Computer Components

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How to Choose a Sound Card for Your PC

If you want to add a sound card to your computer, or upgrade the sound card that it already has, you have several options. A number of specialized PC sound cards are available for the discriminating audio [more…]

How to Choose Printer Paper

There’s really no such thing as a typical sheet of printer paper. Printer paper comes in different sizes, weights (degrees of thickness), colors, styles, and textures. Printer paper can, however, be divided [more…]

Computer Processing

Between receiving input and providing output, your computer processes. In other words, the computer processes input and produces output. Without processing, the computer's output would be the same as its [more…]

Your PC’s Graphics System

The monitor may get all the attention, but it’s only the visible half of your computer’s graphics system. A graphics system produces the visuals that allow you to interact with your computer. The graphics [more…]

What a Scanner Can Do for You

Scanners are interesting beasts — and man; you get a lot of bang for your scanner buck! In fact, a perfectly serviceable, relatively inexpensive USB scanner is waiting for you at your local Maze O’ Wires [more…]

Enhance Your PC's Sound with External Speakers

The PC has always come with an awful, internal speaker. It still does today, but in addition, most PCs have a standard set of stereo speakers. Those speakers are fine for basic sound, but your PC is capable [more…]

Your PC’s Keyboard and Mouse Ports

The PS/2 keyboard-and-mouse ports are designed to connect your keyboard and mouse. This figure illustrates the plug that fits in the keyboard and mouse ports. The keyboard and mouse use the same kind of [more…]

How to Disconnect Your Laptop from a Dialup Connection

Unlike the always-on broadband connections, you must always disconnect your laptop from a dialup connection when you're done using the Internet. Just as you said [more…]

How to Close Your PC’s Console Case

When you finish doing whatever motivated you to open your PC’s console, close the console up! You can’t turn the PC on until you close the console case. Make sure you close the console properly; otherwise [more…]

Your Computer’s Network Interface Card

Your PC requires Ethernet networking hardware to connect to the network, specifically a network information card, or NIC. Your NIC may also be called an Ethernet card or a network adapter. The NIC circuitry [more…]

Understanding What a Computer File Is

When you use your computer to create things, those things are stored in units of information called files. A computer file can be a document you write with your word processor. A computer file can also [more…]

Label Printers

The personal label printer, like the DYMO LabelWriter, might look a little like a toy — it’s not much bigger than the label tape it uses — but a label printer can make printing labels for all kinds of [more…]

Choosing between a Photo Printer or Inkjet Printer

Photo printers are specifically designed to create photographs that rival any 35mm film print. Photo printers use inkjet or dye-sublimation (dye-sub) technology [more…]

How to Establish Keyboard Ergonomics

To keep yourself happy and healthy while using your PC’s keyboard, establish some keyboard ergonomics. It's important to observe proper posture and sitting position when using the keyboard, especially [more…]

Your Computer Printer’s Control Panel

Every printer has a control panel somewhere on its body. The fancy printers have LCD control panels that display text, or preview and select photos for printing. Less fancy printers may have a control [more…]

How to Add Paper to Your Computer Printer

It should be pretty straightforward to add paper to your printer. But like feeding a baby, there’s a right end and a wrong end to feed paper into your printer. The paper goes into a feeder tray either [more…]

How to Disable the Modem in Your Laptop

When you aren’t using your laptop’s modem, you can turn it off or disable it. That way, the laptop isn't supplying power to a device that you don't use. The easiest way to do this is to click the Power [more…]

The Design of a Basic PC Mouse

Your PC’s mouse finds its home to the right or left of the keyboard (depending on your dominant hand). The mouse needs a clear swath of desk space so that you can move it around. A typical computer mouse [more…]

How to Create a Dialing Location for Your Laptop’s Modem

If you plan to return to a location, such as a hotel or city, creating a dialing location in Windows saves time when you need to use your laptop's dialup modem. [more…]

The Parts of a Computer Printer

All printers share some common components, regardless of the specific printer type and manufacturer. Take a moment to examine your printer and look for some handy items, as labeled in this figure: [more…]

How to Update Your Computer Keyboard

Whether your computer keyboard isn’t working properly or you just want to upgrade, you can buy an updated keyboard and install it on your computer. Before buying a new computer keyboard at the store, remove [more…]

How to Update Your Computer Mouse

Computer mice all tackle the same computing chore (moving a pointer around the computer screen), but not all mice are created equal. You can update your mouse to one that has features you find useful and [more…]

How to Replace Your Computer Monitor

Computer monitors grab their video signals from the video circuitry in your computer, so you can tell what type of monitor you need by looking at your computer’s video port — the little connector on the [more…]

How to Find the Right Video Card for Your Computer

Video cards require two things to be compatible with your computer. The card must physically fit into your computer’s video slot. The card’s ports — its connectors — must match the ones on your monitor [more…]

How to Add a Second Monitor to Your Computer

Adding a second monitor to your computer lets you double your computer’s desktop, allowing you to work on one monitor while eyeballing your reference materials on the other. You can double the size of [more…]

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