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Computer Hardware

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Your PC’s Video Ports

The video port has been around for many years and still rocks! Virtually all video cards still offer the same 15-pin, D-SUB video port that originally appeared with the IBM Video Graphics Array [more…]

Your Computer’s FireWire (IEEE 1394) Connections

On a PC, the IEEE port (called FireWire) is used primarily for connecting audio or video devices to the console. An external scanner or disk drive may also use the IEEE port. [more…]

The Types of PC Backup Drives

Backup drives used to mean inexpensive, slow-running tape drives. Today, even high-priced digital audiotape (DAT) backup drives are losing ground fast in the backup drive world. Instead, you now have three [more…]

How to Add a Port Replicator or Docking Station to Your Laptop

The way to expand your laptop's options is to add special nonportable options, such as a port replicator or docking station.

Port replicator: A port replicator snaps on to a special expansion slot or connector [more…]

Uses for Your Laptop’s USB Port

Your laptop’s USB port can expand its capabilities to include much more than external storage and printers. You can also connect a mouse and keyboard, game controller, speakers, Bluetooth devices, and [more…]

How to Use the Real-Time Clock and Backup Batteries in Your Laptop

Most laptops have, in addition to the main battery, two other much smaller batteries buried deep within the box: the real-time clock battery and the backup battery. [more…]

The Various Types of PCs

There is no such thing as a typical PC, just as there is no such thing as a typical car. Although both PCs and cars have common parts, different manufacturers arrange and design PCs [more…]

How to Connect a USB Device to Your PC

USB devices plug into the USB port — any USB port. The USB cable may be attached directly to the gizmo, or you may have to use (or buy) a separate USB cable. Fortunately, the USB cable has unique ends [more…]

The Front of Your Computer Console

The front of the computer console is for you, dear computer user. You use the front of the console to interact with the computer system directly. From the front of the console, you can add or remove disks [more…]

Explaining I/O

Computers are obsessed over the two letters I and O. I/O stands for Input and Output, which are the two things a computer does best. Really, I/O is pretty much the only thing a computer does. You get this [more…]

Connect Peripherals to Your PC

Peripherals are externally hooked up to your computer. Your actual PC, itself, is nothing but the console (or tower). Everything else is considered a peripheral. To do much of anything with a PC, you’ll [more…]

How to Get System Information about Your Laptop Hardware

Your laptop’s System icon opens a window or dialog box that serves as a central location for gathering information about your laptop's hardware, controlling that hardware, and performing minor troubleshooting [more…]

Change Your PC’s Mouse Settings

In Windows, mouse settings are controlled by using the Mouse Properties dialog box. To display that dialog box to change mouse settings, open the Control Panel Home and choose the Mouse link beneath the [more…]

What to Pack in Your Laptop Case

A good laptop case is useful for holding more than just the laptop. When you travel, you should pack your laptop case with all those extra goodies that you may need. When you're at a loss about what to [more…]

FireWire Connections on Your PC

The original FireWire standard has now been overtaken in raw speed by USB 2.0, but because FireWire has been around much longer, it’s in no danger of disappearing. FireWire works better than USB 2.0 with [more…]

How to Plug a USB Device into Your Laptop

USB devices are a snap to connect — literally. You don’t need to turn off the laptop, run a special program, or wave a magic wand. Just plug in the USB gadget and you're ready to roll. [more…]

Uninterruptible Power Supplies

An uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, is the best thing to have for hooking up your computer system to the wall socket. Basically, an uninterruptible power supply is a power strip combined with a battery [more…]

Serial Ports on Your PC

Although the serial port may not be fossilized, it did originally appear with the premiere of the IBM PC. Serial ports have largely been replaced by USB ports [more…]

Computer Storage

Your computer needs storage because the processor needs a place to perform its magic — a scratchpad for mad doodles, if you will. All computers need storage. On a modern computer, storage comes in two [more…]

How to Use a PC Card in Your Laptop

There are several places on your laptop where a PC Card may be inserted. It might be a gaping hole on the side of the laptop, a tiny "garage door" that’s covering the hole, or a hole that’s hidden behind [more…]

USB Peripherals for Your PC

The USB port is the most important standard PC connector on the planet these days. A USB port (see this figure) allows you to connect all sorts of peripherals, and USB ports are even becoming popular for [more…]

How to Use USB-Powered Devices on Your Laptop

Quite a few USB doohickeys are self-powered. That is, they draw the electricity that they need from the laptop's USB port.

The downside to this is that it sucks up even more of the laptop's precious juice [more…]

Typical Uses for Your Laptop’s USB Port

The USB port on your laptop allows for a variety of gizmos to be attached without needing a specific port or bulky connector. This is a major improvement over earlier portable computers that needed to [more…]

The I/O Panel’s Components

You PC most likely has an I/O panel to either help keep all the connectors in one spot. On the I/O panel, you add various expansion options to the PC, and the I/O panel also provides places to plug in [more…]

Legacy Ports on a PC

When the PC was first designed, external thingamajigs were attached to the console by using legacy ports — specific and aptly named ports. If you wanted to attach a keyboard, mouse, or printer, for example [more…]

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