has three buttons (a left button, a right button, and a wheel in the center which is also a button). The buttons on the mouse are meant for specific tasks.

  • The left button is an executable button. It executes the command to open or close any program.

  • The right button opens submenus of programs.

  • The wheel button purpose is to scroll up or down on windows, and webpages that are larger than what the screen can display. You can use the button to open links and they will open in new tabs when you’re surfing the internet.

Some mice have more than the standard three buttons to accomplish other things. These will typically require a software installation for those extra buttons to work properly.

Just like the keyboards and their three different types of connection (PS/2, USB and wireless), the mice come in those types of connections as well. There are four different types of mice – the mechanical mouse, the optical mouse, the trackball mouse, and the touchpad mouse.

  • The mechanical mouse

    The mechanical mouse or ball mouse got its name because of a small rubber ball that goes underneath it.

    This rolling ball detects and registers your movements to the computer making the cursor move on the screen. This type of mouse requires regular cleaning because of its design that makes it easy to collect dust.

  • The optical mouse

    This type of mouse was made to replace the old mechanical mouse. It has an optical eye or LED eye on the bottom of it which make the cursor on the screen move as the optical light moves across any surface. When it come to all the parts of a computer, this one is my favorite kind in the choosing of a mouse, so I recommend it.

  • The trackball mouse

    The trackball mouse got its name because it has a ball that sits on top of the device and can be rotated in any direction. The difference between a regular mouse and a trackball is that you don’t have to move the device as you would move a regular mouse, instead, rotate the ball with your fingers to move the cursor on your screen.

  • The touchpad mouse

    The touchpad mouse allows you to control the cursor on your screen with your fingers by touching on a touch sensitive pad. This mouse is very common on laptop computers.

The computer tower

The computer case is the external box or outer shell container that houses all of the internal parts of a computer. They come in many different styles, and they are also made of different materials such as metal, acrylic, or plastic. The front face of the case has a power button that is connected to the mainboard inside to allow you to power the computer “On” or “Off”.

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