How Computers Work.

As human beings, we're filled with curiosity. Being introduced to a device, the first thing that will pop into one's mind is how it works especially if it's a device we've not been acquainted with. Is it your first time using a computer or it isn't, but you don't have knowledge of the computer background and you're curious about it? In this article, I'll let you know the computer system's working process.

What is a computer?

Firstly, as a new user, you should be introduced to a device called a Computer. The computer is an electronic device. It's used to process the information provided by us. It takes information or data from one end, stores it for processing, and after completing the processing, it outputs the result at the other end. The information it receives at one end is known as Computer input, and the result it brings out after processing is known as Computer output. The place where it stores the information is known as Computer memory or RAM (Random Access Memory). The computer system stores information in bits, it's the smallest storage unit of a computer.

The Computer system works with the combination of input, storage space, processing, and output.

Let's understand each.

Input - An input is an information we provided to the computer. We input the information into the computer with the use of a keyboard, mouse, microphone, and so on.

Storage space - It's known as computer memory and it's the place where our inputs are stored. The computer uses a hard drive for the storing of files and documents. The memory is divided into two, Internal and External memory. The internal memory is known as RAM, which is volatile. It stores data temporarily, i.e when the data is ready to be processed, it's loaded into RAM, and after processing, it moves data for storage. On the other hand, external memory is used to store data permanently until you remove the drive or it gets crashed.

Processing - The processing of the data inputted in the computer is carried out by the CPU, the central processing unit. It's also known as the brain of the computer.

Output - The computer screen is one of the output devices of the computer. It's where we see the input we typed in the computer. Aside from the computer screen, there are different types of output devices of a computer, which include loudspeakers, projectors, printers, and so on.

Also, the Hardware and Software. The Hardware is the computer's input and output devices that can be touched. They are keyboard, mouse, screen and so on. Software is the applications that are in the computer which can only be seen but can't be touched. They can be categorized into two, System and Application software. The system software is used by the computer itself to operate and control the various hardware components and other hardware devices connected to the system. While the application software is a computer program specially created for a user to perform various operations such as creating documents, image editing, and music players on the computer.

How does it all make the computer work?

These major components of the computer together enable the computer to work and the steps are:

•User on the computer

•The Computer performs a power supply check (POST): When the computer system is powered on, the first job of the computer is to ensure that the computer is getting adequate and designated power supply to the system. The system power supply unit carries out a self-test called POST (Power On Self Test). The POST test checks the computer system's internal hardware for compatibility and connection and ensures that no errors exist before loading the operating system. After the successful completion of POST, the bootstrap loader routine on the BIOS chip is invoked to start the booting of the system. So, in this way, Windows and its other essential services get loaded into the system. But if the POST fails, then the system will beep for different beep codes.

•The CPU activates the BIOS to initiate the Booting process - The user can start using the computer when the operating system is fully loaded and operational. So, the microprocessor's first job is to locate and initiate the process of loading the operating system every time the computer system is switched on. The CPU loads the operating system with the aid of another system utility program called BIOS ( Basic Input Output System). BIOS is a system utility program which loads the operating system when the computer is switched on.

•Then, the operating system allocates the necessary resources in terms of memory (RAM) and the processing time required for the execution of a program. The operating system then loads the executable copy of the program (machine code instructions) and related data into the main memory (RAM). The operating system efficiently manages the memory requirement needed for different processes running on the system.

•The microprocessor (CPU) is the brain of the computer. It initiates program execution by fetching the program instructions and the data from the main memory RAM. The CPU executes the program instruction one by one and operates on the data as per the program instruction.

•In the process of executing the program, the CPU repetitively performs a sequence of four steps called the machine cycle, which are


The processed data after the CPU operation is sent back and stored in the main memory. This processed data can be sent to any output device such as a display monitor or printer or secondary storage device for future use


  1. Learncomputerscienceonline. How computers work

  2. Javatpoint. How does a computer work