Computer Ports & Jacks

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How to Disable the Infrared Port on Your Laptop

According to computer security experts, some mysterious software out there can tunnel into your laptop via the infrared (IR) port. To stop this from happening, you can disable your laptop’s infrared port [more…]

The Types of PC Expansion Slots

You can expand your PC internally by adding additional circuitry boards. Those boards, or expansion cards, plug directly into expansion slots on the motherboard [more…]

The Back of Your Computer Console

The console’s backside is its busy side. On the back of a computer console, you find various connectors for the many other devices in your computer system: the console’s back also has a place to plug in [more…]

How to Connect a USB Printer to Your Laptop

Because most laptops lack a printer port, USB printers are the way to go. You can connect your USB printer by following a few easy steps: [more…]

Your Computer’s Audio Connections

Computer audio involves both output and input connections. No matter how sophisticated your PC's sound system, audio connections — both input and output — are made by plugging things into the appropriate [more…]

How to Connect Your Monitor to Your PC

Before you connect your monitor to your PC, you need to decide where you want to position the monitor. Set the monitor atop your desk, generally back away from where you sit, to accommodate room for the [more…]

USB Flash Drives for Your PC

The USB flash drive is a unique kind of PC storage toy. The keychain-size flash drive needs no batteries and has no moving parts! Instead, the USB flash drive uses the same method that digital cameras [more…]

How to Use a USB Hub on Your Laptop

A USB hub is really nothing more than a gizmo with extra USB ports on it. You plug the hub into your laptop's USB port. Then you can plug anywhere from two to four to eight USB devices into the hub. [more…]

USB Ports on a Laptop

A USB port allows a variety of devices to be attached to a laptop without needing a specific port or bulky connector. USB ports can connect printers, scanners, MP3 players, and a host of other peripherals [more…]

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…]

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 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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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 Add a USB Hub to Your PC

There never seem to be enough USB ports when you need them. Fortunately, when you need more USB ports, you can quickly add them by plugging a USB hub into your computer system. A USB hub allows you to [more…]

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