The beginner’s basic guide to the PC

4-pin (left) and 6-pin (right) FireWire connec...

There may be those out there that don’t know the components of the computer. Today, and the weeks ahead  I hope to dismiss that. We will start by looking at the front of the computer.  The power button can be located  in different areas of the computer.  Some are found on the top of the machine, while others can be found dead center on the front panel.

If you find that your computer is not responding, due to a system crash. The screen freezes and you have tried the Ctrl, Alt, Delete and still nothing, Here is something to try. Push in on the power button until the unit shuts down . Wait a few seconds and then try restarting the computer.

The CDROM or Optical Drive, should be at top inside the front panel. Many will see what is known as a  Combo-drive consisting of a DVD and  a CD-ROM.  The device is opened up by pressing the small square button on the face of the unit. To close it you can either push in on the open tray with your finger very slightly or push in on the button for the tray to retract. There is a small hole on the front of the unit, this is used for when you were to get a Compact Disc, lodged inside and you can’t get it out. To release the tray, grab a paper-clip unbend it then insert into the hole. Next Wiggle it around some and this should force the tray to open.

On the front of some computers are tiny vents used to allow air to pass through. On your older computers, these  will accumulate  with dust, and sometimes  get  trapped in behind the front panel. Compressed air is an easy way to free up this dust and can be purchased at your local department store.

At the bottom on some computers  are  found a set of  connectors. Some know these as USB’s (Universal serial Bus)   They run  in two speeds. 2.0 on your older computers and 3.0 on newer ones. You will find these are also on the rear of the machine.

You may also find round connections  for a microphone,  or speakers, on the front as well as on the back of the computer. Green is for speaker and blue for Microphone. color coding maybe different due to different manufacturers.   Older computer’s may will not be colored coded, but will have symbols distinguishing each one.

Fire wire which is used for loading video, was implemented by apple computers around the 1990’s.  A Firewire connection is quite comparable to a USB. It has the ability to be hot-swappable, which is to say, you can connect a device and the computer will detect it, without having to reboot(restart)the computer.

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)  is used to hook up to a High Definition television. Basically it allows  High-resolution audio and High-definition video to be transmitted  over one cable. Some of the devices that this may be used for would be Television’s, Camera’s,  and some Printers. Source: (

On the back panel you will see two set screws, which hold most covers, after you remove these, you can basically slide off the cover to work on the inside of the computer.


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