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Ethiopian TVET System Maichew ATVET College

Basic Agro-Food Processing Level I

Operating a Personal Computer


Nominal Duration: 80 Hours

MODULE DESCRIPTION: This module convers to provide the trainees with the knowledge,
skills and right attitudes required to start up a personal computer or business computer terminal; to
correctly navigate the desktop environment; and to use a range of basic functions.
General Objective
After going through this lesson you would be able to:
• familiarize yourself with characteristics of computers
• identify the basic components of a computer
• explain the importance of a computer
• differentiate between system software and application software
• Customize your own desktop computer
LO1. Start computer, system information
and features

• A computer is a programmable machine designed to perform arithmetic and
logical operations automatically and sequentially on the input given by the
user and gives the desired output after processing. Computer components are
divided into two major categories namely hardware and software. Hardware
is the machine itself and its connected devices such as monitor, keyboard,
mouse etc. Software are the set of programs that make use of hardware for
performing various functions.
1.1. Starting or logging on computer

The characteristics of computers that have made them so powerful and universally useful are speed, accuracy,
diligence, versatility and storage capacity. Let us discuss them briefly.
• Speed
Computers work at an incredible speed. A powerful computer is capable of performing about 3-4 million
simple instructions per second.
• Accuracy
In addition to being fast, computers are also accurate. Errors that may occur can almost always be attributed to
human error (inaccurate data, poorly designed system or faulty instructions/programs written by the
• of computers can be seen in almost every sphere – Railway/Air reservation, Banks, Hotels, Weather
forecasting and many more.
• Diligence
Unlike human beings, computers are highly consistent. They do not
suffer from human traits of boredom and tiredness resulting in lack
of concentration. Computers, therefore, are better than human
beings in performing voluminous and repetitive jobs.
• Versatility
Computers are versatile machines and are capable of performing
any task as long as it can be broken down into a series of logical
steps. The presence
Storage Capacity

Today’s computers can store large volumes of data.
A piece of information once recorded (or stored)
in the computer, can never be forgotten and can be
retrieved almost instantaneously.
Types of computer
Classification of computer can be based on size, memory capacity and
access time or the type of data that the computer processes.
Classification according to their Size, Memory and Access time.
• Microcomputer: is a single user, compact and its memory capacity is
also low compare with others.
• Laptop, portable, desktop
• Minicomputer: this kind of computer is multi-user .the size of this
computer is greater than Microcomputer.
• Mainframe computer: it is large computer and big institution or
organization has this type of computer.
• Supercomputer: very giant computer and is found only in few
institution all over the world like NASA. Super computer process vas
amount of information.
• Mainframe computer: it is large computer and big institution or
organization has this type of computer.
• Supercomputer: very giant computer and is found only in few
institution all over the world like NASA. Super computer process vas
amount of information.
According to functionality, Type of
computers are classified as:
• Analog Computer
• An analog computer (spelt analogue in British English) is a form of computer that uses continuous physical
phenomena such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved.
• Digital Computer
• A computer that performs calculations and logical operations with quantities represented as digits, usually in
the binary number system
• Hybrid Computer (Analog + Digital)
• A combination of computers those are capable of inputting and outputting in both digital and analog
signals. A hybrid computer system setup offers a cost effective method of performing complex simulations.
Classification based on area of applications
Modern computers depending upon their applications are
classified as: -
• a. Special Purpose Computers
• b. General Purpose Computers
A. Special Purpose Computers: - A special purpose
computer is designed only to meet the requirements of a
particular task or application. The instructions needed to
perform a particular task are permanently stored into the internal
memory, so that it can perform the given task on a single
command. It therefore doesn’t possess unnecessary options and
is less expensive.
• B) General Purpose Computers: -
A General Purpose computers are designed to meet
the needs of many different applications. In these
computers, the instructions needed to perform a
particular task are wired permanently into the
internal memory. When one job is over, instructions
for another job can be loaded into the internal
memory for processing. This, a general purpose
machine can be used to prepare pay-bills, manage
inventories, print sales report and so on.
Computer System

• Computer system means the composition of computer. Computer system

components are classified as hardware and software. The physical
equipment that goes together to make up a computer is usually referred to as
• Hardware: is the part that you can touch .or the physical make-up of the
• Software: is the set of instruction called a program that directs the
Starting or logging on computer procedures

• Press power button

2. Starting The Computer 3. logging on computer
1.2. Basic Functions And Features
• Input: This is the process of entering data and programs in to the computer
system. You should know that computer is an electronic machine like any
other machine which takes as inputs raw data and performs some processing
giving out processed data. Therefore, the input unit takes data from us to the
computer in an organized manner for processing.
• 2. Storage: The process of saving data and instructions permanently is known
as storage. Data has to be fed into the system before the actual processing
starts. It is because the processing speed of Central Processing Unit (CPU) is so
fast that the data has to be provided to CPU with the same speed. Therefore
the data is first stored in the storage unit for faster access and processing. This
storage unit or the primary storage of the computer system is designed to do
the above functionality. It provides space for storing data and instructions.
• The storage unit performs the following major functions:
• All data and instructions are stored here before and after processing.
• Intermediate results of processing are also stored here.
• 3. Processing: The task of performing operations like arithmetic and logical
operations is called processing. The Central Processing Unit (CPU) takes data
and instructions from the storage unit and makes all sorts of calculations
based on the instructions given and the type of data provided. It is then sent
back to the storage unit.
• 4. Output: This is the process of producing results from the data for getting
useful information. Similarly the output produced by the computer after
processing must also be kept somewhere inside the computer before being
given to you in human readable form. Again the output is also stored inside
the computer for further processing.
1.3. Customization of desktop configuration
• Customization of desktop and configuration means preparing to use
the computer for any task, that for designing , for small business .

1: Desktop with Windows Wallpaper.

Your wallpaper picture can be anything you like and
nearly any image file format is usable as wallpaper.
To change your wallpaper, right-click on any blank
area of the desktop and click Personalize:
• Figure 2: Right-click dialog.
The Personalization folder will
appear and offers several
commands to adjust the visuals
of your computer. To adjust
your wallpaper, click the
Desktop Background button at
the bottom:
Figure 3: Personalization folder.
This will show you a window with various background options: